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    M 
  • Macross Missile Massacre: You could almost call it "Manticoran Missile Massacre" — Weber is fond of fleets getting utterly annihilated by waves of missiles. Interestingly, however, this is a fairly new development in universe, as prior to the technological and tactical advances of the Havenite wars it was just too hard to kill a capital ship with missiles. This takes on an especial relevance when Manticore finds itself in conflict with the Solarian League, which still thought this was impossible.
  • Made of Explodium:
    • The fusion bottles on board starships in the Honorverse blow up like a supernova if they're sufficiently damaged, ensuring that destroying a starship in combat often results in a massive explosion killing everyone still aboard. The reactors are stated to work via gravity manipulation. Basically, take a bunch of hydrogen, squish it with a few hundred gees, and you've got a miniature star. Remove the gravity and the magnetic containment field and even though the reaction has stopped, you've still got a bunch of hydrogen plasma at about 10,000,000 degrees on the loose.
    • This is averted at times, usually as the result of good damage control work by a ship's crew, or hits in odd places. Still, when weapons in the megaton range are being nonchalantly thrown around hundreds or thousands at a time, 'something' is bound to blow up.
    • In Flag in Exile, Honor's pinnace is hit by a missile and crashes into the spaceport runway. As a safety feature, it ejects its hydrogen fuel tanks — one of which smashes into the spaceport's terminal, explodes, and kills over ten times as many people as were aboard the pinnace. As the pinnace was a military vessel, the safety feature was designed to protect the crew, unfortunately, and not anyone else around.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Though much of the technology and physics in the series are purely fictional, they are all explicitly defined and used with impeccable consistency. Advancements in technology and doctrine over the course of the series often yield new surprises, but New Rules as the Plot Demands are strictly verboten.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • In Honor Among Enemies an attempt is made on Ginger Lewis's life with a suit malfunction. Unfortunately for the perp, his "accident" was a little too complex and could not have been an accident.
    • The Legislaturalists favored method of removing troublesome political opponents were aircar "accidents." This returns to make problems for the new Republic of Haven government when Arnold Giancola is killed in a legitimate crash caused by a Drunk Driver; they honestly had nothing to do with it, but just after it happened, the Havenite counterintelligence unearthed clues that implicated Giancola's hand in the inept brinkmanship that led to the restart of hostilities. Now, had the Government tried to revealed this information, then everyone would immediately remember the "good" old days, so they try to initiate peace talks without revealing the info. When they later learn about the Mesan Alignment, they decide they might as well blame them for it, since they also have proof that Giancola was involved in the actions of an Alignment agent who had used the controller nanovirus to kill someone else.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Honor lives by this. Whether it is her crew, her family, her Steading, or anyone she considers under her protection, attacking them is effectively committing suicide.
    • Dame Estelle Matsuko, first for her Native Protection Agency personnel and the Medusans themselves in On Basilisk Station, and then for the entire Talbott Quadrant in the Saganami Island subseries.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Detweiler has had a hand in just about every major event in the books, if he did not plan them outright to begin with.
  • Manchurian Agent: In At All Costs, Mesa secretly deploys a nanotech virus that can reprogram its victim to perform a predefined action under specific circumstances. Now, anybody could be a sleeper assassin without even knowing it.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Mesan Alignment, who accomplished almost everything through manipulation and cats-paws.
  • Master of None: The given reason why Manticore does not build or use battleships: Not strong or survivable enough to fight full wallers, not capable of enough acceleration to match battlecruisers or below. Eventually, the Havenites manage to turn them into Jack-of-All-Stats by using them in deep raiding, where being stronger than battlecruisers allows them to blow away pickets using said class while outrunning full wallers, and every Manty waller stuck guarding a backwater is one fewer at the frontlines. The ability to tow a LOT of pods helps, too. But even then, they only used the vast supply of battleships they already had from the previous administration's building programs without commissioning any more.
  • Mayfly–December Friendship: When a bonded treecat loses their human companion, their will to live usually goes, too. This was a tragic consequence in the early days of such bonds, since treecats normally live twice as long as humans. Fortunately, the invention of prolong shortly before Honor's generation brought their two life expectancies into much closer parity.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Honor" Harrington is one of the characters with the most personal integrity and honor seen in the entire series—hence, almost every book with "Honor" in the title (The Honor of the Queen, Honor Among Enemies, etc.) is also a Pun-Based Title. Lampshaded at the end of "Let's Dance".
      Allison Harrington looked up at her towering daughter for endless seconds, and then, slowly, she shook her own head.
      “You’re wrong, you know,” she said softly, “it is my fault—mine and your father’s. After all,” she smiled hugely through a haze of tears, “we’re the ones who named you Honor.”
    • Also any treecat name ever. 'Cats are empaths who tend to give out names based on the one most noticeable character trait that they sense first in the person's "mindglow". Given their Psychic Powers these names may sometimes seem to be too whimsical for us "mind-blind", but they are always spot-on. Honor herself is "Dances on Clouds", Queen Elizabeth III is "Soul of Steel", Hamish Alexander is "Strong Heart", Eloise Pritchart is "Truth Seeker", and Thomas Theisman? "Dreams of Peace".
    • "Mesan" can be pronounced like "Mason." Both the Mesans in-universe, and the Freemasons in Real Life, stand accused of secretly manipulating whole governments behind the scenes.
    • The Hades escapees decide to call their fleet "Elysian Space Navy". After all, when you escape from Hell (Hades), anything will feel like Heaven (Elysium).
  • Mega-Corp: Manpower, Incorporated is the poster child for this trope, although it is not the only one in the setting.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: In the short story "Let's Go to Prague" by John Ringo, a PRH commercial spaceport's scanner serving the same purpose as Real Life airport metal detectors is a potential concern for Manticoran agents trying to sneak out a defecting Peep admiral.
  • Mildly Military: Beowulf's Biological Survey Corps. The rest of their military is described as unorthodox, too, but it's not elaborated upon. The BSC is implied to be unusual even by the standards of Beowulf's armed forces, given that it's an elite special-warfare unit specializing in covert operations against Mesa and its genetic slave traders.
  • Mile-Long Ship: Ship sizes are usually given in tonnage but one diagram showed most ships of the wall as being 2 km in length while superdreadnoughts were 3. Then David Weber realized that was too light with the given tonnage (the ships ended up being somewhat less dense than cigar smoke) and rescaled them so that SDs top out at 1500 m.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment:
    • In Storm from the Shadows, when Captain Terekhov is summoned to Admiral Khumalo's flagship after the Battle of Monica, he expects Khumalo to be infuriated with him for creating a shooting incident with a Solarian client state and resigns himself to the possibility that he will be cashiered over it. Terekhov can barely restrain his jaw from dropping when Khumalo proceeds to endorse his actions in every particular.
    • In Mission of Honor, when the Oyster Bay sneak attack ends up wiping out a treecat clan, quite a few people expect the treecats to lay the blame at Manticore's feet for making them collateral damage of their violent human wars. They don't. They point their finger squarely at the humans who launched the attack, and pledge to take a more active role protecting the people they know have gone to great lengths to protect them.
    • Though Honor is greatly revered by the Graysons, they were never fully comfortable with her relationship with Paul Tankersley, since it goes against their mores about marriage. So there's much reason for concern when Prime Minister High Ridge slanders her for the even worse crime of secretly sleeping with Hamish Alexander, a married man. The Graysons, however, don't believe it for a second. Why? Because while she may be more sexually liberal, they know Honor is neither a liar nor a philanderer. Unfortunately, this ends up being even worse; instead of being angry at Honor, the Graysons are angry at the High Ridge government, further straining relations between the two planets.
  • Military Academy:
    • Saganami Island, named for Commander Edward Saganami, regarded as the founder of the Royal Manticoran Navy for his legendary last stand at the Battle of Carson and his foundation of "the Saganami Tradition."
    • The Advanced Tactical Course, also known as "The Crusher" is an affiliated but independent facility from the main academy on Saganami Island. While the main academy is for churning out junior officers, ATC is the advanced command school for mid-ranked officers. Passing the Crusher is a prerequisite for being considered for command of any warship larger than a destroyer.
  • Military Alphabet: The modern NATO/ICAO alphabet is used universally, with a few variations like Able, Baker and Roger for flavor. The last one may also be a reference to King Roger I Winton, the first king of Manticore.
  • Military Science-Fiction: Space Navy focused.
  • Mind Control: One of Manpower's secret weapons mimics this ability through the use of bioengineered nanotechnology, which lies dormant inside a chosen host until triggered by a specific stimulus. It's not truly mind control in that the host does not themselves feel any sense of compulsion; rather, their muscles are "hijacked" to perform a series of preprogrammed actions. Manpower uses it mostly to disguise high-profile assassinations as random Murder-Suicides.
  • Minovsky Physics: Weber has stated that he prefers to set up the rules of his universe first, then extrapolate from there how society would develop under those rules. Gravitic technology (referred to collectively as "counter-grav") forms the basis for just about every piece of Applied Phlebotinum in the Honorverse: the Warshawski Sail, the Impeller Drive, fusion plants, energy siphoning, sidewalls, pulser guns, shipboard missile launchers, and even the super-tall skyscrapers that pepper the landscapes of the most advanced planets. In military doctrine especially, the status quo changes frequently as the galaxy's first large-scale war challenges many previously untested assumptions about how best to utilize these technologies.
  • Misguided Missile: A most dreaded thing for any naval commander due to Eridani Edict, which forbids the bombardment of an occupied planet without first securing an orbital position and offering surrender. The Edict doesn't care if it was accidental; commanders are expected to take every precaution to prevent collateral damage, and if they fail, then they were negligent as far as the Solarian League is concerned.
  • Missing Man Formation: At Honor's funeral in Echoes of Honor the missing man formation is used, as it is for all pilots in the Royal Manticoran Navy. The whole scene is a Tearjerker, even if you just read the previous book and know that Honor's not really dead.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Pavel Young blackmails Elaine Sakristos, his chief of security, into sleeping with him, and the experience itself is a painful, humiliating evening. Afterwards, Pavel never seems to catch on to the fact that she is subtly helping Honor Harrington penetrate his security.
  • Mohs Scale of Sci-Fi Hardness: Weber attempts to write Hard Science fiction, while using several coincidences of Applied Phlebotinum to justify combat being explicitly naval in nature. It generally lands a solid 3, possibly a 4 depending on how technical you want to be.
  • Monster Clown: Jeremy X, Audubon Ballroom leader and Torch's Secretary of War. A former genetic slave intended to be a house entertainer, he became a terrorist/freedom fighter extraordinaire, but still keeps quite a few of his clownish habits. Not to mention a rather vitriolic sense of humor and the best pistol hand in the known universe.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Solarian League (or, at least, the Mandarins) hit this when they start Operation Buccaneer, which aims to destroy the space infrastructure of neutral nations just because they trade with Manticore. They then go further when they attack Hypatia, a League Core World that has just voted to abandon the League and nearly destroy their infrastructure when there's still close to twenty million people that cannot be evacuated - and when the Manticore navy tries to stop this, the Solarian commander not only attacks the ships, but tries to make sure there are no survivors. As an extra, they have standing orders to launch strikes at said infrastructure should they find the target systems protected by Manticore's navy - no matter how many people live there.
  • More Expendable Than You: Honor's armsmen keep trying to convince her of this.
  • Morning Sickness: The first indication of Honor's pregnancy is a slight queasiness at breakfast.
  • Moving the Goalposts: An admiral who did not care for the development of LAC-based tactics and technology managed to get himself put in charge of the evaluation board and started putting more and more restrictions on how the weapons could be used in an effort to get a test battle in which the new LACs would be decisively defeated. Captain Truman recognized the plan and sent notification letters to even higher ranking officers; not asking them to change anything or intervene on her behalf, but simply appraising them of the situation so that they would look at all the data when it came time to review the exercise. When the Peeps launch an actual attack on the system the entire plan becomes moot, as the LACs are put into real combat and perform superbly.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • In the lead-up to the Haven-Manticore War in The Short Victorious War the Peeps start sending out raiding squadrons to destroy isolated Manticoran convoys and patrols. One Havenite battlecruiser squadron goes on one of these missions, but instead of finding the lightweight patrol ships they drop out of hyper within spitting distance of the dreadnought HMS Bellerophon that was passing through the system on its way home to Manticore. After Bellerophon's crew gets over their surprise they blow all four battlecruisers to bits in one broadside.
    • In Field of Dishonor, the duel between Denver Summervale and Honor Harrington proves to be a mistake on the part of the professional duelist when Harrington hits him with a shot from the hip before he can even get his gun into firing position. Then proceeds to gut shoot him three more times before putting a fifth shot between his eyes.
    • In Cauldron of Ghosts, a street gang tries to hijack an air lorry driven by Thandi Palane (who scares genetically modified super-soldiers) and escorted by Victor Cachat (who scares everybody). The fight is over in under five seconds and the only reason there are any survivors among the would-be hijackers at all is that Palane was specifically ordered to capture at least some of them alive... and even those survivors needed several of their limbs regrown.
  • Mutual Kill: In War of Honor a misunderstanding (helped along by a generous dose of mutual distrust) between Manticoran and Andermani cruisers results in a shooting incident that leaves the Andie ship a drifting wreck with only a handful of survivors while the Manticoran cruiser is lost with all hands.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: A number of Havenite military and political officers.
    • Subverted in heartbreaking manner in Echoes of Honor. Warner Caslet holds onto this attitude like a life preserver, until Legislaturalist Admiral Parnell lays it out for him: "Son, you don't have a country any more..."
    • Many of the Havenites (in fact, pretty much all of them who are not painted as morally reprehensible slime) subscribe to the forgotten part of the quote: "if wrong, to be set right". Most notably Victor Cachat, Kevin Usher, Lester Tourville, Javier Giscard, Dennis LePic, Shannon Foraker, and of course Thomas Theisman and Eloise Pritchart.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Several examples throughout the series.
    • Admiral Byng after ordering the unwarranted destruction of three Manticoran destroyers, which had been in the system on a diplomatic mission. To make things worse, not only was the battle staggeringly one-sided due to numbers alone, but the Manticoran warships had their engines and weapons off line, and were given no warning of the impending attack, leaving them totally helpless. Byng would later suffer from a literal case of Laser-Guided Karma, compliments of Admiral Henke's squadron of battlecruisers, and the Royal Manticoran Navy's infamously effective missile guidance systems.
    • Aldona Anisimovna has a bout of this after destroying a New Tuscan space station, killing over 40,000 innocents, in order to provoke Admiral Byng's attack on the Manticoran destroyers. She quickly rationalizes it away by saying that she was doing what was necessary for the Mesan Alignment's plans.
    • Albrecht Detweiler has one after the Oyster Bay raids result in over eight million dead in the Manticore home systems alone. He decides that he needs to accept that, because it would be a drop in the bucket by the time he is done if the plan is to succeed.
    • Literally when, in Flag in Exile, a hardcore fundamentalist Grayson kills the head of his own church in an attempt to assassinate Honor. He suffers a Villainous BSoD upon realising and his grief stricken testimony is the main plank in the case that convicts the Steadholder Burdette of treason and murder.
    • Thomas Theisman has one in In Enemy Hands when he realises that his bringing up the Deneb Accords leads to Cordelia Ransom thinking of ways to Rules Lawyer around them in her typically horrific manner.
    • Captain Zavala in Shadow of Freedom. He has no problem with attacking the Solarian force when it refuses to surrender. The moment they do — after Zavala's first salvo utterly destroys its target — Zavala realizes the next three salvos are already committed, preventing several thousand Solarians from abandoning ship in time, including the Vice Admiral. For added irony, Zavala had gone with this plan instead of a Missile Massacre fake-out partly to avoid overusing a now limited supply of missiles if the fake-out hadn't worked.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Being partially telepathic, treecats can spot potential trouble before it appears. This has saved Honor's life at least twice and may prove an Achilles Heel for the Mesan Alignment (as altered humans taste "wrong" to treecats).
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    N 
  • Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: The treecats use these names not only for themselves (Laughs Brightly, Swift Striker, Sorrow Singer) but also for humans they think are important (Death Fang's Bane, Soul Of Steel, Dances On Clouds). It is worth noting that a treecat may have his or her name changed several times during their life but adopted treecats have two names, their descriptive name and the name that their human gives them (which never changes).
  • Narrative Profanity Filter:
    • In the short story "Nightfall", a guard supervisor's tirade is mentally noted by the target of the supervisor's ire to be worthy of study for chewing out due to the use of "colorful" language, but the specific words used aren't mentioned.
    • In On Basilisk Station, Dame Estelle Matsuko has an... interesting meeting with a courier carrying a message from Countess New Kiev, which we do not see. The message in question, however, absolutely enrages Dame Estelle, whose description of said meeting to Honor is described as "sulfurous". The exact words she uses are not noted, but she is heavily implied to have let loose with a Cluster F-Bomb.
    • Later that book, another Cluster F-Bomb is belatedly implied from Sirius's captain at the start of his Stern Chase with Harrington.
      Captain Johan Coglin sat on his bridge. He'd run out of curses ten minutes before; now he simply sat and glared at his display while anger flowed through his mind like slow lava.
    • Manticoran marines suiting up in their moderately uncomfortable but undeniably effective skinsuits in Field Of Dishonor are described as reciting ancient and well-worn oaths during the struggle to get into them.
  • Nerves of Steel: Half of the characters, but especially Honor, if only because she is routinely thrown into the worst situations. Hundreds or thousands of other people are along with her in the same situations, but she is in command, and their lives are her responsibility.
