Follow TV Tropes


Literature / War for the Oaks

Go To
A fantasy novel by Emma Bull and one of the pioneering works of Urban Fantasy, War for the Oaks is the story of Eddi McCandry, a Minneapolis rock singer who's just quit her band and broken up with her boyfriend. There's also the matter of The Fair Folk moving in — quite literally — with her, and an impending war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts into which she's just been drafted.

Contains examples of:

  • The Baroness: The Queen of the Unseelie Court.
  • Beta Couple: Carla and Dan.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Eddi and the phouka.
  • Charm Person: Willy does this to Eddi; she is unsurprisingly furious when she finds out.
  • Counterfeit Cash: The phouka uses disappearing fairy gold (or rather hundred-dollar bills) to buy Eddi a motorcycle. When she realizes what he's done she makes it clear that is not okay, even if the guy he did it to is a jerk, and makes her point by urging the phouka to consider the possible impact on uninvolved bystanders if, for example, the guy were to spend or hand on some of the cash before the magic wears off.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business.
  • Do I Really Sound Like That?: When Eddi is under a spell that removes all glamours, a side-effect is that she can hear her voice as she sounds to other people, which is a bit disorienting.
  • Advertisement:
  • Duet Bonding: Eddi and Willy.
  • Elemental Barrier: Around the battle area.
  • Elvish Presley: One of the earliest examples.
  • The Fair Folk: Two courts: the Seelie and Unseelie courts, roughly corresponding to good and evil.
  • Fairy Companion: The phouka and Meg to Eddi.
  • Fairy Sexy: Many examples.
  • Gender-Blender Name: An offbeat one, too.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: The main cast come up with the name of their new band halfway through their first gig, after the phouka explains that having Eddi (who is linked to the fey in several ways) and two fey in the band makes their music faerie enough to serve as Magic Music. Carla immediately seizes on the phrase "Eddi and the Fey" and suggests it as their band name.
  • Ice Queen: Two of them.
  • Interspecies Romance.
  • In the Style of...: Eddi and her band like to try it as a kind of exercise.
  • Advertisement:
  • Invisible to Normals
  • I Owe You My Life: Meg feels indebted to Eddi after Eddi saves her life—which is not a feeling that the fey are comfortable with—but Eddi absolutely refuses to take advantage of it, even when she needs Meg's help to rescue Willy from the Unseelie Court.
    Eddi: I hope you'll help me—but not because you think you owe it to me. Do it because you want to do me a favor, or Willy a favor, or because you think it's right. Or don't do it. I can't blame you if you don't.
  • Killed Off for Real: Willy Silver.
  • Like Reality Unless Noted
  • Loveable Rogue: Most of the (non-evil) faeries, but the Phouka in particular.
  • Magic Music: True to folklore, the music of the faeries is impossible to resist, as audiences soon find.
  • The Mole: Hedge.
  • Mundane Utility: the magic of the phouka and Meg.
  • Myspeld Rökband: InKline Plain, Stuart Kline's band, which Eddi is still a member of at the beginning of the novel, described as "the most misspelled band in Minneapolis."
  • Nature Spirit: The glaistig and many other fairies.
  • Never Trust a Title: There are no strategically relevant oaks in the novel.
  • No Name Given: The phouka is only ever addressed by the name of his species (although he uses the alias of Robin Goode among humans not in the know). Whether he doesn't have a name or just isn't revealing it is never discussed.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: Poor, poor Willy.
  • The Power of Friendship: The special bond between Eddi and the phouka, created by Eddi's answer to the Queen, gives her a special power over fairies' fate.
  • The Power of Rock: Present throughout the novel including the final battle.
  • Skunk Stripe: Willy Silver.
  • Twin Cities: The setting of the book; all the places mentioned in the novel are real.
  • Urban Fantasy: One of the Trope Codifiers.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: That is why the phouka warns Eddi against doubt.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: