Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Fifty Shades of Grey

Go To

Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic novel that started life as a The Twilight Saga fanfic called "Master of the Universe." Basically, same characters, but less vampire, more sex. Then, the character names were changed from Edward Cullen and Bella Swan to Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, and now it is not a fanfic but legit fic for sale.

"...reimagine[s] the Bella and Edward love affair set in contemporary Seattle, Washington with Bella as the young college graduate virgin and Edward as the masterful billionaire with secret sexual predilections.”

The book has five sequels. The first two, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, are the story of what happened to Ana after the first book ended. The other three are the POV sequels Grey, Darker, and Freed, which retell the original trilogy from Christian's point of view.

The first three books were made into same-titled films, released over 2015-2018. These have their own page here.

Not to be confused with Shades of Grey or Between Shades of Grey.

Tropes used:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Christian Grey is into BDSM and has the typical personality of the bad boy/alpha male in romance novels: domineering, impatient, frequently angry, and demands to have his own way. Almost all women in the series are attracted to him who aren't related or lesbians. However, Ana alternates between believing that these are minor quirks and thinking that she can heal him emotionally by giving him everything he wants, thus healing him with the power of her love. Although Ana insists throughout the series (and with ever-increasing strength) that Grey is making progress and is maturing emotionally because of her, he actually becomes crueller and more controlling as the series continues, to the point where he tortures her against her will in Fifty Shades Freed. Her crime? Getting home later than she said she would and thus avoiding being kidnapped.
  • Amicable Exes: Christian is good friends with his ex-domme. Subverted in that she started a relationship with him at age fifteen, it's implied that his methods of domming come from her, and he sees nothing wrong with what she did.
  • Analogy Backfire: Ana compares herself to Tess Durbeyfield and Icarus. Both times ignoring the part where those two characters die.
  • Artistic License: The depiction of the BDSM relationship and scenarios, which bear little relation to real world BDSM practices and relationships, which emphasize the importance of informed consent, negotiation, safewords and safety for all participants under the Safe, Sane, and Consensual mantra.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • In Fifty Shades of Grey, Anastasia Steele drives south from Vancouver, Washington to Portland, Oregon to get to Seattle, Washington (which is north of Vancouver, Washington).
    • In Fifty Shades Darker, Christian Grey says the following after disappearing for about eight hours:
      "I heard the TFR was lifted a while back and I wanted to take a look. Well, it's fortunate that we did. We were flying low, about two hundred feet AGL when the instrument panel lit up. We had a fire in the tail—I had no choice but to cut all the electronics and land." He shakes his head. "I set her down by Silver Lake, got Ros out, and managed to put the fire out."
      • A TFR is a Temporary Flight Restriction. There were no Temporary Flight Restrictions on Mount St. Helens for all of 2011, when this book is set. There were none for all of 2009, either, when E.L. James wrote the fanfic Master of the Universe. The last time that there was a TFR in effect around Mount St. Helens was in 2008... three years before the timeline of the book.
      • According to the FAA, the minimum safe altitude for helicopters in a congested area—cities, towns, settlements, or open-air gathering places like campgrounds, bandshells, arenas, stadiums, etc.— is an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft. Grey said that his altitude—his AGL—was about 200 feet. In addition to Mount St. Helens being 37 miles from Longview, Washington, 43 miles from Vancouver, Washington, and 51 miles from Portland, Oregon—thus making this a congested area—guess what the highest obstacle in the vicinity of Mount St. Helens is? Mount Adams, which is about thirty-four miles east of Mount St. Helens. Mount St. Helens is 8,635 feet high. Mount Adams is 12,277 feet high. If Grey didn't want to smash into the largest active volcano in Washington state, he should have been — at a minimum — 13,277 feet up.
      • Silver Lake is part of has three hiking trails running through it, one of which is right next to the area where Grey allegedly landed and which encircles the entire park. Grey and Ros could have started at one end and gone all the way to the other; they were, at MOST, three miles away from help. And the GPS on their phones, which Grey mentions, should have told them this. Silver Lake is also adjacent to a state highway, an interstate highway, and a 475-acre campground, and has two Visitor's Centers within walking distance.
      • The Forest Learning Center is on Highway 504, inside the blast zone of the volcano. That's operated by Weyerhaeuser Company, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the State Department of Transportation. And it features Helicopter tours that leave every half hour from 10-6 daily. One of those 'copter pilots should have seen a private helicopter on fire and tried to land, or seen the flames on the ground, and relayed the info to every pilot and ranger around Mount St. Helens.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: In this series, doctors don't seem to know the difference between contusions (bruises) and concussions (severe injury to the brain).
  • Artistic License – University Admissions: Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed both refer to villain Jack Hyde as having won a scholarship to Princeton University because he was bright. Princeton does not give any non-need-based scholarships. It says so right in their FAQ:
    *Do you give scholarships for academic merit, special talents or athletic ability?*
    No. All financial aid awards are based solely on need. Learn more about how aid is assigned in the Undergraduate Financial Aid Information and Application Instructions.
  • Author Avatar: Not necessarily Ana. Mrs. Robinson's initials are E.L.
  • Babies Ever After: The trilogy ends two years later, where Ana and Christian are playing with their son, Teddy. Ana is six months pregnant with a daughter whom they plan to name Phoebe. It is also mentioned that Kate and Elliot are married and had a daughter, Ava.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Christian Grey is described as amazing attractive by his love-slave girlfriend Anastasia Steele, and of course he is cruel, domineering, abusive jerk. Their relationship is portrayed as S&M, but since it completely misses the entire "Safe, Sane and Consensual" thing, he's really just a Domestic Abuser.
  • Beta Couple: Kate and Elliot. Aside from a bit of tension in book three they're the happy, emotionally healthy couple in contrast to Christian and Ana's constant drama.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Christian's obsession with BDSM is tied mostly to the fact that he is a damaged, traumatized individual with aggression issues. This stems from mommy issues and his much older girlfriend raping him and making him her sub when he was a teenager. He's naturally "cured" of it at the end.
  • Character Catchphrase: Anastasia: "Oh, my."
  • Character Tics: Anastasia is prone to flushing and blushing.
  • Complexity Addiction: Christian seems to have some sort of aversion to simply calling the police about people threatening him. Instead, he sets up needlessly complicated methods of protection, that include making Ana be watched by a bodyguard on his payroll at all times and literally forcing her (he picks her up and starts carrying her away while they're in the middle of the street) to move in with him.
  • Convenient Coma: Chapter 23 of Fifty Shades Freed has Anastasia in a coma. After hitting her head and suffering from a hairline fracture in the skull and some broken ribs, she's in a coma, despite having no brain-swelling. She spends a little over one day in a coma, where she is still lucid enough to hear all sorts of conversations taking place near her perfectly, and then wakes up with no repercussions and the drama of Christian being angry and unhappy that she got pregnant is completely gone.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Christian Grey. He has Ana's workplace under his control, he traces her with her cell phone (a present from him, by the way), and freaks out if she doesn't reply to his texts or emails within a certain time frame. Even in Fifty Shades Darker, he buys all of the pictures of her just because he doesn't want another guy looking at her. In Fifty Shades Freed, he even manages to become jealous of his unborn child and, after drowning his sorrows with Elena, he admits that he fears that Ana will choose the baby over him.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover:
    • People refer to "exams" rather than "mid-terms" or "finals", despite them being American and not British.
    • The very British "do go through" shows up despite the characters being American.
    • Fifty Shades Freed:
      • In Chapter Nine, one of Ana's bodyguards, realizing that someone has smashed a lot of furniture and knick-knacks in the hall outside the penthouse elevator, yells, "Code Blue!" In the U.K., that's a common general code for "Emergency!" In America, that's a common hospital code for "cardiopulmonary arrest".
      • Chapter Ten talks about the villain being "released from hospital". An American would be more likely to say "released from THE hospital". This mistake recurs throughout the book, too. Earlier in that chapter, a bodyguard says the villain will "have an aching skull when he wakes" instead of "...when he wakes UP."
      • In Chapter Thirteen, Ana refers to Grey leading her from the ground floor of his Aspen mansion to the first floor. In the U.K., that would be correct. However, in America, the ground floor IS the first floor. Ana and Grey would be headed up to the second floor.
      • In Chapter Fourteen, Ana, her friend Kate Kavanagh, and Ana's sister-in-law Mia all refer to dancing as "throwing some shapes" – which is Irish slang that has penetrated Britain but is virtually unknown in America.
  • Curves in All the Right Places: A male version in the way Christian's pants hang from his hips in just the right way.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Christian Grey. Had an abusive childhood. Refers to his mother as "Crack whore."
  • Disappeared Dad: Both Christian and Ana.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In Chapter 12, when Ana sends an email to Grey saying that she doesn't want to get into BDSM and "it's been nice knowing you," Grey's immediate response is to break into her duplex apartment, tie her up—the only thing he asks permission for—and then rape her into submission. (Despite the fact that Ana has been freaking out over BDSM for several chapters, she claims that the email was a joke. Neither Ana nor her author seem to realize that this doesn't make Grey's actions one bit less horrific.)
    • He also threatens to punish Ana by raping her in public on two occasions—once when he believes Ana has spoken on the phone to a male friend (she hasn't) and once when Ana refuses an extremely expensive present. His response in the first case is to threaten to screw her in the elevator going from his penthouse to the lobby (when anyone could walk in); in the second case, he threatens to hit her and then screw her on the hood of the car, because she belongs to him, and if he wants to give her Gift X, he WILL
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The POV character Anastasia Steele spends a good chunk (if not all) of the book talking about what a handsome sex god Christian is and every time he does something reprehensible, like putting a tracker on her phone (before they started dating), selling her old, but cherished car without her permission and buying her a new one, and stalking her across the country when she went to visit her mother in Georgia, Ana fawns over his looks and forgets why she was ever upset with him.
  • Dramatic Reading:
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Famously, the beginning of the first book is about Ana going to interview Christian for the college newspaper. For the rest of the series, Christian is careful to avoid the press.
  • Epunymous Title: Fifty Shades of Grey is named after the male lead Christian Grey, but it's also a reference to his mysterious life and personality (as in, "different shades") that Ana Steele is quick to uncover.
  • Expy: A lot of characters are similar to their original Twilight templates, with some characteristic of movie actors mixed in: Ana is a clumsy virgin who bites her lip a lot and has an absent-minded mother. Christian is an orphan adopted into a rich family, one of his adoptive parents is a doctor, he plays piano and has a brother and a sister whom Kate and Ethan Kavanagh, blonde siblings, hook up with respectively. Etc ad nauseum.
  • Female Misogynist: Ana hates more or less all women, as she suspects them of planning to steal her man. She acts as if her one friend, Kate, who is very kind to her, is a nuisance for being concerned about her relationship with the abusive Mr. Grey.
  • Fetishized Abuser: Christian Grey. He frequently comes off as condescending, domineering, predatory or an outright Jerkass towards Ana. He stalks her (both of them actually use the word "stalking" to describe his behavior), emotionally manipulates her and is controlling of her to the point where he buys the company where she works after he sees her boss has the hots for her. He gets insanely jealous of any man who pays attention to her. On multiple occasions he threatens to beat her, gag her, tie her up or all three if she does something he doesn't like and she admits to feeling intimidated by him. His behavior can come across as textbook emotional/verbal abuse, and there are at least a few instances where Ana's consent to BDSM practices is debatable. This is generally presented as being incredibly erotic and part of Christian's Sex God Dom persona, or is explained as a being a product of his Dark and Troubled Past which Ana believes she can fix by unconditionally loving him.
  • Fiction 500: Christian Grey owns a yacht, a helicopter, a private plane (complete with attractive stewardess), collects art, and has the resources to fly to Georgia at the drop of a hat just to see Ana.
  • First-Episode Twist: In Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian Grey is revealed after a hundred pages as secretly practicing BDSM and wants Anna as his sub. This is the first book of a trilogy.
  • Fully-Clothed Nudity: Exaggerated. Anastasia gets all flustered by seeing Christian in "nothing but" a t-shirt and jeans. So...fully clothed, then?
  • Gold Digger: Anastasia is worried that being with Christian will make people suspect that her main love is Christian's cash. Adding credibility to this is the fact that before she moves in with Christian, Ana lived with Kate, whose parents paid their rent for them, and once she's moved to Christian's place, she's not in a hurry to return the dress she borrowed from Kate.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: In Fifty Shades Freed, Ana discovers that she is pregnant because her birth control wore off earlier than expected. It takes her less than a paragraph (in which the word "abortion" is not even mentioned) to decide she's not getting an abortion, including the clichés of declaring that train of thought "a dark path" and wrapping an arm protectively around her belly.
  • Has a Type: Christian Grey has a type: shortish, dark-haired young women with light eyes. Apparently they remind him of his late mother. Ana fits this profile perfectly. This isn't a question of interpretation, either. Grey tells Ana this outright in Fifty Shades Darker:
    "...I like to whip little brown-haired girls like you because you all look like the crack whore-my birth mother. I'm sure you can guess why."
  • Hates Being Touched: Christian cured by The Power of Love.
  • I Can Change My Beloved: Anastasia has instances where she's thinking that, if she has a 'regular' relationship with Christian, he will eventually denounce his BDSM ways and want nothing more than 'vanilla sex', as he calls it.
  • Informed Ability: Ana's supposed to be knowledgeable enough about English literature to major in it, but she never shows any deeper knowledge about the books she's read.
  • The Ingenue: Anastasia Steele. Twenty-one, naive, and so virginal she never even masturbated before meeting Christian Grey.
  • Irrational Hatred: Christian loathes his birth mother, blaming all of his delinquent behavior and present-day issues on the fact that she was a "crack whore" (his nickname for her) who was unable to protect him from her pimp and who didn't feed him properly. That level of resentment seems pretty harsh when memories and flashbacks show that his mother was unable to even protect herself from being beaten by the pimp, that she loved her son enough to bake a birthday cake for him, and, based on Christian's focus on having submissives within their late teens to early twenties because they remind him of his mother, that she was in her teens herself when she gave birth and had to raise a child on her own, in terrible conditions. It also comes across as harsh, given that Christian doesn't direct anywhere near that level of hatred towards the pimp himself, who was the one who actually did hurt Christian.
  • It's All About Me: Christian Grey. He's a very selfish lover, particularly to his subs, and only cares about his own pleasure, often ignoring discomfort about certain aspects during 'scenes'. Even things that he seems to do for the sake of other people, like sending food supplies to Darfur, is all done because he used to go hungry as a toddler. He is the one in control of his life, and of those closely associated with him, including his subs and eventual wife, Anastasia Steele. His pleasure, his job, his personal life, is what he focuses on first and foremost.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: At the end of Fifty Shades of Grey, Ana confesses she's in love with Christian, but leaves him because she can't handle his more extreme sexual kinks. However, in the next book - Fifty Shades Darker, she quickly takes him back when he promises to work on himself.
  • Love Hungry: Ana and Grey are always talking about how they're hungry for sex and/or each other.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: In Fifty Shades Freed, Ana, after marrying Christian, insists that she wants to keep using her maiden name at work. Christian... doesn't take it well.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Anastasia, who (supposedly) brings Christian to a new and better life, has a name derived from a Greek word meaning "resurrection".
    • Christian's surname is "Grey," and he is not supposed to be completely good or evil.
    • The villain from Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed is named Jack Hyde. He can appear to be a kind and good man at times while being a vicious and violent one on other occasions.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Christian Grey has a number of psychological issues that he blames entirely on his dead mother (although she died when he was four and he was raised by a loving foster family after that), which include a violent personality, a desire to control everything in his life, freaking out when his chest is touched, hating blonde women (because he somehow was traumatized by a blonde policewoman carrying him away from his mother's body), and choosing young brunette women as submissives because they resemble his mother. These alternate between being treated by Ana as a series of endearing, if occasionally exasperating, quirks and being Played for Drama so Ana will treat him sympathetically. His therapist suggests to Ana that she's healing his issues simply with the Power of Love. His love of BDSM and dislike of vanilla sex is treated as a symptom of how messed up he is.
  • Mommy Issues: Christian. He chooses subs that look like his mother so he could beat them.
  • More Experienced Chases the Innocent: Anastasia is a 21 year old college student who is so innocent to the ways of sex that she has not even masturbated before. Christian, on the other hand, is a BDSM connouisseur who has had multiple partners from a young age. He is almost instantly attracted to her and begins to pursue her, despite her being a very ill match for him since she 1) has no experience with BDSM or subbing and 2) is horrified and turned off by most of it when she begins to understand exactly what Christian is into. The story exaggerates the dynamic so much that it acts as a Decon-Recon Switch of the trope, by showing all of the issues regarding boundaries and power imbalance that can come with such a relationship before arguing that those are all overcomeable obstacles since Love Redeems.
  • More than Mind Control: In Chapter 13, Ana accuses Grey outright of using sex as a weapon to get what he wants. Not only that, he admits it.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Jack Hyde.
  • Naughty Under the Table: In Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian tries to finger Ana while they are having dinner with his parents in his childhood home. Ana does not allow him, promptly removing his hand. Much to his ire.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Christian Grey AND Ana Steele. Grey breaks into her duplex and rapes her into submission when he receives a rejection email; when Grey refuses to kiss Ana, this is her response (which is straight out of New Moon):
    Once underneath the dark, cold concrete of the garage with its bleak fluorescent light, I lean against the wall and put my head in my hands. What was I thinking? Unbidden and unwelcome tears pool in my eyes. Why am I crying? I sink to the ground, angry at myself for this senseless reaction. Drawing up my knees, I fold in on myself. I want to make myself as small as possible. Perhaps this nonsensical pain will be smaller the smaller I am.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Ana has a number of orgasms during the rape in Chapter 12. This is presented as equaling consent. Apparently Ana's unaware that orgasm can happen during rape—or that it doesn't mean that you've consented to anything. This is also Christian Grey's rationalization in Chapter 16 after he spanks and then screws Ana as punishment for daring to roll her eyes at him, despite Ana telling him repeatedly that, whatever her physical response, she "didn't like it" and "would rather that [he] didn't do it again."
  • Pants-Positive Safety: In Fifty Shades Freed, Ana Steele, who is preparing to go to the bank and get some money to ransom her sister-in-law Mia, shoves a loaded handgun into the back of her jeans—despite having stated repeatedly that this type of gun has no safety catch to prevent it from going off and despite knowing that she's pregnant. Although there have been numerous setups throughout the series establishing how dangerous guns can be if treated carelessly, which might lead the reader to conclude that Ana will be injured by the gun, nothing of the sort happens.
  • Pimped-Out Car: And a Pimped Out Helicopter, too.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
    • We pretty much never see Christian actually being at his office managing his many businesses. The few times we do see him working, he's off doing something that's unrelated to his work, and giving orders to a subordinate over his phone.
    • Despite the text telling us repeatedly that Ana is the most brilliant of commissioning editors who even worked on her honeymoon (something that never showed up in any of the honeymoon scenes) and that she had a knack for editing even when she was Jack Hyde's personal assistant (where the only things she did were filing and typing up one letter poorly), her "job" appears to consist of letting her personal assistant Hannah make plans and set up meetings for her, going to one meeting with her colleagues and bosses, talking about meeting in person with an author, and looking at the file of a manuscript for two seconds. At no point does she do anything that a commissioning editor would normally do in the course of business.
  • Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Played straight in Fifty Shades of Grey, when Ana finds out how Christian ended up being taken as Elena Lincoln's submissive. When he was fifteen, he was hired to clear out some rubble as a way to fund his drinking habit and, after he insulted her, she hit him and then kissed him. This is despite the fact that the state of Washington has strict laws about solid waste disposal and Christian could not have been hired for the job without a permit.
  • Porn Stash: Homemade, at that.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey As Told by Christian and Darker: Fifty Shades Darker As Told by Christian which tells the events of the first two books from Christian Grey's perspective.
  • Property of Love: Christian AND Anna love to tell each other "You're mine."
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend/Yandere: Leila, Christian's ex-sub.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Christian lapses into this when he gets upset (which is often), as well as when he wants to sound commanding (and, well, dominant). It's described as his "staccato talking".
    "You. Are. So. Sweet," he murmurs between each thrust. "I. Want. You. So. Much."
  • Purple Prose:
    • "You beguile me, Christian. Completely overwhelm me. I feel like Icarus flying too close to the sun."
    • "Placing my head on my knees, I let the irrational tears fall unrestrained. I am crying over the loss of something I never had. How ridiculous. Mourning something that never was – my dashed hopes, dashed dreams, and my soured expectations."
  • Questionable Consent: Ana is told that being Christian's sub is up to her and that she can negotiate the terms of their contract if she wishes. When she sends him an e-mail, joking that she wants their deal to be off (before she even signed the contract), Grey goes to her apartment, ties her to the bed, and rapes her until she changes her mind. Whenever she tries to renegotiate anything of the contract, he tries to talk her out of it.
  • Rejected Marriage Proposal: Downplayed in Fifty Shades Darker. Christian spontaneously proposes to Ana, but she says she needs time to think about it because they haven't known each other that long (about a month) and she's worried he's only proposing because she was considering leaving him, believing they're incompatible. Not long after though, she tells Christian she accepts and they announce they're engaged at his birthday party. Despite this, Christian still proposes to Ana 'properly' with a ring as well.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Why did the press-averse Christian Grey agree to be interviewed for a college newspaper?
  • Romanticized Abuse: Ana's relationships with Christian Grey.
  • Safe Word: The standard red for stop yellow for slow down are established in Chapter 11 and it is implied that Ana could have stopped any sex that happened or was threatened after that point.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: Christian Grey's unparalleled hotness is often sufficient to make Ana forget about his latest bout of physically harming her, stalking her, bullying her into doing what he wants, etc.
  • Self-Made Man: Christian Grey calls himself this, saying he started up his business and has made it as large and influential as it is now, all by himself. He seems to forget that it was Elena Lincoln who gave him the starting capital for his business.
  • Self-Plagiarism: The trilogy started life as a The Twilight Saga fanfiction called Master of the Universe. When edited for publication, it remained 89% identical to its former self.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Anastasia Steele is entirely Christian Grey-sexual. At the age of 21, she never had attractions to men before meeting him and is not interested in other men. She has never even touched her body for her own pleasure and, in Fifty Shades Freed, has to be taught by Grey how to do so.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Strangely, Level 7 (Can't Stand Men, Can't Live Without Them) is where the series lands, with its rather unsympathetic portrayal of rich and powerful men and yet, strangely, it also combines it with Level 2 (Whores, Whores, Whores...) since it also implies that women are venal at heart and willing to do anything to latch onto a rich, powerful guy, especially if he's attractive.
  • Small Reference Pools: Ana, who is an English major, only mentions books that you'll have heard of even if you aren't an English major.
  • Son of a Whore: Christan Grey's biological mother was a drug addicted prostitute who committed suicide when he was four because her pimp was abusive.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Christian Grey. Again, he and Ana recognize his stalker tendencies; the narrative simply presents this as romantic.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: This is Christian's idea of the 'place for a woman'. He practically mentions the trope itself, by saying that he would much prefer Anastasia to be nothing more than 'barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen'. He seems to have no problem with his second-in-command, Ross, being a working woman, but that might have to do with the fact that she is stated to be a lesbian.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: In the epilogue of Fifty Shades Freed, it's revealed that Ana and Christian have a two-year-old son with red hair—who looks exactly like the toddler version of Christian that Ana has been imagining and daydreaming about post-coitus for the past three books.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: Christian seems to think so. So does his adoptive family, probably. Seeing as they adopted a deeply traumatised child and never bothered to seek professional help. There is a psychiatrist, but he is only there for exposition.
  • Title Drop: a rare 3 different titles dropped, Fifty Shades and Master of the Universe being said multiple times and twilight, referring to the time at night, being said once in the second book.
  • Tuckerization:
    • E.L. James includes three characters whose names echo her pen name: Ella (the first name of Grey's birth mother), Elliot (the first name of Grey's adopted brother), and Elena Lincoln (the name of the adult Dominatrix who got into a sexual relationship with fifteen-year-old Grey, thus making her guilty of statutory rape), whose initials are also E.L. There's also a fourth character, Leila, whose name looks almost like an anagram of Elena's.
    • Dr. Raina Sluder, the doctor in Fifty Shades Freed who takes care of Ray Steele after he gets in a car accident. If you check the Acknowledgments, you'll see E.L. James thanking a group of people, including "Dr. Raina Sluder for help with all matters medical."note 
  • Unreliable Narrator: The most prominent example is when, in first person present tense, Ana gives a detailed explanation of her surroundings and right afterwards claims that she doesn't get a chance to see what her surroundings look like.
  • White Man's Burden: Darfur, of all things, is dragged into the book to demonstrate just how rich and generous Christian Grey is.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math:
    • Ana graduated on Thursday, May 27, 2011 (according to various emails, although in the real world, May 27, 2011 was a Friday) and then had interviews four days later on Monday, May 30. 27 + 4 ≠ 30 in base 10. Monday would have been May 31—Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the United States on which most business offices would be closed.
    • There's simply no way that Ana can interview Grey on Monday, May 9, 2011 (the date given in E.L. Jame's short story Meet Fifty Shades), have five days pass, meet Grey in the hardware store in which she works on Saturday (which would be May 14), have "several weeks pass"—so three weeks at the very least—have a week of finals and then graduate on May 27. Any way you look at it, you can't squeeze five weeks between May 9 and May 27 without a time machine.
    • The date of the interview changes in Grey, which is Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian Grey's point of view. The book's chapters are dated and Chapter One, the interview chapter, is titled "May 11, 2011." Why the date was changed is unclear, as it gives events even less time to occur and makes the still-canonical five-day gap between the interview and Grey's visit to Ana's place of employment on Saturday, May 14, 2011 impossible.
    • In Fifty Shades Freed, Grey refuses to marry Ana any later than one month after his birthday (his birthday being on June 18, so the deadline for the marriage would be July 18). Since he nearly always gets his way (and has terrible temper tantrums when he doesn't), it seems likely that they married on July 18, if not before. Yet Ana can't remember how long she's been married. She mentions multiple times on the same day that she has been married for two weeks, three weeks, and a month. Even a week after this, when their honeymoon has ended and Grey and Ana are back in Seattle, Ana still insists that she has only been married for three weeks... as if time itself had stood still.

Alternative Title(s): Fifty Shades Of Gray, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed