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Literature / Moth and Cobweb

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Moth and Cobweb is a projected duodecology by John C. Wright, to consist of four trilogies, revolving about the magical families of Moth and Cobweb.

Works thus far

  • Green Knight's Squire (complete and released as an omnibus)
    • Swan Knight's Son
    • Feast of the Elfs
    • Swan Knight's Sword
  • Dark Avenger’s Sidekick
    • Daughter of Danger
    • City of Corpses
    • Tithe to Tartarus

Tropes in Green Night's Squire include:

  • Apothecary Alligator: The witch of Bertolac's castle has one hanging in her tower. It's mate helps Gil and Foxglove escape when they ask.
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  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Foxglove crushes on Gil simply because he's polite to her.
  • Celestial Deadline: Gil is unfamiliar with such concepts as Ember Days. It doesn't help him because that calendar is highly significant.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Stuff everywhere from Norse Mythology to The Man Who Was Thursday.
  • Damsel in Distress: Foxglove, a witch's apprentice whom Gil returns to the mortal world. Gil even cites that she's a damsel and in distress to justify his acts.
  • Dude In Distress: Gil, when he loses the fight at the bridge and is knocked into the water. Ruff uses the term when discussing how Nerea rescues him.
  • Exact Words: Par for the course when dealing with The Fair Folk.
    • When Gil asks at a feast that Ruff do something for him, Sheila Mc Guire is told to allow it. She makes the mistake of telling him to do what Gil says. Ruff immediately says, "Now and forever!" freeing himself from her.
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  • The Fair Folk: The "elfs" are extremely nasty.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Many. Including a discussion of how loose the term "species" gets when applied to those who are only loosely bound by the laws of nature.
  • Kissing Cousins: Gil's Love Interest is his cousin Nerea, though (as Ruff is careful to point out) she is his second cousin once removed.
    • Ygraine is able to annul her marriage to Alain le Gros, as he is technically her nephew.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Invoked and examined. Chivalry is expected of all knights. Virtue...not so much. Gil, however, does his best.
  • The Lady's Favor: Nerea gives Gil (via Ruff) a lock of her hair. It protects him from the sylphs at Knockers.
  • "Leave Your Quest" Test: Gil faces several, including being in prison and realizing that unless he left the next day he would be utterly unable to make it; his mother's forbidding it; Nerea's trying to talk him out of it (though Gil does manage to persuade her that as the lady of Knight Errant, it's her duty to encourage him); a man telling him it was tantamount to suicide and so a sin; and more.
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  • Lifesaving Misfortune: Downplayed but serious. When a cop arrests Gil for saving the baby from the fae, he is preventing him from babbling about all sorts of magical things, which might put him or anyone who listens to him in the madhouse.
  • Liminal Being: The Moths and Cobwebs are part human, part fae. They are known as the Twilight People as a consequence, and fall between worlds in many ways.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: False accusations are made about the paternity of Gil.
  • The Nose Knows: Ruff, being a elf dog, can use scents to find things that are not exactly...logical. He also cites the trope by name.
  • Oblivious to Love: Ruff laughs at Gil for not realizing what it means when a young woman comes to watch him at his training, day after day.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Nerea's only part mermaid and so needs things like goggles for swimming underwater.
  • The Promise: Giving an oath is Serious Business. Gil is able to Logic Bomb his mother at one point by pointing out that it would be impossible to swear an oath that he will break a different oath.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Within their own Blue and Orange Morality framework, Alberec and the Erlkoenig are both willing to hear Gil out when he speaks, instruct their minions to treat fairly with him, and give him credit when he fights gallantly.
  • Rescue Romance: Ygraine and the first Swan Knight: she was kidnapped and held hostage by the Woolly Man to weave her hair into a protective cloak for him. When her husband and sons failed to come for her, the Swan Knight did.
  • Riddle Me This: Gil's mother is known as Ygraine of the Riddles. She is extremely learned and doesn't lie, and uses riddles and double meanings to get around people.
  • Shapeshifting Lover: Gil's mother is a swan maiden.
  • Talking Animal: Almost all animals can speak, though only certain people, such as Gil and his mother, can hear them without magical aid. At one point, Gil speaks to and convinces a spider to help him escape jail.
  • The Tourney:
    • This is formally staged so that Winter and Spring can have out their issues.
    • In the Back Story, Ygrainne had persuaded the knights to indulge in this instead of Gladiator Games, as it was more fitting.
  • Twitchy Eye: In Feast, the Steward develops one after having to deal with Gil for an evening.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The narrative cuts away from Gil and Sir Bertolac when the subject of defeating Guynglaff comes up.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: The Green Knight covers his face with a false nose made of bronze...and sunglasses.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Ygraine and by extension Gil.
  • The World Tree: Invoked by Ruff to explain that another tree is greater.
  • Worthy Opponent: Alberec smiles when he is outwitted by Ygraine.
  • Your Mother: played for dramatic irony when the insult is aimed at Gil by his half brother.

Tropes in Dark Avenger's Sidekick include

  • Archer Archetype: part of Yumiko's spy gear is a Japanese bow with ghost-killing arrows.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: In City of Corpses, this is averted: after Malen Rudgoch Ren reveals a large chunk of plot to the disguised Yumiko, she then immediately wipes her memory of it.—while taking a moment to gloat that, no, she is not that stupid.
  • Captain Ersatz: Criminals live in fear of a ferocious vigilante known as "Winged Vengeance."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Gil versus the werewolves. He's armored and mounted, they aren't. The most they do is slow him down.
  • Dramatic Irony: Yumiko criticizes "that science fiction movie" where the hero is an idiot and the heroine does everything...not realizing that she's in the same situation. (minus the hero being an idiot.)
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Yummy Cutie." Yumiko's immediate reaction to hearing this is disbelief, followed by Never Say That Again.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: An enemy has caught Yumiko and spends several paragraphs gloating over the fact before realizing that she still has leverage over him.
  • Genius Ditz: Elfine, who barely knows how to navigate human society, but can still make accurate observations and deductions about another Twilighter.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: known as a wirepoon and used most effectively along with an antigravity ring.
  • Failure Hero: Yumiko. Lampshaded by Elfine:
    "Just because you have failed at everything you've done so far doesn't mean you're going to lose!"
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: literally. Yumiko's weapons collapse and fold into themselves and can be hidden in the mist, unobservable to human eyes.
  • I Know Your True Name: used on the nightclub's lares househob to force him to cooperate.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: The Peach Cobbler Girls.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Gil and Matthias resolutely don't look down Yumiko's cleavage while she's wearing the abovementioned corset.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Yumiko has absolutely no compunctions about cutting the throats of downed enemies...it prevents them from getting back up again.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Yumiko uses a hyperspace snood to keep it out of the way while fighting...and notes that most heroines have pixie cuts or bobs.
  • Ring of Power: Yumiko has a ring that can turn invisible, turn her invisible, make her visible in a different spectrum of reality, emit light, or alter gravity. It's shown to be one of the Thirteen Treasures, on par with Gil's Flaming Sword from the previous trilogy.
  • Science Hero: Tom Moth. Cousin of Appleton Moth. He invents gadgets. And has adventures.
  • Sue Donym: Ami Nesia, and Sorry Yunomi (a mispronunciation of Sayori Yanomi, itself a historical pseudonym).
  • The Goggles Do Nothing: Averted, although Yumiko doesn't remember how to use them at first.
  • Terror Hero: Winged Vengeance, naturally.
  • Title Drop: "Dark Avenger's Sidekick" and "city of corpses."
  • Utility Belt: Yumiko has one, complete with Grappling-Hook Pistol (very useful for someone who can alter gravity).
  • Waif-Fu: Yumiko is a trained and deadly hand-to-hand combatant....who also happens to be five foot two and weighs less than one hundred pounds. Force multipliers are required, and she either fights dirty or uses ranged weapons.
  • Wait Here: Gil attempts to tell Yumiko and Elfine to wait out Tom's rescue. Yumiko sweetly tells him he's an absolute idiot.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Elfine all but namedrops the trope, while pointing out that she has experience dealing with the fae normally, but not in solving crimes or vigilante murders.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: Book 1 begins with an amnesiac girl waking up in a hospital bed.


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