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Literature / Artemis Fowl

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I believe it's time to let our diminutive friends know exactly who they're dealing with.

"I am not concerned with us all, just myself. And believe me, I shall be perfectly fine. Now, sit, please."
Artemis Fowl II

A series of middle grade novels written by Eoin Colfer.

Originally, the tale of an Irish pubescent evil genius and his efforts to acquire money and power by exploiting the secret underground world of fairies using both magic and advanced super-technology. In later books in the series, he becomes a more benevolent fellow, working cooperatively with the fairies to curtail human and fairy mischief. The series takes cues from suspense, action, "heist" crime films, and James Bond-Esque spy movies and transplants them into a modern fantasy setting.

The series contains eight novels, the final one having been released on July 10th, 2012.

  1. Artemis Fowl (2001)
  2. Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident (2002)
  3. Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code (2003)
  4. Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception (2005)
  5. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony (2006)note 
  6. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox (2008)
  7. Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (2010)
  8. Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian (2012)

Two short stories are available in the companion book The Artemis Fowl Files (2004):

  • "LEPrecon": A prequel about how Holly Short joined LEPrecon. Also included in some editions of The Time Paradox.
  • "The Seventh Dwarf": An interquel taking place between the first two novels. First published as a standalone book for World Book Day 2004.

Four graphic novels appear to form an alternate canon to the prose (there were other less obvious changes, but one is listed under Race Lift). A different graphic novel adaptation of the first book released in 2019 with an adaptation of The Arctic Incident two years later.

A film adaptation was announced in 2013 after being stuck in Development Hell. It was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and The Weinstein Company. Kenneth Branagh directed the film to be penned by Conor McPherson. In 2017, it was reported a date of August 9, 2019, had been set for the film, which was then changed to May 29, 2020. What ended up being a largely In Name Only adaptation was finally released digitally via Disney+ on 12 June 2020.

The titles were reissued in paperback in 2018 with new cover artwork as tie-ins for the upcoming film. All of these releases include a sneak preview of The Fowl Twins, a spinoff series about Artemis Fowl's younger brothers that released in November 2019. A second Fowl Twins title, Deny All Charges, was released in October 2020, folllowed by The Fowl Twins Get What They Deserve in October 2021.