  • Never My Fault:
    • A large part of why the situation with the Solarian League escalated as much as it did. The Mandarins refused to acknowledge the League's culpability in events that led to the conflict because they feared that doing so would be seen as a sign of weakness other smaller systems they oppressed might capitalize on. Their refusal to do this, even as they privately admit their own role, means that Manticore is left with little choice but to fight back against opponents who won't consider a diplomatic settlement.
    • It's also displayed on a personal level as Josef Byng, the Solarian admiral whose actions kickstarted the conflict, is shown in his viewpoint chapters finding every way he can to justify his destruction of three helpless Manticoran ships and lay the blame elsewhere.
    • Likewise, OFS governor Damián Dueñas in Shadow Of Freedom spends most of his viewpoint chapters coming up with various ways in which the utter disaster he caused was somebody else's fault.
    • Pavel Young also had this problem. He blames Honor for a lot of the problems he had in his life that arose largely from his own actions, such as getting beaten up when he tried to rape Honor or blaming her for being far more effective at Basilisk Station than he ever bothered trying to be.
  • New Tech Is Not Cheap: Part of the issues in the war between the People's Republic of Haven and Manticore. Courtesy of their control of the largest known wormhole junction in the Galaxy and a massive merchant marine Manticore can afford to run a robust R&D program in the middle of a shooting war while the bankrupt PRH can't, even if their educational system wasn't hideously crippled.
  • Naval Blockade: This was employed by the Royal Manticoran Navy against the Solarian League by blockading wormhole termini in Solarian space.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Aveted in the Talbott-centered books. The Mesan plot in Storm from the Shadows is acknowledged In-Universe as a second attempt at their plot in Shadow of Saganami.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Manpower thinks it is this, but it is just a group of slavers and generic criminals that are the big fish in a small pond. Manticore and Haven, their default enemies, both regard them as little more than a nuisance, a dime-a-dozen organization with delusions of grandeur. Manpower's delusions of grandeur are encouraged by the Mesan Alignment, which is a superpower, and has been using Manpower as a front for centuries.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • In Field of Dishonor, Pavel Young, primarily by being himself, invokes a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal by his chief of security, which leads directly to Honor's friends in the Navy tracking down evidence of what he'd done and to his own death.
    • One of the side-effects of Yawata Strike is that it ends up breaking the diplomatic deadlock between Manticore and Haven by inspiring Eloise Pritchart, having also learned of the existence of the Mesan Alignment, to approach Queen Elizabeth and propose not just a peace treaty, but a military alliance against the Solarian League. In the process they clear up all their past diplomatic misunderstandings and become the last thing the Alignment wants: a force powerful enough to destroy the Solarian League Navy several times over.
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • Almost every single villain of the series is either dismissive or outright contemptuous of their servants, as most of them come from high-society and wealthy backgrounds; multiple characters point out (or at least think) that that is entirely indicative of the way they believe that the universe revolves around them, and that their lower-class supporters are there for the express purpose of appeasing them.
    • Rob S. Pierre and Oscar Saint-Just are the only two villains of the series who are courteous to their subordinates; Esther McQueen, who knows that they will kill her the moment she is a threat and is already planning to kill them, believes that it is actually an authentic character trait and not something assumed for appearances.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: "Manties" (Star Kingdom/Empire of Manticore), "Peeps" (People's Repubic of Haven)note , "Andies" (Andermani Empire), "Sillies" or "Confeds" (Silesian Confederacy), and "Sollies" (Solarian League).
  • No Dead Body Poops: An undercover agent, realizing he has been made, judo flips over and snaps the neck of the man who has caught him, and notes in narration the smell of the voided bowels, presumably while his victim is still upside down.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: You have got to feel sorry for Commander Caslet and crew in Honor Among Enemies, who due to their acting out of basic human decency are subject to severe punishment by the PRH.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine:
    • Inverted in Honor Among Enemies — Honor invites the captive officers of PNS ''Vaubon'' to dine with her. There's the expected tension, but Honor has no ulterior motive, she's just showing her prisoners of war the respect their rank deserves, and the dinner is a pleasant experience for both sides. For reference, had their ships encountered one another in time of peace, such an invitation would have been expected.
    • Played with in Storm From The Shadows. A few months after being captured by Haven, Admiral Mike Henke is invited to dinner with President Eloise Pritchart. As with the earlier example, it's a pleasant dinner, but Pritchart does have an ulterior motive — the dinner is a setup for using Mike as Pritchart's envoy back to Manticore to try and bring an end to the war.
  • Non-Lethal Warfare: Chemically propelled projectile weapons have become this in many circumstances. Thanks to medical advancements anything beside a hit to the brain isn't likely to be lethal with proper treatment, whereas pulsers can remove entire limbs even with glancing blows.
  • Nothing Personal:
    • In Shadow of Freedom, Firebrand notes to himself that he has nothing personal against the agents for the Seraphim Independence Movement he meets in Chapter Four. He even wishes them well, even if he doesn't expect "well" to be what actually happens.
    • This is why the Manticoran and Havenite navies don't really have a problem working together after the formation of the Grand Alliance, though there's still some gut-level emotional reaction to get over — both navies were only defending their star nations, and by and large never did anything the opponents in question wouldn't have done themselves if their positions had been reversed. Unfortunately for those who caused the war, as far as both navies are concerned, it is personal... and they are very angry.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: The Beowulf Life Code outlaws anything that adjusts the human body beyond its natural limits, even prolong is described as just modifying and extending natural biological processes as opposed to drastically altering the human genome. Honor has faced occasional issues with her own status as a "Genie," a person whose ancestry includes genetic modification (In her case, the Meyerdahl First Wave modification which adjusted her ancestors for life on the high-gravity world of Meyerdahl). The role of Mesa is designed to explore this; David Weber has commented that Mesa has perfectly valid concerns and is right about Beowulf holding back humanity by outlawing transhumanism, but that they have been corrupted by hundreds of years of insular planning and hiding and now believe they must show that Beowulf is wrong by force.
    • In Cauldron of Ghosts, a member of Beowulf's Planetary Board of Directors openly says that in his opinion Mesa's problem is not the idea of attempting to improve the human genome, but instead a) the particular 'improvements' they want and b) the methods by which they're willing to force their opinions on the rest of the galaxy. He then goes on to say that in his opinion the genetic modifications of people like Honor are a technical violation of the Beowulf Code but that neither he nor anyone else on Beowulf really cares, and finishes up by going 'If the Mesan Alignment had spent one-hundredth the resources and effort they did on their front company of slavers and their galactic takeover conspiracy on simply attempting to sway public opinion to their side by legitimate means, they'd already have won the ideological conflict between us and them five hundred years ago.'
    • That book also explains the reason for the BLC: After the Final War, which involved a Super Soldier army deciding that they were naturally superior to their creators and turning against them, they wanted to make sure that nobody could ever create a 'master race' ever again - especially not one that genuinely was superior to everybody else in some easily measurable way.
  • Not So Different: Even during the worst periods of the Committee of Public Safety's reign, the Peoples' Republic of Haven shared Manticore's opinion of pirates and slavers. This is one of the main reasons the Mesans have been prodding both sides in their decades-long war.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: The Solarian League's legislature, based on Earth, has been one of these virtually since its inception. Not so much because its members can't cooperate or compromise (at least not compared to similar ruling bodies), but because every member world has veto power, meaning only unanimous votes ever pass. As a result, the League has become a de facto Oligarchy, with true executive power residing with the (unelected and unaccountable) senior officers of the bureauocracy.
  • No Warping Zone: Every astronomical body of sufficient mass has a "hyper limit;" inside this limit, translation into or out of hyperspace is either impossible or lethal. Most of the encountered hyper limits are caused by stars, but even the larger planets can have hyper limits of their own, if they're sufficiently far out from their primaries for it to matter.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Whatever it was that Lt. Takahashi did to the flight simulators at Kreskin Flight School. He got an impressive number of demerits for it and strict orders not to do it again.
    • The second-worst drunken night of Thomas Theisman's life, a "disastrous evening in his third year at the Academy". (The worst drunken experience of his life was when Cordelia Ransom interrupted with a knock at the door.)
  • Not Me This Time: When news finally begins to spread of what the Mesan Alignment is truly after, Manticore and Haven realize that they were behind the resumption of hostilities when they had Arnold Giancola modify the diplomatic notes between the two governments. Detweiler, however, is confused when that conclusion reaches him, because that was something he actually had no part in, and he realizes that they are being improperly blamed because they had one of their operatives helping with the clean-up afterwards.
  • Number Two for Brains: If you see this trope, it's an ironclad guarantee that the Number Two in question will wind up in command by the end of the book, and it will be a disaster.
  • N-Word Privileges: Honor makes her guest feel uncomfortable when she explains that she is a "Genie". She then goes on to venture that most people on her homeworld are genetically modified by now they just do not think about it.

