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Literature / Realm of the Elderlings
aka: Tawny Man

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Fitz and Nighteyes, by Michael Whelan
The Realm of the Elderlings is the universe in which the majority of Robin Hobb's work takes place. So far it is comprised of the following sub-series:

  • The Farseer
    First trilogy about Fitz, a royal bastard who grows up at a court threatened from within and without.

  • The Liveship Traders
    A trilogy about the traders of Bingtown, to the south of the Six Duchies.

  • The Tawny Man
    Second trilogy about Fitz, taking place fifteen years after The Farseer.

  • The Rain Wild Chronicles
    A quartet picking up loose ends from The Liveship Traders.

  • Fitz and the Fool
    Third trilogy about Fitz, largely set another twenty years after The Tawny Man.

There are also the related stories "Homecoming", "The Inheritance", "Words Like Coins", "Blue Boots" and "Cat's Meat" and the novella The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince.

The various trilogies and stories follow different characters and are written in somewhat different styles, and could be read independently of one another. The three trilogies about Fitz form one group, with the other two series being more loosely linked to one another. Nonetheless, all five series form different parts of a single overarching narrative and characters from one series will reappear in others to make cameos or as supporting characters; and the books thus make the best sense when read in the order above. Though no one character appears in every book, the central characters of the series might be said to be Heterosexual Life-Partners FitzChivalry Farseer, a royal bastard trained to be an assassin, and the enigmatic Fool, a mystic prophet with an ambiguous agenda.


Although plenty happens over the course of the series, compared to many fantasy series the books are primarily character-driven and focus to a great extent on the concerns, motivations, feelings and conflicts of their main characters, with a common theme being the conflict between characters' own desires and their duties to their King or their people, their friends, or their families (or sometimes all three). Characters frequently change over the course of the books. Whilst the series does have definite heroes and villains, characters are rarely either entirely noble nor irredeemably evil and just as the villains have backstories that go some way to explaining their motivations, the heroes too are often motivated by violence and vengeance (or for the Greater Good) into doing things that aren't strictly heroic. The series has plenty of dark moments, but nonetheless on the whole does lean towards the idealistic side of the scale.


The series walks the line between High Fantasy and Low Fantasy without ever clearly falling into either camp. The medieval setting, plots revolving around the rise and fall of Kingdoms, magic, dragons, prophecies about the fate of the world etc. are all archetypical of high fantasy, but the focus on individual human characters and their internal problems, as well as the moral ambiguity discussed above, are more typical of low fantasy.

The first trilogy should not be confused with the novel Farseer, a Warhammer 40,000 novel by William King of Gotrek & Felix fame.

Tropes not exclusive to any of the series:

  • Action Girl: Despite being a pseudo-medieval kingdom, the Six Duchies have an enlightened approach towards women, who frequently feature as warriors, soldiers and guards.
  • Addictive Magic: Skill-users suffer from an addiction to Skilling that can cause truly terrible physical pain and mental distraction. Fitz suffers especially from this addiction thanks to Galen actively trying to keep him from learning to Skill properly.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Kelsingra and several other ruined ancient Elderling cities found on the banks of the Rain Wild River and only accessible by using a liveship or taking the long, Skill-wrought road leading there from the Mountain Kingdom. Due to their proximity to and co-habitation with dragons the Elderlings were able to take advantage of the latter's magic and develop what amounts to Magitek, yet their cities were destroyed in a cataclysm so devastating it changed even the course of the coastline.
  • Aerith and Bob: Characters such as Fitz, Burrich, Regal, and well as Molly and Will. Possibly a case of Early Installment Weirdness, as the characters with "normal names" are introduced in the first book and are out of the picture by the end of the first trilogy.
  • After the End: Fitz's is not a Crapsack World in Assassin's Apprentice, but it is made clear that some kind of decline has taken place from an earlier time when the kings of the Six Duchies had treaties with magical beings from beyond the mountains. The Skill, formerly the preserve of many in the Six Duchies, is now known only to the royal family and the Skillmaster. Over the course of the series, we slowly learn more about the now-gone Elderling civilization.
  • Ambiguous Gender: In the Farseer trilogy there's the Fool, who the narrator Fitz believes is male. The Liveship Traders trilogy has a totally different dramatis personae, including the female Amber. It's never stated that these two are the same person, but more and more clues are dropped as the trilogy progresses, and because Amber advises Althea on how to disguise herself as a boy we start to think he/she is really female and was disguised as male in the earlier books. But in the Tawny Man trilogy, where we and Fitz are told outright that both characters are the same person, there's a section where Fitz inhabits the Fool's body and can presumably tell what sex he/she is, but never tells us! Fitz implies that the Fool's kind are so different from humans that neither gender is appropriate — but then there's the Pale Woman to account for, who is clearly female, leading to the conclusion that not all Whites are the same. This is in line with the Fool's claim that where he comes from, people don't insist on the existence of only two genders.
  • Ambiguously Human: The Whites, and by extension the White Prophets. Easily mistaken for albinos when young, their skin, eyes and hair darken throughout the course of their lives to golden and eventually to chestnut brown whenever one of their prophecies has been fulfilled and the world nudged from its set course. Subtle hints like their longevity and something slightly off about the Fool's wrists clue Fitz in as well. The Fool then says that no, the Whites were not human, and neither is he, though it is later revealed that they are born to human parents.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Discussed. In the Six Duchies it is generally assumed that the Witted can see through animal eyes. That is not so. As Fitz and others point out, they cannot see through their bond animals' eyes, yet the idea that the Witted could be spying on them creeps many people out to such an extent that — combined with other superstitions — it's a direct cause of Burn the Witch!.
  • Ascended Extra: The Fool was originally intended to be a minor supporting character, if a somewhat mysterious one, which explains why he goes from being largely absent in the first part of Assassin's Apprentice, at least compared to his later prominence.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: The implied fate of someone who gives themselves up to the Skill. Fitz several times encounters Verity in the Skill river, as well as Chade after his death, with the two of them offering obtuse advice. There’s likewise strong hinting that this happened to many of the original Elderlings, in their rush to escape the catastrophe that befell their civilization.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: Bingtown has the Rain Wild Street, where the exotic and expensive, potentially magically imbued merchandise of the mysterious Rain Wild Traders can be bought. It's so expensive, many of the shops have hired guards. Fitz mentions how just walking down the street dizzied him due to his heightened senses of the Wit and the Skill.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The dragons perceive the world completely different than humans do. For dragons, they are the kings and queens of the world, and the world and everything in it exists only to make sure the dragons are doing well. It is impossible to make a dragon understand that humans have different priorities, so that the humans have to resort to offering the dragons bargains which benefit the latter to get them to do something not of their immediate concern.
  • Bond Creatures: Those with the Wit choose animal partners with whom they share their lives, often assuming certain traits typical for the animal. If all goes well, it's an enrichment for both parties; if things go south, both lose their ability to live among their own kind. Thus, careful instruction in the ways of the Old Blood folk is encouraged beforehand.
  • Burn the Witch!: Witted people who are caught are hanged over water, chopped to pieces and burned. Superstition holds that this is done because otherwise their spirit might escape or even allow them to come back to life. It's considered a horribly evil thing to do by those of Old Blood, but the Wit does allow this to happen under very specific circumstances.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: The Chalcedeans as a race have a roughly Arabic skin tone, but sandy blonde hair and blue eyes.
  • Decadent Court: The Jamaillian court is less well described than the Farseer court at Buckkeep, but obviously much bigger and both more deadly and more decadent, with the Satrap at the top, an unstated number of advisors and nobles, the Satrap's Heart Companions (not to be confused with a harem, although to Companion Serilla's dismay most Heart Companions have chosen to do just that) and all other members of the court going unmentioned. And everyone is seemingly doing their level best to get as much power as possible, at whatever price.
  • Demoted to Extra: Tends to happen to most characters in the Fitz trilogies who survive any one trilogy, e.g. Kettricken, Molly and Starling after the first trilogy, Dutiful, Elliana, Hap, Thick and Web after Tawny Man. The only real constants are Fitz, the Fool, Chade, and to a certain extent Nighteyes.
  • Doorstopper: The main series books are all well over 500 pages, with some pushing 1,000.
  • The Dragons Come Back: All the series revolve to a greater or lesser extent around the return of dragons and their Elderling servants. The Fool in particular works towards this happening, claiming that the dragons will serve as a counterpoint to human arrogance and thus prevent the humans from destroying themselves. It is a long and arduous process, as the dragons' reproduction cycle is dependant on many factors and only one male and female dragon respectively are left.
  • Ensemble Cast: The Liveship Traders and The Rain Wild Chronicles have this, though the Fitz trilogies are all told from his point of view ( and, starting in Fool's Assassin, occasionally that of Fitz's daughter Bee).
  • Fantastic Racism: The persecution of Old Blood folk known as the Witted, who are born more highly attuned to life and bond with an animal companion. In the Six Duchies, they are vilified as little more than beasts themselves and tend to get lynched if discovered.
  • Evil Plan:
    • In The Tawny Man it is revealed that the Red Ship Wars and the entire events of the first trilogy were orchestrated by the Pale Lady, revealing that the first series' Big Bad Regal was just a pawn in her much larger scheme.
    • In Fitz and the Fool we learn that the Pale Lady in turn was just a servant of the Four and so part of an ongoing plan to shape the course of the world in a particular direction. Schemes within schemes.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • The Six Duchies resemble a medieval European kingdom, particularly England: controlled by its nobility and monarchy, it has a temperate climate and a long coastline which is frequently subject to raids by...
    • ... the Outislanders, who are very much classic Horny Vikings: they live on cold northern islands which have Scandinavian-sounding names (as do the Outislanders themselves). They are a Proud Warrior Race whose favourite way to pass the time is pillaging the Six Duchies. A twist however: they are a Matriarchy.
    • Bingtown and their cousins, the Rain Wild Traders, seem more like a renaissance Merchant City, like Venice (but without the canals), except with some magitek plundered from the Elderling cities in the Rain Wilds.
    • Jamaillia resembles the Ottoman Empire and the Mountain Kingdom resembles Himalayan cultures, though they aren't presented in as much detail as some of the other locations.
  • Functional Magic: The Farseers, the royal family of the Six Duchies, are known magic users. Their magic, the Skill, is held in high regard, but other forms of magic are known and real, most notably the Wit, whose practitioners are hidden because they are regarded with suspicion and even outright hostility. Other forms of magic such as scrying and magical charms are occasionally shown, and the reader is given every indication that they work.
  • Heroes of Another Story: Hobb frequently employs this trope for World Building and the reader is constantly made aware that there are vitally important things happening off-screen, such as Chade's various other machinations and Verity's quest in the first trilogy. In the Bingtown books we are more likely to follow the events directly thanks to the Ensemble Cast.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Inverted. All the maps we see have a large ocean in the east and south, and the majority of the action takes place in the northern-most kingdom of the Six Duchies, on a landmass that extends an unknown distance to the west. Mercenia (revealed to be the homeland of the Fool) in the final trilogy is reached from the Six Duchies by a long ocean journey to the south and is implied to extend much further beyond the small corner we see on the map, but is only introduced late in the last trilogy of the series.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Considering the length of the series it's inevitable that the cast ends up pretty large. Largely averted within any given sub-series though, at least the Fitz trilogies, each of which tends to revolve around a relatively small group of characters. Played straighter in The Liveship Traders and The Rain Wild Chronicles, both of which have an Ensemble Cast.
  • Magic A Is Magic A:
    • Magic is widely known from the start of the series, but there are no fireball-slinging wizards and the limitations of the various forms of magic in the series are generally adhered to. The most frequently encountered is the Skill, a form of magic associated with the Farseer bloodline and with Elderlings. It allows users to communicate over long distances, to influence the thoughts of others, and even - if the user is sufficiently powerful - to make them do things the user wants. It can also be used to heal wounds, albeit at the cost of physically draining both user and patient.
    • The Wit allows the user to communicate with some animals, and to form emotional and psychic links with certain receptive animals. It can also sometimes be used to repel and harm assailants if the user is being attacked.
    • This gets a bit more complicated as the series goes along. Humans perceive major dualistic differences between what they term the Skill and the Wit. But, dragons and liveships... really don't. Elderlings also had a different take on things. And, as Fitz discovers, the more potent uses of the Skill that he can do (often by accident) require simultaneous use of the Wit and visa versa. For so long, he worries about "contaminating" his Skill with the Wit, that it takes him a very long while to spot that they can boost and help each other (and, in fact, are needed in tandem to e.g. wake stone dragons — successful coteries probably had a Wit-capable user, if only to some vestigial degree, in the group... even if they were not all aware of it). There are hints of other sides of the magic coin beyond the Wit and Skill, as well — hedge witchcraft, priestly uses of what could be both the Wit and the Skill, however the Fool's prophecy works...
  • Merchant City:
    • Bingtown, situated near the mouth of the Rain Wild River on the Cursed Shores. The Bingtown Traders consider themselves an exclusive caste, basically rule themselves via the Traders Council and are very proud of being the descendants of those who came to the Cursed Shores with nothing but themselves and not only managed to survive but also to make a fortune.
    • Jamaillia City as well, which is implied to be the capital of a sprawling empire of which Bingtown is a nominal province. We never get to see any of the rest of the Empire though.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Justified. The Six Duchies folk, the Bingtowners, and the Outislanders all have very different standards of morality, depending on their previous histories, and even those groups are not morally homogenous, with each individual character bringing their own reasons and morals to the story.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • Dragons are intelligent, can fly, and they breathe acid as a weapon. They also have a complex life cycle. They begin as Sea Serpents, go upriver to cocoon themselves inland, and emerge as dragons. The disruption of this cycle created the current state of the world, with the dragons all but gone and humanity's knowledge of the magics of the past nearly lost.
    • And then there's what becomes known as the Six Duchies' dragons, which are not dragons at all but statues of dragons brought to temporary life by Skill coteries pouring themselves into them. But since those are the first dragons anyone sees in a long time, there is some controversy when the real ones show up.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The Elderlings combine this with Lizard Folk. They are taller, more beautiful, with metallic eye colours, telepathic and possessed Magitek. As a mark of the dragons they live alongside, they also have scales and sometimes claws and even wings. Later it is revealed that they are not really a separate race as such, but humans and their offspring who have been 'claimed' by Dragons and shaped in their image through magic. The lucky ones get much longer lifespans than humans and magical powers, but because Dragons are generally unconcerned with most things besides themselves and prone to forgetting such insignificant things as humans — after all, what measure is a non-dragon? —, this can also end up being Blessed with Suck.
  • Phlebotinum: The Silver, or liquid skill. Embedded in various objects it seems to be able to produce any magical effect desired, including all the various Elderling magitek like the Skill-pillars and the Butterfly Cloak as well as more mundane things like lighting and the skill-cubes (basically magic tape recorders). Later revealed to be the source of the Skill as well as the Dragons' various powers, and by extension Wizardwood and Liveships.
  • Praetorian Guard:
    • The King's Guard at the start of the series, though that's about as far as they are described.
    • During Royal Assassin, Queen-in-Waiting Kettricken acquires her own Queen's Guard, who are inspired by her own courage and prowess in battle and decide she needs her own guard.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Discussed by the Fool when Fitz questions the validity of his prophecies. The Fool claims that prophecies that were written down often turn out to be true, but that it's also impossible to tell which prophecy will eventually be the one to surface, because there are a number of possible futures. All of those futures can be foretold, but it's only after the fact that one can say 'yes, that happened exactly as it was foretold'. Hence prophecies, when written down, tend to be so infuriatingly vague that they leave enough room for interpretation.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Rain Wild Traders. Barely anyone knows they even exist, yet it is they who are the source of most of Bingtown's wealth, as the Bingtown Traders have to buy their exotic goods to be able to sell them elsewhere. They are also the ones who build and sell the liveships, and only trader families in possession of a liveship can even navigate the Rain Wild River and reach the coveted merchandise. The Rain Wild Traders are a sort of homebound Intrepid Merchants, exploring and plundering the Advanced Ancient Acropolis buried beneath their own city of Trehaug. They are also not quite human anymore due the their constant proximity to the buried Elderling city.
  • Psychic Link: Both the Skill and the Wit/Old Blood are used in this way, the latter mostly for Bond Creatures. The Skill, a magic usually found within the Farseer bloodline, enables Skilled ones to form Skill coteries which serve the monarch and are able to share power among themselves and with the reigning king/queen and to some extent influence other people as well.
  • Scavenger World: Either directly or indirectly Kelsingra, the cities of the Rain Wilds and Bingtown all exist off the remains of the Elderling civilization.
  • Sorceror King: The Farseer dynasty are psychically gifted with a variety of powers. Whether they fall here or under Sorcerous Overlord depends on the monarch: Kings Shrewd and Verity are definite examples of The Good King, while Regal is a prejudiced asshole and part of the first trilogy's Big Bad Ensemble.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: Played straight, without seeming derivative or unoriginal: Dragons, Medieval Kingdoms, Magic, an ancient race that has mysteriously disappeared, and so on.
  • Standard Royal Court: The Farseer court at Buckkeep is as standard as it gets, with — most of the time — a King, his Queen, the King-in-Waiting (or Queen-in-Waiting, but the books are dominated by the male members of the Farseer line), princes, a royal bastard — hello, Fitz — , The Spymaster doing double duty as the chancellor, the Fool, various nobles and their hanger-ons, the King's/Queen's Guards, the normal guards and a vast array of servants.
  • Tree Top Town: The city of Trehaug is an entire city made of tree houses and inhabited by homebound intrepid merchants. It's a veritable maze of gangways, ladders and circular rooms built on platforms around tree trunks. This is because right underneath Trehaug there's an ancient Elderling city that's been buried by some past cataclysm and the Rain Wild River, the waters of which are caustic and make the ground funny, runs right beside it. The Rain Wilders spend their time uncovering the Elderling city and plundering its magical artefacts, a good part of which goes towards keeping Trehaug functioning.
  • Unequal Rites: Depending on where you are, different kinds of magic can receive very different levels of respect or acceptance, even though all magic is probably related. In the Six Duchies, the Skill is highly regarded and closely linked to the royal family, while the Wit is seen as a perversion of nature, and having it will make you a target of persecution. Consequently, users of the Skill and the Wit tend not to get along with each other.

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    The Farseer Trilogy 
The first trilogy follows the story of the royal bastard of Prince Chivalry, Fitz. As a young boy he is brought to the heart of the Six Duchies, Buckkeep, and to its court, where most of the story takes place. As a bastard, Fitz is trained in the only real way he can serve his country: as an assassin. He aids the King and his King-in-Waiting in protecting the kingdom both from internal threats and an external threat: the Outislander pirates, the Red-Ship Raiders.

  • Assassin's Apprentice
  • Royal Assassin
  • Assassin's Quest

Tropes found in The Farseer Trilogy:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Molly ends up marrying Burrich thinking that Fitz was dead
  • Abusive Parents: Molly's father. Molly herself shows shades of this later, until someone intervenes.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Molly's father. Suprisingly, related to the entry above.
  • And I Must Scream: Averted since it's not presented as a particularly horrible fate.The Heroic Sacrifice Skill coteries tend to end up making, along with their skill coteries. Eventually, the coteries are drawn to the Dragon quarry, where they'll carve a new dragon and join with it, to sleep until the Kingdom needs them.
    • What does seem more like this trope is the carving of Girl-on-a-Dragon; the leader of that coterie thought to preserve herself, carving a human body astride the coterie's dragon and attempting to fill only the body with her mind. Her vanity and reluctance to throw herself fully to the dragon resulted in it not fully awakening, leaving it lifeless and half-trapped in stone, although it awakens eventually thanks to the efforts of Fitz and the Fool.
  • Angst: Fitz tends towards this mindset, sometimes dropping into Wangst territory. Given what happens to him, though, it's understandable. It's also supposedly a side effect of elfbark, which he starts abusing partway through the trilogy; elfbark is later shown to cause mood swings.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted. Fitz gets hit with one and only his badassery and Determinatorness and Nighteyes allow him to keep going. It nearly kills him and it takes weeks for him to recover.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The ending of Royal Assassin. King Shrewd is dead, Verity is missing, Kettricken is forced to flee Buckkeep, Regal becomes the new king and Fitz is sentenced to death. It slowly gets better in the next book.
  • Benevolent Boss: Chade, and by extention King Shrewd, are this toward Fitz.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Regal and the Red Ships (technically their leader Kebal Rawbread counts, but he never makes an appearance).
  • Bittersweet Ending: To put it mildly. The Six Duchies is safe, but the woman Fitz loves has married a man he cares about too deeply to take her from, everybody thinks he's dead, he's been revealed as Witted so if he returns he's liable to be lynched, and he has no home to call his own.
  • Blood Sport: Regal's gladiator ring, a twisted version of the King's Justice.
  • Cain and Abel: Regal's feud with Chivalry and Verity. His mother hammered it into him that he was "better" than his half-brothers because she was higher-born than Chivalry and Verity's mother, and he never forgot it.
  • Camp Straight: Regal is somewhat flamboyant and effeminate, but is implied to have female lovers.
  • Chekhov's Gun: On his way to assassinate Prince Regal, Fitz encounters the half-mad bond companion of a Witted man Regal had tortured to death. The insane little ferret is bent on killing Regal, as well, intending on slashing open his throat and drinking his blood, and Fitz wishes him well, as one assassin to another. In the book's epilogue, Regal is described as having died in his bed in a way that implies Small Ferret got to him in the end, after all.
  • Children Are Innocent: Rosemary is a Double Subversion. She is The Mole, but, being a small child, is simply doing what Prince Regal's people tell her to and has no concept of what she's doing.
  • Clueless Boss: Shrewd becomes this in Royal Assassin.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Done to Fitz. It leaves trauma on him that persists strongly for the rest of the trilogy and affects him all the way through Fool's Fate.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: A French production that has only been translated into Dutch so far.
  • The Coup: Happens at the end of Royal Assassin, when King Shrewd is murdered and Regal usurps the throne.
  • Decadent Court: Usually not decadent, but the first books are called Royal Assassin and Assassin's Apprentice for a reason.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: An almost Diabolus ex Machina-level series of coincidences causes this to happen to Fitz. At least part of it was his own fault.
  • Emergency Authority: Patience becomes the de facto ruler of Buckkeep in Assassin's Quest, due to Regal abandoning the castle during the Red Ships raids.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Regal loved his mother, Queen Desire, and attempted to drive apart the Six Duchies on her behalf.
  • Evil Is Petty. Zigzagged with Regal. Fitz and the reader spend most of the trilogy assuming that Regal entirely fits this trope, and he often does, but it also turns out that Regal wrongly believed that Shrewd had his mother assassinated, which is not exactly a petty motivation.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Some of the notes that start each chapter reveal things to happen later in the future, but keep it vague enough to keep the story's tension. For example, in one of the first chapters Fitz talks about his shaking hands and fits which comes from his poisoning and his near-death at the end of Assassin's Apprentice.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: played with. At first Molly pregnant with Fitz child wanted to take abortive'plant but Burrich conviced her to keep the child. However averted with Starling who endured an abortion after being raped by raiders. Fitz doesn't judge her.
  • Government in Exile: Kettricken has to flee to the Mountain Kingdom, refusing to recognize Regal as King.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Fitz plays the role of the perfect backstage man: he sets things into motion, but never receives any recognition for his actions. Of course, if people knew, his job as an assassin wouldn't nearly be as effective.
  • Heir Club for Men: Subverted. The line of succession moves to the next heir, regardless of gender. The current generation of Farseer royalty is made up completely of Mr. Fanservice, but female rulers are just as common as male ones.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted. Fitz usually uses a sword, but he actually prefers an axe, and his teachers comment occasionally that he just doesn't have the talent to be a particularly good swordsman.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Regal's penultimate fate. Fitz blasts his mind with the compulsion of absolute loyalty to Kettricken, and he spends a few weeks being nice and helping undo the clusterfuck he'd made out of the Six Duchies before getting his throat torn out in the middle of the night by the crazed companion of one of the Witted he'd had killed.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Mountain Kingdom has definite shades of this.
  • The High Queen: Kettricken becomes his in the second and third book, although she's only queen regent, not queen regnant.
  • Hookers and Blow: While Regal is not much of a womanizer, he is shown getting high more and more often as the story progresses.
  • Idiot Ball: The amount of trust nearly everyone including Kettricken, who knows for a fact that Regal ordered her brother's death in the end of the first book extends towards Regal is pretty amazing.
  • I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You: Invoked in Assassin's Apprentice where Regal seems to not mind telling everyone in his service that Fitz is an assassin. They treat Fitz like dirt, but he notes that he'd have to kill them afterwards to stay an effective assassin.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: The trilogy's narrative is Fitz writing down his story. Each chapter begins with small notes on the kingdom of the Six Duchies, important things that happen elsewhere, as well as things that'll happen in the future.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Fitz, particularly in "Assassin's Quest." After spending most of the book planning on going home to Molly to raise their child once he's done saving the kingdom, he winds up deciding to never seek her out, as he gets a Skill vision showing her falling in love with Burrich. It's a somewhat unusual example; Fitz makes this decision as much out of respect for Burrich as anything else, because he knows that whether he reclaimed Molly or not, just the knowledge that he was still alive would leave Burrich a broken man after he'd "stolen" Molly for himself.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: The Skill can work like this. It's often so subtle that a person can be called to go to a location without their being aware that they were called in the first place; or someone can be made to feel something that they wouldn't naturally feel, like fear.
  • Kangaroo Court: Fitz is sentenced to death for killing King Shrewd, Justin and Serene in a trial in which he's not even present.
  • Living Legend: Fitz earns a reputation as a fighter before "dying". After dying, he continues to earn a reputation as a witted sinner, but still serving his king.
  • Low Fantasy: Follows a High Fantasy plot structure, but Hobb's narrative resembles Jack London more than J. R. R. Tolkien. Character Development, Weather and Environment, and internal narrative are, generally, the main focus. Questing is nasty, hard, dirty work, and magic is a (thankfully) uncommon, often painful experience.
    • It's established that magic should be more common than it is, and more impressive, but Galen suppressed and badly mishandled all the coolest powers of the Skill while those with the Wit are actively persecuted.
    • The series is really more of an after the end of magic scenario since the rise of magic seems to be dovetail with the return of the dragons. The dragons themselves, and the high fantasy society that developed with them, were eliminated in an earlier unexplained catastrophe.
  • Meaningful Name: Babies born in noble families are usually named after a virtue, in belief child assimilates said virtue as a crucial part of his/hers personality. Thus we have Lords Chivalry, Verity, Bright, Shrewd, Dutiful and Ladies Patience, Constance, Faith, Celerity and Grace, among others.
    • The characters who get a lot of screen time tend to both invoke and subvert their names over the course of the series. For example, in the backstory, Chivalry commits adultery and fathers a bastard son, but then gives up the throne as a personal penance (despite the existence of Chade establishing that this is not an automatic expectation for an heir who fathers a bastard. King Shrewd is something of a cunning genius but is also completely blind to the plot against him being hatched under his very nose. Whilst not an outright liar, Verity tends to hide information even from his allies.
    • Regal is an in-universe example. As the current King's third son, really he should have no chance of becoming King himself, however his name makes no sense of his mother's ambitions for him.
    • Nighteyes refers to Fitz as "Changer" which invokes his status as the Fool's 'catalyst' who is destined to change history.
  • Meaningful Rename: Fitz is renamed thrice:
    • First when he was given into the care of his father's family; he loses the name given him by his mountain mother, which he doesn't remember until the end of the third trilogy and is given the name FitzChivalry by his uncle Verity.
    • Second a secret Man Name as part of Fitz's Rite of Passage.
    • Third is his new identity in the third trilogy. Tom, the name given him by Patience, Badgerlock, for the white scalp lock given him in Regal's dungeon.
  • Mindlink Mates: Between a Witted one and his animal companion.
    • Fitz has one with all of his Bond Creatures, like Nosy and the terrier Patience gave him.
    • Then there's Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool.
  • Mind Rape: Part of what the Skill can do to someone, forcing pain, attacking their mind, or forcing compulsions onto someone. It's even possible to fry someone's mind entirely with a Skill-blast, though the feedback is pretty nasty when that happens.
  • Mistress and Servant Boy: Chade and Fitz pose as this in one of their missions.
  • Mood Whiplash: One moment, under the influence of blue smoke, Fitz and Rurisk are giggling about Regal's failed assassination attempt. Until it ends up not being such a failure.
  • More Than Mind Control: The Skill, when done very subtly, can inflict this on people.
    • Galen's method of teaching his coterie, which broke their spirits and made them incredibly loyal to him even after his death. Fitz theorizes that Galen didn't so much as take students with little talent and made them into reliable Skill-users, but rather took great Skill-users and made them adequate tools.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Fitz ends up doing some amazing things with the Skill once he's under pressure or asleep. Much of this is the result of mental blocks he's built up (or had inflicted upon him) against the Skill that make it difficult for him to consciously control it; his natural Skill strength is pretty phenomenal when he actually can get to it.
  • Ninja Maid: Lacey, the "best student Hod ever taught." Looks like a doddering little lady just like Patience, but the first time Fitz gets too uppity around Patience, Lacey has a knitting needle against his throat before he can blink.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Plenty of these have been dealt out to Fitz. After Galen delivers one to Fitz during a Skilling lesson, Burrich returns the favor and beats Galen so badly he's afraid to do physical harm to Fitz from then on.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Queen Desire, Regal's mother. While she was alive, she was considered half-mad even when she wasn't doped out of her mind, and way too deranged and unstable to act on any of the treasonous things she said about destroying the Six Duchies. She convinced Regal to do it in her stead and taught him how before she died, and Regal wound up killing his way into the throne and nearly drove the Six Duchies to pieces..
  • Not Using the "Z" Word / Technically Living Zombie: The Forged. They stumble around in groups taking or killing what they want with no heed for their own safety and will even resort to cannibalism on a whim if there's no other food casually lying about. Technically, they act more like The Soulless, but the aimless, unabashed wandering in large groups definitely evokes feelings of a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Myth Arc's first version of dragons are sculptures made of magical stone and imbued with the memories of Skill coteries; additionally, true dragons are given a twist in that they have a butterfly-esque life cycle in which sea serpents spin cocoons and then hatch as dragons.
  • Parental Abandonment: A recurring theme, more or less.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Verity and Kettricken. After a fashion.
  • Pet the Dog: Regal, contemptible as he is, shows a moment of kindness to the girl who identifies Fitz as a Wit-user in the second novel.
  • Professional Killer: Fitz, of course, and Chade. Somewhere between the "assassin" and "hitman" subtypes, as they are assassins in name and double as spies, working undercover, meaning they have some status, but the actual killing is considered "dirty work", carried out by bastard children to the princes and kings of the royal family. And should you not longer be under the protection of the king ...
  • Psychic Link: Both the Skill and the Wit/Old Blood are used in this way, the latter mostly as Bond Creatures.
  • Race Lift: While the people of Buck Duchy, and especially the royal family are regularly described as being brown-skinned, Fitz is regularly portrayed as a white man on the cover art.
  • Really 700 Years Old: If one is talented enough in the Skill, they can achieve this.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: King Shrewd, until his excessive use of the Skill and Regal's manipulation he becomes a King on His Deathbed of sorts.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Pretty much everyone, most obviously the Mountain Kingdom. Inverted with Regal, who plots and schemes to power but thinks he has a right to be a layabout, drug addicted Jerkass.
  • Rite of Passage: Fitz hints at having one of these to mark passage into manhood. It's one of the few things he doesn't expound upon, as its not considered seemly to discuss in mixed company.
  • Sadist Teacher: Galen at first seems to be merely a Stern Teacher, but he soon shows his true colours.
  • Sea Serpents: Sea serpents feature prominently, as they're the larval stage of dragons. They live in the sea in this form for several years, before coming ashore, cocooning themselves and emerging some time later as newly formed dragons.
  • Secret Test of Character: Fitz gets one as part of his assassin training early on. Chade instructs him to steal something of King Shrewd's as a prank, then gets angry with him when he balks; in reality, they're testing him to see if his loyalty to Chade, one of the only mentors he's ever known, is strong enough to override his loyalty to Shrewd. Fitz passes via Take a Third Option, at which point Chade admits the entire thing was Shrewd's idea. He then slams the silver fruit knife he "stole" (with Shrewd watching every move) into Chade's mantel as a message not to do that to him again, where it stays for the rest of the series.
    • It should be mentioned that this was probably a major pass/fail exam on Fitz's part; Shrewd was testing his loyalty, and there's little question that Fitz would not have survived if he'd lost Shrewd's trust.
  • Seers: Apart from the white prophets, there's also the first Farseer who was named thus because he could see the future.
  • Shoot the Dog: Subverted, at least in the first book; Burrich just gave the dog away. However, the sharp pain of the bond being broken forcibly by Burrich's Wit led Fitz to believe that he'd killed the dog, and to hate and fear Burrich for it for years.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The end reveals that the Red Ship Raiders only attacked to get revenge for the dragons the Six Duchies unleashed on them many years ago, which created the first Forged. So now it only seems that Verity's final act defending his kingdom has only continued the cycle.
  • The Spartan Way: How the Skill users are trained by Galen.
  • Spoiler Cover: Many versions of the third book Assassin's Quest featured dragons on the cover, despite the fact their existence is not even hinted at in the first two books nor for the first few hundred pages of the third.
  • Slut-Shaming: Not too bad, but the threats to Molly begin with being forced out of the castle in shame. Fitz's reputation is also likely to suffer, though not as much. Minstrels are explicitly free from the shame normally attaching to sluttly liaisons.
  • Squishy Wizard: Averted by Fitz. See Determinator.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Molly and Fitz.
  • Stern Teacher: Burrich. Incredibly gruff and almost universally loved.
    • Averted with Chade, who sometimes falls under the Trickster Mentor, but is terribly laid back considering how serious his job is.
  • Take a Third Option: Fitz passes his Secret Test of Character this way. Rather than steal something from Shrewd in order to pass one of Chade's tasks, he goes to meet with Shrewd, then picks up and hides a fruit knife with Shrewd watching, without saying a word, then slams it into Chade's mantle the next time they meet.
  • Theme Naming: Traditionally, noble-born (especially of the royal line) are named for traits and virtues, with the folklore claiming that they would grow to exhibit the traits for which they were named. Commoners tend to have simple names denoting a profession.
    • The Theme Naming does pan out, from what we see. Shrewd is a cunning old bastard, Verity is honest and blunt-spoken, Chivalry is said to have edged into Honor Before Reason territory. Regal lives up to his name as well, considering its connotations do fit with the power and wealth that are his entire pursuit in life.
  • The Three Faces of Adam:
    Assasin's Apprentice: Fitz is the hunter, Burrich is the lord, Chade is the prophet.
    Royal Assasin: Fitz is the hunter, Varity is the lord, Chade is the prophet.
    Assasin's Quest: Nighteyes is the hunter, Fitz is the lord, Fool is the prophet.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Verity has Stout Strength, while Kettricken comes from the tall, nimble Mountain folk.
  • Training from Hell: What Galen does.
  • Undying Loyalty: Although several characters are notable for their unwavering loyalty to the person or a cause, Burrich stands out among them.
  • Wandering Minstrel: The whole profession of bards, who wander around Six Duchies making money by singing.
  • The Wise Prince: Chivalry and especially Verity.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Inverted. Molly doesn't like palace living or the burdens that come with it.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Kettricken.
  • Women's Mysteries: Inverted. See Rite of Passage
  • Would Hit a Girl: or slash, or poison. Given the genders are pretty much equal, nobody pulls punches.
  • You Are What You Hate: Galen despises Fitz for being a bastard. At the end of Assasin's Apprentice it is revealed he is a bastard himself.

    The Liveship Traders 
  • Ship of Magic
  • The Mad Ship
  • Ship of Destiny

Tropes found in The Liveship Traders:

  • Ascended Extra: Selden is a virtual Living Prop in the first book, but by the third he's basically become a disciple for Tintaglia.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Jek is one of Althea's crewmembers. She's a large, muscular woman from the Six Duchies who the locals find fascinating compared to the refined southern women. In a tavern, men line up for the chance to armwrestle her. They mostly win, but it's implied she lets them.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Wizardwood's magical properties allow it to be used as ships, contraception, good-luck charms, etcetera. Dragon cocoon fiber is potent stuff.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Malta, when she begins to learn how to charm men and wield her burgeoning sexuality, becomes very disappointed when Cerwyn Trell doesn't try to kiss her when he comes to profess his feelings to her and becomes more interested in Reyn, who is very forward about how enchanted he is by her.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Nope! All the ladies in the story get put through the wringer and their appearance changes accordingly. Althea and Amber both get sprayed with serpent venom at different points, leaving whitish scars on their bodies and Amber is left with bald patches on her scalp. Malta is badly injured in a carriage crash that gives her a huge scar on her forehead (though Reyn still thinks she's beautiful) and paddling upriver in the Rain Wild River scars her hands, while Ronica and Keffria both bear signs of rapid aging thanks to all the trauma their family is put through.
    • Wintrow is described as a pretty-looking young man, then he gets his finger sawed off and a slave tattoo on his face.
  • Because You Can Cope: Ephron's implied rationale for leaving Vivacia to Keffria is that Althea was competent enough to make it on her own, whereas Keffria and her children were dependent on Kyle, and Ephron didn't trust Kyle's ability to provide for them without Vivacia. This goes horribly, horribly wrong.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Somewhat implied with Malta Vestrit, with her subconscious view of herself and Reyn showing an ancient kidnapping marriage.
  • Bifauxnen: Althea as Athel is more than a little attractive to women, including Jek.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Malta certainly fits the description, though she does grow out of it and she does have a point when she complains that Ronica and Keffria keep treating her like a child while also expecting her to understand everything as an adult. Keffria implies that Althea was like this when she was younger.
  • Break the Cutie: A couple examples.
    • Almost as soon as Vivacia quickens—becomes sentient, in other words—she is subjected to a family dispute and put to work as a slave ship. Since liveships are closely bonded to the family and feel everything that goes on within their decks, this equates to her suffering horribly as soon as she's born.
    • Wintrow is a young introverted boy longing for a religious life, whose father ends up trying to convert him into a tough masculine sailor. Wintrow does lose his optimistic outlook on life, but he doesn't exactly end up broken.
    • Althea, who goes through a bunch of unpleasant stuffs to say the least, though it overlaps with Break the Haughty at times considering how entitled and hot-tempered Althea is at the beginning of the first novel.
  • Broken Bird: Etta, an ex-prostitute who isn't really a Hooker with a Heart of Gold (only under very odd circumstances could she be called "sweet").
  • The Bully: Wintrow has a revelation while waiting for his crushed finger to be amputated that in the long run this is all Kyle is. His talk about bringing more respect to the family and making money and toughening Wintrow up is all really just an excuse to impose his will upon other people, and even if abusing people gets Kyle what he wants he's never satisfied with it.
  • Character Development: Lots of it.
    • Wintrow starts as a naive, idealistic boy training for the priesthood. After living through the brutality his father subjects and exposes him to, he realizes how awful things can be in the world. He winds up becoming quite a badass in the cause of doing what he thinks is right.
    • Malta is a spoiled brat who enjoys attention and potentially ruining her reputation as far as Bingtown standards for chastity go, all set to inherit her father's attitude. A miserable trip through the jungle with the Satrap and an encounter with a dragon wises her up considerably.
  • Chekhov's Gun: While living aboard Paragon, Amber cuts a hatch into the floor of the captain's quarters to better be able to access her supplies. Neither Brashen nor Althea approve, and it is forgotten. In Ship of Destiny, when Paragon is set on fire and the crew trapped in the hold, it is their only way to escape.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The trilogy is Malta's, as she transitions from a pampered child to a bitter teenager to a mature young woman, and constantly juggles what's expected of her as a Trader's daughter to what she desires.
  • Continuity Nod: When Amber resculpts the ship Paragon's visage in order to restore its eyes, the end result is heavily implied to be Fitz the assassin. In The Tawny Man, this turns out to have been a Chekhov's Boomerang.
  • Corrupt Church: The church of Sa in Jamailla City has turned corrupt, and now collaborates with the slave traders.
  • Daddy's Girl: Althea to Ephron, as he indulged his tomboy daughter and would take her sailing with him and encouraged her freethinking ways. Althea is not pleased to learn that her mother Ronica persuaded Ephron to give Vivacia to Keffria and Kyle over Althea..
    • Malta is similarly spoiled and indulged by Kyle, which leads her to becoming very wilful and defiant towards her mother and grandmother after Kyle leaves on his voyage, but it's also her drive to get her father back that leads to Malta deciding to be put out in society early, pointing out that with the family's finances failing, they don't have the luxury of waiting.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Dear Sa, Kennit has one. Paragon's past at least rivals Kennit's. So does Brashen, albeit on a considerably smaller scale than Kennit.
  • Dead Guy Junior: a variation: Etta and Kennit's son is named Paragon, after the ship
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Ultimately this is what Kyle boils down to, as he's responsible for much of the strife in the first book. He isolates Althea from the family after Ephron leaves Vivacia to him, he emotionally, verbally and later physically abuses Wintrow at every opportunity because Wintrow won't immediately fall in line as Kyle wants him to, he leaves Keffria completely unprepared to cope when her husband leaves for a long voyage and doesn't return, he spoils Malta and encourages her worst impulses and turns Vivacia into a slaveship. However, after Kennit successfully manages to take Vivacia, Kyle is promptly thrown into the hold where he kept slaves and dumped on an island beaten, starved and in chains. By the time Althea is reunited with Kyle by coincidence, she's stunned by how Kyle is a shadow of his former self and he is killed off unceremoniously by a random attack, never even reuniting with Wintrow and Malta.
  • Dynamic Character: Malta changes from a bratty, spoiled and self-centered teenaged daughter of a trader family to a thrifty and patient young woman capable of choosing her words and takes a central role in saving her family and her home city. She does this by way of plunging headlong into a marriage just for the money and watching her family lose all their fortune due to her father's mismanagement.
  • The Empire: Jamaillia.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Kyle Haven loves his daughter Malta, and is completely unconcerned that she's turning into a seductress at a troublingly young age and engaging in behavior that will alienate her family from the Bingtown upper classes. Instead, he spoils her rotten and interferes with anyone trying to discipline her.
    • It seems that Kennit genuinely does care about his mother, even if he leaves her alone on her island for months at a time because seeing her brings back painful memories.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Kennit can't. In the end (not literally), the story shows why.
  • Eye Scream: Paragon's backstory involves him having his face hacked up with an axe, rendering him blind.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: Hinted to be the backstory of Sa'Adar.
  • Fantasy Contraception: It is possible to create a small belly-button piercing from wizardwood that protects its wearer against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. They are generally associated with prostitution, however, so women who wear one are not open about it.
  • Fingore: Wintrow has an accident aboard the Vivacia that requires he severs off his finger at the knuckle.
  • Foreshadowing: The first time Malta sets foot on Paragon, she immediately collapses and Paragon demands she be removed immediately. This is because Malta could hear the dragons inside Paragon and they overwhelmed her. Later, she's one of the only people who can hear Tintaglia from inside the Crowned Rooster Chamber, along with Reyn.
  • For Want of a Nail: Almost all of the problems in the first book are directly caused by Ronica's decision to give the family liveship not to her nice but unorthodox daughter Althea, but to the harsh and brutal husband of her other daughter, Kyle. Within the first few chapters, Kyle alienates his wife, disrupts the life of his son, chases Althea out of the family, supports his daughter becoming a manipulative vixen, kicks out most of the ship's crew, and turns the newly awakened family ship to slave trading.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The story starts with Three Lines, Some Waiting as it switches between Althea, Kennit, and Wintrow. As the situation in Bingtown becomes tense and characters from Jamilla are brought in, more points-of-view are added and it all becomes quite complicated.
  • Freudian Excuse: Kennit's being held prisoner and raped as a child and, more dramatically, becoming a sociopath due to investing his traumatic memories in Paragon. Note that putting memories into wizardwood or skill stone, as with the stone dragons, is shown to remove the emotional attachment the person has to those memories throughout the series. While it might come off as strange, it is consistent with how that type of magic works in the series.
  • Good Old Ways: Just about every positive sentiment made is said to be a traditional value that is sadly getting less common in the degenerate modern age. Even flaws that would have been considered "traditional" in the real world, like chauvinism, are presented as being originally Chalcedan vices that have started to infect Bingtown.
  • Half-Identical Twins: An odd variation where Althea and Wintrow are described as almost identical, although they're aunt and nephew
  • Harmful Healing: The Skill can be used to accelerate healing or fix otherwise irreparable injuries, but it badly taxes the patient's body and drains their energy reserves.
  • Hookers and Blow: Cosgo's daily routine consists mainly of getting high and having sex with his Companions.
  • Hypocrite: Brashen is appalled when the fourteen-year-old Malta flirts with him and tells her she ought to be ashamed of herself. Pretty rich for a guy who was disowned by his own family for his outrageous behaviour.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Kyle and other blond-haired chalcedians and Kennit have these; they are frequently commented upon.
  • If You Taunt Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Being a Sa priest is not easy.
  • The Ingenue: Vivacia, as she's newly-awakened at the start of the first novel. Unfortunately, since she is taken by Kyle and separated from other Liveships, with only a miserable Wintrow for company, it makes her very easy to manipulate and Kennit easily charms her with sweet words.
  • I Gave My Word
  • Irony: The one person who immediately believes Althea when she accuses Kennit of raping her is Etta.
  • It's All My Fault: Vivacia, upon seeing Wintrow's slave tattoo.
  • Jerk With A Heartof Jerk: Satrap Cosgo is made more prudent and pragmatic by his ordeals, but every time you think he's learned something about empathy or humility as well, he turns out to be as big of a Jerkass as ever. His advisers assure Malta that he's much improved from his earlier ways at the end, but she has to take their word for it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He's an asshole through and through, but Kyle isn't wrong when he points out that just because Althea's father let her go with him on sea voyages, that does not make her a genuine sailor and that to give her Vivacia when she has so little experience would be pure Nepotism. Even Althea, who hates Kyle, comes to agree with him and leaves Bingtown with the intent of returning when she has proof that she is worthy to sail the liveship.
    • The Satrap gets one when he calls out his advisors for selling him out. When they reply it's because he was doing a terrible job of ruling Jamaillia, the Satrap retorts that it's their fault he was a bad ruler - they're the ones he went to for advice, after all.
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Of a sort with Kyle and Wintrow, as Wintrow is a gentle, thoughtful person who cannot understand why his father sent him to the monastery as a boy, only to be abruptly yanked from that life and forced into life as a sailor, while Kyle is incensed with Wintrow's "softness" and considers his son an ingrate for not immediately adjusting to being aboard a liveship.
  • Living Legend:
    • Kennit, King of the Pirate Isles, strives for this his entire career, and succeeds in spite of himself. His legacy passes to Etta and Wintrow.
    • Kennit is also the protege of another pirate who would have been king. His legend was much darker.
    • Malta and Reyn, as the first of the new Elderlings, become movers and shakers across nations by virtue of that fact. Also, wildly popular at parties.
  • Karma Houdini: Kennit never really gets any punishment for raping Althea, killing people, manipulating everyone and trying to make Paragon kill himself. True, Kennit does die, but he dies a martyr with the love and adoration of many, including Vivacia, whose bond with Althea was the whole motivation for the latter's story. At the very least, he does all the hard work to achieve his dreams but he dies just before he can actually enjoy them. Similarly, Serilla never receives any justice after the Satrap had her raped out of spite, though her rapist does at least die in battle.
  • Love Martyr: Etta, so very much. No matter how badly Kennit treats her, she virtually worships the ground he walks on and viciously rebuffs anyone who criticises him. Even after it's made clear that he raped Althea, Etta chooses to ignore this and helps make Kennit into a martyr once he dies aboard Paragon.
  • Love Triangle: Three of them, each with one girl and two guys: Althea, Brashen and Grag; Malta, Cerwin and Reyn; Etta, Kennit and Wintrow.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: Just ask Vivacia which captain she preferred and which one was the most successful.
  • Made a Slave
  • Meaningful Name: Vivacia the liveship.
  • Mistaken for Gay: At one point, Malta insinuates that people in Bingtown believes this of Althea, as she is constantly seen in the company of Amber, dresses like a boy and rebuffed the advances of Grag Tanira despite everyone agreeing that Grag would be an excellent catch.
  • Never My Fault: Kyle Haven and Kennit both tend toward this form of reasoning, and it's not played for laughs.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Explicitly noted when the dead pig is found in Davad Restart's coach.
  • “Not If They Enjoyed It” Rationalisation: Kennit tries to justify raping Althea by saying that she found him handsome and charming and anyway, she's a woman and that's what men do to women. The Wizardwood charm tells him in no certain terms he's a monster, just like Igrot, and he'll die for what he did to her.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Happens to Wintrow, a lot.
  • Not So Different: Althea and Malta, which is ironic as they often butt heads, but their headstrong personalities make Malta a lot more like her aunt their her timid, dowdy mother.
    • Neither are Kennit and Wintrow, as it turns out.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Paragon is so feared and shunned by Bingtown locals that Ephron, who was usually very indulgent towards Althea, once gave her a switching when he caught her playing on Paragon's decks when she was younger.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Variant two. Dragons are arrogant, imperious, and powerfully magical. They are also rare; none have been seen in ages. This is because "wizardwood" is actually the material that forms their cocoons. Building wizardwood ships killed many dragon offspring.
  • Parental Substitute: Althea notes near the end of the trilogy that Kennit treated Wintrow more like a son than Kyle ever did and as angry as she is about his loyalty to her, she can't blame him for seeking Kennit's approval.
    • Brashen expresses more affection for Captain Ephron than his own father.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Malta and Reyn's (then again, Reyn was the one who asked for it)
  • Pet the Dog: Kyle dotes on his daughter Malta. Although he dotes on her to the point of believing she can do no wrong and gives her whatever she wants.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Ephron's death at the beginning of Ship of Magic sets off the Vestrit family's plotlines into motion, as once he dies, Kyle technically becomes head of the household despite being underqualified for the job.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • Satrap Cosgo allows the crew of the Chalcedan ship he's travelling on to gang-rape his adviser Serilla after she defies him one too many times. She goes from being a competent Beleaguered Bureaucrat to hostile, frightened, and unable to properly judge situations due to the trauma.
    • Althea is drugged and raped by Kennit near the very end of the trilogy.
    • It's also implied this happened to Althea when she was a teenager aboard her father's ship - a sailor called Devon had been fired by her father and told to leave when they next docked, so he took Althea's virginity in retaliation. Althea herself claims it wasn't rape as she wanted to and was attracted to the man, but she was only fourteen at the time and he did not ask her for her consent.
    • This is also Kennit's backstory. As a child, he was subjected to brutal sexual abuse by his pirate captain and expelled the emotional trauma into Paragon, turning himself into a sociopath and contributing to Paragon's madness.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Kennit's wizardwood charm tells him in no uncertain terms that rape is the worst sin a male can do to a female among dragons and is utterly disgusted when Kennit gives in to his impulses and rapes Althea anyway. Kennit tries to justify it because, since Althea is a woman, that's what woman are for. The charm bluntly tells Kennit he's going to die for what he did.
  • Religion Is Magic: Specifically, healing magic. It's implied that the magic practiced by the priests is the Skill.
  • Sailor's Ponytail: Most of the sailor characters wear a naval ponytail, including the protagonist Althea, as it's a fantasy version of Wooden Ships and Iron Men.
  • Saintly Church: The church of Sa, for the most part.
  • Sapient Ship: The premise. Wizardwood ships are imbued with the memories of the families that own them and eventually awaken into sentient beings.
  • Shared Family Quirks: All Vestrits have a huge stubborn streak. It's most obvious with Althea, Malta and Ronica, but even the mild Wintrow displays quite an iron will under his gentle exterior.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Jani Khaprus claims that Reyn hasn't shown the slightest interest in any girl offered to him until he met Malta and when Reyn believes Malta to be dead, he fully admits he expects to die alone with her gone.
  • Sinister Minister: Sa'Adar, who claims to be a priest of Sa but who preaches ideals of vengeance that have nothing to do with Sa's teachings.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Althea and Brashen, so very much. Their inability to be properly emotionally honest with each other and Poor Communication Kills spans over the entire trilogy, to the point it gets a little tedious.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Bingtown used to be more egalitarian; Althea's great-grandmother was Vivacia's original captain, for example. As the society has grown more prosperous, it has adopted the Chalcedan norm of "keeping women idle" to show off one's prosperity, to the point where Althea has to pose as a man to get any work on a ship and Keffria is completely at a loss for how to function when Kyle unexpectedly doesn't return because she was never given the freedom to make decisions on her own.
  • Slut-Shaming: The tenor of Bingtown society is more conservative than Six Duchies, and the shaming women face is more severe. Althea in particular gets a lot of it, including from her own sister in one important incident from their youth. Jek, who actually is implied to be promiscuous, is notably immune to being shamed because of her forceful personality and status as a foreigner.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Althea masquerading as Athel in order to earn back her ship.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Althea and Keffria, which is played for drama, as Keffria finds her hotheaded, tomboy sister an embarrassment as she doesn't fit into the norms of Bingtown society and repeatedly causes scandals for the family, while Althea views Keffria as an boring housewife who's only concern is her husband and children, never thinking for herself and does whatever Kyle tells her. It takes a long time for the sisters to reconcile their differences.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Brashen was disinherited by his family for being a wastrel. He had a terrible time trying to support himself in the world until Ephron Vestrit gave him a chance to make something of himself.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Part of the teachings of the Sa priests.
  • The Unfavorite: Several. Althea feels like this when her family pressures to be more conventional and her father leaves Vivacia to Kyle. (Funnily enough, Keffria at one point expresses jealousy that her younger sister grew up doing basically whatever she wanted, while Keffria was a good, obedient daughter but never rewarded for it.) Kyle actively favors Malta while he verbally and emotionally abuses Wintrow and Selden is basically a non-entity to him. Brashen was disinherited, although he did genuinely embarrass his family.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Kennit, especially to Etta, such as when she cuts his leg off to save him from being eaten by a sea serpent, he accuses her of trying to kill him.
    • Tintaglia initially just flies off after she is freed by Malta, Reyn and Selden and only comes back for Reyn and Selden when she senses them dying and realises she's going to need humans who can understand her if she is to help the serpents, giving Malta up for dead entirely until Reyn refuses to cooperate with her until she finds Malta. It's somewhat a case of Blue-and-Orange Morality, but Tintaglia is called out on how entitled she is.
  • Undying Loyalty: Rache to Ronica, refusing to leave Ronica's side even when the Vestrit's have all their wealth stripped from them and are embroiled in a political conspiracy.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Kennit's dream is to be King of the Pirate Isles and over the course of the trilogy, he manages to pull of great feats by a combination of astonishing luck and pragmatism. He begins using Vivacia to attack slaveships - not because he gives a damn about slaves, but because if he does, he gets free labourers out of those who want to stay aboard and those who want to return to their islands will worship him as a hero, plus he gets to keep all the loot on the ships. His publicity is so good that by the climax of the trilogy nearly everyone sans Althea, Malta and Brashen remember Kennit as a legendary pirate and Etta is made Queen of the Pirate islands because she was "Kennit's woman" and carries his child.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Etta, to Kennit. Definitely not comedic.
  • Wham Line: Delivered by Bolt:
    Bolt: And who are you, Kennit Ludluck?
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Kyle is determined to turn Wintrow into his image of a Real Man, regardless of Wintrow's wishes.

    The Tawny Man 
  • Fool's Errand
  • The Golden Fool
  • Fool's Fate

Tropes found in The Tawny Man:

  • Apocalypse How: Something happened to the Elderings and all those dragons, possibly a class 0-2.
    • The Pale Lady also plans to wipe out all civilization and start anew
  • And Man Grew Proud: Fool predicts this will happen if Dragons aren't around to keep humanity in check.
  • Big Bad: The Pale Lady Finally, the Evil Counterpart behind most of the evils in the series is shown.
  • Blessed with Suck: Years before the first trilogy took place, Chivalry somehow sealed Burrich against all effects of the Skill, and nobody is sure how he did it. So when Burrich is dying, they can't use the Skill to heal him because of Chivarly's sealing.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Burrich as it turns out - horribly prejudiced against the Wit and its practitioners, but immensely talented in it as well. Freudian Excuse and all.
  • Cats Are Mean: Subverted: the cat in question is under the control of a dead woman who used the Wit to take over its body and intends to move on to Dutiful next]]. The cat has actually been Fighting from the Inside the whole time.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: In more than one sense of the word 'cold'. This time, the Fool is on the receiving end of the torture.
  • Les Collaborateurs: As it turns out, Regal had been on the take from the Big Bad the whole time.
  • A Crack in the Ice: In the last book, Fitz and the Fool fall down one when crossing a glacier.
  • Dead Guy Junior: This time, Chivalry
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Burrich. Fitz loved him too much to think of trying to disrupt the family he'd made with Molly. But when he was killed fighting a stone dragon, Fitz was free to court Molly all over again.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Lord Golden has to pretend to be one. After disrupting court by flirting with Civil Bresinga's betrothed, when Civil tries to confront him Lord Golden counters by asking him if he's interested in a threesome.
  • Disability Superpower: Thick, who combines the mind of a child with enough power in the Skill magic that he may be the most powerful Skill-user in the series.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Fitz loses a surprising number of dear and personal friends and opportunities, but in the end, finds a life that he can be content with.
  • Engagement Challenge: The Outislanders' challenge to Dutiful is that he must place the dragon Icefyre's head upon the hearth of Ellania's motherhouse.
  • Epileptic Trees: In-universe, they're planted and kept by Prince Dutiful, who's left to draw his own conclusions rather than given the truth from the start. No wonder he comes up with explanations such as Tom Badgerlock being Chade's and Lady Thyme's son.
  • Exact Words: Dutiful must place the dragon Icefyre's head on the hearth of Ellania's motherhouse to win her hand. The original task was to cut the head off a frozen dragon. What actually happens is after they save Icefyre from the glacier, he's induced by Tintaglia (who was in turn nagged incessantly by Nettle) to stick his head into the house and place it on the hearth.
  • Generation Xerox: Dutiful, who is biologically Fitz's son and who takes after Chivalry a bit more than Verity. Also Fitz himself - after a Skill-healing repairs all of his old scars, he comes out looking so much like his father Chivalry that Chade immediately decides Fitz needs to be re-scarred.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The trilogy starts out with a book about prince Dutiful's abduction by the Piebalds, with his upcoming betrothal to an Outislander princess a background detail. The Outislands plotline becomes more prominent in the second book and completely makes up the third book, while the Piebald storyline steadily becomes less prominent and is almost-but-not-quite resolved off-page in the third book.
  • Hollywood Autism: Rather well done with Thick. Most people consider Thick to be nothing more than a half-wit. Thanks to the Skill, Fitz recognizes that Thick isn't actually stupid; he just devotes his attention to things most people find inconsequential.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The Fool thinks that Fitz will be happier rebuilding what should have been his life at Buckkeep than following him, and sends him home almost against his will.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Fitz's relationship with the Fool evolves to this. It's not quite Ho Yay since the Fool is neither human nor exactly male and there's no sexual element to their relationship, but they're a lot closer than Heterosexual Life Partners. His views on the Fool start changing after their fight after Fitz's Mistaken for Gay episode, and as he helps the Fool recover from being tortured to death in the Pale Lady's dungeons, he holds him while he sleeps and even considers giving up on Molly to follow him.
  • Living Legend: The Witted Bastard is widely suspected to be alive, he has become the symbol for two political movements within the secret, witted communities. And now he's returned to court as a mysterious adviser to the Queen and to Prince Dutiful.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Fitz, sort of. He finds out from Jek that the Fool is in love with him, and falls into what can essentially be called a homophobic rage. Jek, however, was familiar with the Fool's alterego Amber, and thought of the Fool as a 'she.'
  • Mook–Face Turn: Rosemary, who was Regal's spy in the first trilogy, is now Chade's apprentice.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Discussed In-Universe. Fitz considers what he ends up doing to the Pale Woman to be by far the worst thing he ever did. He left her locked inside her ice palace, helpless to do anything but starve or freeze, whichever came first. Considering everything she did, he does not feel the slightest bit of remorse for it — but he does worry about the implications of being able to do something like that in the first place, let alone do it remorselessly.
  • My Greatest Failure: Fitz is shocked when he learns that Burrich has blamed himself for Fitz's death for years because Burrich (believes he) failed to beat the Wit out of him.
  • Myth Arc: Concluded in Fool's Fate
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Patience deliberately acts like an oddball eccentric old lady to make sure that nobody thinks she's still got a mind for politics.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Mk.2. Dutiful and Elliania.
  • The Plan: The Pale Woman seeks the collapse of civilization. Her version of the world involves the ending of the Farseer line and the extinction of the dragons.
  • Power Incontinence: Despite his refusal to use it intentionally, Burrich is so buzzing with the Wit, not only do animals instinctively come to him but, he's been working as a mystical chiropractor all these years and not known it.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Oh so subverted. The Pale Lady's magical palace under a glacier is powered by a forsaken warlord. Kebal Rawbread, the Big Bad of the first Trilogy, is shackled to a throne while she slowly feeds his memories into a memory-stone dragon, and when he breaks free, she freezes to death, unable to magic herself any warmth. The Pale Lady was very skilled at the use of magic, but she didn't have any of her own, and drew it all from him.
  • Retired Badass: Burrich, who was King's Man when Chivalry was King-In-Waiting, but who retired to start a family and a farm.
    • Fitz is sort of retired at the start of Fool's Errand, having vanished after the end of the Red Ship War fifteen years ago. The end of the first trilogy heavily reinforces this, as it ambiguously paints Fitz as very old and well past his prime at the time of this trilogy (he is in fact in his early thirties). This is explained in Fool's Fate: Fitz poured so much of himself into Girl-on-a-Dragon that he wasn't really alive afterwards.
  • Romancing the Widow: Happens in an oddly circular fashion with Molly. She was never married to Fitz originally, but her relationship with Burrich resulted from him taking care of her and her child in the wake of Fitz's apparent death, and then Fitz is faced with the task of wooing her all over again after she has mourned Burrich's death.
  • Scry vs. Scry: Hinted at in the first trilogy; made much more obvious. The entire plot of the books revolves around the Fool and the Pale Woman's opposing views of what the future should be like and their attempts to enforce their version.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Fitz notices that Rosemary has become a very attractive young woman, although considering that she was Regal's mole he isn't remotely attracted to her.
  • Slut-Shaming: People heap shame on Fitz and Lord Golden for their perceived promiscuities. Svanja's father is distraught over what she and Hap are doing, and starts a fight with Fitz over it (though in that case the real issue, unbeknownst to Fitz and Hap at first, is that Svanja is actually cheating with Hap on another suitor whom her father prefers.).

    The Rain Wild Chronicles 
  • Dragon Keeper
  • Dragon Haven
  • City of Dragons
  • Blood of Dragons

Tropes found in The Rain Wild Chronicles:

  • Asshole Victim: Hest, who is first forced by the Chalcedeans to go to the Rain Wilds and help them in their plot to obtain dragon blood, and after suffering many hardships is finally eaten by a dragon
  • Bad Boss: The Duke of Chalced takes his noblemen's families as hostages, threatening to have them killed if they fail in their missions abroad (and he gets to carry out that threat more than once).
  • The Beard: Alise for Hest.
  • Black Widow: The Duke of Chalced's daughter Chassim lost three husbands, her third the very evening after he publicly abused her. While it’s ambiguous what happened to husbands two and three, she says that her first husband killed himself in an accident.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Dragons view humans as having this. Dragons have lives so much longer than those of humans that they can't understand how humans can care about anything. Even Mercor, who is generally the most tolerant and respectful of the dragons towards the keepers, sees a woman with a dying baby in the same way a human would see a child with a wilted flower.
  • Bond Creatures: As some of the dragons and keepers become closer, or keepers drink the dragon's blood, this sort of relationship develops between them.
  • Broken Bird: Thymara.
  • The Cameo: Althea, Brashen and the Paragon aren't that important to the plot, but it's nice to see them again.
  • Central Theme: Romantic relationships must be based on mutual respect and affection, regardless of the gender, sexual orientation, or even species of the people involved. Conversely, relationships based on lust and convenience aren't just doomed to fail, but likely to hurt the people in them in the end.
  • Character Filibuster: Bellin to Jerd, when the latter is having a miscarriage. Hoo boy.
    • Ignored Epiphany in that Jerd quickly goes back to sleeping around with no thought to the consequences.
  • Christmas Cake: Alise at the start.
  • Coming-Out Story: Sedric eventually comes out to Alise, and also reveals her husband Hest's homosexuality.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The dragons defeat Chalced within hours.
  • Daddy's Girl: Thymara.
  • The Dandy: Cedric isn't camp or flamboyant, but his fondness of outfits and grooming keeps him from being Straight Gay.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Malta names her newborn son after her grandfather Ephron.
  • Domestic Abuse: Hest, who never fails to enjoy a cruel joke at either Alise or Cedric's expense and occasionally engages in physical abuse.
  • Trilogy Creep: First being planned out as one book, the story grew so long that it was released as two books. And then the sequel grew into two books as well.
  • Eaten Alive: Hest suffers this fate, Swallowed Whole to boot. Not that he didn't have it coming.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The only person Hest seems to genuinely love is his mother, and is very distraught when the Chalcedeans threaten to rape and kill her if he doesn't cooperate.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Chalcedean Merchant's family is being held by the Duke of Chalced and subjected to torture. The Chalcedean Merchant does as bad and worse to everyone he encounters in the attempt to win their freedom.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Rain Wilders, who already grow dragonish physical traits as they get older, want anyone born with these defects abandoned at birth. Those who survive are forbidden to breed and are generally treated like crap.
  • Fantasy Contraception: Subverted: it doesn't work, and after one character has a miscarriage, another reiterates to all the girls that they'd better keep their legs shut, period.
  • Freudian Excuse: Thymara's mom obviously doesn't like her.
  • The Generation Gap: A mild example in the dragons. While they are still very dangerous and independent, it's strongly implied that their prolonged exposure to humans and each other has worked some changes in their psychology, meaning they simply aren't as antisocial as dragons of Icefyre's generation, including Titanglia. The epilogue of Blood of Dragons is even called "Generation" and has an argument between the two of them and Kalo about the proper rite for laying eggs.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Averted at first when nobody wants Alise except the guy looking for a beard, played straight later.
  • Humiliation Conga and Trauma Conga Line: Things go very badly for Hest once he gets mixed up with the Chalcedeans.
  • Hollywood Acid: The dragons' acidic Breath Weapon can reduce a human to sludge in seconds. One drop landing on a Chalcedean soldier is even enough to kill him, having destroyed his guts from the inside.
  • I Know Your True Name: According to Sintara, no dragon could lie to someone who demanded the truth with her true name or used it properly when asking a question. Nor could a dragon break an agreement if she entered into it under her true name.
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon: For the framing/epistolary story between the two pigeon keepers.
  • Jerkass: Hest, Sintara, Greft, Jess, Spit, and really Sedric as well (although he gets better by the end of Dragon Haven.)
  • Jerkass Has a Point: A few of Greft's ideas were good, and some others could have been good had he been mature enough to apply them properly, or more tolerant of people not agreeing with him.
  • Idiot Ball: Alise's reaction upon discovering Sedric's locket. I understand you're sheltered, but there's no excuse for that sort of abject stupidity.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Hest, who is a horrible husband and lover to Alise and Sedric respectively, becomes a victim of the Chalcedeans, who are far worst villains.
  • Killed Off for Real: Several supporting characters and a couple main characters bite it. Greft is already mutating so badly he's dying, but he's killed by gallators when he leaves the group. Hest is eaten by Kalo. And although the reality is a little more complicated, Thymara views this as Rapskal's fate when he slowly absorbs the personality of an Elderling warrior.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sexual predator Hest tries to rape Davvie. He is subsequently eaten by Davvie's dragon Kalo.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Those who are "touched by the Rain Wilds" tend to have features like claws and scales.
  • Love Martyr: Sedric.
  • Love Triangle: Thymara has feelings for both Tats and Rapskal (and they for her), but doesn't want to commit to either of them or anyone else until she's ready.
  • The Magic Comes Back: The second half of the series is concerned with restoring Elderlings and Elderling magic to the world.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Hest, full-stop.
  • Nerd: Alise is a self-made scholar and dragon expert.
  • Never Found the Body: Rapskal and Heeby. So they obviously survived.
    • Also, Hest - although the reader witnesses his ultimate fate, the only character in the story who does is Kalo, who doesn't bother informing anyone that he ate Hest.
    • Chancellor Ellik is presumed to die alongside the Duke of Chalced, but of course, because the reader never sees the body, he's still alive and kicking by the time of Fitz and the Fool.
  • No Bisexuals: Although there are more LGBT characters in this saga than in previous installments, they tend to be either 100% straight or 100% gay.
  • Off Screen Moment Of Awesome: While we do see the set-up for it, the actual destruction of the ducal palace in Chalced, along with the death of the Duke of Chalced and Chassim’s ascendancy to the throne, are skipped over. Instead, these events are all related in a conversation in the next chapter.
  • Offing the Offspring: The Duke of Chalced had almost all of his sons executed for (allegedly) conspiring against him. Unfortunately for him, the few sons he didn't execute died of natural causes shortly after, leaving him with only one daughter.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Born deformed, they suffer the same prejudice as their keepers.
  • Pet the Dog: Hest does manage to be genuinely grieved and horrified when the Chalcedean merchant has Redding killed.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Hest attempts to do this once he finally tracks down Alise and Sedric.
  • The Plot Reaper: Hest's death could be seen as this, since it allows Alise to continue her relationship with Leftrin without having to go back to Bingtown to get a divorce.
  • Precocious Crush: a mild example. Davvie, who is a teenager, develops a crush on Sedric, who is in his mid-20s. Sedric is oblivious to this until he is told by Davvie's uncle, and is never interested in reciprocating, partly because of Davvie's young age.
  • Rape as Drama: Hest's marital rape of Alise.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Detozi turns out to be female when she reveals her family has been pushing her to get a husband.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Inverted with Alise. She's a pale skinned freckled redhead and looks ridiculous in the extravagant Bingtown fashions, but dressed simply with her hair down she's actually quite pretty.
  • Slut-Shaming: Proper Bingtowners don't do extramarital sex, and deformed Rain Wilders shouldn't ever. The Rain Wilders at least have a bit of a point behind it, in that the Rain Wild mutations are hereditary and make it increasingly unlikely that one is able to either produce a living child or live much past young adulthood.
  • The Starscream: The Duke of Chalced suspects all the members of his court to be this, including his children.
  • Straight Gay: Hest, Carson, Davvie, and Lecter.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Hest ends up being eaten by a dragon after speaking to him as if he were an animal and trying to become its "master".
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Rapskal. This is partly because he spends so much time among the memory stones that he slowly absorbs the mind of a jerkass Elderling warrior named Tellator.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Tats, for Thymara.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In-Universe, nobody has any clue what happened to Hest, who was eaten by Kalo.
  • Winged Humanoid: Thymara by the end of Dragon Haven.
  • Wings Do Nothing: Most of the dragons don't have well-developed enough wings to fly, though they discover that a good diet and practicing flying helps a lot. Thymara's wings qualify as this until the very end of the series, when she is able to put them to use for the very first time.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: In the final assault on Chalced, the dragons only use their acid spray on enemy soldiers. The civilians are incited to panic and run with the dragons' Glamours, which the dragons do enjoy, but it's implied this is as much to get them out of harm's way as for the Schadenfreude.

    Fitz and the Fool 
This trilogy begins 19 years after the successful conclusion of Dutiful's betrothal to the Narcheska. Fitz, under the name Tom Badgerlock, has retired to Withywoods to a happy life with Molly. As far as the outside world is concerned, he's Holder Badgerlock, managing Withywood on behalf of his wife's daughter, Skillmistress Nettle. The pair are settling into a comfortable middle age and look forward to a happy senescence, when things get a little strange.

  • Fool's Assassin
  • Fool's Quest
  • Assassin's Fate

Tropes found in Fitz and the Fool:

  • Ambiguous Gender: This is revealed to be common though not ubiquitous among whites, with some such as Odessa, explicitly shown to be hermaphrodites of some sort.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Four: Capra, Fellowdy, Coultrie and Symphe. It is established that these names are always taken by the leaders of the servants, different iterations of which are responsible for creating the Pale Lady, are behind the prophecies of the Abominations of Others' Island, and murdered the dragons (leading in turn to the extinction of the Elderlings). They are ultimately responsible for almost everything bad that happens in the whole series, though they use other villains like Kennit, Kebal Rawbeard and Regal as their pawns.
  • Bus Crash: Huntswoman Laurel, who is murdered sometime between Fool's Fate and the start of this trilogy. She is given some significance in being revealed as Lant's mother.
  • Call-Back: Fitz's joruney to Mercenia just happens to take him through the primary settings of first The Rain Wild Chronicles and later The Liveship Traders, with almost all of the characters who survived the earlier series getting at the very least a cameo in this one.
  • Demoted to Extra: Although almost all of them make an appearance, most of the cast of The Tawny Man are pretty much superfluous to the story, including Dutiful, Elliana, Nettle and Thick.
  • Fusion Dance: In ''Assassin's Fate, Fitz is badly hurt by the vile worms the Servants use to weaken and slowly devour their enemies. Dying, his healing only barely able to match the worms' hunger, he decides to Skill-carve a "dragon" in the form of a wolf so that he and Nighteyes can remain in the world of the living. But they alone don't have enough memories to make it animate. Then the Fool joins them, the souls of all three melding together and bringing it to life as a whole being, the Wolf of the West.
  • The Lost Lenore: 12 years into the book's story, 9 years after the birth of Fitz's second daughter, Molly dies (at the age of 60+). Fitz spends the rest of the book recovering from his terrible grief.
  • Magnetic Hero: Fitz picks up all sorts of additional characters, first into his household and later on his quest, including at various points Lant, Shun, Perseverance, Spark, Motley, and even Brashen, Althea, their son, and Kennit's son, from The Liveship Traders. He would generally prefer to leave them behind, not least because he fears for their safety if they stay with him.
  • Multi-Gendered Split Personalities: In previous series, the Fool's various alter egos are implied to be disguises that he variously adopts to hide his identity from those who might recognise him and to explain his changing appearance. In this series however it appears that, if not alternate personalities as such, at least some of his roles are more than just disguises and more like different aspects to the whole character, with no single one being the 'real' Fool. The different aspects can maintain different relationships with the same characters, with Fitz commenting for example that he doesn't like Amber. Hobb switches between male and female pronouns depending on which persona is to the fore.
  • Mysterious Waif: It is immediately obvious that Fitz's daughter Bee is no ordinary child, between her two year gestation, her small size and pale skin. It is revealed that, like the Fool, she is a white.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Thanks to the skill-healing that rescued him from certain death in the Tawny Man trilogy, Fitz, although approaching 60 by the end of the book, is still physically in his thirties. He greatly laments that his beloved Molly is "leaving him behind".

Alternative Title(s): Farseer, Liveship Traders, Tawny Man


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