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    The series as a whole 
  • Action Girl
    • Holly, the spunky, uber-fit police officer, is the action half of her Brains and Brawn duo with Artemis.
    • Juliet trains at the same elite bodyguard academy Butler passed through and eventually becomes a professional wrestler. Her trademark weapon is a Jade ring braided into the end of her ponytail, which she uses to knock people out.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: The Sozzled Parrot, a Bad Guy Bar in Florida where a certain Tombstone is a frequent customer.
  • Affably Evil: Artemis starts this way, being loath to actually kill anyone (fine with kidnapping, psychological warfare, and an occasional bomb or two, though), and very cordial with the negotiators, as well as keeping his words. Also while he is not exactly good, he does care for his allies and family.
    "... every inch the gracious host, albeit a sinister, evil, determined one."
  • Alien Fair Folk: Demons are descended from micro-organisms that once lived on the moon, and arrived on earth during the Triassic period. As a result of the moon being hit by a meteor, a chunk of the moon broke off and plummeted to earth, bringing the organisms that would eventually evolve into demons to earth, and creating the island of Hybras where they have lived ever since.
    • Other fantasy species, while not actually extraterrestrial, have strong sci-fi vibes, given their advanced technologies and stuff.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The People speak Gnommish and have the Gift of Tongues, meaning they can speak in any other language (including certain animal dialects), but the series is riddled with puns, etc. that only make sense in English. Particularly evident in the fairies' names—see Mulch justifying the inscription on Holly's buzz baton (which he stole) by saying his mother always called him Holly because of his "prickly personality."
  • All Trolls Are Different: In this case, ten-foot-tall gorilla-ish tunnel-dwelling monstrosities with venomous tusks. And dreadlocks.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: In the second book (plasma conduit) and again in the seventh (underwater).
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Goblins and trolls, although the latter is mostly portrayed as just animals, and the former is beyond stupid. They're directly stated to be as smart as rats.
    • All demons except the warlocks are primitive, bloodthirsty human-hating, but it's unclear whether this is innate or the result of generations of fear-conditioning by leaders like Leon Abbot. Book 6 suggests the latter, as they're mentioned to be re-integrating into fairy society. With some difficulty, admittedly, but nothing insurmountable.
  • Annoying Younger Siblings
    • As of book 6, Myles and Beckett Fowl.
    • Juliet to Butler in the first book, before she Took a Level in Badass.
    • Grub Kelp to his superior officer Trouble. Corporal Grub has a bad habit of forgetting that Trouble is "Captain" while they're on duty; even when he remembers, he seems to think that "Mummy says" trumps rank. At his best he needs cajoling; at his worst, he gives the impression that "Mummy says" is the reason such an utter liability is even allowed in the LEP, let alone on the squad of a captain in good standing like his brother.
  • Anti-Villain: Artemis Fowl, before he becomes the hero. Likewise with Butler, who's just doing his duty as a Dragon.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Pretty much any new technology introduced can be expected to be this. Exemplified by the Omni-Sensor, a super-scanner that can read any sort of data, from phone passwords to human vital signs.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "The Fowls had held on to Fowl Manor over the years, surviving war, civil unrest, and several tax audits."
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: Fairy taxonomy. All the fairy families apparently share a common descent from pterosaurs despite each family being physically very distinct. The first book mentions a goblin/elf hybrid, and goblins are reptilian, suggesting they're at most of the same genus. Even more baffling after we learn humans were the Ninth Family before losing their magic.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Juliet is described, at the age of fourteen, as being a third dan black belt in three arts. For someone to earn a single third dan black belt by the age of fourteen, even with a teacher like Butler, is pretty much impossible. Earning three of them in multiple styles? No way.
  • Artistic Licence – Physics:
    • The Softnose laser rifle is described as a mining tool re-purposed as a weapon. It can be powered by an AA battery, with enough energy for 6 shots.note  Stone is held together by molecular bonds that take some minimum amount of energy to break (otherwise it'd be unstable and fall apart on its own); no amount of Sufficiently Advanced Technology will ever let you split stone with less energy than that, unless it's also enough to let you completely bypass conservation of energy or is secretly drawing power from elsewhere.
    • The infamous Biobomb is described as firing blue light that only kills living beings while leaving material unaffected. Even if we assume it's not really the visible light that is the damaging agent, in Opal Deception Holly uses her helmet to shield the bomb, and when it proves insufficient she engages her wings and races against the rays! And succeeds! She'd have to be going faster than light to manage this.note 
    • Hydrosion shells are described as pistol ammunition containing a half-gallon of compressed water which can be used to extinguish fires (or as a field drink in a pinch). The only trouble: liquids don't compress, at least not without extreme gravity.
    • The fairy shield renders fairies invisible by making them vibrate really fast. In reality, it wouldn't work as described. Things look transparent when they're moving fast because they literally aren't there. More specifically, the eye has a "frame rate" of around 10 frames per second, so if a given bit of space is only occupied by an opaque object for less than a tenth of a second, it looks translucent. But for this to work as an invisibility technique, you can't just vibrate in place; you need to move your entire body enough that you aren't in any one place for more than, say, at most a twentieth of a second. (And even that would just make you about half as opaque as normal.) Simple math then requires that your "shielding" actually involves covering a solid twenty times the width of your body every second, which even for a small fairy means something like ten or twenty feet, every second. Which a) fills most of a small room, b) involves moving ridiculously fast as a passive effect considering how little magic it uses, and c) even if it did work, would send out incredibly obvious low-frequency sound waves just by definition of what you're doing to the air in the room. Your "invisibility cloak" would be completely defeated by the way that you leave everyone within earshot throwing up.
  • Author Appeal: The narrative often invokes the horrific effects of pollution and how Humans Are the Real Monsters for all their environmentally destructive ways—and also for killing animals for consumption, espousing the green lifestyle of the fairies. On a lighter note, it also seems to enjoy thorough descriptions of the various high-tech gadgets that appear.
  • Author Tract: If one were to think "Humans suck! Humans suck! Humans suck!" was the message Colfer was trying to send then it would be an understandable conclusion. Many sections describe the harm humans do to the environment, how primitive their technology is compared to that of fairies, and how devious many of them are. Granted, most of this comes from the fairies, who can be lacking in morality themselves, but it is a persistent theme.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Trouble Kelp invoked this when choosing his new first name at his LEP graduation ceremony. He's so awesome even Holly respects him.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Artemis's forte.
  • Back To The Early Instalment: Once time travel is introduced, Holly uses it to go back in time before Commander Root was murdered. She knows she can't save him, so instead uses the opportunity to thank him for everything he's done for her.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Sozzled Parrot, a dwarf bar in Florida.
  • Battle Butler: In its purest form, Butler, who is Artemis's bodyguard on top of being his butler/chauffeur/cook.
  • Beneath the Earth: Haven City, as well as the People's other various dwellings we never get to see.
  • Big Bad: Artemis Fowl in Artemis Fowl, Briar Cudgeon and Opal Koboi in The Arctic Incident, Jon Spiro in The Eternity Code, Leon Abbot in The Lost Colony, and Turnball Root in The Atlantis Complex. Opal Koboi is the series's Big Bad in every even-numbered book.
  • Big Brother Instinct
    • The only thing that can entice Butler to leave Artemis's side is threatening his little sister, Juliet.
    • Even though Grub is practically the poster boy for Annoying Younger Sibling, Trouble does protect him in life-threatening situations.
  • Big Eater: Mulch.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There is a gnome named Gotter Dammerung. Götterdämmerung is a German word that has been adopted into English to refer to something with a disastrous conclusion. Can also be a case of Punny Name. See also Meaningful Name below.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Dwarfs. Their pores open up into suction cups to leach moisture in times of dehydration. The species tunnels by rapidly eating and extorting soil. Their phlegm is luminescent and soporific and hardens in contact with air. Their hair can stitch wounds shut. And so on.
  • Bodyguard Legacy: The Butler family have been raising their children to become bodyguards to the Fowl family ever since Virgil Butler was contracted to be a bodyguard, servant, and cook to Lord Hugo de Fole in the middle ages. Some in-universe etymologists theorise that the word "butler" came to mean "chief servant" specifically because of the relationship between their families.
  • Boxed Crook: Mulch Diggums, frequently.
  • Braids of Action: Juliet Butler braids a Jade ring into the end of her ponytail. If she pirouettes, she can knock you out with it.
  • Brainwashed, Brainwashed and Crazy: The mesmer power is possessed by all fairies (and some humans).
  • Brains and Brawn
    • Artemis and Butler, each extremely gifted in his area.
    • Also Artemis and Holly. Holly is snarky and resourceful in her own right, but she constantly has to drag skinny genius Artemis out of scrapes he's simply not physically prepared for.
    • Myles and Beckett Fowl in Book 8, the first being a genius toddler on his way to following in the steps of his big brother, and the second being exceptionally strong and agile, but with an intelligence average for his age.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: The Fowls are guarded by the Butler family, of Caucasian (as in, from the Caucasus) descent.
  • Call a Human a "Meatbag": The People refer to humans as "Mudmen" or "Mud People." Holly regularly addresses Artemis as "Mudboy" in the first few books.
  • Canis Latinicus: The American editions turn the Fowl family motto into this. While technically correct (In Latin, word order is less important), the preferred rendering is "Aurum Potestas Est", rather than the American edition's "Aurum Est Potestas".
  • Career-Revealing Trait: Students of Madame Ko's Personal Protection Academy are given a blue diamond tattoo as part of their graduation, marking them as the finest bodyguards in the world.
  • Character Development: As the series progresses, Artemis develops from a ruthless criminal mastermind into something almost heroic. A major part of The Time Paradox is contrasting Artemis pre and post-development.
    • Particularly obvious from the epilogue of the first book, which states that Artemis healing his mother was nothing but Pragmatic Villainy to stop social services interfering in his schemes, that he would continue to exploit the fairies and be a thorn in their side for years after the Fowl Manor incident, and that Holly would become one of his greatest foes. Though the book itself says that the report is "94% factually accurate, 6% unavoidable extrapolation."
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The "and" replaced with a colon in some editions.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several.
    • The finger guns in Book 1.
    • Opal's smuggler's box and a jar of truffles in The Opal Deception.
    • Artemis's laser pointer, the seventh Kraken, and the toy monkey in The Time Paradox.
    • And in The Last Guardian, the Opal clone could count as this or Chekhov's Gunman—she is technically alive, after all.
      • From the same book, we have the eye that Artemis and Holly traded in Book Five. It ultimately leads to his (temporary) death due to a special spell designed to kill any fairies within its bounds. While Artemis is mostly human, the eye is just enough fairy to qualify him.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Mulch Diggums is introduced as part of the background noise of Haven in Book 1, then returns to play a vital role in the siege. He goes on to become part of the main cast.
    • Turnball Root, introduced in the short story "LEPrecon", resurfaces as the antagonist of Atlantis Complex.
    • That sprite who told Turnball how to re-acquire some magic? That's the first supernatural being who ever appeared on-screen: the fairy who loaned Artemis the copy of the Book way back at the beginning of the series. Given that she hadn't appeared since the first chapter of the first book, and this was the seventh, this probably is also a Brick Joke.
      • It's also to clean up Fridge Logic, because fairies are shown to lose their magic in certain situations, which this sprite may have been in, yet she retained enough magic power to heal some few human maladies.
    • In Book 4, Opal has herself cloned and leaves the clone in the Argon clinic during a jailbreak so no one will suspect she has gone missing. In Book 8 she gets her hands on a magical superweapon which becomes magically encoded to only respond to her DNA . . . guess who Artemis enlists to disarm the weapon.
  • The Chessmaster: Artemis (literally—one of his disguises as a chess prodigy ended up with a maneuver named after it) and Opal Koboi, separately. Spiro tries this, too, and gets pwned.
  • Da Chief: Julius Root. Then he gets gibbed. Ark Sool takes the position afterward, but once he reveals his true nature, he's replaced by Trouble Kelp.
  • Claustrophobia: Holly Short, brought on by her mother's death in a submarine.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano adapted the first four books along with The Supernaturalist. A second graphic adaptation of the first book by Michael Moreci for Disney Hyperion came out in 2019.
  • Conlang: The fairy language appears to be a Re Lex of English with Irish influences.
  • Cool Shades: They have a practical use in deflecting the fairy mesmer.
  • Counter-Productive Warning: When Mulch describes Opal Koboi as the kind of villain who "would set the world on fire just to watch it burn", Opal adds "Set World on Fire" to her list of evil schemes to be considered in the future.
  • Creepy Child: Artemis, especially in the first book. And the third, to the waitress. And again in the sixth.
    And Artemis wondered who would want to kill him. Every waitress and tailor on the continent, for a start.
  • Cultural Posturing: Various fairy characters are fond of reminding Artemis how advanced fairy technology is compared to the "Mudman" equivalent. Unless it's a technology that Artemis himself developed after meeting the fairies and reverse-engineering their gadgets. He even impressed Foaly by packing his 3D projection kit, which doubles as a user interface, into a briefcase.
  • Cultural Translation:
    • The US edition of The Time Paradox, has proudly Irish Artemis start referring to his mother as 'Mom' after making an emotional breakthrough. She gains the title 'Mum' in the UK edition, but even that may be a version of this trope, as she's referred to indirectly as the very Irish "Mam" in the first book.
    • The second book contains a line in which Artemis predicts he will be attracted to Holly when he reaches puberty that was removed from US editions. They needn't have bothered, since he was right, and you couldn't have hidden it in TTP without rewriting half the book.
  • Cute Bruiser: Juliet Butler, who's a small woman, but who is just as highly trained as her brother.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Artemis is such a mega genius that he could easily make many millions of dollars as an inventor—and, in fact, he does. The Arctic Incident says that he holds several patents and is designing a Dublin opera house. He does the whole crime thing to make billions. And, you know, for the challenge. He also writes romance novels for pocket change—because he figured out the formula for writing the perfect romance novel, naturally.
  • Cypher Language: The Gnommish, Centaurian, and Eternity Code that appear at the bottom of each page though Gnommish and the Eternity Code are said to be extremely hard to translate in-universe.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Parodied/discussed:
    Butler: Focus, Artemis, one dastardly crime at the time.
    Artemis Fowl: Dastardly, Butler? Dastardly? Honestly, we are not cartoon characters. I do not have a villainous laugh or an eyepatch.
  • Deadpan Snarker: So many. Artemis, Foaly, Holly, and Mulch (and occasionally Juliet, Butler, and Root) enjoy trading sarcastic statements—not to mention Minerva, Doodah, No1, Quan, and Foaly's nephew Mayne. Mulch lampshades this in the narration of the fifth book:
    Their little band of adventurers needed another smart-ass like they needed ten years of bad luck.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The fairies have a certain set of cultural ideals that even they usually don't live up to regarding the relationships between civilization and the natural environment. Mostly this is played for laughs, such as them finding the idea of indoor plumbing and waste sanitation disgusting. Sometimes it gets a little weird when they find things that aren't exactly heinous from a human perspective to be worthy of reprogramming or execution. And sometimes they come off as total monsters, such as when the fairy narrator is openly approving, verging on gleeful, of a mass failure of technology with a death toll likely running into the billions, some of them incredibly horrifying.
  • Demonic Possession
    • Opal's possession of Angeline Fowl seems to go beyond mere mesmer.
    • It's played even straighter in Last Guardian, when Juliet, Myles & Beckett, and various other life forms are possessed by the souls of the Berserkers.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Artemis sees himself as such, especially in book one.
  • Direct Line to the Author:
    • Some of the covers imply that Eoin Colfer is an In-Universe biographer writing about Artemis but this never comes up in the stories.
    • The first book was framed as an LEP psych report.
    • The final book ends with Holly regailing their adventures to an amnesiac Artemis in the exact same way the first book starts, implying she's been Narrator All Along.
  • The Ditz: Lilli Frond, the token blonde airhead in the LEP. She only got the job because she's descended from royalty.
  • Don't Tell Mama: Artemis really doesn't want his mother to know what's going on, even if she suspects he takes after his father.
  • Drives Like Crazy
    • Mulch Diggums, who describes his driving technique as "focus on the wheel and the pedals, and ignore everything else."
      Holly: What on earth were you doing, Mulch? The computer says you came all the way down here in first gear.
      Mulch: There are gears?
      • And in The Eternity Code, he scoffs at Juliet when she points out to him that he can't reach the brakes.
    • Doodah Day is even worse. He's an infamously skilled driver, possibly the best in the world, just very cavalier about it. He flies a pod, meant for riding magma flares, several miles over the French countryside. While sitting on Mulch's lap.
      Mulch: This close! We came this close to being incinerated. Twice! Give me your gun Holly, I'm going to shoot him.
  • Easter Egg: The "gnommish" coded messagesnote  running along the pages of some of the books and hidden in certain cover designs. They're a bit weird. They claim you're a long-lost fairy police officer, for one . . .
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: The dwarfs. It's how they tunnel.
  • Even Evil Has Standards
    • Even at his worst, Artemis won't stand for mistreatment of the environment. He also won't kill people. Lemurs, maybe, but not people. When Holly compares Artemis to the villain Jon Spiro, Artemis uses this fact as his defence.
    • Cudgeon isn't pleased by his foul-mouthed subordinates in the LEP. It just gets worse for him in the second book, when he's forced to work with goblins. They make his skin crawl.
  • Everyone Owns a Mac: Take a drink for every Apple reference in the books. Good examples are Artemis's iBook and the line in The Time Paradox about Foaly sucking information from an Apple Mac.
  • Evil Genius: One per book, two in book six. Artemis in 1, Opal Koboi in 2, Jon Spiro in 3, Opal Koboi again in 4, Minerva in 5, Young Artemis and Opal Koboi again in 6, Turnball Root in 7, Opal Koboi AGAIN in 8.
  • Evil Plan: Each book really. The first one is staged by Artemis himself when he's still a Villain Protagonist. "Capture a fairy and ransom it." Simple enough, right? Except he had to find one first, get their Book, translate it, and then find a fairy that was worth ransoming.
  • Exact Words: While in the household of a "mud man," a fairy is compelled to obey their orders. However, these orders must be phrased precisely: saying stuff like "You really shouldn't do such-and-such" won't stop them from doing it; you have to actually say "don't do it" or "you may not."
  • Eye Scream: The iris cam. Pure genius, but it sparks when changing the settings.
  • Fairy Companion: Played with: Artemis facetiously refers to Holly as "my fairy friend" at one point, but she is far too badass to fit the trope.
  • Fanservice: Both graphic novels released so far have found an excuse to showcase Holly in a somewhat . . . revealing light. The scenes in question were both in the original books, but weren't exactly presented in a "sexy" manner.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The "Blue Rinse" is a miniaturized neutron bomb utilizing Solonium-II, which has a half-life of mere seconds (presumably, they use magic to time-freeze it until it's needed). It's just powerful enough to kill everyone in Fowl Manor without breaking or causing neutron-induction in anything. Artemis gets around it by putting everyone Just One Second Out of Sync.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The fairies are prejudiced against humans. This is presented as partly justified in the sense that, to some extent, Humans Are the Real Monsters, but on the other hand it's obviously a product of the fairies' recognizably human limitations of perspective. The main reason cited is how unecological human actions are, but a favourite complaint is also how disgusting it is that human toilets are indoors.
    • Among the People themselves, goblins and dwarves are mortal enemies, and Arc Sool is fired from the LEP for writing in a journal that he wishes to eliminate the Eighth Family (the demons). Pixies and dwarves aren't so fond of each other either.
  • Fantastic Slur: The fairies almost exclusively refer to humans as "Mud Men".
  • Fantastic Vermin: Haven City is infested by swear toads, amphibians magically altered to constantly repeat obscenities. They began as a practical joke, got severely out of hand and now live in every damp corner of the city.
  • Fartillery: Never stand directly behind a dwarf. Trust us on this one.
  • Feedback Rule: Commander Root does this once (either by accident or on purpose) when he needs to get a crowd of people out of the way to get their attention.
  • Fiction 500: He's #3 on the 2011 list, behind only Carlisle Cullen and Scrooge McDuck.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Various characters find themselves growing closer through all their adventures and misadventures.
    • Artemis and Holly are the prime example, gradually going from enemies to allies-by-necessity to somewhat-trusted companions to actual friends to closer friends.
    • Artemis and Butler, at first, are just "the closest thing" each has to a friend. By the end of Book 2 and its travails, Artemis realizes that he truly respects Butler. And by Book 3, Artemis is willing to go through a great ordeal to save his life.
    • Holly and Mulch, of all people, become close enough for him to join her as her partner when she quits the LEP and becomes a private detective.
  • First Time Feeling:
    • In The Time Paradox, Holly restores Damon Kronski's sense of smell in a particularly foul-smelling Souk, which reduces him to writhing on the floor, clawing at his nose.
    • Artemis realizing for the first time during the Opal Deception that yes, he has friends.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In The Last Guardian, when Gobdaw Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence, causing him to Go Out with a Smile, Artemis wonders if, when he dies, he will do the same. And then...
    • On a mission, Artemis is forced to use one of Holly's lenses, giving him the appearance of mismatched eyes. In the fifth book, the team's return to Earth swaps one of Artemis's and Holly's' eyes with each other.
  • Friendly Enemy: Artemis and Holly start off this way.
  • Friendship Moment: Many across the series between Holly and Artemis especially, but the ones that stand out are Artemis giving Holly the chance to say goodbye to Commander Root and in the last book, Artemis realizing that, yes, he would go to the ends of the Earth (and below it) for Holly.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "LEP recon", the Lower Elements Police reconnaissance squad.
  • Gadgeteer Genius:
    • Foaly, whose technological mastership is singlehandedly the main thing keeping the fairies ahead of the Mud People.
    • Opal Koboi isn't far behind Foaly on the achievement ladder. Do not remind him of this.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • The first book starts simple enough. Fowl faction vs LEPrecon in a hostage standoff. Then Mulch has his own agenda, Cudgeon has his own agenda, Holly's agenda shifts away from Root's agenda, and then there's a troll.
    • In The Time Paradox, Artemis versus Opal. One particular example: When he takes off in the Cessna, it looks as though they are all trying to make a break for it . . . but then Opal uses her thermal imager to see there is only one passenger. She guesses it is a decoy . . . but then notices Artemis is concealing the lemur's body heat under his shirt. That's what he wanted her to see.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: An odd example. The faerie language is purportedly a language of symbols, but for all the codes at the bottom of the book, each symbol is translated directly to an English letter.
  • Gasshole: Mulch Diggums, and the dwarfs in general.
  • Gender-Blender Name: The title character (sort of; "Artemis" as a human name is genderless). He also claims to write romance novels under the name Violet Tsirblou in an inversion of Moustache de Plume.
  • Genius Bruiser: Butler may not quite equal his employer in heist-planning, but he's still pretty damn smart and outstrips him in several other fields. Human compassion, for example.
  • Genre-Busting: An international espionage/science-fiction/crime thriller with a teen protagonist. And fairies.
  • Gentleman Thief: Artemis executes elaborate heists purely for the challenge and, after book one, seems to pick targets that he feels deserve it.
  • George Jetson Job Security: At one point in the first book, Artemis's mother demands that he fire a maid that displeased her. Artemis agrees to, then offers to hire Butler's sister Juliet as a replacement, which is approved. Since Juliet was the maid in question, something Mrs. Fowl was not capable of realizing given her mental state for much of the book, this results in no actual change to the employment roster.
  • Green Aesop: The series teems with these, some more subtle than others. As of book five, environmental issues have not featured in the main plot, but the fairy people are quick to criticize humanity's lack of respect for nature and Artemis tends to agree with them in an Even Evil Has Standards sort of way. Book six, The Time Paradox, brings this front and centre with the main plot focusing on an endangered lemur. Even the Easter Egg codes in some of the books are blatantly pro-green.
    • Interestingly, in the first book, Artemis nonchalantly destroys a whaling ship, as a side-effect of some of his other schemes. Despite his apparent aversion to killing, he calls it a bonus (and it helps that the ship was abandoned at the time).
      There were less objectionable ways to get oil by-products.
    • The seventh book opens with Artemis unveiling his plan to end global warming.
    • Comes to a head in the eighth book with practically all modern technology being destroyed ('cause of Opal, by proxy) and green technologies replacing them.
  • Healing Hands: Any creature with magic can do it, though skill is a factor.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Artemis, sort of. His father too, after he's recovered, thanks to Holly's meddling.
  • Heroic Ambidexterity: Artemis is ambidextrous, but he favours his left hand. Orion prefers his right.
  • Heroic Willpower
    • Strong-minded individuals can put up some resistance to the fairy mesmer.
    • This is also the main reason Artemis's atoms don't get randomly scattered through the time stream during his multiple travels through it—"willpower," or at least intense focus and preservation of self, is stated to have saved him.
  • Hero of Another Story: Trouble Kelp and Doodah Day. Minerva Paradizo, too, though we see more of her than the other two.
  • Hey, You!: It marks a turning point in their relationship when Holly finally calls Artemis by his first name instead of "Fowl" (or "Mudboy"), and (much later) calling him "Arty". Likewise, when Artemis first calls his mother "Mum" instead of the more formal "Mother."
  • Hit Them in the Pocketbook: At the climax of Eternity Code, Artemis hacks into Jon Spiro's Swiss Bank Account and is about to steal the whole lot when he has a sudden burst of conscience and decides to donate it to Amnesty International instead... minus a 10% "finder's fee".
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: According to the fairies, mostly regarding our treatment of the environment. In practice, Artemis is merely Affably Evil (if that), though other human antagonists (Jon Spiro, Billy Kong, the Extinctionists} definitely count. The Extinctionists, however The Man Behind the Man turn out to be the result of a fairy plot. It dies down as the series eventually, though reluctantly, conceding that both humans and fairies can be pretty bastardy.
  • Hypnotism Reversal: Artemis agrees to a mind-wipe by the fairies after calling on their help. He doesn't know how to counter the mindwipe, but he does know that they're going to use their mesmer powers on him beforehand to make sure he isn't hiding anything. So he arranges for his team to wear mirrored contact lenses that allow him to resist the mesmer, faking being mesmered and telling the fairies about all but one of his backup plans to restore his memory, which turns out to be critical for the following book.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: Though not immortal, fairies have extended lifespans but can only have one child every twenty years. Humanity's faster reproduction is actually the main reason it was able to more-or-less take the world from them.
  • Insufferable Genius
    • Artemis in the first two books, though later in the series it's played more for laughs as he becomes a nicer person.
    • Foaly is always this. He just can't help himself.
  • Ironic Echo: Holly's first line to Artemis, "Stay back, human. You don't know what you're dealing with," gets two.
  • Interspecies Romance
    • Artemis and Holly develop a strong friendship over the series, and then thanks to time travel drawing their ages together and a stressful situation they actually kiss. Artemis quickly ruins it, for reasons personal to him. In Atlantis Complex, however, Orion really has a thing for Holly, and he claims Artemis still does as well.
    • In The Atlantis Complex, Turnball Root's love for the human Leonor is what motivates him.
  • Invisibility: Most fairies (demons excepted) are able to vibrate at such high speeds they become invisible to human eyes—called "shielding" and needed to maintain The Masquerade.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Foaly invents Cam Foil, which obscures anything behind it from sight. It's not perfect, and it's more technological than your standard Invisibility Cloak, which causes some problems—such as it shorting out in rain and not working on cameras. Also, the circuitry can be easily crushed if you happen to step on it, say, while running away from the armed goons you need to hide from.
  • I Want Them Alive!: Spiro and Opal both stop their mooks from killing the heroes for this reason.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: The fairy mesmer. It even includes the classic 'wave of the hand'.
  • Jumped at the Call: Artemis sought the call out and kidnapped it. Orion is a bit more traditional.
    Orion: Artemis never paid attention during self-defence lessons. I, however, always knew this day would come.
  • Legacy of Service: The Butlers have been serving the Fowls for so long that they may have been the origin of the word butler. The earliest known interaction between the two was the Third Crusade.
  • Lemony Narrator: The book's narrator has a habit of dropping jokes and lampshades along with occasionally lapsing into first person for a joke or bit of character speculation.
  • Leprechaun: Actually LEPrecon: the Lower Elements Police reconnaissance unit. The stereotypical human view of Leprechauns is a source of significant embarrassment for the elves. And Recon are actually the source of that stereotype, if the multiple references to "the top hat and shillelagh days" in the first book are anything to go by.
  • Lizard Folk: All of the Fairies, being the result of millions of years of evolution upon pterosaurs that survived the Cretaceous extinction event. However, it isn't immediately obvious as some form of convergent evolution has taken place causing most of the People to resemble variations on mammalian primate hominids. The two major exceptions to this are the goblins (who retain the scales) and the sprites (who retain their green colouration and ancestral wings). The demons, too, are described as scaly.
  • Meaningful Name: Multiple characters, crossing over with Punny Name.
    • Artemis is famously the Greek goddess of the hunt, which Artemis lampshades for Spiro's benefit.note 
    • Juliet, much like her namesake, is a surprisingly capable eye-catcher.
    • Opals are multicoloured stones traditionally associated with capriciousness and changeable people.
  • Mercy Lead: Kleptomaniac dwarf Mulch Diggums is recruited for so many LEP missions—despite his official criminal status—that he practically receives a salary in Mercy Leads.
  • Military Maverick: LEPrecon Captain Holly Short tends to ignore the order to stand down and wait for reinforcements. As such, Root keeps screaming.note 
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Pretty much this for the first few books then leaning towards Black-and-Grey Morality towards the End. The Kitchen Sinkers are mostly Artemis (even towards the end) and the Fairy Council. The villains are pretty much black morality after book one. That is if you don't count Artemis.
  • Must Be Invited: Any species capable of magic. Forcing your way in without an invitation is a good way to lose the entire contents of your stomach, and repeat offences cause loss of spellcasting. This is actually a weaker version of the original spell; once upon a time it would strike the victim instantly dead. (However, Loophole Abuse can be applied; a cry for help can be interpreted as an invitation, and in The Eternity Code Spiro inviting "all of Artemis' fairy friends" into the building in response to some calculated sarcasm is also accepted.) No. 1 removes this spell in book 6 — though the Council had to approve of it first.
  • Named After First Instalment: The first book is called Artemis Fowl, and then the rest are Character Name and the Noun Phrase-type Idiosyncratic Episode Naming, so the series name is a Protagonist Title.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman:
    • Juliet grew up wanting nothing more than to duplicate her brother's accomplishments as a bodyguard and live up to the family name. Book 3 has her coming to terms with this attitude. Unfortunately for Juliet fans, her refusal of the bodyguard profession and conscious attempt to level in badass mean joining a lucha libre troupe in Mexico and disappearing for the next three books.
    • Subverted with Opal Koboi. Even though her father was already successful in her chosen field, he never encouraged or helped her in any way and basically wanted her to stay in the kitchen. Her company quickly put his company out of business.
    • Averted with Holly. She's actually the first female LEP Recon officer, a major plot point of Book 1.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Dwarves. Seriously, at least one new one per book, kinda like Silver Age Superman. Along the course of the series, we learn that they can: tunnel by eating through earth, fire a devastating barrage of digested rocks/mud/whatever they just dug through, propel themselves underwater and ignore the bends because of intestinal bacteria, have saliva that works as a healing balm, can cling to walls if dehydrated, have glow-in-the-dark spit, which can also solidify to trap enemies AND contains a sedative capable of knocking people out (how exactly is only explained as far as Mulch's comment that "You didn't fall asleep because I didn't do your head"), have prehensile beards/antennae (very handy lockpicks/emergency automatic surgical needles) . . . Lampshaded. "Even the dwarves don't know most of their abilities,"
  • No Eye in Magic: The fairy Mesmer, which allows the fairy to hypnotize and control a person, requires direct eye contact. Reflective lenses such as shades will block it (and, on one memorable occasion, mirror-surfaced contact-lenses are used to covertly block a Mesmer), but it can be conveyed across video-link, albeit at a significant power-loss. (Strong-willed people can shrug off Mesmer if it's by video. With direct eye-contact, the best you can hope for is to resist violently enough to die rather than carry out the commands of your fairy master).
  • Non-Action Guy: Artemis is brains, not brawn, and frequently laments his lack of physical fitness and coordination when he is forced to take an active role in things. Foaly is more successful in avoiding the action; his involvement rarely requires him to leave his computers.
  • Obstacle Exposition: Happens in every book, sometimes more than once. All that advanced fairy tech seems designed to create Mission: Impossible security system scenarios.
  • Oddly Small Organisation: Artemis's criminal empire pretty much consists of himself and Butler. After his father's disappearance, Artemis apparently scaled back the family operations to those he could oversee personally (almost entirely grand larceny and fraud), and heavily invests the profits from these (although he does make great use from his family's and Butler's vast network of contacts).
  • Only Electric Sheep Are Cheap: The People's sim-...everything.
  • Only One Female Mold: In Giovanni Rigano's graphic novels, you'd be forgiven for thinking all the female characters are one woman changing wigs.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: They're tiny, for one thing. The centaurs we see (Foaly, Cabelline, and Mayne) geeky and awkward, rather than majestic, but Foaly mentions other centaurs who sound somewhat more traditional.
  • Our Clones Are Different: Fairy technology has reached the point that cloning is possible, but is illegal on religious and ethical grounds. Because the cloning process can't generate life force or a soul for them, clones are Empty Shells doomed to short lives with little to no brain activity and almost inevitably die from organ failure.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted. They have a digestive tunneling system, unhinging jaw, glowing spit, jet pack flatulence, suction cup skin, and more.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Some sort of weird halfway-house between the Tolkien elves and old elves.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The fairies call themselves "the People". They're technologically advanced, isolationist, and disdainful of the "Mud People" (humans). Interestingly, all of the fairies share a common ancestor: pterosaurs. Species we've seen:
    • Elves: About three feet tall on average, with the proportions and appearance of an adult human. Have pointy ears and exceptionally strong healing powers.
    • Atlantian elves: Some elves living in Atlantis have evolved fish-like attributes such as scales and gills.
    • Dwarfs: Perhaps slightly taller than elves, seeing as Mulch frequently passes as a very short human. Generally resemble squat, hairy elves. Have little magic but a myriad of evolved gifts from their eons of tunnelling.
    • Goblins: Look almost nothing like elves, apart from size. They're humanoid lizards with forked tongues and the ability to conjure fireballs. Magic-less and incredibly stupid.
    • Gnomes: Perpetual red shirts of the fairy world, gnomes are basically fatter, uglier elves. All seem to be Obstructive Bureaucrats.
    • Pixies: Smaller and slighter than elves. Delicate but fierce.
    • Sprites: Like elves, but green-skinned and possessed of functional wings.
    • Demons: Taller than other species, at around four to five feet. Scaly, horned, extremely strong, with stubby tails. Magic-less except for the warlocks, who never "warp"—the painful process of accelerated puberty demon imps undergo.
    • Centaurs: Pretty much what it says on the tin, but much, much smaller. Magic-less; they rely on intellect, which they have in spades.
    • Trolls: Hulking, shaggy, apelike predators, nonsapient, with tusks, retractable claws and venomous bites.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: The goblins are Lizard Folk, can conjure fireballs, and are the stupidest sentient race on the planet.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Butler and Holly are both significantly above average intelligence. They just have the bad luck to live in the same world as Artemis and Foaly.
  • Pardon My Klingon: "D'Arvit!" Lampshaded in the first book.
    There is no point in translating that last, as it would have to be censored.
  • Parental Title Characterization: Artemis addresses his parents formally, as "Mother" and "Father". When Artemis and his father are reunited after several years, Artemis slips into formalities. Fowl Sr. shakes his head, remembering that he was indeed that stern and demanding, but has now reverted to the personality his wife was attracted to (that he no longer has to deal with The Mafiya probably helps).
  • Outrun the Fireball
    • In Book 1, Commander Root is nearly killed by a remote bomb planted by Artemis. The commander, being a fairy, has to use his training to recognize the symbols—numbers... getting smaller... a countdown!
    • In Book 4, Holly has to stop a bio-bomb from detonating and killing her. She covers it with her LEP helmet, but the helmet crashes away and she has to outrun the deadly blue light.
  • Overlord Jr.: Artemis Fowl II follows in the footsteps of Artemis Fowl I.
  • Parental Abandonment: Artemis's father is missing, presumed dead, and his mother is crazy. They both get better.
  • Parents in Distress: Artemis takes it upon himself to find his father and restore his mother to sanity.
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: The fairies use neutrino charges to blow stuff up. However, "neutrino" is specifically mentioned to be a brand name, and the "Neutrino Charge" is actually a plasma gun.
  • Please Wake Up: Artemis experiences a moment of this when Butler is shot in Book 3, and Minerva initially reacts the same when Billy Kong knocks her father out in Book 5. But both child genii quickly revert to their standard mature responses.
  • Prehensile Hair: Mulch Diggums's beard hair, which can also serve as handy custom lockpicks and detect subterranean vibrations.
  • Primordial Tongue: The fairies' language, Gnommish, is described as the ancestral language to every tongue on Earth — including American Dog, somehow. This is the in-universe reason behind the fairies' ability to speak all languages, including animals'.
  • Professional Wrestling: Juliet's obsession in Book 1. She later joins a Mexican wrestling team herself, in which, yes, the matches are scripted.
  • Punny Name: All over the place.
    • Artemis is always in a fowl mood (which numerous chapter titles lampshade).
    • Holly is indeed Short. And also described as "pretty ... in a pointy sort of way."
    • Butler . . . is a butler. Possibly justified if those scholars who think his family originated the noun are correct.
    • Mulch. You mean like . . . dirt?
    • Foaly is half horse. Same goes for his nephew Mayne, and his wife Caballine ("caballo" being the Spanish word for "horse")
    • Dr. J. Argon, the sham psychologist.
    • In The Last Guardian the pirate duo Salton Finnacre and J'Heez Nunyan and the Chinese Warrior Yezwi Khan.
    • The dwarf engineer in The Last Guardian is named Kolin Ozkopy.
    • The gnome Gotter Dammerung, i.e. Götterdämmerung, which either refers to the German word meaning something that ends disastrously, or possibly references the Wagner opera of the same name, which chronicles the events of a war referenced in Norse mythology (Ragnarök) where the gods go to war. Given that this character appears in The Last Guardian and kills young Opal, allowing older Opal to transform herself into something that appears god-like, it could be both.
    • Artemis is fond of using these as pseudonyms. He published some romance novels under the name Violet Tsirblou ("violets are blue...") and submitted articles to psychology journals under the names "C. Niall DeMencha" and "Sir E. Brum".
    • Jon Spiro's tech company is called Fission Chips.
  • Race Lift: Holly Short and elves in general are described as brown-skinned and, except for the pointy ears, able to pass as short humans in the books, but the graphic novels give her skin as fair as Artemis's. More subtly, the Butler siblings are described as noticeably part-Asian in the books, Butler passing easily for Chinese at one point despite being blue-eyed and terrifyingly tall. It's not noticeable in the graphic novels at all, to the point where Juliet looks like a Palette Swap of Angeline.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Butler is a Le Cordon Bleu chef and enjoys old romance movies (his favourite is "Some Like It Hot"; tell anyone and he'll hunt you down); Artemis writes romance novels, poetry and classical music, enjoys opera and theatre, and has designed an opera house.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Wing Commander Vinyáya, mainly in the later books after Commander Root dies.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Word of God describes the series as "Die Hard WITH FAIRIES!"
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Despite the myriad environmentalist anvils, the People never provide (willingly or unwillingly) technology that would help prevent humanity from polluting.
  • Remote Vitals Monitoring: During his break-in into the Fowl manor, Boxed Crook Mulch Diggums is fitted with an iris-cam (basically a high-tech contact lens) that allows Foaly to monitor Mulch's vision and vital signs (and more importantly, track him down if he attempts to escape). After his job is done, Mulch digs into a rabbit burrow, starts shaking around and yelling that there's a cave-in, and puts the cam on the rabbit's eye before it dies to fake his death. Foaly notices "Mulch's" heart rate hitting that of a rabbit right after the iris-cam is transferred, and in the second book, he and Holly start investigating the possibility that Mulch survived.
  • Ridiculously Long-lived Family Name: The Butlers have been, well, butlers to the Fowl family for centuries, the first known one (Virgil Butler) being servant, bodyguard and cook to Lord Hugo de Foley sometime in the Middle Ages, leading to in-universe speculation that the job title comes from the family name. In fact, it comes from the Old French boteiller, the man in charge of the bottles of wine.
  • Rule of Cool: Practically the point of the series is proving that this can justify anything.
  • Running Gag
    • Book 3: No one ever remembers what type of shoe Loafers is named after.
    • Book 6: It's a lemur, not a monkey.
    • Book 7: Bivouac!
    • Artemis's lack of physical fitness and his repeatedly broken promises that if he can just survive this scrape, he'll start hitting the gym.
    • Someone asks an antagonist if their goal is "world domination" in each of the first three books only to be told otherwise.
  • Running on All Fours: Goblins often run on all fours when they need to hurry.
  • Science Is Good: The series tends to show science as a good thing used by both humans and fairies. Although fairies have magic, they also use advanced technology and Magitek. It is mentioned that without science and technology, the fairies would be unable to hide underground and probably would have been wiped out by the more primitive but far more numerous humans.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Holly Short gets in trouble because of this on quite a regular basis.
    "Have you ever actually followed an order?"
  • Security Blindspot: In the first book, Foley equips Mulch with a contact lens that lets him see the area the camera sees (visualized as yellow beams), as well as Camera Spoofing. The latter fails because Artemis and Butler are in continuous communication, and Butler not showing up on a camera is a pretty big hint that something's wrong.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Artemis hugs Holly to activate a weight-sensitive panel to open a locked door.
    • Holly kissing Artemis in Book 6 and more. They have to undress down to underwear and then hold hands in order to Time Travel. N°1 makes a parting shot about pronouncing them "man and elf". Then, when they arrive in the past, Artemis is aged and Holly rejuvenated to the point where their age disparity disappears. For bonus points, thinking about this disturbs Holly. That almost crosses the line from Ship Tease to Unresolved Sexual Tension.
    • For the non-Artolly shippers, Book 7 reveals that Holly and Trouble Kelp went on at least one date.
    • Also in Book 7, Orion. While he usually spends time pointing out how much he loves Holly, he also lets it slip early on that Artemis also has similar feelings, but chooses to hide them.
    • Book five covers the time period in which Artemis experiences puberty. Being Artemis, the enormous mass of new-found emotions and hormones is little more than an annoyance, but also, being Artemis, he has no trouble mentioning this annoyance whenever he's distracted by a pretty face. This also just happened to be the book in which Minerva- essentially a slightly younger, Distaff Counterpart to Artemis Fowl- heavily features. Furthermore, he actually mentioned feeling attraction towards her, specifically. And yet, beyond these passing mentions, the matter comes up roughly twice: once when they get along incredibly well on the phone, which lasts about twenty seconds, since they are currently attempting to ruin each other's plans, and again towards the end at Minerva's side when she is revealed to have been thinking about Artemis in an admiring sense.
    • The Last Guardian has the scene where Artemis and Holly attempt to out gambit each other from performing a Heroic Sacrifice. Quelle suprise, Artemis wins, but the scene wouldn't be out of place in a romantic drama with more traditional love interests.
      • He kisses her goodbye, too. And when he comes back to life he and Holly are left in a field of roses. Ahem.note 
  • Shout-Out: See here.
  • Significant Name Shift: It marks a turning point in their relationship when Holly finally calls Artemis by his first name instead of "Fowl" or "Mud boy" and much later, she calls him by an Affectionate Nickname "Arty".
  • Sleazy Politician: Briar Cudgeon and sometime LEP commander Ark Sool.
    "Politics," spat Root. "This is all politics to you."
  • Smart People Play Chess: One of Artemis's undercover personas is a teenage chess prodigy named Stephan Baskir. One guard, also a chessmaster (not that kind), didn't believe it and challenged him to a game. Artemis beat him in six moves—now known as the Bashkir Maneuver.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Deconstructed in the first book, when Holly point-blank asks Root if he's harder on her because she's a girl. He admits it, and then points out that she's the first female in Recon, and needs to set an example. The only other female up for the job Holly considers a 'bimbo' who only got the position due to her relation to royalty.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Artemis routinely conquers dastardly foes but feels helpless in the face of puberty and the crushes that come along with it.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Save the Earth or you'll kill the fairies!
  • The Squadette: Holly is notoriously the only female LEPrecon officer, at least at the beginning.
  • Standardized Space Views: The graphic novel first begins with an orbital shot of the planet alongside an introduction from Artemis.
  • Stealing from Thieves:
    • In The Eternity Code, after being double-crossed by Chicago Mob-associated businessman Jon Spiro, Artemis gets revenge on him by draining his bank accounts. He gives most of it as an Involuntary Charity Donation to Amnesty International, and keeps a small portion of it for himself as a "finder's fee".
    • The Opal Deception features a Fictional Painting entitled "The Fairy Thief", which was stolen shortly after its completion and has only ever changed hands through theft. Artemis becomes the youngest person in history to steal it when he heists it from a high security bank vault in Munich. After his memories are restored, he breaks the cycle and anonymously gives it to a museum, with a note implying he plans to return more stolen art.
  • Stock Unsolved Mysteries: One book mentions that Mulch stole the Jules Rimet trophy and tried to sell it to an undercover LEP officer.
  • Tagline: The 2019 UK editions come with the cover tagline: "Criminally good"
  • Techno Wizard: Foaly, and Artemis himself to a lesser extent.
  • Teen Genius: Artemis, of course. And Minerva, who managed to calculate when and where demons will show up on Earth, without having ever seen the fairy book. Although she did have Qweffor (Sharing a Body with Abbot) to give her the calculations for it. And No. 1. And Foaly's nephew Mayne in Book 8.
  • Teen Superspy: Artemis is one, albeit self-employed. No government agencies for him—he's got the funds for all the style and the gadgets. Juliet is another, even joining a SWAT team in The Eternity Code.
  • Themed Aliases: Mulch Diggums goes by a variety of self-referential pseudonyms, including Lance Digger, Moe Digence, and Tombstone.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: It may be a series of novels, but Artemis occasionally invokes this trope in his head.
    • In the first book, when he finally acquires his metric ton of gold from the People, he imagines that somewhere, the 1812 Overture is playing.
    • In The Eternity Code when Artemis meets Spiro on the airfield, he thinks that some music would be perfect for this situation.
    • And then in The Time Paradox, when he needs to think some mental music to clear his head, he thinks to himself: Plotting music, I need plotting music.
    • More literally in The Time Paradox when composing a symphony in his head stops his atoms being scattered.
  • Theme Naming: Most of the fairies have nature or plant-themed names.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Goblins in general.
    • In The Arctic Incident, our heroes are saved by a group of goblin gangsters pulling a Klingon Promotion and killing themselves off to become leader during a combat mission.
    • In The Opal Deception, a goblin attempts to escape capture by flying into a pressure chute with a jetpack moments before a magma flare.
  • Translator Microbes: Fairies are able to converse in all languages, including dolphin and dog. This is explained as being partly one of the benefits of fairy magic, and partly because fairies were the first creatures to develop language, and all other languages are öat least partly based on Gnommish as a result.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Root repeatedly threatens Holly with this, usually after she's disobeyed a direct order.
  • Ultimate Final Exam: At Madame Ko's Personal Protection Academy, the final exam usually involves escorting one of the academy's teachers through a busy public area, but it is never as simple as it first seems, and Butler mentions that when one of his colleagues did the final exam in Calcutta, Madame Ko caused an elephant stampede just to see how the student would react.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Invoked by Foaly. He designed most of his tech so that if anyone but he tried to operate it, a hidden virus would "bring it crashing down around their pointy ears". Needless to say, he abuses this situation by talking down to and making cracks about his superiors, knowing full well that even suspending him would greatly handicap the whole organisation.
  • Universal Driver's Licence:
    • Fish smuggler Doodah Day can allegedly drive any vehicle, be it human or fairy.
    • Mulch has jacked several hundred kinds of vehicles and driven only with "the gas and the steering wheel". He even manages to outrun a pair of missiles in first gear.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: It's mentioned several times that faeries often go to Disney Land on vacation, to no reaction from the human visitors.
  • Urban Fantasy: Elves, goblins, and fairies using assault rifles and jetpacks.
  • Vancian Magic: Everyone with magic has a certain amount that they have available for use. When they run out, they have to go through an arduous ritual to replenish it. Also, the mesmer uses up decidedly less power than the other magics . . . unless it's shielding that does that . . . unless it's the Gift of Tongues . . . unless you need to heal the villain's chronic lack of smell.
  • Vetinari Job Security: Invoked by Foaly; if anyone but him tries to use his computer, it crashes. He can still have his pay docked, though.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Spiro in Book 3, after Artemis not only escapes from him, but calls the SWAT team, steals the Cube, and basically screws Spiro over after he had everything he could ever want in his hands. Spiro goes berserk, shooting up the room in an attempt to hit the disappeared Artemis. He's calmed down by the time the SWAT team are leading him out, but then Artemis whispers a parting shot in his ear as he invisibly floats past, and Spiro "howl[s] at the ceiling like a demented wolf."
    • Kronski suffers a particularly spectacular one, getting his lifelong-lost sense of smell restored . . . in the middle of a leather souk. Things go downhill from there.
    • The entirety of The Last Guardian is one for Opal, not that she was particularly stable to begin with.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Foaly in his role as Mission Control.
  • Volleying Insults: Mulch and Foaly in particular enjoy trading gibes.
  • Wainscot Society: The fairy world overlaps in places with the human world.
  • Waking Non Sequitur:
    • When Artemis wakes up from being knocked out by Butler in the sixth book.
      Artemis: Sell the Phonetix shares!
    • Foaly in the seventh book. This was apparently an "unpleasant childhood memory", but unlike Artemis's exclamation there's no context given.
      Foaly: Not the stripy ones! They're just babies!
  • Wall Crawl: One of the dwarves’ adaptations is the ability to absorb moisture through their pores, which enlarge when dehydrated. While this is useful if you are trapped in a cave in, Mulch makes use of their suction-cup pores to scale glass buildings.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Animal fat for magic-using fairies.
  • Winged Humanoid: Played with—except for the sprites, fairies' "wings" are actually jetpacks. It is stated that at one point all of the People had wings owing to their ancestral pterosaur lineage, but adaptation to terrestrial and subterranean lifestyles caused them to atrophy in all but the sprites. Their ancestral flight instinct still makes them better at using jetpack and gliding devices than humans, though.
  • World of Snark: Is there anyone in this series who doesn't snark around, outside of Pex and Chips?
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Not only can Artemis come up with new plans on the fly, he can calculate their probability of success.
    Foaly: Do you realize he had less than a minute to come up with this plan to save Butler's life? That's one smart Mud Boy.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious:
    • Bodyguard etiquette demands that Butler never reveal his first name to Artemis, to keep their relationship professional. He reveals it in Book 3, after he's been shot and believes himself to be dying—it's Domovoi, a slavic word meaning guardian spirit.
    • If Holly calls Commander Root 'Julius', it unfailingly means she's about to disobey an order or do something else that will annoy him. As he well knows.
    • In The Opal Deception, Mulch only refers to the Atlantean sea-elf Vishby by his real name once, when he's imploring him to flee a submarine moments before it gets crushed by immense water pressure. The rest of the time he uses the demeaning nickname "Fishboy".

    Artemis Fowl 
  • Actually Pretty Funny: After Foaly shows Root a false bottom and says it's a riot at parties, Root chuckles in a rare lapse of his serious demeanour.
  • Adaptational Explanation: The Michael Moreci graphic novel explains that Artemis didn't kidnap the sprite who gave him the book because she'd been excommunicated from fairy society and they wouldn't try to get her back.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The reason Artemis translates the fairy language so easily is that it is similar to Ancient Egyptian. Artemis theorizes this is because the Egyptians borrowed it from the fairies.
  • Another Story for Another Time: The first book's narrator has this as a catchphrase, with many of the stories in question eventually becoming side-plots in later books.
  • Antagonist in Mourning
    • Holly, briefly, in the first book when Fowl Manor is bio-bombed and it appears that everyone inside it has died.
    • Root and Mulch mutually on separate occasions. Both find that their respective professions lose a lot of the fun when their arch-nemesis has been taken out of the equation.
  • Badass in Distress: In the first book, when Holly gets kidnapped by Artemis, she uses a cot to smash through concrete, plants an acorn she snuck in, uses a loophole in an eye-to-eye command to leave her cell, neutralizes Juliet with the mesmer, and punches Artemis. And just when you think things can't get worse for the kidnappers, a troll comes in . . .
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Artemis's plot-kickstarting plan to kidnap a fairy. He knows they have to go to a specific place at a specific time to do a specific thing, but if no one shows up (a very likely outcome) then he just sits in a tent all night. It's mentioned that this is exactly what happens for four months.
    • Artemis's entire plan in the first book revolves around 1. the fairies using a time stop, and 2. the fairies noticing a flaw in his orders which would allow them into the manor once he was dead.
    • Cudgeon's plan to send in the troll banks on the humans calling for help before it kills them, thus inviting the LEP inside.
    • In the second book, Foaly gets Cudgeon to admit to his Evil Plan on tape because he knows his mark will want to brag about it.
    • Used by Artemis twice more against Opal in The Opal Deception and The Last Guardian. The latter example is especially notable as Artemis essentially gets Opal to push the 'off button' on her doomsday spell by banking on her rampant narcissism.
  • Breaking the Glass Ceiling: During a heated discussion with Commander Root, Holly accuses his endless complaints and dressing-downs of being solely based on the fact that she's female. He admits that this is so... but for an opposite reason: As there are two females in the LEP Recon (and one is a bimbo limited to announcements who only got a job because she's descended from one of the fairies' kings), she has to be better than all others so more women will think of joining.
  • The Caper: Planning them is Artemis's raison d'etre.
    • The whole plot of the first book. Artemis plans to kidnap a fairy and ransom it back to its people for a substantial amount of gold. It works, too.
    • Artemis's plan to steal a painting from a high-security bank at the beginning of the fourth book.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Artemis Fowl, Sr. The first book starts with Artemis Jr. actively looking for his father.
  • Children Are Innocent: It is stated that Artemis succeeds at finding the People because, being a kid, he is innocent enough to still believe in things like fairies and magic. His actions make this innocence arguable at best.
    • Minerva Paradizo echoes this in The Lost Colony:
      Minerva: I'm young enough to believe in magic and old enough to figure out how it works.
  • Concealing Canvas: Lampshaded by Mulch in the first book. Turns out to be a subversion, as the safe behind the painting is a decoy. Subverted again when the safe is in the painting itself.
  • Conveniently Precise Translation: When Artemis uses a computer program to translate the fairy language into English, it comes out in rhyming couplets.
  • Deconstruction: You know the legend about capturing a leprechaun and getting his gold? The first book deconstructs that tale. First, although leprechauns (or LEPRecons) don't have pots of gold, there is a hostage fund to ransom kidnapped officers. The keywords are "hostage" and "kidnapped". LEPRecons are elite officers of a sapient species much like humans, and they take a dim view of being kidnapped. In fact, humans who successfully abduct a LEPRecon are treated like terrorists, there is bureaucratic red tape involved in accessing the hostage fund, and it takes considerable ingenuity and amorality for Artemis to be able to pull off his scheme — demonstrating exactly what kind of person one needs to be to succeed. Even so, both he and Butler experience a Heel Realization upon realizing how human the fairies are.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: Artemis comes out of the Time Stop at the end of the first book and is surprised to find that several months have passed and it's now Christmas Day.
  • Direct Line to the Author: This book's framed as an LEP psych report. Weirdly the last book ends with Holly regailing their adventures to an amnesiac Artemis in the exact same way this book starts, implying she's been Narrator All Along.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Implied in Book 1:
    Juliet was the only person alive who laughed at him [Butler] with embarrassing regularity. Most other people did it once. Just once.
  • Earth Is the Centre of the Universe: The spring at Tara is referred to as being the centre of the Universe, even though Earth is constantly spinning and moving.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Artemis Fowl, multiple times, starting from asking Holly to heal his mother in Book 1.
  • Extended Disarming: Well, not disarming, but near the start of Book 1, Artemis lists all of Butler's weapons hidden on his person.
    Artemis: Let me fill you in on the weapons status. I am unarmed. But Butler here, my . . . ah . . . butler, has a Sig Sauer in his shoulder holster, two shrike throwing knives in his boots, a derringer two-shot up his sleeve, garrotte wire in his watch, and three stun grenades concealed in various pockets. Anything else, Butler?
    Butler: The cosh, sir.
    Artemis: Oh, yes. A good old ball-bearing cosh stuffed down his shirt.
    He then goes on to say that Butler could kill someone in a hundred different ways without his weapons.
  • Finger Firearms: Foaly arms Commander Root with a Tranquilizer Dart gun attached to his finger and hidden with latex, since he can't be seen to be armed in a hostage negotiation. According to Foaly, they aren't used often because the concealment is so good that people forget that they're wearing them, resulting in friendly fire incidents (apparently, one officer accidentally set it off while he was picking his nose). He doesn't end up using it during the negotiation, and the gun isn't mentioned again until much later in the book, when Root accidentally-on-purpose gets Cudgeon with it when the latter is breaking down over his brief takeover collapsing.
  • Finger in a Barrel: A variation in the first book. Mulch is being attacked by a gang of goblins, and their ringleader summons a fireball and then inhales it up to his nostrils to breathe fire over Mulch. Mulch responds by jamming his thumbs up the goblin's nostrils; he gets his thumbs burned, but the goblin's innards take most of the damage.
  • Fountain of Youth: A tourist asks Holly for directions to it on her way to work.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: In the first book, an argument could easily be made for either side being the "good guys."
    • In the case of Artemis himself, well . . . on one hand, he is an unashamedly greedy criminal (which his future self readily admits). On the other, he does have some standards and feels some guilt over his plan. And given the set of values that his father gave him, he certainly doesn't think he's doing the "wrong" thing so much as following a twisted sort of "God-helps-those-who-help-themselves" mentality. Plus, two of his less explicit reasons for his kidnapping plot were to heal his mother and raise more money to try and find his father.
    • In the case of the LEP, some of them do very questionable things, such as sending a troll into a house where it will pose a significant danger to everyone inside, including the hostage. Many of the LEP, including those opposed to the troll idea, are later willing to kill several innocent bystanders (Angeline and Juliet along with all of the wildlife) to take out Fowl and ensure that he won't exploit the fairy world in the future. (Recovering the ransom was just a bonus.)
  • How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?: Stopping time. Funnily enough, Santa provides the inspiration for Artemis that allows him and his family to escape the Time Stop.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The Fowls were descending into this after Artemis I disappeared in the bay of Kola; all the family's creditors demanding repayment from the ten-year-old acting head while their debtors suddenly vanished. Many of Artemis II's actions in the first two books are to keep the family afloat.
  • Improvised Lockpick: Mulch uses his beard hair as a lockpick by pushing it in as far as it can go then plucking it, letting the hair stiffen until it can be used as a key.
  • Instant Runes: In the first graphic novel, the Time Stop's forcefield is covered in Gnommish runes.
  • Ironic Echo: Holly's first line to Artemis, "Stay back, human. You don't know what you're dealing with," gets one later in the book:
    Artemis: I believe it's time to let our diminutive friends know exactly who they're dealing with.
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: At one point in the first book, they're watching a tape and Root asks Foaly if he can zoom in on Artemis' face. Foaly responds, "Can a dwarf steal the web from under a spider?" Root replies "yes", and Foaly says that it was a rhetorical question.
  • Just One Second Out of Sync: How Time Stops work. Also how Artemis manages to escape the time-stop: he works out that a person cannot fall asleep or wake up while in the time-stop, so taking a sedative and forcing themselves to lose consciousness will remove them from it. Being Artemis, he tested this using Angeline's sleeping pills first: if it hadn't worked, he would have surrendered to the LEP.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: The ARClights, genetically engineered dragonflies carrying biotech cameras, created by Foaly.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Artemis Fowl, Book 1. He spends all his time watching computer terminals for news of his father and caring for his insane mother.
  • Loophole Abuse: In one of Holly's combat simulation exams, she beat an insurmountable number of enemies by shooting the projector. As they didn't have any rules against that, they had to let her pass.
  • Loves Only Gold: The Fowl family motto is Aurum potestas est: "Gold is power". In a flashback in the first book, Artemis Senior notes how gold holds its value better than other forms of investment, and tells his son to "buy gold, and keep it safe"; Artemis takes the advice to heart, as the ransom he demands from the fairies is one metric ton of gold. The trait is downplayed in later instalments as Artemis and his father gradually become more heroic.
  • Moustache de Plume: Inverted. Artemis sometimes writes romance novels under the name Violet Tsirblou.
  • Mugging the Monster: A pickpocket in Ho Chi Minh city tries to rob Butler and gets his fingers broken.
  • Myopic Architecture: Butler destroys an ancient stone door-frame because it's much weaker than the modern armored door. Also, Mulch Diggums gets through the floor of an otherwise secure area.
  • Mook Chivalry: Conspicuously averted in the first book by a half dozen pissed-off dock workers, who are too busy "watching their comrades, making sure they weren't alone in the assault" to actually focusing on the towering, trained Butler who's baited them into a big, splashy fight.
    In fairness, they weren't even completely sober.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In Book 1, Artemis is a fairy-kidnapping Gadgeteer Genius mastermind at the head of a criminal empire.
  • Phantom Zone: Time Stops take everyone within a certain area out of time temporarily for the sake of preserving the masquerade.
  • Pseudo-Santa: It's mentioned that the true origin of the Santa Claus myth is not Sinterklaas, but a fairy king named San d'Klaas, who attempted to appease mankind by placing a time field over the Earth's surface and delivering presents to people while they slept. It didn't work, and he picked up the epithet "San the Deluded", but his story does give Artemis an idea for how to escape the time field the fairies have trapped him in.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Happens to Mulch. He tries to sweet-talk some goblins by claiming to sympathize with them, only to find out that the only thing they hate more than a dwarf is a traitor to his own kind.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Lili Frond, a descendant of the first king of the People, works in the LEP.
  • Sacred Scripture: The Book, the fairy bible containing all their secrets and commandments. Artemis gets his hands on one in the first book, allowing him to beat the fairies at their own game—until they stop playing by the rules.
  • Science Fantasy: The premise of Book 1 is basically a hi-tech spy thriller crossed with the old fairy tale about the kid who cons leprechauns out of their gold.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: An aversion is discussed: in the epilogue of the first book, the person profiling Artemis theorizes that the reason he wanted Holly to heal his mother was not due to filial affection, but because social services were about to figure out that his father was missing and his mother was not functional, and he needed a way to keep them from designating him a ward of the state and sending him to a foster home.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Bio-bombs. They explode in a (usually) sphere of light and kill everything within range, although they can be contained by Time Stops, which have a pentagonal base.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Holly to Artemis in book one, even mentioned by name at one point.
  • Take That!: Colfer can be utterly ruthless in his description of civilian fairies in the first book.
    • A particularly noteworthy example is Dr. J. Argon, a pastiche of celebrity doctors as well as psychologists in general. Colfer also makes a rather deliberate note in the first book that Argon is "a psychologist from below the United States".
    • A short one at politicians in general:
      Cudgeon was doing what politicians did best: trying to duck responsibility.
  • Too Clever by Half: It's true—the fairies don't know what they're dealing with.
  • Trope Namer: An in-universe example: we're told Butler's family is so highly regarded, the profession was named after them.
  • Tunnel King: Mulch Diggums, dirt-eater.
  • Unmanly Secret: Butler, Artemis Fowl's six-foot-plus One-Man Army and Battle Butler, likes watching romantic comedies, though he will never admit this to anyone.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Lampshaded. The first book is framed as part of a report by Argon.
    Details are 94% accurate, 6% unavoidable extrapolation.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In the Disney graphic novel we see the L.E.P. officers fill their helmets while trying to retrieve the gold at the end.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Artemis Fowl I, before he disappeared.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Artemis is twelve in the first book.
  • Xanatos Gambit: A small one in the first book. After abducting Holly, Artemis notices she has a tracer on her wrist so he does some quick soldering and gluing to place a tiny camera inside. If it works then great, but if it doesn't, it's still off Holly and all he loses is an advantage he never expected to have in the first place.
  • Your Mom: Butler distracts some men in the first book by insulting them and saying that their mothers must be so proud.
    The stranger had crossed a sacred line. He had mentioned the men's mothers. Nothing could get him out of a beating now, not even the fact that he was obviously a simpleton. Albeit a simpleton with a good vocabulary.

    The Arctic Incident 
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Artemis has to crawl through a duct filled with fuel for the building's plasma weapons. Before his helmet runs out of air. Without being able to see where he's going. Knowing full well that if anyone turns on the plasma cannons, he's toast. Not to mention that once he gets out, he has to be sprayed with anti-radiation foam or he'll likely develop cancer.
  • Artistic License – Chess: It's said that one of Artemis Fowl's disguises is as a teen chess prodigy, bolstered by the fact that when a checkpoint official who happened to be a chess grandmaster doubted him, Artemis trounced him easily. All well and good, but the text claims Artemis won in only six moves — highly improbable against even a vaguely-competent player, much less a grandmaster.
  • Bowdlerise: The UK edition has this observation from Artemis:
    Captain Short was extremely pretty in a dangerous sort of way. Black-widow pretty. Artemis was expecting puberty to hit in approximately eight months, and he suspected that at that point he would look at Holly in a different light. It was probably just as well that she was eighty years old.
    In the North American edition, the last two sentences are omitted.
  • Chick Magnet: How Chix Verbil sees himself. Purportedly, all sprites are like this.
    Give a fairy a pair of wings and he thinks he's God's gift to women.
  • Clip Its Wings: Early on in the book, Chix Verbil is hit in the wing with a soft nose laser. Holly manages to save his life with some quick thinking and faerie magic, but since the blow ruptured several major arteries, she reckons that he'll never fly again.
  • Coin-Targeting Trickshot: At the end of The Arctic Incident, Holly Short tosses a fairy gold coin into the air, shoots a hole dead through its center, and gives it to Artemis as thanks, pointing out there's no way she could have made that shot if he hadn't used the Ritual to restore her trigger finger after it got cut off by a train car's door.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Koboi Labs has contracts to maintain and upgrade weaponry for the Lower Elements Police, but is also secretly arming the Bwa Kell Triad, a goblin-run mafia, with illegal softnose laser weapons that were supposed to be destroyed. Their CEO, Opal Koboi, and her business partner, Dirty Cop Briar Cudgeon, plan to sabotage the LEP's weaponry and incite the goblins into a riot, then manipulate the conflict so that the LEP wins, Opal's rival Foaly is framed for the coup, and they get to make themselves look like heroes.
  • Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: Artemis tends to have this effect on psychiatrists because he is much more intelligent than most psychiatrists and has read up on all the latest approaches to psychology. He can get them to diagnose him with whatever he wants. It helps that he's actually written some of the books his psychiatrists use to diagnose him.
  • Crooks Are Better Armed: The B'wa Kell uprising in The Arctic Incident. The conspirators backing the uprising arm the B'wa Kell Triad with highly dangerous softnose lasers and sabotage the Lower Elements Police's neutrino weapons, leaving the LEP only a handful of obsolete electric stun rifles to defend themselves with.
    • The modified soft noses are supposedly unreliable, what with the misfires and self-destruction (a significant factor in Real Life equipment selection), and a good part of their danger comes from the vast amount of unintentional damage they can do in a high-tech underground complex. Standard LEP weaponry is technically superior in almost all respects.
  • Engineered Public Confession: The cause of Briar Cudgeon's ultimate downfall. Foaly successfully records Briar gloating about his plans to betray the Goblin triads (which Opal is in on) and also have Opal killed so he won't share power. Artemis successfully exposes the first part (though Briar shuts down the message before Opal can hear the rest), forcing Briar and Opal to kill the goblins in the facility sooner than planned (due to the Triad leaders being in the room and furious about what they just learned), and Foaly manages to send the rest to Artemis' phone and play it for everyone to hear, causing Opal to fly into a rage, which results in Briar stumbling into the exposed plasma and getting fried.
  • Grudging "Thank You": Artemis to Holly at the end of Book 2 and Butler to Holly in the first book.
  • Gut Feeling: Butler relies on these frequently. In the second book, he gets the feeling that someone is watching him—when Holly is in fact hovering over him invisibly.
    The smile withered on his lips halfway to the recently remodeled entrance. A shiver passed across his heart. He knew that feeling well. His mother had used to say that someone had just walked over his grave. A sixth sense. Gut instinct. There was peril somewhere. Invisible, but here nevertheless.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: When the Russian Mafia sinks Fowl Sr's soft drinks freighter into the Bay of Kola during the prologue, one of the Mafia agents quips "Tonight, we are truly on the Bay of Kola". His comrade immediately warns him that the bad weather has left him in too foul of a mood to laugh at terrible jokes.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Gee, that Briar Cudgeon sounds like a really nice guy.
  • Not Me This Time: In The Arctic Incident, Holly is convinced Artemis is behind the B'wa Kell smuggling conspiracy, but after she kidnaps him to find out, it turns out not to be the case.
  • Plasma Cannon: Koboi labs and Police Plaza both have automated plasma cannons with stun settings.
  • Prompting Nudge: Near the end of The Arctic Incident, Butler gives Artemis a nudge to prompt him to thank Holly for saving his parents.
  • Ridiculously Difficult Route: In The Arctic Incident, Artemis and his friends are trying to find a way inside Koboi Labs. The good news: Mulch has a cousin who worked as a contractor during the labs' construction, and they discovered an underground fissure that leads straight to the labs' foundations. The bad news: the fissure opens and shuts periodically as it expands and contracts with heat from the Earth's core, it will only be wide enough for their shuttle to navigate safely for three minutes at a time, and it's at its widest in the few moments right before the next magma flare.
  • Rival Science Teams: Foaly and Opal have been inventor-rivals since college.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: "Illegal tends to be faster." - Butler, books 2 and 4.
  • Staged Shooting: During the rescue operation in Book 2. Artemis shoots his father with a cap of his own blood to make it look as though he has killed him. Things go haywire when the mooks guarding the prisoner decide to dump the body in the frigid, radioactive bay below.
  • Super Cell Reception: Artemis receives a text message in the Arctic. Sent from a laptop inside the Earth. One could speculate that the fairies have set up underground Internet and cell phone service providers . . . but it was Artemis's own laptop, so it probably ran on a plain old human-run ISP. Then again, it was Gadgeteer Genius Foaly at the keyboard. Artemis himself notes that it should have been impossible for him to receive the message.
    • The story adheres more to actual physics when, asked if they can send a reply, Artemis nonchalantly quips, "Certainly. Just give me six months, some specialized equipment and three miles of steel girder." Foaly himself mentions how hard it was to patch into the human networks.
    • The Last Guardian mentions that all fairy communications halted because the human satellites they were piggybacking on fell from orbit. They probably just install devices to block signals of human origin and use the full capacity of the human tech to their own benefit. Artemis, being Artemis, would have found unblocking the device child's play.
  • Terrible Artist: Mulch's "helpful" diagrams in The Arctic Incident.
  • Title Drop: Book 2, The Arctic Incident, is retroactively title-dropped in Book 4.
    Holly studied her trigger finger. A faint scar circled its base where it had been severed during the Arctic incident.
  • Train Escape: The Arctic Incident has a version of type 2. Flying goblins with artificial wings and laser cannons have trapped Butler and Root in a snow cave beneath an avalanche set off by their blasts, so Holly and Artemis devise a plan to get them out by boarding a passing radioactive train and attaching a rope fastened to Root's anti-grav belt to it. They board the train and Artemis has to get on the roof, make a hole with some acid, and open the door from the inside to let Holly in. The only reason this works is that the goblins assume the radiation will kill them anyway and fear that shooting the train will blow it to smithereens, and them with it. And then the aforementioned Klingon Promotion.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Briar Cudgeon manages to convince a human wheeler-dealer to supply the Bwa Kell with AA batteries through a combination of the mesmer and large amounts of Counterfeit Cash. As the LEP close in on him, he tries to trick the man into killing himself and his arresting officer(s). This foreshadows his plan to backstab the Bwa Kell and eliminate the members who know he was backing them so he can play hero, then dispose of Opal Koboi so he won't have to share power.

