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Literature / Hurog
aka: Dragon Bones

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Hurog is a series of two books, Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood, written by Patricia Briggs. It is mainly about Ward, who pretended to be stupid ever since his father gave him a beating that would almost have killed him. At the start of the novel, his father died, and Ward has problems to convince everyone that he is fully capable of inheriting and managing the estate.
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The death of his father brings about many changes, among them the fact that he inherits Oreg, who he thought was just a ghost. Oreg is actually an immortal being, ''made'' into castle Hurog so that the man who did it (Oreg's own father) would not need any other servants. Things are further complicated by the fact that two noblemen ask Ward to deliver a slave, who had fled to Hurog. Ward will do no such thing, stating that "There are no slaves in Hurog", and flees the place, with his Cute Mute sister Ciarra, Oreg, the slave, and two loyal men of the castle staff in tow.


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Hurog provides examples of:

  • Big Brother Instinct: Ward towards his younger siblings.
  • Book Ends: The book starts with a Dictionary Opening saying Hurog means Dragon and ends with Oreg repeating those words as a cryptic answer to Ward's inquiry.
  • Brawn Hilda: Tisala is a practical application of this trope. She's taller than most men, has a masculine face and a short, practical haircut, is Covered with Scars and callouses, broad-shouldered, lean, and muscular enough to match most men in strength. Ward, of course, is completely smitten by her.
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  • Chemically-Induced Insanity: In Dragon Blood, the protagonist is given drugs as part of a plot to make him seem unfit to rule. The reader gets to know what he thinks his surroundings look like (people talking to him are monsters, etc).
  • Court Mage: Like the high king and many nobles, Ward's father kept one of those. Everyone else uses him (the mage) as a unit of magical incompetence.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Oreg's way of dealing with people, who annoy him or he doesn't agree with. He is a slave, but he can mostly do and say what he wants unless ordered to shut up. His better judgement is the only other thing that can stop him, considering his long time serving abusive masters.
  • Dictionary Opening: The book starts with "Hurog means dragon" under the chapter title, and the protagonist repeats the definition in an inner monologue on the second page. It foreshadows much of the plot.
  • Dumb Muscle: Ward pretends to be this to protect himself from his father's wrath.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Oreg's father. Turning Oreg the child into a castle Powered by a Forsaken Child, and, despite Oreg being a powerful mage himself, making it so that Oreg is enslaved to whoever wears a certain ring and can't break this curse ... no mean feat. That evil sorcerer is long dead when the story begins, but there are others, such as Bastilla who is a very powerful, very sadistic mage and the antagonist of the protagonists for much of the plot.
  • Evil Tainted the Place: Castle Hurog is stained by the evil magic that turned the place into a Powered by a Forsaken Child building. This is implied to be the reason why an unusually high number of people don't survive their childhood there, turn mad, or have other things wrong with them. Ciarra, for example, was born mute, with no physical reason to be found. She gets better once the place is de-cursed and she goes to live somewhere else.
  • A Family Affair: Ward's father had an affair with his wife's half-sister/Ward's aunt.
  • Faster Than They Look: Ward is assumed to be slow, because of his huge size. He's actually quite fast both in body and mind, but talks slow, contributing to his image of a fool.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death:
    • It turns out that the family's castle was built using magic that involved doing this to a child.
    • Being eaten by basilisk is considered so. It swallows its prey whole, alive and fully conscious but paralyzed and slowly digests it.
  • Friendly Ghost: Oreg, the family slave/ghost. He is a sweet kid (albeit with a knack for snarking and occasional mischief) despite his awful past and has a soft spot for children, animals and people who treat the aforementioned groups nicely.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Ward. According to Oreg, he has irrepressible need to help children, abused animals and slaves. Then again, the plot of Dragon Bones has been set in the motion by his adamant resolution to help a slave. Ward's kind heart was actually one of the reason why his father abused him, as he considered his sons weak.
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
    • Half the cast have a dragon ancestor several generations back.
    • Axiel is half-dwarf.
    • Oreg's father was a half-dragon.
  • Heroic Build: Ward and Tisala are both extremely tall and heavily-muscled for their respective sexes; Tisala in particular stands out since she is not a busty, statuesque, "slender-yet-toned" Amazonian Beauty, instead having a wide, blocky, muscular frame that rivals most men in strength.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Subverted in Dragon Bones when Ward says that he will never be warm again, after killing someone else.
  • Immune to Mind Control: Ward seems to be immune to mind control to some extent. Doesn't help him much, though. The villains have other means. A magician who tried to compel him to do something complained that her magic didn't work on him. She theorized it could be due to his stubborn character and thick skull.
  • Incredibly Inconvenient Deity: In Dragon Bones, the god Aetherveon takes possession of Cute Mute Ciarra, and uses her body to tell the other protagonists cryptic things. This causes Oreg, who tried and failed to protect Ciarra to suffer horribly note  Ciarra's protective big brother Ward is not amused. But that's what you get for camping in the ruins of an ancient temple. Ward is angry at Aetherveon for quite some time afterwards, and refuses to pray to him out of spite, instead summoning Siphern, the god he usually worships, from his homelands. (Deities seem to be usually bound to a place in that universe, but as Ward proves, that is not absolute.)
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Tisala, who has her father's homely, masculine features, including a huge hawklike nose, small, close-set eyes, a long, angular face, a heavy brow ridge and jaw, and a wide, thin-lipped mouth.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When Ward's father is thrown by his horse, causing his death, this is directly connected to his mistreatment of said horse. People believe the stallion to be too dangerous to ride, but Ward manages to tame him, proving that the horse only behaved like a monster because it had been mistreated.
  • Man in the Iron Mask: King Jakoven built the Asylum specifically to lock up his brother Kellen, having been warned in a prophecy that it would be a very bad idea to kill his brother. While it's common knowledge that he's in there, most of the common people seem to have bought the idea that he's genuinely nuts, rather than unjustly imprisoned.
  • Naïve Animal Lover: Ward is thought (partly due to his Obfuscating Stupidity) by other characters to be this with regard to a very vicious horse, but in fact is really a Friend to All Living Things, as he knows his way around horses and the horse in question is actually not so much aggressive as ruined by his violent father. The horse actually killed his father, but Ward decides to keep it and give it a cutesy name.
  • Nice to the Waiter: One of the more obvious signs that Ward is not like his father is the way he treats Oreg. It does take Oreg a while to accept it, though.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Brought up and discussed. The heroes come to the conclusion that rape is rape, regardless of any accidental "enjoyment".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Ward started feigning brain damage as a young boy to protect himself from his abusive father. As Ward is officially next in line for his father's title, his apparent incompetence becomes something of an obstacle later on.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Hurog means "Dragon". It turns out the family has dragon blood — dragons can take human form.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Oreg, who is bound to the head of the family through magic.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Beckram carries Erdrick's body before the king before asking for a position in his military.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Averted with Tisala. It is lampshaded, as Ward notices that despite her badassery, she knows how to wear a dress.
  • Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: Ward is confronted with the fact that a runaway slave has hidden in his castle. He is asked to return the slave to Landislaw, a noble he dislikes, because Landislaw bought the slave from someone who didn't actually own her, and will get in big (maybe lethal) trouble if he doesn't give her back. Ward states that "There are no slaves in Hurog", and therefore, the slave is not a slave, and he won't deliver her to the noble. His uncle later asks him whether he made this decision out of principle, or whether he would have decided differently if he didn't dislike Landislaw. Ward himself isn't quite sure about his reasons.
  • Reluctant Gift: In Dragon Bones, Oreg gives a ring to Ward, that he prior to handing it over held in his fist, with his knuckles white, implying that it was hard for him to part with it. Not surprising, as the ring gives Ward ownership, and absolute power over Oreg, who is magically compelled to do anything his owner tells him to. He has no choice, as the ring must go from Ward's father to Ward, Oreg can't keep it. Ward doesn't learn about all the implications until later.
  • Self-Punishment Over Failure: Oreg, who is magically enslaved to the head of the Hurog family (which, at the moment, is the protagonist, Ward) punishes himself for failing to protect Ciarra, after Ward ordered him to do so. To some extent, he seems to be in pain that comes as a part of the Fate Worse than Death he was given when he was Made a Slave, but he also beats his head against a rock. He stops it after Ward tells him that it's not his fault, and the order was only to try to protect Ciarra. (Actually, it was more of a "Great that you're protecting my little sister, keep doing it", which makes the consequences all the more tragic.)
  • Stock Medieval Meal: In Dragon Bones, while fighting bandits, the heroes live on (increasingly mouldy) bread and cheese.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Oreg has a flashback to being whipped after laying a curse on one of his old masters. His powerful magic makes the damage real, at least until he can get enough of a grip to heal himself again.
  • Twin Switch: Beckram and Erdrick on occasion, when Beckram has too many things to do at once. Turns very tragic when an attempt is made on Beckram's life for pursuing the queen.
  • Tyrannicide: In Dragon Blood, high king Jakoven is an overall bad ruler, who also kills innocent men and rapes children. La Résistance has been planning his carefully timed demise for some time, and is only waiting for him to dig himself a bit deeper so that even more people will oppose him. After the revolutionaries get the Hidden Backup Prince out of prison, there is nothing that stands between the tyrant and a sharp blade anymore ... at least nothing that would hinder the heroes in any meaningful way.

Alternative Title(s): Dragon Bones, Dragon Blood

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