    O 
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • A number of Havenite military and political officers, most spectacularly Admiral Lester "Cowboy" Tourville. It was something of a survival trait in the old PRH, thanks to State Sec.
    • For a very long time, treecats practiced Obfuscating Cuteness. Treecats are soft, cuddly, affectionate creatures who occasionally "adopt" humans—and they would love you to think that is all there is to them. As of Ashes of Victory, they are learning how to communicate using sign language and are starting to reveal more details about their culture. They have also casually begun colonizing other worlds (worlds populated by humans friendly to them, as they do not have their own means of getting around off-world). Notably, they began doing this before telling even their Manticoran companions about it.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Several are found throughout the series, but particularly the High Ridge government in War of Honor, where they are more concerned with holding power and acumulating wealth than the good of Manticore. Quite prevalent in the Solarian League, as well, given the SL Constitution makes it almost impossible for the government to take any but the most milquetoast of actions, leaving most actual power in the bureaucracies.
  • Off the Rails: Honor Harrington was, more or less, Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE! Then someone nuked Haven's equivalent of Napoleon, and — well — it all kind of spiraled out from there.
  • Official Presidential Transport:
    • Haven One was a Havenite warship carrying the president, and appears to be a call sign.
    • The Protector of Grayson's personal yacht was the GNS Grayson One.
    • The royal yachts are the official ships of the Manticoran monarch, though the term yacht is a bit of a misnomer, as the most recent is a full warship, the battlecruiser HMS Duke of Cromarty. Though it used to be a more accurate term until the unfortunately successful assassination attempt on a current one's namesake,note  after which the Manties decided to hell with it and ramped the game up.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • The Third Battle of Yeltsin, which was a critical battle in the opening stages of the Haven/Manticore war that was fought on a scale which had not been encountered in hundreds of years, but which was never seen or described in detail.
    • The capture of Trevor's Star was a major strategic objective of the Manties and a turning point of the war which gave the RMN a bridgehead (via the Trevor's Star Terminus of the Manticore Wormhole Junction) deep into Haven territory. We don't see it.
    • In The Service of the Sword, half of the naval battle takes place offscreen, while the readers follow Abigail's adventures dirtside. Abigail's exploits are certainly awesome, but the Battle of Tiberian becomes Michael Oversteegen's Remember When You Blew Up a Sun? moment for at least the next several books.
    • On a lesser scale, Admiral White Haven brings the Grayson-Masadan conflict to a final closure in Honor of the Queen, via the conquest of the Masadan system, between chapters just before the epilogue.
    • And on an even lesser one, the survival of Commander McKeon with a hundred of his crew in the same book.
    • The villains get one in Mission of Honor. While the attack on the Manticoran system is described in loving detail, the matching attack on the Grayson system gets only a passing mention. This continues in the two stories taking place in Grayson at the time, due to the point-of-view characters being Late to the Tragedy.
  • Oh, Crap!: There are many instances where characters realize how monumentally screwed they are, usually right before dying.
    • Honor has a couple; in On Basilisk Station when she realizes that the merchant ship she is chasing is not really a merchant ship, but a Peep Q-ship with the firepower of a heavy battlecruiser, and in The Honor of the Queen when she realizes exactly what type of warships the Peeps gave Masada. One of which is a heavy battlecruiser.
    • The entire Star Kingdom of Manticore has a couple in War of Honor and At All Costs when they realize just exactly what the new Republican Navy is capable of. Specifically, the RN is capable of reverse engineering or reinventing most of the technology that gave Manticore the lead in the Lensman Arms Race. And of launching really big surprise attacks. Direct quote from Honor, when she learns that the Republic's black project is headed up by Vice Admiral Shannon Foraker: "Oh God."
    • The Peeps have one almost every time the Manties drop their EW or emerge from stealth, most notably at Fourth Yeltsin.
    • Competent professionals on the wrong side of such situations tend have reactions closer to This Is Gonna Suck. Sometimes at the same time that their less-competent superiors are giving the standard Oh, Crap! response. Example: the captain of the Jean Bart at New Tuscany, while his commanding admiral was in a total panic, was basically pondering how unfair it was that he was going to be collateral damage to a well-deserved Darwin Award.
    • In War of Honor, Georgia Young (formerly Georgia Sakristos) nearly craps her pants when Cathy Montaigne and Anton Zilwicki tell her they know she was a slave that sold out five hundred escaped slaves for her own freedom and some money - and the Ballroom (an organization of fugitive slaves that go after slavers to wreck them up) is going to be told about it. Oh, and they also plan to tell Honor about her role in Paul Tankersley's murder.
    • In Mission of Honor, some Solarian analysts are discussing the implications of the Manties' performance at the Battle of Spindle, and their initial reaction is "Oh, Crap!, we're behind the curve." Then, after the Manties get kneecapped by Oyster Bay, those analysts realize it's even worse than that: "Oh, Crap!, whoever did that to them is going to be coming after us."
    • The trope is said exactly by the commander of a LAC watching from the sidelines in his own system as Manticoran and Solarian ships confront each other, then less specifically by Solarians when the Manticorans launch an overwhelming missile strike well beyond their range and with far better ECM — only to deliberately suicide the missiles against their wedges. And are told the next wave will 'fired for effect'. They leave.
    • The Alignment basically craps its pants when it learns that a) Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki are alive, b) they got top-ranked and tremendously important scientist Herlander Simões out with them, c) the revelation of the above has resulted in Manticore and Haven signing a military alliance, d) every secret they've worked to keep hidden for centuries has been blown wide open, and e) now the Grand Alliance — the very best military fleet ever formed in the history of the human race, honed in the crucible of decades of cutthroat warfare, and commanded by a group of tactical minds who will probably go down as among the greatest of all time — is coming after them.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Both Mesa and Beowulf, as Mesa is Beowulf's Evil Twin.
  • One Steve Limit: Actual Steves are in short supply, but other common names are reused. Given the scale of the series, characters with the same name rarely ever meet or come within light-centuries of each other at all. Probably the most notable exception is in the Talbott Quadrant; Michelle Henke's flag captain, Captain Armstrong, and Augustus Khumalo's flag captain, Captain Saunders, are both named Victoria.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Honor is portrayed as a military professional: killing is an unfortunate consequence of her career, she takes no pleasure in it, and she can be courteous to opponents who tried to kill her because that was their job. Those who have known her long enough instantly recognize and are scared shitless by her change in bearing when she really, truly wants someone dead.
  • Operation: [Blank]:
    • Manticoran op names are randomly assigned, so that if the name leaks there is no indication what the plan is, which gives us gems like Operations Buttercup, Cutworm, and Sanskrit. Operation Laocoön is an outlier, since the name is relatively apropos.
    • Haven tends to favor grandiose names like Operations Icarus, Pegasus, and Thunderbolt.
    • Solarian naval ops favor the poetic, like Operations East Wind, Winter Forage and even Raging Justice.
    • Mesan covert ops favor very direct names like Operation Rat Poison, Operation Wooden Horse, and Operation Oyster Bay (they are really not even trying with that one).
    • In Echoes, Honor comes up with Operation Nelson, involving a waypoint designated Point Trafalgar. At this pont in the series she is missing both an eye and an arm, the same wounds suffered by Admiral Nelson for whom the operation is named.
  • Orbital Bombardment: Specifically prohibited by the Eridani Edict. In fact, ships even have to make sure that their actions inadvertently cause this (e.g. destroying an orbital station and have it debris rain down). Then in book 19 the Solarians go ahead and start violating it themselves in order to terrorize the dissenting systems into not seceding. It's one of the turning points that convinces the Manticorans that a star nation this corrupt must go.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: Wormholes in the Honorverse are defined as ruptures between n-space and Hyperspace, which usually lie within a few light-hours of a star. Ships with Warshawski sails can use them to move instantaneously between two fixed points, making them economically and strategically valuable. The Manticore Wormhole Junction has a whopping seven wormholes in close proximity, and the shipping tariffs it brings in are a major contributor to the SKM's affluence. Of note is that wormholes have a mass limit, and will temporarily destabilize after a transit for a period exponentially proportional to the transit massnote . This means that attempting to use a wormhole to invade a star system is a risky proposal: the maximum tonnage of the invading fleet is limited, and will destabilize the wormhole for so long as to preclude any possibility of reinforcement or retreat.
  • Outlaw Town: Erewhon is a planet founded by an alliance of Mafia families hoping to set up shop outside the reach of any existing law enforcement agency and a place to launder their money (hence "Maytag" as the capital city, for example). Over the centuries, they evolved into a planet that was still run by those families, and still carried with it many of the old traditions, but which also had some of the strictest law enforcement in the galaxy.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: From "Nightfall" in Changer of Worlds. Two characters are preparing evidence so that, if it becomes necessary to remove Esther McQueen, they'll have backup. They spend some considerable time talking about the necessity of hiding this action, since they need McQueen and will for some time yet. The final comment of the conversation (approximately, "We'll need this when we pull the trigger on McQueen") is overheard and passed to McQueen — where it triggers a full revolt. McQueen repeatedly complains that if she'd been given even six more weeks she would really have been ready. The revolt fails, McQueen dies, in the aftermath the government falls — and the entire premise of the first 8-9 books in the series (good monarchy against evil socialist republic) is fundamentally altered. The series is up to 12 books now.
  • Out of Focus: Honor herself past Mission of Honor as she is now the strategic overview due to her high rank, and not able to get into the fights she used to be able to do.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Mesan Alignment. Until the protagonists started being a spanner in their long term plans and forcing them to act slightly more openly to get things back on track, nobody even suspected their existence. And the protagonists were still lucky that their initial investigation hit jackpot the way it did. Nevertheless, they have plans on plans on backup plans stretching centuries, claws sunk into places no one expects and their technology breaks the rules the rest of the galaxy has comfortably become used to.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: There's plenty of room for these within the rules of space combat, particularly as war brings new technology and ideas into the mix. Honor has a reputation for inventive tactics, the most famous of which is likely her climactic battle in Echoes of Honor, where she uses reaction thrusters to sneak her fleet right into the heart of her enemy's formation. Though it relied on several (usually impossible) assumptions and a good bit of luck, it worked, and the result was possibly the shortest and most one-sided fleet engagement in history.

    P-Q 
  • Papa Wolf: Many Grayson men embody this trope. The rest believe they do.
  • Parrot Exposition: Weber seems to hold a low opinion of this trope. There are several examples throughout the series of characters chastizing themselves for reacting (or even thinking about reacting) to unexpected information by repeating back what was just heard.
  • Passed-Over Promotion: In On Basilisk Station, Lt. Commander McKeon, executive officer of the light cruiser Fearless, finds having the younger and more charismatic Honor Harrington appointed to the captain slot he wanted almost intolerable. It takes until he backs up Honor against Klaus Hauptmann's attempt at extortion for the situation to be resolved.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Happens all the time when officers converse with each other, particularly in On Basilisk Station. Everybody's trying to guess what everybody else really means, because military professionalism prevents them from coming out and saying it.
  • Permanent Elected Official: The Legislaturalist families of the early People's Republic are ostensibly elected to their positions, but the system is thoroughly rigged so that they can never lose.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: Played straight enough that you could use it as a navigation-aid for plotting hyperspace jumps with the aforementioned People's Republic of Haven. To the point where the entire nation pulled a seemingly collective Heel–Face Turn by the simple method of removing the "People's" bit from their namenote . It's pointed out repeatedly, by people on both sides, that the Republic of Haven is a completely different beast to the People's Republic of Haven, and several False Flag Operations manage to only temporarily convince anyone otherwise.
  • Pervy Patdown:
    • In Honor Among Enemies, the titular heroine is to be given a patdown by a pirate whose expression makes it obvious that he intends to cop a feel on her. She lets him know in no uncertain terms that doing so would be very ill-advised.
    • In In Enemy Hands, one of the prison's guardians tries to do this on a emaciated Honor. Honor's response prompts the guardian's female partner to drag the man's unconscious body out of there, and consider herself safely locked out of Honor's cell.
    • In Crown of Slaves, one of the Masadans that had captured the slave freighter Felicia gropes Berry Zilwicki (who they think is Princess Ruth) while searching her for weapons. Later, when Berry is to be moved into the "cargo" area, Cachat warns the Masadan given the task that if he molests her again, the Masadan will wind up very'painfully dead.
  • Planet of Hats:
    • Most of the various star nations have hats that correspond to Terran national identities, though they are usually not as pronounced as most Hat examples.
    • The Talbott Cluster is pretty much just an excuse for these. From New Montana (founded by worshippers of Montana who made it as close to the original state ("Planet of Stetson Hats"?) as possible) to Rembrandt (founded by art lovers). Erewhon (founded by gangsters with somewhat odd senses of humor) also qualifies.
  • Plasma Cannon: Comes in full size and carbine models, used by Manticorian infantry as anti-armor weapons. The Royal Manticorian Army mounts a 120mm version on tanks. Earlier books (and at least one short story taking place farther in the past) feature the Plasma Torpedo, an immensely powerful starship weapon that is capable of entirely coring through a Battlecruiser... but is entirely useless against even the weakest sidewall and is very limited in range, being used almost exclusively to finish an enemy off at close range. Ironically, both times we see one used in combat, it is by a Light Cruiser against a significantly more powerful enemy ship that let it get too close.
  • Playing Drunk: Kevin Usher put on a charade as a hopeless (and constant) drunk in order to avoid suspicion while under the authority of the Committee of Publc Safety.
    "Lesson number — what is it, now? — eight, I think. A reputation for being a drunk can keep you out of as much trouble as being one gets you into." [Usher] padded to his couch and sunk into it. "I've got a high capacity for alcohol, but I don't drink anywhere near as much as people think."
  • Plucky Middie:
    • Honor herself in the prequel story Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington.
    • Helen Zilwicki, Paulo d'Arezzo, Ragnhild Pavletic, Leo Stottmeister, and Aikawa Kagiyama in The Shadow of Saganami.
    • Abigail Hearns in "The Service of the Sword".
    • Subverted by Claire Bedlam LeCroix, one of the first female officers in Grayson service. She was appointed by Steadholder Burdette to attend the Manticoran naval academy at Saganami Island, with the intent to demonstrate that Grayson women were not fit to serve in combat, but was determined to succeed because it was the only chance her family had at anything other than being at the very bottom of the social heap. That said, she has thus far proven to be a mediocre combat officer at best, with her true calling being in the maintenance and repair of shipboard equipment and systems.
  • The Political Officer: The "Citizen Commissioners" placed on PRH warships to watch officers. Since they tend to be the only civilians on navy ships, they serve as the explanation for why officers are explaining the rudiments of space combat.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Damn near all of them. The easiest way to pick an Honor Harrington villain out of a crowd is to wait for them to deride the titular character's sex or her origins as a commoner, sometimes both at once. One almost starts to wonder if Weber came up with Grayson and Masada just so he would always have a place to pick out aristocratic mysogynists if he needed them. Averted, however, by most of the Moderate Graysons, who still have the centuries-old gut instinct to protect women and keep them out of combat at all costs, but manage to ignore it well enough to work with the female officers of the RMN. Letting their own daughters join the service, however, is much harder, even for the most progressive.
  • Poor Communication Kills: It's a running theme of the series, as it has often been for earth's naval combat as well.
    • In In Enemy Hands, Honor's heightened empathic sensitivity alerts her that White Haven has suddenly fallen in love with her. She cannot deal with this, so she runs off to the navy again and promptly gets captured and then "executed", leaving White Haven to go through the rest of that book and Echoes of Honor feeling guiltily certain that he somehow scared her off to her death. They then spend part of Ashes of Victory and almost all of War of Honor continuing not to communicate with each other, and are saved from it at the end of War of Honor only by Samantha having a heart-to-heart with Hamish's current wife.
    • In Ashes of Victory/"Nightfall" a snatch of conversation between Oscar St. Just and Esther McQueen's minder Erasmus Fontein, heard out of context by an informant, causes Esther McQueen to kick off her coup attempt before she is fully prepared—needlessly, as it turned out, as Oscar St. Just was only asking Fontein to fabricate evidence against McQueen, not to move against her as the informant assumed. In the end, this case of poor communication ends up killing 1.3 million people.
    • In War of Honor, a recursive example: Haven Secretary of State Arnold Giancola is fooled by President Eloise Pritchart's extremely-controlled facade into misjudging the amount of anger hiding beneath it. (He forgot that not only was she one of the only surviving members of a more doctrinaire pre-Committee revolutionary group, she was also one of few People's Commissioners good enough at hiding what she really felt to survive the Committee's reign of terror while being in a romantic relationship with the admiral she was supposed to ride herd on.) As a result, when he changes key points in diplomatic communiques to ratchet up tensions between Haven and Manticore so that he then can make himself look good by smoothing the tensions away, Giancola inadvertently goes too far and provokes Pritchart to announce a return to war.
  • P.O.W. Camp: Both Manticore and Haven have them. Manticore, of course, makes sure to treat its prisoners well at all times, but the PRH's State Sec was notorious for treating its prisoners horribly — captured Manticoran personnel note universally that they were much better treated by the Navy (assuming the Navy officers in question could keep State Sec off their backs) than by State Sec itself. One major sign of the drastic differences between the People's Republic and the restored Republic is that the latter treats its prisoners as well as Manticore treats theirs.
  • Powered Armor: Quite a few examples, mostly among Space Marines.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Honor never swears, so you know she is angry when she dares to say "hell". This is commented on within the series, as several officers who had served with her for years sit up and take notice when they hear her swear for the first time, especially when she eventually brings out the more dramatic curses.
    • Captain Alfredo Yu, in The Honor of the Queen, vents his frustrations in a profanity-laden rant to his XO after spending the first part of the book being scrupulously polite around Sword Simmons.
    • Admiral Allen Higgins in War of Honor uses it to make his feelings abundantly clear during a discussion with his chief of staff.
      "No more of my people are going to be killed in a battle we can't win anyway."
      "But, Sir, if you just abandon the yards, the Admiralty will—"
      "Fuck the Admiralty!"
    • Queen Elizabeth, though legendary for the 'Winton Temper,' almost always retains an air of civility and control, even when in the throes of almost violent anger. This lends more credence to her emphasis when she finally decides to swear.
      "I suppose the only thing I'm really surprised about is who seems to have arranged this entire—what's that charming military phrase? Oh, yes. This entire cluster fuck."
    • Fleet Admiral Massimo Filareta, the very first time we see him lose his temper. With the same line, he is Killed Mid-Sentence.
    • Omusupe Quartermain, when venting about the navy and how they would see sacking Rajampet for his role in Operation Raging Justice, comments that of course they would think that, otherwise the navy would have to acknowledge they couldn't organize an orgy in a whorehouse. Her fellow Mandarins wince while the narration notes that Omusupe rarely speaks in such terms.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Good-bye, Citizen Chairman."
  • President Corrupt: Baron High Ridge, during War of Honor.
  • Privateer: Mentioned occasionally. The majority of them seem to be outright pirates using a Letter of Marque as a shield to protect themselves if captured but more respectable ones turn up occasionally.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Rob Pierre notes, in the opening to In Enemy Hands, that he much preferred when he simply was paranoid. Now that he actually has people after him he would give anything to go back to seeing shadows.
    • A Peep officer in Echoes of Honor deduces that the prison planet of Hades has suffered a prisoner revolt when a courier's mail lacks the warden's latest correspondence chess move. He is absolutely correct.
      "Sir, you realize what you're saying here?" Therret said very carefully. "You're telling me, on the basis of a chess move that wasn't sent, that the inmates of the most escape-proof prison in the history of mankind have somehow overpowered their guards and taken possession of the planet."
      "I know it sounds crazy," Chernock admitted. "But I also know it must have happened."
    • Bodyguards, most notably Honor's armsmen, are always paranoid and frequently right. In Field of Dishonor, Andrew LaFollet is uncomfortable when she changes her plans and decides to go to a restaurant, though he does not really think anything will happen. Halfway through the meal, half a dozen thugs come through the door and start shooting.
    • In Storm From The Shadows, a Manticoran commodore on a diplomatic mission makes sure to set up a hidden surveillance network as he enters the target system. It's not enough to save him or the three destroyers of his division, but it does ensure that the Manticoran response to the surprise attack that kills him is rapid, overwhelming and very precisely targeted.
    • Played straight and then averted in the same book by Oscar Saint-Just the man had a nuclear device only he had the detonator to placed in the basement of the Octagon just in case the military got any funny ideas (which they do) and then gets taken out when Thomas Theisman stumbles across Esther McQueen's coup plan that didn't work the first time simply because Oscar Saint-Just never thought the military would try the same thing twice.
  • Proportional Aging: Prolong triples the human lifespan, but true to its name also prolongs every stage of human development. Several characters who have received prolong are Older Than They Look, with individuals in their twenties looking as potentially young as late preteens. It is later mentioned that to avoid the squick, prolong often includes the artificial aging treatments, so that during the early stages the biological age would roughly match the real one. It's also been pointed out that one's apparent age is more than skin deep: it's also in the way a person talks, the way they act, the way they carry themselves and, in some cases, the wear-and-tear of their lifestyle.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The "Amazons" in Crown of Slaves, and to a lesser extent scrags in general. Their social structure has more in common with pack predators than with baseline humanity, they are all extremely capable warriors (although occasionally a bit too convinced of their own superiority) and they only respect a leader who can beat them in a fight.
  • Proxy War: Attempted several times by Haven in the lead-up to the first war.
    • In On Basilisk Station Havenite intelligence agents start arming the Iron Age Starfish Alien natives of Basilisk so that they'll attack the offworlder enclaves, thereby making it look like Manticore cannot govern the system properly and make their invasion of the Medusa system and slaughter of the native uprising seem like a rescue. All this to allow a two-pronged invasion of the Manticore system. Unfortunately their pet shaman attacks early, screwing up the plan and alerting Honor to the impending invasion.
    • The Second Grayson-Masadan War in The Honor of the Queen. Manticore and Haven are both trying to build alliances for the coming war. Manticore gets to Grayson first and gives them technical upgrades, while Haven has to settle for its Ax-Crazy sister planet Masada and gives them a modern battlecruiser and destroyer, which Masada uses in an attempted invasion of Grayson. The scheme backfires for Haven: the Masadans are so crazy they seize control of the battlecruiser from the Havenite military advisors and try to nuke Grayson cities. Honor destroys the ship and Manticore occupies Masada between books.
    • In The Short Victorious War Haven is mentioned to be backing the Zanzibar Liberation Front against the Manticore-allied Caliph of Zanzibar, mostly to use them as cover for raids on Manticoran convoys ahead of full-scale war.
    • The short story Deck Load Strike from the Worlds of Honor anthology is another example: On the backwater but potentially strategically important planet Silvestria, two fairly low-tech nations are fighting a vicious war, one backed by Manticore, another by Haven. It doesn't end well for anybody involved.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Oddly for a franchise that features numerous cosmopolitan worlds whose sexual mores are very "liberal" when compared to the present-day, the only confirmed homosexual character (at least in the main series books) was an unpleasant person. However, there is no implication that her orientation and her personality were in any way related, as her heterosexual compatriots were just as bad; nor does she get more than four lines of dialogue or virtually any character development. Even her lesbianism is only mentioned through exposition. She was one of the characters that intended to jump ship in Silesia using a small explosive device as a distraction.
  • Pun-Based Title: Almost every book with "Honor" in the title. (The Honor of the Queen, Honor Among Enemies, etc.)
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Mesa's assassination nanotech.
  • Purple Prose:
    • While Weber is fairly good writing military situations, he is arguably much, much less proficient at casual dialogue. For example, in Storm from the Shadows we meet a character on the planet Montana; in Planet of Hats terms, the planet wears a cowboy hat. For all the character's principle-driven, plain-spoken ways he still refers to a "plebiscite" and the "oligarchs" behind it the same as everyone else.
    • In general, characters who are angry will actually become more verbose, not less, regardless of educational level. One common example is describing someone with three adjectives or phrases, such as "stiff-necked, obstinate, mule-headed idiot!" or suchlike. Even the Queen, who has the fiercest temper in the entire series, is prone to this.
    • These are dialed way down in books written or co-written by other authors.
    • David Weber orders a pizza.
  • Putting on the Reich: Havenite State Sec. It is no surprise their initials are SS. David Weber can, in fact, be subtle when he chooses — but in this case, he did not choose to be.
  • Quote-to-Quote Combat: In Flag in Exile a reactionary Grayson minister, Brother Marchant, crashes a party thrown by Honor at her Steading and starts demanding that she repent for her sins, yadda yadda, including Quote Mining the Grayson scripture The Book of the New Way. Honor, having studied Grayson history and scriptures in order to better govern her fief, matches Marchant line for line, including at one point supplying the second half of a verse Marchant quote mined. The situation gets out of hand when Marchant suggests that her slain lover Captain Paul Tankersley was killed to punish her for perfidy, at which point Honor's bodyguards have to rescue Marchant to keep her citizens from lynching him.

    R 
  • Rank Up: Happens regularly, as the stories take place over a long time period in which a lot of people die to free up slots for the surviving cast members to get promoted into. The most notable example is Honor, who starts the series as a mere Commander (As a middie if you count the short stories), and is currently one of the top twenty (Possibly top ten, and slots 1-8 are reserved for the Space Lords, the administrative heads of the various Navy Bureaus) ranked officers in the Manticoran Navy and the second ranked officer in the Grayson Navy. At the end of Uncompromising Honor, she's offered a promotion to First Space Lord (The #1 slot) and turns it down on the grounds that after 43 years of service and three interstellar wars, she needs a long vacation.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Q-ship crew Honor gets stuck with in Honor Among Enemies.
  • The Rashomon: Latest novels (until the Mission of Honor started the clock again), which basically just go back and forth in the time period around the Battle Of Manticore. The earliest of them (in the internal chronology, that is), Crown of Slaves, is set in 1919 p.d., while Torch of Freedom ends in the spring of 1922, and At All Costs and Mission of Honor overlap both of these books. Weber and Flint needed to introduce a lot of people and concepts in their greatly expanded universe, true, but that's no less frustrating to the reader, who just gets to read about the same events again and again. Especially given the Weber's habit to lapse into chapter-long infodumps and As You Knows.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • Pavel Young attempted to rape Honor during their time at Saganami Island, starting their rivalry (or, rather, pathological mutual hatred) that would last for decades.
    • In The Honor of the Queen the crew of a captured Manticoran ship are beaten, tortured, gangraped, and killed by Masadan fanatics. Only 2 of 26 women survived the experience.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil:
    • In The Honor of the Queen, when Honor Harrington discovers what the Masadans had done to the crew of the captured Manticoran destroyer, she loses it and nearly commits what would have been a career-ending murder of the Masadan captain. She has to be physically restrained by her own subordinates to get back under self-control. At least one senior officer muses that they'd have acted exactly the same if they'd been in her shoes.
    • In Honor Among Enemies, the brutal rape and murder of a crew of Manticoran merchantmen leads Havenite Citizen Captain Warner Caslet to go off-mission to hunt down and bring the pirates responsible to fatal justice. Note that Caslet's orders would have required him to attack that same merchant ship himself if not for the pirates.
  • Reactionless Drive: A spaceship's impellers work by gravity manipulation. There's no reaction mass getting thrown out the back of the ship as exhaust.
  • Reality Ensues: In On Basilisk Station the Bronze Age-tech Medusans manage to brutally kill some Manticorans by swarming them. Then, the Manties bring out the heavy weapons and air support. The aliens die. And die. And die some more.
  • Really Gets Around: Honor gets accused of this by the press when they discover she has had her baby "tubed" (an artificial gestation environment, commonly used by military women). They ask of her doctor if Earl White Haven is the father (true), but also on the candidate list are Prince Michael (who's married), Baron Grantville (Earl White Haven's brother), and Protector Benjamin (who's married twice over). This has the effect of mashing the Berserk Button flat for both the doctor (who demands that the privacy of patients be maintained) and the Graysons (who consider Honor a planetary hero). Ironically, Honor was a Celibate Hero until Paul Tankersley, and has only been with four men in her life, that the reader knows of — only three of them consensual.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Honor Harrington appears to be in her early twenties, too young to be an admiral, but this is the result of life-extending treatments (prolong). As of this writing, the character is over sixty. The drawback is that she is literally 20 years old from a physical standpoint, so her hormones can sometimes make her act that age. 90% of the characters fall into this category, though there are a few exceptions in those too old to get prolong.
  • Realpolitik: The dominant foreign policy of the Andermani Empire. Another way in which they resemble Prussia.
  • Reassignment Backfire:
    • The entire plot of the first novel is Honor Harrington's 'exile' to Basilisk Station.
    • In War of Honor, her superiors drop the Villain Ball long enough to get a horrible sinking feeling about dumping her into the rapidly deteriorating political situation at Sidemore Station. Ultimately they decide they actually need her there badly enough to risk yet another offscreen backfire. Which, naturally, happens.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • This happens to Honor quite a lot (see Reassignment Backfire above):
      • In On Basilisk Station, she and her crew are assigned to Basilisk Station, the dumping ground where incompetent captains, politically disappointing crews and general screw-ups are sent.
      • At the end of Field of Dishonor, Honor is benched on half-pay as punishment for embarrassing the parties in political power in Manticore.
      • In Honor Among Enemies, Honor is given a dangerous, unglamorous assignment patrolling a pirate-ridden sector of space in extremely fragile "Q-ships" (merchant ships refitted for combat). This is done at the behest of two of her political enemies, who see it as a Xanatos Gambit — she'll either get rid of pirates or get killed, and either way, they win.
    • Pavel Young may be too politically connected to bench, but he spends much of his career in the least important assignments the Navy can find.
    • John Ringo's "A Ship Named Francis" exemplifies this trope, not surprising given that the anime it shouts out does as well. It's explicitly lampshaded that the Francis Mueller is where the Grayson Space Navy sends the people who are varying kinds of screw-ups, but not so much as to justify the administrative expenses of tossing them out of the service.
    • Lt. Maitland "Matt" Askew comes to suspect that the Manties may be a great deal tougher than the 'neobarbarians' the Solarian Navy is used to beating up on. For which he's accused of defeatism, relieved from his position as tactical officer, and transferred to public affairs — on another ship. The last means that he's the only member of his first ship's company to survive the engagement with the Manties.
  • Recorded Spliced Conversation: In Crown of Slaves, the protagonists send a fake message from a Masadan terrorist (dead at the time) by splicing audio recordings of his voice together.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: In the first book, Honor finds herself responsible for customs duty while having no trained customs personnel on her ship. So she has the bosun pick out some of her crew who are...intimately familiar with how to get contraband to their shipmates, most notably missile tech Horace Harkness. It works out quite well.
  • Recycled INSPACE:
    • Honor Harrington starts as a remake of Horatio Hornblower in space, Manticore being England and Haven being France, complete with Rob S. Pierre running the Committee of Public Safety. Over time, this shifts as State Security gets more focus in-story as a more outright-fascist protector of the Revolution, up to and including Putting On The Committee For Public Safety. By Storm From Shadows the parallels end, in part because a conflict between The Solarian League and Manticore does not have a historical parallel, and because the Hornblower-analogue survived her Trafalgar, against authorial expectations. C.S. Forester's Flying Colours, in which Hornblower escapes France with twenty prisoners and a tiny cutter, is basically taken Up to Eleven when Honor breaks out of a prison planet with a fleet and half a million prisoners.
    • HMS Fearless (Honor's command in the first book), with its rearmament, is a carronade frigate (like HMS Glatton or HMS Rainbow) IN SPACE!
    • Oyster Bay is Pearl Harbor In Space, while the Mesan reaction in Cauldron of Ghosts is pretty much the Warsaw Ghetto Revolt In Space, Torch is the Haitian revolution In Space, and the Maya sector is preparing for the Sepoy Revolt In Space.
    • In fact many battles or tech have their counter parts in the history of wet navies, with David Weber being a naval historian. Elements of the Battle of Manticore are taken from the Battle off Samar, with Apollo being the equivalent of radar guided gunnery according to David Weber.
  • Recursive Ammo: Missiles that shoot lasers. Pure awesomeness, though not without theoretical grounding; see Project Excalibur.
  • Recycled Premise: The Best Laid Plans bears a very similar presence to the earlier A Beautiful Friendship, being as both stories are about a young Harrington girl sneaking off into the Sphynxian woods without her parents' informed consent, and ending up forging a powerful bond with a Treecat, save for some key character differences, demonstrating some important ways that Stephanie and Honor were not Generation Xerox copies. Honor was far more methodical and prepared than Stephanie was, specifically decided to hike due to the danger of hang-gliding in poor weather, came to the rescue of a treecat rather than vice versa, and was able to resolve the situation with her own resources handily rather than requiring rescue.
  • Red Baron:
    • Honor is almost invariably called The Salamander by the newsies (for her habit of always being where the fire is hottest), a nickname that she just barely tolerates.
    • Also many other canon nicknames, like The Crusher for Saganami Island Advanced Tactial Course or Nasty Kitty for HMS Hexapuma. Also, heaven help you if you call the HMS Minotaur "Minnie" around her XO or Captain.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In the Torch of Freedom, when Jack McBryde understood that he would not be able to get away with the others after his Heel–Face Turn, he opted to stay behind and create a hell of a diversion (in the 50 kiloton range, that is) to buy the heroes a chance.
    • A variant in The Shadow of Saganami to HMS Warlock. Having had a stain on the ship's honor ever since being commanded by Pavel Young in the Battle of Hancock, her current Captain, Ito Anders, vows to redeem her in the coming Battle of Monica. He succeeds, even if he himself dies and the Ship itself is too damaged to return to service. But afterward, the ship's name is added to the List of Honour, meaning that there will always be an HMS Warlock in the RMN.
  • Red Herring:
    • In The Short Victorious War Pavel Young and Commander Houseman, both with extremely strong personal dislike for Honor, meet and begin to conspire against her. Mention is made of them attempting to turn Commodore Van Slyke, their immediate superior, against Honor, but before anything can come of that the entire situation is upset by the outbreak of war with Haven, especially when both Houseman and Van Slyke are killed when their Heavy Cruiser is destroyed in combat. Young and Houseman's efforts ultimately have no impact on either the personal, political or military events of the book.
    • In Honor Among Enemies, the resident bully aboard Wayfarer sets up an elaborate plan to jump ship and become a Space Pirate, which included rigging one of the ship's impeller nodes to explode (as a distraction). However, his co-conspirators crack under interrogation and reveal the existence of the sabotage, allowing the crew to make the impeller node safe again long before it would have gone off.
      • In the same book, one of the ratingsnote  discovers a clever way to reboot a disabled gravity sensor and Honor orders the trick "polished up in case we need it". However, the circumstance where that trick would be needed never comes up again.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Victor Cachat (Havenite State Security, reformed to Foreign Intelligence Service) and Anton Zilwicki (RMN as first construction, then Intelligence). Played with in that Cachat is a genius at improvisation, but almost coldly emotionless while Zilwicki is the obsessive planner and plotter (using Wild Mass Guessing to spin possible scenerios and planning for every contingency), but much more emotional.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • In On Basilisk Station, Honor Harrington disables a ship by charging through its drive safety radius in order to blow out its impeller ring. When the captain of said ship coms her to complain, she apologizes, claiming: "I'm afraid I wasn't watching where I was going."
    • President Eloise Pritchart is sufficiently annoyed by Mesan scheming to turn up in Manticoran space, and propose an impromptu summit conference with Queen Elizabeth, saying simply, "I think we need to talk." And end by proposing — not just a peace settlement — but a military alliance against the Solarians and Mesans. And it worked. Even Queen Elizabeth is both impressed and astounded.
    • In Field of Dishonor, after Paul Tankersly is murdered by Pavel Young by proxy, Tomas Ramirez and Alistair McKeon team up, acting on information from Admiral Sarnow, go after Denver Summervale who was hired to engineer a duel to find out who hired him. They set up a training exercise on Gryphon which just so happens to be where he's hiding and happen to stumble across his manor and take out everyone inside as the result of a navigation error and terrible misunderstanding with the manor residents.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?:
    • At the end of Flag in Exile, Honor's political enemy mentally recaps all the awesome things she has done, and wonders how she survived. The capper on it is that he is forced to lead a push to honor Honor, and all the things he mentions are all in that one book.
    • In the short story "The Service of the Sword", Captain Michael Oversteegen, commanding a lone heavy cruiser, wins a battle against four-on-one odds (as in, he destroyed four heavy cruisers with his one ship) with Solarian League cruisers in the star system Tiberian. From that moment on, "Tiberian" becomes a byword for "Do not fuck with Michael Oversteegen."
  • Renegade Splinter Faction:
    • The Faithful of the Church of Humanity Unchained (which eventually settled Masada) to Grayson's Church of Humanity Unchained.
    • Mesa to Beowulf, when Mesa founder Leonard Detweiler rejected Beowulf's medical ethics codes regarding human genetic engineering.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated:
    • Honor herself when she's "executed" on TV in Haven (faked video feed after she had apparently been killed trying to escape). Readers know perfectly well that she survived, as we see her doing it, but her star nations? Not so much.
    • Michelle Henke, whose ship is seen exploding mid-way through At All Costs at the Battle of Solon, only for us to learn later that she just barely escaped. Storm from the Shadows shows us how.
    • Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki, believed dead after an explosion on Mesa. (As with Honor, readers know they survived, but the rest of the galaxy doesn't, thanks to a nonfunctional hyperdrive on their transport home.) Their reappearance has, to put it mildly, massive repercussions on the course of events thereafter.
    • Hamish Alexander, along with Jacques Benton-Ramirez y Chou, their treecats and Hamish' bodyguard, survive the Beowulf Massacre by pure chance.
  • Retcon: The Great Resizing, a mass revising of the ship sizes presented in the Honorverse which became necessary because Writers Cannot Do Math.
  • Revenge Myopia: Solarian Fleet Admiral Rajani Rajampet states, in no uncertain terms that he does not care how justified the Manticorans believed they were in killing Admiral Josef Byng, and goes on to say he doesn't care how justified they actually were. His biggest concern is the blow to the Solarian League Navy's prestige their actions have caused and the precedents it could set.
    • When Manticore comes calling to Mesa's door, Albrecht Detweiler kills himself and his wife with a nuke - which also triggers multiple nukes across Mesa - so Manticore cannot interrogate him and find what he knows. What do their children do? Organize the destruction of Beowulf's three main space habitats, totaling 43 million people - all because their father killed himself.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Straight up by the Havenites, since it is based on the French Revolution; the revolution is justified and its leader well-intentioned, but it quickly turns into a bloody tyranny. When the military overthrows that regime they are treated a lot more sympathetically, not least because the previous regime's economic policies were beginning to work.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Eloise Pritchart may have been a member of the bloody Citizens' Rights Union — the same organization that produced Cordelia Ransom — but, critically, she was part of the April Tribunal, a cell of the CRU which went out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. The Committee of Public Safety co-opted her as a People's Commissioner to keep her from becoming a rival and she played the part perfectly, but a part is exactly what it is; she jumps on board with the Theisman Coup and ends up President of the restored Republic.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons:
    • In At All Costs, when President Pritchart is seeking a face-to-face summit with Queen Elizabeth III of Manticore in order to negotiate a peace treaty, Theisman recommends that she specifically request that Honor Harrington be present for several reasons, including that "all reports indicate she has a rather uncanny ability to tell when people are lying to her." When Mike Henke delivers the summit proposal on Pritchart's behalf, however, Honor assumes that the Living Lie Detector being invited is the treecats Ariel and Nimitz.
    • Inverted with Pritchart's conclusion that Arnold Giancola was working with Manpower to reignite the Haven-Manticore war. He was actually doing it out of self-interest and miscalculated how far he could push things. The practical significance of this distinction is minimal since the important point (Manpower's involvement) is still true, but by Detweiler's own admission it is the most logical conclusion based on the evidence Pritchart had, making her Wrong for the Right Reasons.
  • Rival Science Teams: Admiral Sonja Hemphill's BuWeaps vs. Admiral Shannon Foraker's Bolthole in the Second Manticoran-Havenite War. After the peace treaty was signed and the Grand Alliance was formed, the two were sent off to team up. Cue salivating readers.
  • Rock Beats Laser:
    • When dealing with Andre Warnecke in Honor Among Enemies, Honor and her armsmen need to board a shuttle with the madman in question and several of his goons without any weapons, which is confirmed with a scanner that detects power sources. However, the M1911 pistol, newly built but to the exact specifications of modern day Real Life Earth, that she sneaks aboard doesn't use a power source (unlike pulsers in the current setting), so it goes undetected in its hiding place until she brings it out and blasts Warnecke's henchmen.
    • Unable to overcome Manticoran technical advantages in LAC combat, in War of Honor the Republicans develop the "triple ripple" tactic, which uses loads of the dirtiest thermonuclear warhead missiles (considered to be just about obsolete in modern space combat) they have to overload Mantie sensors with humongous EMP bursts, blinding them so that Republican LACs can get in licks while their opponents aren't able to target anything.
      It isn't pretty, and it isn't elegant, but it is something more important than either of those things — it works. —V. Adm. Shannon Foraker
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: There seems to be too much of a reliance on automated spell-checking without enough proofreading, leading to errors like "commander" and "commodore" being confused. Still, it is not a serious issue and stems from David Weber's hands being so crippled (see here) that the entire series is transcribed by software with some questionable ability.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Just about anywhere where royalty is involved. Manticore, Grayson, Andermani, Torch, etc. Corrupt and unscrupulous they may have been, but the Legislaturists were very nearly the only people in the old PRH that actually did anything.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The Andermani family, which has had more than its share of rulers with personality quirks, is almost the joke dynasty of the Honorverse. The founder of the dynasty, Gustav Anderman, believed himself to be the reincarnation of Frederick the Great of Prussia and dressed in period dress, and one of his descendants attempted to make a potted plant a government minister. Another had herself legally declared a man in order to comply with the dictate that the ruler must be male. However, despite their personal foibles almost every member of the dynasty (except the afore-mentioned plant guy) has also been a competent ruler who has steadily expanded the boundaries of the Anderman Empire for centuries. Their subjects willingly put up with their faults because of the other skills that they bring to the table.
  • Running Gag:
    • Ruth Winton is a brilliant analyst with a lot of political knowledge, but not terribly familiar with history, hence she confidently explains historical references as references to minor contemporary political figures with the same names. You'd think she'd figure out that modern politicos aren't who they're quoting after the third or fourth time.
    • The explanation of, and the explainee's reaction to, the precise manner in which the Tepes met its fate.
    • In Ashes of Victory, the continual "oopses" when mentioning the Medusa-née-Harrington-née-Medusa starship class.
    • Alice Truman's tendency to surround herself with male officers as blond, blue-eyed and gorgeous as herself.
    • The continual Manticoran confusion over a) what, exactly, baseball is and b) why the Graysons don't just round up to the nearest meter in their park dimensions. The Graysons repeatedly and patiently explain that a) it's a sport and b) because it's baseball.
    • For a time, there was one regarding the Grayson fashion sense appearing to be several centuries behind that of the Manticorans. In particular, the Grayson fashion of wearing neckties.
  • Rule 34: Hinted at in universe. The reader is informed that treecats are not interested in human sexuality, but Havenite tabloids published stories about relations between Queen Elizabeth III and her treecat, among other lurid tales.

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