    The Eternity Code 
  • Armour-Piercing Question:
    Spiro: Artemis... Isn't that a girl's name?Answer 
  • Artistic License – Law: There's no way Amnesty International would have been able to keep Spiro's fortune, which Artemis donated to them. Even though Spiro will be a convicted criminal, he'd still be able to claim that the money transfer wasn't his — and it is not something a normal millionaire, much less one like Spiro, would be reasonably expected to do. And while Artemis' Swiss Bank Account is likely well hidden enough that the "finder's fee" could never be recovered, this won't be the case for Amnesty.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Juliet pulls one by joining a SWAT team that's infiltrating Spiro's HQ.
  • Berserk Button: Never call Loafers short if you value your life. He even snaps at his boss' goddaughter when she refers to him and "Moe" as "two short guys".
  • Booked Full of Mooks: At the beginning of the book, Artemis meets up with Jon Spiro in a restaurant to show off some tech that will completely destroy Spiro's business, with an offer to keep it off the market for a year in exchange for a metric tonne of gold. Artemis is confident that Spiro won't try anything in public, but then it turns out that all of the patrons (even an 80 year old lady!) and staff are armed thugs working for Spiro, who walks off with the tech and leaves the thugs to kill Artemis.
  • Briar Patching: When Spiro orders Pex and Chips to kill Mulch, Mulch goads them into burying him alive... which doesn't bother him in the slightest, since he's a naturally subterranean fairy.
  • Camera Spoofing: Foaly gives Artemis a device that will wipe their team from Spiro's monitors, as long as they keep moving, and hacks Phonetix's cameras as part of the plot to trap Spiro into trying to rob them.
  • Cast from Lifespan: An odd inversion; when Butler is healed from a fatal gunshot wound, the healing consumes about fifteen years of his life force, visibly aging him — but Foaly opines that (somehow) this is likely to result in him living longer.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Jon Spiro has (unproven!) connections to the Chicago mob and is not above underhanded sabotage.
  • Disarm, Disassemble, Destroy: Juliet removes an important part of a mook's gun as he brandishes it, making it only possibly useful as a hammer.
  • Doctor's Orders: Spiro's doctors are very much aware of his Mafia connections, so they give medical advice very politely.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: After Spiro finally convinces Artemis to unlock the C-Cube, his two Dumb Muscle bodyguards suggest using it to break into Phonetix and steal their secret plans. As he points out, an idea that good is unusual for them. And indeed it was never their idea at all, but Artemis's, planted via Holly's mesmer.
  • Everyone Is Armed: At the restaurant in the beginning, it turns out every single patron except Artemis, Butler, and Spiro himself is a mook hired by Spiro.
  • Fake Memories: As Foaly prepares to mind-wipe Artemis and Butler at the end of the book, he explains that their minds will naturally create false memories to fill the gaps left behind.
  • Forgot About Her Powers: Holly could have shortened the book by mesmerizing Jon Spiro into giving the Cube back.
  • Glad You Thought of It: Indirectly — Artemis's Plan requires Spiro to try using the C-Cube to break into Phonetix, but of course Spiro will never do that if Artemis suggests it, so he has Holly mesmerize the minions into suggesting it at the critical moment.
  • Harmful Healing: Butler gets shot through his bulletproof vest. Holly dumps all of her magic into him to save him, and while it works, it has two nasty side effects. First, her magic wasn't enough to fully heal him, so some of Butler's lifespan was used to complete the spell, aging him about fifteen years. Second, some of the vest's Kevlar fibers got caught, replicated by the magic, and irreversibly intertwined with his flesh; it's only a small patch, but it's enough to slow down his breathing without providing any actual bulletproofing.
  • Harmless Freezing: Averted. Dr. Constance Lane explains the complex process for preserving frozen bodies when Artemis turns to cryonics to preserve Butler's body. The healing Holly subsequently performs is made more difficult by Butler's body having been frozen.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: The protagonists mind-wipe Loafers McGuire after he finds out about the fairy world. They completely erase his personality, making him think he's named "Nuru", and drop him off in a village in Kenya. Later in the book, Artemis, Butler, and Juliet undergo Laser-Guided Amnesia as well, though the LEP are more careful this time and only erase the parts having to do with fairies. Ironically, this wipes out all the Character Development Artemis had over the past three books, turning him back into a Villain Protagonist.
  • Hired on the Spot: The hiring process for becoming one of Jon Spiro's hired thugs consists of one simple test: the applicant is presented with a walnut, and if they break its shell without any tools, they're hired on the spot. Out of 100 men tested this way, only 2 have passed; Pex spent several minutes shouting at the nut before crushing it with his giant palms, while Chips grabbed the interviewer by their ponytail and slammed the walnut with their forehead.
  • Hollywood Chameleon: Discussed. When Artemis learns that Foaly named his Cham-foil invention in honor of the chameleon's signature colour-changing ability, he wonders whether or not Foaly is aware that chameleons choose their colour based on mood rather than as a means of camouflage.
  • I'll Kill You!: Loafers screams this - in the middle of a crowded airport terminal, no less - after he finally has enough of Mulch's taunting:
  • Insecurity Camera: Helps Artemis to bust Spiro's ass.
  • Involuntary Charity Donation: Happens to Jon Spiro, who gets 90% of his billions donated to Amnesty International. Artemis had intended to keep the lot for himself, but got hit by a sudden attack of conscience and satisfied himself with a 10% "finder's fee".
  • I Was Never Here: Artemis and Foaly with his marvel-tech convince Spiro of this, having wiped Arty's presence from all security tapes. Artemis even name-drops the trope during his Breaking Speech to Spiro, who merely responds that his dead body will prove it. Artemis quite literally vanishes before Spiro can make good on his threat.
  • Karmic Thief: At one point, Artemis resolves to focus his efforts solely on stealing from the wealthy and corrupt. But he explicitly says he is not aiming to be Just Like Robin Hood.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Inflicted on Artemis, Butler, and Juliet at the end of the novel, as the LEP's condition for helping him recover the C-Cube. A Sequel Hook reveals that Artemis has hatched a plan to undo it, however.
  • Literalist Snarking: When Mulch manipulates Pex and Chips into burying him alive by calling them "a pair of overdeveloped, single-cell Cro-Magnons", Pex manages to mangle his comeback into "Nobody calls me an overdeveloped, signal-bell crow magnet". Mulch's wholehearted agreement with this statement is based less on Pex being intimidating and more on the fact that a phrase so nonsensical rarely gets said at all.
  • Magical Computer: The C-Cube. Will do anything for you, starting with hacking military satellites (human or fairy), and moving on to diagnosing any medical conditions you have.
  • Memory Gambit: The ending reveals that Artemis recorded a laserdisc to himself that would help him recover his memories, and gave it to Mulch for safe-keeping, hence why he was so willing to go through with the mind-wipe.
  • Memory Wipe Exploitation: Artemis and his associates agree to be mind-wiped of all fairy-related memories. Right before the mind wipe begins, Holly tells Juliet if she wants any of Juliet's memories of her to survive, it should be Holly telling her that she isn't cut out to become a bodyguard. Juliet promises to try to cling to that thought, and one of the first things she does after the mind wipe is drop out of bodyguard academy and sign up with an all-female wrestling troupe.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: At one point during the infiltration of the Spiro Needle, Holly grunts "something unprintable" in response to Artemis impatiently urging her on.
  • Note to Self: The laserdisc Artemis emblazons with his memories of the People before submitting to a mind-wipe takes the form of a recorded Artemis staging a conversation with his future self.
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: Mulch Diggums, finding the life of a (rich) law-abiding citizen in the human world to be unbearably boring, soon resorts to kleptomania, stealing Oscars from (fictional) Hollywood stars.
  • Smug Snake: Jon Spiro never passes up an opportunity to gloat.
  • Sonic Stunner: Butler put a sonic bomb under the table just in case Spiro double-crossed them (which he did).
  • Swiss Bank Account: Artemis Fowl has several, though probably not as many as when he was still (moderately) evil. Spiro has one as well, which Artemis promptly drains to zero at the climax.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: Arno Blunt's neck tattoos clearly mark him as a thug—and make him easy to identify. Lampshaded in a different plotline when Loafers's tattoo artist talks him out of neck tattoos for the same reason.

    The Opal Deception 
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: An odd case. After recovering from his mind-wipe, Artemis sees that he was regressing to his old criminal ways, as he had predicted he would. After all, his character growth had been the result of his experiences with the People... so removing all memory of those experiences negates all the good they had done him. Holly is visibly nervous when he brings this up because she knows how terrifyingly amoral he used to be.
  • Amnesiac Resonance: After Artemis's mind-wipe, he admires a painting, The Faerie Thief. He acknowledges that the fairy in the painting can't enter a human dwelling without permission (one of the laws fairies live by), then wonders how and why he knew that. Later, when an assassination attempt against him fails, he recognizes the blue light from the incident as a Blue Rinse, a fairy superweapon similar to a Neutron Bomb.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Opal traps Artemis and Holly in the abondoned "Eleven Wonders" theme park, which has been overrun by trolls.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: From both Artemis and Mulch when they learn of Root's death.
  • Bad Boss: Opal has no problem blowing up General Scalene in the process of killing Root.
  • Burying a Substitute: Julius Root's funeral is carried out with an empty casket because he was killed in a bomb blast that left Not Enough to Bury.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: The book is presented in the prologue as documents found on a fairy blog believed but not proven to be run by Foaly. The opening commentary in those documents claims that Foaly is the real hero of the story.
  • Character Death: Commander Root is killed by Opal Koboi's bomb as part of her revenge scheme.
  • Defeat Means Menial Labor: After Opal's scheme is foiled, her escape pod crashes into a farm. She has just enough magic to mesmer the farmer into believing she's her daughter, but not enough to get out of doing chores, and ends up spending several weeks digging potatoes and feeding pigs before the LEP find and arrest her.
  • Dumbass Teenage Son: Artemis plays this to a tee as part of a plot to steal a valuable painting. He poses as the dim-witted, smart-mouthed, video-game obsessed son of his bodyguard, Butler, as a successful distraction to the fact that he's really a Teen Genius who's about to pull off the theft of the most sought-after piece of art in the criminal world.
  • Ejection Seat: The Brill Brothers evacuate Opal's shuttle in two that cover them in protective foam.
  • Escape Pod: Opal escapes her shuttle from one at the end.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Mulch explains to Butler that the Eleven Wonders is an abandoned fairy theme park, overrun by wild trolls... and suddenly makes a connection between that fact and a threat Opal made against Holly and Artemis.
  • Fantastic Slur: Vishby's derogatory nickname, "Fishboy."note 
  • Fictional Painting: "The Faerie Thief", which depicts an elf trying to snatch a human baby from its cradle. Legends say the painting was stolen soon after completion and has only ever changed ownership through theft; as a result, its existence is known only to a few of the world's most experienced art thieves, and ownership of it is considered a badge of honor and testament to one's skills as a criminal.
  • Flying Car: The graphic novel shows LEP cruisers being able to fly, which they can't actually do in the books.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the prologue Foaly lists the key players in the story's events, and only one of them, Root, is referred to in the past tense.
    • There's this exchange when Root and Holly are given their new weapons:
      Root: Okay, we can shoot. But what if we get shot?
      Trouble: You won't get shot.
  • Forgot About the Mind Reader: Opal Koboi has her none-too-bright henchmen the Brill brothers convinced to the point of paranoia that she can read minds, simply by turning on them at random and shrieking "I heard that!". Mervall Brill at one point tests her by thinking treasonous thoughts at her as loudly as possible.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Julius Root. His last act before the explosive on his chest goes off is to smile gently at Holly and tell her: "Be well."
  • Grenade Hot Potato: Holly takes the drastic option twice. With a helmet in between, of course.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: After escaping the LEP at the end of the book, Opal encounters a man running a vineyard and uses up the last of her magic to mesmer him into thinking that Opal is his daughter. To Opal's horror, the man concludes that having a child means having an unpaid farmhand to help with the work. So rather than being treated as the pampered, precious treasure that Opal sees herself as, she finds herself forced to do manual labor. She's almost relieved when the LEP finally comes to take her away.
  • Humans Are Warriors: When a kidnapped Holly and Artemis are taken to an abandoned theme park, Artemis sees some mannequins in a gift-shop window that are dressed up as humans, in various warlike poses.
    Artemis: Is that how you see us?
    Opal: Oh no, you're much worse than that, but the manufacturers didn't want to scare the children.
  • Hunting the Rogue: After having been framed for the murder of Commander Root, Holly Short has to hide from the LEP.
  • Idiot Ball: When confronted with a threatening message from Scalene demanding that they meet with him alone or many will die, Root and Holly take it at face value and go in alone as requested. When Opal reveals herself, she notes this was an obvious trap and they walked right into it.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think: Opal Koboi's treatment of the Brill brothers basically amounts to this. At one point, she even tells them not to so much as think in her direction and almost manages to convince them that she can tell when they're doing so.
  • Ignored Expert: Trouble suggests sending in a team to subdue Scalene rather than have Root and Holly go in, but Root rejects this and insists on handling it himself. This costs him his life.
  • I Lied: Opal Koboi, regarding the explosive strapped to Julius Root supposedly having had a "sweet spot" which, if Holly had hit accurately, would have saved Root's life.
  • Inconveniently Vanishing Exonerating Evidence: Commander Root has a belt full of explosives locked on him and supposedly the only way to disarm it is to shoot a tiny corner of the attached screen displaying the villain's face. Holly Short shoots the screen to save Root, but the villain was lying and it explodes anyway. To the security cameras surrounding them, the belt and screen were invisible, so it looks like she shot the commander to death.
  • I Need You Stronger: Prior to the book's events, Opal had waited a year before having herself revived from her self-induced coma. This is partly because she wanted to throw off suspicion, but mainly because she wanted to wait until Artemis, Butler, Holly, Commander Root, and Foaly were all back at the top of their game before unleashing her new plan, so that victory would be that much sweeter.
  • Inertial Dampening: The supersonic LEP shuttle that's filled with foam and its crew have to wear spacesuits with controls inside them.
  • Internal Affairs: Holly's real arch-nemesis, with Ark Sool at the head.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: From The Opal Deception—"No one could pretend to be in a coma for over a year. Surely not. A fairy would have to be totally obsessed. ... ... Chapter 1: Totally Obsessed"
  • MacGyvering: Artemis steals a painting from a heavily guarded bank vault using part of a scooter, his braces, and a portable videogame player. Subverted in that the braces were only to hide the stolen vault keys, the game player was actually an X-ray scanner, and the scooter was a highly specialised custom-built key-turning device.
  • Memory Gambit: The one Artemis set up in the previous book comes to fruition here, with Mulch returning the laserdisc to him and allowing Artemis, Butler, and Juliet to recover their memories.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Giovanni Zito and later Artemis commit their wealth to save the environment.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: The last act of Julius Root before Koboi blows a hole in his chest is to smile at Holly and wish her well.
  • Recorded Spliced Conversation: Artemis needs an excuse to get out of school for a few days, so he uses an audio editor to turn a relatively light-hearted conversation he'd just had with his mother into an angry voice mail for the principal of his school, accusing him of lax standards that have resulted in Artemis getting a nasty case of food poisoning that will require him to come home for a few days to recuperate.
  • Sadistic Choice: At the beginning of the book, Opal forces Holly to choose between saving Commander Root and Artemis, then compounds the sadism by offering her a false third option. To add even more insult to injury, Opal didn't give Holly enough time to save Artemis even if Holly had left immediately, and it's only thanks to Butler that Artemis survives. When Artemis is given all the facts of the confrontation, he (in his own way) assures Holly that she did everything possible and even he can't think of a way she could have escaped that trap without prior knowledge of the situation she was about to find herself in.
  • Shiny New Australia: Opal promises her henchmen Barbados.
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: How they defeat Opal Koboi the second time.
  • Step Servant: Played With. A rare Laser-Guided Karma example mixed with Black Comedy. Opal is fleeing from the LEP when she crashes into the plantation of an old Italian man. Having had a pineal gland implanted on herself to become human (though still small as a pixie), she uses her last magic to hypnotize the woman into thinking that Opal is her daughter Belinda. Since Opal once used that trick with a rich man who spoiled her rotten, she thinks that history will repeat. Instead, the old man immediately treats Opal as her slave, forcing to do all the chores (with tools too big for her) under the threat of locking her up without food. And telling her to not make faces because Misery Builds Character. This is just for the first day. When the LEP find Opal, her hands are completely ruined by working on the man's vinedo, doing all the laundry, cleaning the pig pen, and peeling uncountable piles of potatoes.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Artemis's recorded message to himself from the previous book opens by saying that he suspects present Artemis hasn't had a properly stimulating conversation in a long time. Present Artemis agrees with this statement, and the recording says that by pausing to give present Artemis a chance to respond, he has now officially qualified the message as a conversation, and there will be no further pauses as he explains everything in complete detail.
  • Treated Worse than the Pet: Opal's airplane crashes in the vinedo of an old Italian man. To avoid being found by LEP agents, the villainous pixie uses her last bit of power to mesmerize the man into thinking that she is his daughter, Belinda. A big mistake, for Opal's "father" forces her to slave away on the vinedo with a spade too big for a pixie, do the laundry, and cook dinner, under threat of locking her away "with a pile of potatoes to peel and none to eat". Among her endless tasks, Opal has to clean the pigs' place. She is almost happy when the fairy police finally find her.
  • A True Story in My Universe: The fairies are working on a movie based on the events of The Arctic Incident with computer-generated versions of Artemis and Butler.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Basically the only reason Opal didn't kill Artemis before Holly arrived was that she underestimated Butler, who manages- despite his loss of memory- to recognize the imminent attack and get himself and Artemis out of immediate danger, leaving Holly enough time to heal their injuries and take Artemis away to explain the situation.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Holly remembers attending an anti-troll training course which only covered fighting a troll one-on-one, since no-one, the instructor reasoned, would be crazy enough to put themselves in a situation where they'd be dealing with a whole pack at once. Naturally, this is the situation Holly and Artemis find themselves in when Opal traps them in the ruins of Eleven Wonders.
  • You Have Failed Me: Opal invokes this word for word when her plan fails.

    The Lost Colony 
  • Accidental Hug: Butler does this to Artemis and then pulls away, embarrassed. (Artemis doesn't mind.)
  • Appropriated Appellation: No. 1 decides to keep the placeholder title assigned to him by his abusive demon tribe.
    "It used to set me apart as different, but now I think it makes me unique."
  • Berserk Button: Bringing up Abbot's given name is a surefire way to infuriate him. Considering it translates to "Little Horn", it's not hard to see why.
  • The Big Bad Shuffle: Minerva Paradizo's plot to capture and study a demon is subsumed by Billy Kong's desire to avenge his older brother (who claimed to be fighting demons to cover up his gang activities), which is in turn overshadowed by Leon Abbot's destructive reign on Hybras.
  • Call-Back: While talking Holly through a new advanced security system, Commander Vinyaya mentions that the fingerprint scanner cannot be fooled by a severed finger due to the lack of pulse. This is a direct callback to Artemis' morally dubious method of bypassing Spiro's security system in the third book — clearly Foaly was paying attention.
  • Copycat Mockery: When Abbot challenges Nº1 to attack him with a meat skewer, Nº1 mockingly imitates Abbot in his head, and Abbot mockingly imitates Nº1 out loud.
    "You go ahead, little bee, prick me with your sting."
    Prick me with your sting, warbled Nº1 in a highly insulting imitation of the pride leader. Of course he didn't warble this aloud. Nº1 was rarely confrontational outside his head.
    Aloud he said, "I'll do my best, Master Abbot."
    "I'll do my best, Master Abbot," warbled Abbot in a highly insulting imitation of imp Nº1, as loudly as he could.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Abbot, the Big Bad of the demons, was named after a character from a trashy romance novel taken from the human world, as are all demons when they come of age. His true demon name is N'zall, which means "little horn" in the demon language.
  • Imperfect Ritual: The fifth book finds the protagonists in deep trouble on an island that is coming to Unstuck in Time and rapidly disintegrating. To save the island and everyone on it, they need to complete a ritual that was meant for seven demon warlocks. They pull it off, though not flawlessly, with two warlocks (an elderly master and a rookie), an elfin police officer, a non-warlock demon sharing his mind space with an apprentice warlock, and a human, Artemis himself, who had stolen some magic on the trip there.
  • Left the Background Music On: when Minerva is being held captive, she mentally remarks that the situation is as tense as possible, and there's even theme music playing. Then she realizes the music is actually the Big Bad's cell phone ringing.
  • Magic Knight: Demons are divided into two castes: ordinary demons develop no magical power but metamorphose into monstrous forms when they come of age, while warlocks develop magical talent instead of muscle. Demon warlord Leon Abbott managed to steal some magical power from a warlock when he interrupted a spellcasting ritual and caused a freak accident, and uses the stolen magic to secretly bewitch the rest of demonkind into serving him.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Nº1 is intellectual and gentle at heart, but all the other demons he grew up with were "hit first, question later" Blood Knights overflowing with machismo. After years of trying to fit in, this (and some hypnotic prodding) leads him to leave the island. Turns out, though, that he's not like the rest because he's the first warlock to appear in ages, and warlocks just don't have the same bloodlust that most demons do.
  • Once More, with Clarity: The Lost Colony shows a scene from both Holly's and Artemis's perspectives that paint two very different pictures of what goes down. After Holly gets stabbed by Abbot, she pleads with Artemis to help her, but he simply glances at her and keeps watching the bomb tick down, making him come across as cold. When we have access to Artemis's thoughts, it's shown that he's already making a plan to save her the moment she's run through, and seeing her die causes him so much pain that he almost loses concentration and screws up the plan.
  • Our Hero Is Dead: Holly's "death" is a textbook example—although the fact that she isn't the title character might give less jaded readers momentary pause.
  • Pet Gets the Keys: A technological variant. When Holly is imprisoned by Minerva, Foaly remote-activates her helmet and sends it to break her out with its laser. She is considerably weirded out to find it bouncing up and down outside her cell like a little animal.
  • Put on a Bus: Juliet joins a Mexican wrestling team, conveniently getting her out of the narrative when it doesn't need another Action Girl. Minerva disappears from the story after this book.
  • Replacement Flat Character:
    • Artemis becomes a more decent person as the books go on, so The Lost Colony introduces Minerva Paradizo, a near copy of Artemis in the first book.
    • Being a fairy criminal who's lovable deep down, Doodah Day is basically another Mulch Diggums from the original book.
  • Scientifically Understandable Sorcery: Artemis states that magic is just an energy that can control other energies.
  • The Slow Path: Inverted. They return three years after they left. Quan had expected it to be more.
    • Played for Laughs in The Last Guardian, where Foaly uses the power of a van whose communication system has his personality to set off a time-stop; what takes five seconds for him is five years for the van.
      Foaly's van: I missed you so much, dude! Did we win?
      Foaly: Yes we did... dude.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: Former criminal and master driver Doodah Day is recruited specifically to drive a child's electric car as a diversion. It involves fleeing from gunfire.
  • A Wizard Did It: The original book says Mulch Diggums lost his magic but The Arctic Incident has him use the Gift Of Tongues to talk to some dogs. Here it's explained that depowered fairies like Mulch and Doodah Day retain one spark of magic that lets them use the Gift. Frustratingly, 'Atlantis Complex says that depowered fairies can't use the Gift and Mulch mentions having to learn English.

    The Time Paradox 
  • Age-Down Romance: A complication during Time Travel changes the two protagonists' ages—one from a young teen to a young adult; one from an adult to a teen—allowing them to realize they have feelings for each other.
  • Anachronism Stew: In The Time Paradox, Artemis goes back two years to before the first book (which was published in 2001 and uses human technology from that time). Yet the young Artemis there has a mobile phone that can be used to surf the Internet, connects to a beamer, and has a blacklight to test money and an X-ray scanner. He uses his laptop to send a video message to every Extinctionist's phone, and all of them can watch it. Also, Kronski pays Artemis in bills of 500€, while the euro wouldn't come into use (as a physical currency) until a few years later.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The Extinctionists will remorselessly kill any animal they think is useless to humans, but when Artemis tricks them into believing Damon kidnapped a human teenager and tried to pass her off as an elf so she could be killed, they're utterly outraged.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Young Artemis Fowl forms one with Opal Koboi in The Time Paradox.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Both Minerva Paradizo and Doodah Day move into seemingly significant positions to the story arc in Book 5. The sixth book is set mainly in the past, so it's easy to see why they aren't mentioned, but the justification vanishes in books 7 and 8.
    • At the end of Lost Colony, Doodah is said to have started working as a private detective along with Mulch Diggums. Mulch is actively involved in The Atlantis Complex and not only does he not seem to be working as a detective, but there is also no mention of what Doodah is doing. By the time of The Last Guardian, Mulch is apparently a wanted criminal once again with still no mention of Doodah.
    • Minerva has just had the masquerade curtain lifted and the fairy world revealed to her—not to mention that she's a precocious teen genius like Artemis and shouldn't be able to stay off his agenda if she tries. At the end of Book 5, she is stated to have spent three years obsessing over Artemis, waiting for him to return—she was, of course, set up as a very obvious Love Interest. No further mention in the three books.
      • Word of God says she's dating a skier in the Alpes Maritime and has moved past Artemis. Good to know, but still not very satisfying closure for such a strong character.
  • Can't Take Anything with You: To simplify things in the timestream, No1 insists that Holly and Artemis strip before he sends them back in time, much to their chagrin. They bargain him down to just underwear. It's just a little embarrassing for them.
  • Captain Obvious: Once No1 gains the Gift of Tongues, he delights in pointing out the meaning of human expressions and spouting long lists of synonyms, even though every other character around him (and the readers) know very well what they mean.
    • Self-justifies when he realizes he's been using it to cope with stress.
    • Subverted in book six: "I think we all know what D'Arvit means."
    • Artemis also has his moments.
    Artemis: My butler could kill you a hundred ways without the use of his weapons. Although I'm sure one would be quite sufficient.
  • Cliffhanger: At the end of The Time Paradox, Opal from the past is still on the loose in the present.
  • Cold Flames: Damon Kronski, leader of the Extinctionists, has a pit lined with flamethrowers which he uses to stage the execution of endangered species for the amusement of his supporters. Unbeknownst to him, another character (who wants the endangered animals saved for selfish reasons) fitted a trapdoor in the base of the pit and replaced the flamethrowers with hologram generators.
  • Damsel in Distress: Jayjay the lemur.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Sort of: Jayjay the lemur (short for "Julius junior") is indirectly named after Commander Root, who isn't dead the moment they choose the name, but is in the future that Artemis and Holly come from.
  • Emotional Regression: When Holly turns into her younger self, her emotions are affected too, such as getting jitters on a mission that her older, more experienced self wouldn't have.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Artemis leads the Extinctionists to believe Damon was trying to have an innocent teenage girl killed, most of them are outraged.
  • Evil Poacher: The Extinctionists, a coalition of fanatical animal-haters who have taken it as their mission to rid the planet of all species that do not directly contribute to human society.
  • Exotic Entree: The Extinctionists from enjoy rendering endangered species extinct . . . and that, of course, includes dining on highly endangered or outright extinct species.
  • Find the Cure!: The plot of Time Paradox. The only cure for Angeline Fowl's disease is the brain fluid of the silky sifaka lemur. The catch? Silky sifakas went extinct eight years ago. Artemis himself made sure of that.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: In Time Paradox, the apparent villain-of-the-day (or yesterday) Damon Kronski turns out to be the pawn of Opal Koboi.
  • Holding Hands: Artemis and Holly do this in The Time Paradox.
  • Hypocritical Humour: In The Time Paradox:
    Opal Koboi: [meditating] Peace be within me, tolerance all around me, forgiveness in my path. Now, Mervall, tell me where the filthy human is so that I may feed him his organs.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Artemis gains a few Darker and Edgier points when he manipulates Holly 's feelings for her dead mother to make her agree to cure his own.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Young Artemis to Artemis about Jayjay in The Time Paradox.
  • I Hate Past Me: Comes to the forefront in The Time Paradox.
    Artemis: I hate myself. I really do.
  • Insistent Terminology: Artemis would like everyone to remember that the silky sifaka is a lemur, not a monkey.
  • Last of His Kind: Jayjay, the silky sifaka lemur. Not for long, because Foaly is going to clone more.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Time travel and a violation of Never the Selves Shall Meet result in Artemis facing off against Artemis—and, for the first time, facing Butler as an opponent.
  • MacGuffin: Jayjay, the world's last silky sifaka lemur.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: The Time Paradox. And they wouldn't have, if everything had gone according to plan . . .
  • Retroactive Preparation: In The Time Paradox Artemis and Holly are locked in the trunk of a car, so Artemis decides that later on he'll send a note back in time and ask Mulch Diggums to come rescue them. Soon after, Mulch breaks open the trunk. Artemis tries the same trick later on in the book, but realizes that it only works once.
  • Science Is Wrong: Subverted. Human understanding of certain scientific concepts is wrong, but only because human observations are limited by the fact that magic is actively hidden from "Mudmen." The scientific method is still a-okay.
    • In The Time Paradox Artemis (a token smart guy) argues against the theory of evolution as part of a distraction, and later tells Butler confidentially that as a theory it "has more holes than a Dutch dam made of Swiss cheese". Probably meant to be a parody of this trope, since by this point in the series Artemis has made discoveries that shatter global scientific consensus already.
  • Secret Message Wink: As Artemis pulls off a scheme to help Holly, he looks her in the eye and winks to signal her to play along.
    Play along, the wink said. I will get you out of this.
    At least Artemis hoped this was what his wink communicated and not something like Any chance of another kiss later?
  • Snooty Haute Cuisine: Damon Kronski acquires a slab of glacial ice that has the last specimens of an extinct species of fish frozen inside it, just so he can serve the fish to guests at a conference he's hosting for The Extinctionists.
  • Stable Time Loop: More or less. The Time Paradox has so many piled on one another it'll make your head spin. Even just planning to do something when he got back to the future made it retroactive fact, allowing him to reap the benefits before actually doing so. Even more, Artemis's obsession with fairies in the first book is the result of residual memories from his future self, in which he learned about fairies and his own involvement with them, after a Mind Wipe.
    • Completely defied in The Last Guardian.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Not really. Artemis just wakes up on one. Occurs for real in The Time Paradox.
  • Time Travel Episode: Book 6, although Book 5 also contains a version.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Sometimes time travel forces a stable time loop, but at others it allows paradoxes—no explanation for why given.
  • Wham Line: Near the end of the sixth book, after Opal starts gloating about finally getting her hands on the lemur she needs to complete her plans, Artemis has this to say:
    • Also, there's Past Artemis' final thoughts after his Mind Wipe, which reveals yet another Stable Time Loop which apparently kicked off the events of the very first book. Specifically, he wakes up feeling like he's forgetting something, and just remembers "Fairies...something about fairies."
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Extinctionists believe that only humans and any animals useful to humans are worthy of remaining extant. Any other animal, and any species that can compete with humans, is deserving of being wiped out in their eyes.
  • Who Is Driving?: Don't let the lemur drive the . . . well, anything.
  • Wistful Amnesia: Artemis post-mindwipe. Then he shows his former self when he discovers contact lenses he made to cheat the mesmer. As of The Time Paradox, Artemis's original, plot-kickstarting interest in fairies was actually due to this.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: During The Time Paradox Artemis and Holly spend about three days in the past, whilst for Foaly and No.1 it's ten seconds. This is played for laughs at the end of the book. Doubles as Leaning on the Fourth Wall as the reader leaves Foaly beginning to count to ten, sees the whole of Holly and Artemis's journey and "returns" when he says it was the longest ten seconds of his life.

    The Atlantis Complex 
  • Arc Number: The number 4 recurs throughout the seventh book, since Artemis develops an irrational fear of it from his Atlantis Complex.
  • Atlantis: It's actually the second-largest fairy city. And it's underwater.
  • The Atoner: Artemis is a rather serious case in Book 7.
  • Bad Guy Bar: There's a bar for fairy criminals called the Sozzled Parrot.
  • Character Death: Commander Raine Vinyáya is killed early on this book by a crashing spacecraft. Clearly, this is not a safe rank to hold in the LEP.
  • Cliffhanger: At the end of Book 7, Artemis still has the Atlantis Complex. Subverted when he is completely cured at the beginning of The Last Guardian.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Turnball Root, who compliments Holly right after kidnapping her. He may act gallant and polite to a fault, but he doesn't really care about anyone except for his human wife Leonor (and even then he kept her in thrall so that she wouldn't ever think of leaving him) and is willing to kill his own trusted lackey if needed without a hint of remorse.
  • Five-Token Band: Turnball's gang is the fairy equivalent: One elf, one sprite, one dwarf, one gnome, one goblin.
  • Four Is Death: Artemis develops this paranoia due to the titular magical malady of The Atlantis Complex.
  • Giant Squid: Artemis is attacked by one in The Atlantis Complex
    Artemis: I'm the nut!explanation 
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Turnball Root to Holly in Atlantis Complex.
  • Mind Screw: The Atlantis Complex, if you can't keep track of the number of times the narrative changes to a scene taking place a few hours earlier or later.
  • Number Obsession: Artemis develops a mental disorder with symptoms that include a phobia of the number 4 and obsession with the number 5. As a result, he tries to carefully structure his sentences so that he uses a multiple of 5 syllables (but not 20) every time he talks.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Turnball Root manages to get one of these, receiving each item as a reward for selling out his former comrades. The luxuries in question include: His old LEP Dress Uniform, (which is described to lookas though it came from the 1700s) A computer limited to the prison network, complete with a wooden desk, and a comfy quilt for his bed; After getting Vishby on his side, he gets some other harmless luxuries, including an extra blanket for his bed and some reading material not in the prison system, and a web camera for his computer.
  • Not Me This Time: During The Atlantis Complex, Foaly suspects Opal is behind the latest plot to destroy Haven. As it's an odd-numbered book, it's Turnball Root.
  • Series Continuity Error: It's said here that fairies who lose their magic can't use the Gift Of Tongues even though depowered fairies can use it on earlier books and Lost Colony explains they keep one spark of magic that lets them use it.
  • This Is Reality: In Book 7 Artemis Fowl develops a psychosis. Foaly's response is to invoke this trope.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: The predominant sentiment of anyone dealing with Orion. Played for every ounce of humour and pain it's worth.
  • With Due Respect: Holly tells Foaly that the guidelines which suggest that in her situation she should retreat to a safe distance and construct a bivouac are "with respect ... a pile of troll weevils." Foaly, who helped to write those guidelines, asks if she actually knows what respect means.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    Turnball's smile never wavered, and he kept it bright by promising himself that he would dispose of this fool the second he was no longer of any use.
    • It's implied that he intends this for Holly (during her time under his control) as well after Leonore regains her youth and they are able to escape in one piece.

    The Last Guardian 
  • Badass Boast: From the last book:
    Butler: I am Butler. Everything I say sounds tough. Now, get out of the lake, fairy.
  • Big Dumb Body: Discussed by Captain Oro, who hopes for the chance to one day possess a troll and take it into battle, thinking its brute strength would combine perfectly with his own grace and cunning.
  • Book Ends:
    • The final lines of The Last Guardian are Holly reciting the beginning of the first book verbatim.
      It started in Ho Chi Minh City in the summertime, sweltering by anyone's standards. Needless to say, Artemis Fowl would not have been willing to put up with such discomfort if something extremely important had not been at stake. Important to the plan...
    • And a few lines before that, we get a Call-Back to Artemis and Holly's first encounter—
    • In terms of plot, the first book is about the fairies sieging a human-held Fowl Manor and the last is about the main group sieging a fairy-held Fowl Manor.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: A subtler case than most, but in The Last Guardian we've got Foaly and Cabbaline happily married and kicking arse, Trouble and Lilli Frond hooking up, and a moment between Holly and Artemis at the end.
  • The Comically Serious: After Artemis, Holly, and Butler manage to escape the crickets attacking them:
    Butler: We lost the crickets.
    Holly: [breaking down into giggles] We lost the crickets. Even you can't make that sound tough.
    Butler: [straight-faced] I am Butler. Everything I say sounds tough.
  • Continuity Nod: In The Last Guardian, in the middle of a situation so ridiculous Artemis thinks it might be a delusion, he shouts out "Four!" to check he isn't mad again.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: In Book 8, a Red Shirt realises that he's only seconds away from being murdered by Opal, so he decides to go out with flair by making his last words an insult.
    Ozkopy: I always thought you'd be taller. Plus your hips are wobbly.
  • A Glass in the Hand: When Artemis enrages Gobdaw in Last Guardian, Gobdaw responds by snapping a martini glass and trying to attack Artemis with the sharp end of the stem.
  • Hope Spot: Near the end of The Last Guardian, when Artemis tries to escape the Berserker Gate before it activates and kills him. He manages to jump out of the crater and begins to pass through the magical barrier. Holly is holding his hand, pulling him through, and Artemis thinks that a new life is ahead of him as an ambassador between humans and the People. And then the Gate kicks in and Artemis is dragged back in the crater. Butler doesn't make it to pull him out. Of course, it was only a Disney Death, but still.
    • The Berserker Bellico in The Last Guardiannote 
  • Horse of a Different Colour: Book eight mentions that fairies once used trolls as steeds in times of war. Mulch figures out the secret and rides a troll into battle against the berserkers.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Opal's first contact with her younger self.
    Opal was surprised to find her younger self a little whiny, even boring. Had she really been so self-absorbed?
    It's all me me me, thought Opal. I injured my leg in the explosion. My magic is fading. I need to get back to my own time.
  • Intrinsic Vow: Mesmer, Butler ordered to kill Holly, the "body refuses to keep functioning" version.
  • MegaCorp: Koboi Industries, prior to Opal's incarceration, had many legitimate enterprises that manufactured "everything from weapon parts to medical equipment" and even ran illegal front companies that sold obsolete fairy technology to humans. This allows Opal to cripple both human and fairy technology when she murders her past self and causes the majority of Koboi technology to violently annihilate itself.
  • Our Hero Is Dead: Artemis pulls this as part of a Thanatos Gambit.
  • Retcon: A minor one involving the story of how Foaly met his wife Caballine. In The Lost Colony, the two met because Caballine was a fan of one of Foaly's inventions. In The Last Guardian, the two met because Caballine was mistaken for a bank robber by Foaly's software and was thrown in jail, with Foaly having to apologize in person.
  • Spoiler Opening: If you know how to read Gnommish, the first page of The Last Guardian says The Last Will and Testament of Artemis Fowl. This comes up in English in the third act.
  • Temporal Suicide: After creating a duplicate of herself in The Time Paradox, the present version of Opal tricks the past version and arranges for her assassination, and past Opal's death causes a Temporal Paradox that allows the surviving Opal to become a super-being with incredible magical powers.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: In The Time Paradox, Artemis and Holly are sent back eight years in time. But in The Last Guardian, it is mentioned multiple times that past!Opal has been removed from her timeline five years ago. It seems Eoin Colfer forgot to add the three 'skipped' years from The Lost Colony in TLC.

  • Loophole Abuse: The way Holly passes her LEPrecon exam. Despite the test being interrupted by his brother Turnball and Holly saving his life, Julius Root says Holly failed because she didn't follow his orders. Then Holly shoots him with her paintball gun, because Root said the one sure way to pass was shooting him before he could shoot her (which nobody had managed in a century). Trouble Kelp actually falls over laughing at this exploit.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: Turnball Root decides he would rather kill himself by swallowing a Tunnel Blue spider than let his brother Julius incarcerate him. Root stops him by forcing coffee grains (which kill Tunnel Blues) down his throat.

Alternative Title(s): Artemis Fowl The Arctic Incident, Artemis Fowl The Eternity Code, Artemis Fowl The Opal Deception, Artemis Fowl The Lost Colony, Artemis Fowl The Time Paradox, Artemis Fowl The Atlantis Complex, Artemis Fowl The Last Guardian