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The author is an admitted troper, has a very wide selection of pop-culture interests, and a tendency to show off. As a result, there are very, very many, some in-universe, a lot falling under Early-Bird Cameo. And others, as Actor Allusion to actors who play certain characters.

     Child of the Storm 
  • Chapter 12 is called "Skull Beneath the Skin", a reference to T.S. Eliot's comment on John Webster, contemporary of Shakespeare and author of two plays, The Duchess of Malfi and The White Devil, famous for their very dark view of human nature. The full quote is "Webster always saw the skull beneath the skin". The chapter itself is aptly unsparing.
  • Uhtred Ullrson's first name, and appearance/demeanour as a tall, blond, and bulky semi-Viking Blood Knight (who's much smarter than he looks) and Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy with a raging inferiority complex (he grows out of the latter two characteristics) is admitted by Word of God to owe a lot to Uhtred Ragnarson of The Saxon Stories. Unlike his inspiration, though, Uhtred Ullrson gets nicer with time. Uhtred Ragnarson just gets grumpy.
  • Hermione quotes Shylock's famous speech from The Merchant of Venice to reassure Harry that just because he's half-human, he's still a person, and their friend.
  • Several to Doctor Who, with Harry being an In-Universe fan and the 4th Doctor and the TARDIS making cameo appearances in chapters 75 and 77, thanks to Chthon breaking down the walls of reality. Darcy swipes his jelly babies.
    Strange: There isn't a little boy born who wouldn't tear the world apart to save his mummy. And this little boy can.
    • And after all is said and done, the battle is won, he quotes the episode again.
    Strange: You want moves? I'll give you moves.
  • Zemo's line after crushing Greyback in three seconds flat and holding him at sword point is taken almost word for word from his speech to the Abomination in the The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! episode The Masters of Evil.
  • "His enemies will define him," paraphrased from Batman: Arkham Origins.
  • Repeatedly to Game of Thrones; usually with some referring to Tony as 'Lord Stark'.
  • It turns out that Loki served as the inspiration for the Cheshire cat, and took Tolkien (who also happened to be something of a seer) on a tour of the Nine Realms, which inspired much of his legendarium. He also, judging by an offhand reference, seems to enjoy Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
    • Speaking of the latter, Betsy (quite appropriately) uses the title of the book to refer to Peter Wisdom the first time she sees him.
  • To Excalibur in the name of MI13's assault team.
  • "Always the tone of surprise."
  • Die Hard: Loki at one point drawls that line during a sparring match with Thor.
  • Tony is referred to as 'the Invincible Iron Man', the title of one of his ongoing comic series.
  • Discworld has several:
  • Thor mentions the Arkenstone in Chapter 9.
  • The line, 'does the Walker choose the Path, or the Path the Walker' from the Book of the Dead.
    • When mulling over the story of Hela's birth, Gravemoss references the opening chapter of Sabriel, specifically, the title character's being restored to life after apparently being stillborn by her necromancer father, the Abhorsen, even down to the Nine Gates and the River of Death (which is referred to as an in-universe piece of folklore). This did not end half as well as it did for Sabriel.
    • Apparently, the series actually exists in-universe, based off of an Australian Warden who uses bells as a channel for Magic Music, with a muggle author having overheard a description of it. The White Council were displeased, while Strange thought it was hilarious.
    • The Book of the Dead itself appears in Ghosts, referenced as part of a long list of books that Strange has Harry read. Like its canon counterpart, it has a distressing tendency to bleed in places that have seen a lot of death - and around Bucky (which is even more distressing).
  • To Kung Fu Panda, when Charles Xavier quotes Master Oogway's advice to Po at Harry almost word for word.
  • On a more meta level, Dresden brings up the original title of the first book in his series while making a bad pun - 'Semiautomagic'.
  • A pale elf slaying hundreds of black dragons with a necromantic spell? Sounds familiar. As a bonus, the original spell, which Gravemoss mentions, was called "familicide".
    • Further references to The Order of the Stick appear in Chapter 46, with the drunken use of magic to meld two creatures referencing both Vaarsuvius' irritation about the impracticality of the Owlbear and the creation of Roy's 'Bag of Tricks'.
  • Xavier and Hank McCoy reference the famous line from Henry IV, Part 2 ("Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown"), which Strange quotes to Odin in Ghosts.
  • A young Bruce Wayne is referred by Harry Dresden as having the potential to become 'The World's Greatest Detective'. Despite the author insisting that there is no Batman, this seems a touch too contrived to be anything other than a piece of Foreshadowing. With the appearance of the Tumbler in Chaos Reigns, the sense that this insistence holds little water grows.
    • Dresden was the one that saved the Waynes from being killed and is himself referred to by one of Batman's usual nicknames, 'the Detective,' as well as Wanda (before meeting him in person) thought of him as a 'dark knight.'
  • In Chapter 31, Harry's notation that those with a great insight into human nature become kind (if they are good) or powerful (if they're bad), is a reference to Witches Abroad, in which much the same quote is used about Fairy Godmothers.
  • In Chapter 47, Clint's response when asked about his knowledge of the Divine Comedy? "Yes, I've read a poem. Try not to faint."
  • Lex makes reference to Susan Storm being part of a brain trust called 'the Illuminati', which includes T'Challa, Charles Xavier, Reed Richards and a few other members of the comics Illuminati.
  • Lucius comments darkly that 'The World Is Not Enough'. But it's a good start, apparently.
  • Hermione states that, upon seeing the Twins outfit Errol with repulsors, that she "has a bad feeling about this." Fred and George may or may not unwittingly quote the same franchise when they (mockingly) bow and ask Harry, "What is thy bidding, my Master?"
  • Adam Device "exits stage left, thankfully not pursued by a bear."
  • A particular mention ought to go to Harry's comment that perhaps an ordinary earthworm fell into a vat of toxic potions, had its sanity destroyed, and is about to embark on a life of crime-very much how several comic book villains get their start.
  • Bobby Drake was apparently taught to 'conceal, don't feel'. As a bonus, the fact that he's on an icy cold and hostile mountain, testing out his cryokinetic powers for the first time is a further reference.
  • In chapter 62, when asked whether he's going to be allowed to do something, Harry cheerfully says "Prince," in a way designed to call back to Elizabeth Swann's pulling rank in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with a cheerful statement of, "King."
  • Apparently, Thor and Loki are friends with Crowley and Aziraphale. Adam Young is also mentioned a couple of times.
  • Dresden quotes Yoda's Pre-Asskicking One-Liner at Gravemoss during the Final Battle, immediately after accidentally creating a lightsabre.
    "If so powerful you are, why leave?"
  • Later in the same chapter, Strange quotes Giles at him as well, calling him a "rank, arrogant amateur" as part of a Shut Up, Hannibal!.
  • Carol refers to Harry as Luke Skywalker for his fighting skills, background, essentially gentle nature, and, in Ghosts chapter 10, use of the Jedi Mind Trick. Harry demurs.
  • In chapter 58, Harry asks Hera a very familiar Armour-Piercing Question:

     Ghosts of the Past 
  • Harry and Carol's UST heavy psychic therapy session in the first chapter is straight out of "The Girl in the Fireplace".
    • A line from the episode ("a door once opened may be walked through in either direction") is used by Strange in chapter 67.
    • Strange bitterly lampshades that he's a Doctor who fights in a Time War. Also, his revealed backstory basically inserts him into the plot of BBC's Merlin.
    • Similarly, in chapter 12, Maddie makes psychic contact with Harry and murmurs "Contact," as different incarnations of the Doctor do in the above show when speaking telepathically with one another. Harry later does the same in chapter 57, which could either be a Call-Back, a deliberate Shout-Out, or both.
    • In chapter 58, Harry contemptuously quotes The Lazarus Experiment to Reynolds, calling him "a vain old man who tried to defy nature" and noting that "nature got her own back". While the time-frame suggests this might be an intentional reference, in the same speech he also references the 12th Doctor's Kirk Summation to the Boneless in Flatline, stating that Reynolds has chosen to play the role of the monster because he just doesn't care.
    • In a reference to The Doctor Dances and Forest of the Dead, the narrative comments on how, 'when the wind stands fair, and a hero comes to call, everybody lives'. Not only is it apt because this is the first bow of that classic Hope Bringer, Superman, since the situation is arranged by Strange, he's finally managed to arrange a situation where everybody lives, a neat Call-Back to the finale of Child of the Storm.
    • Additionally, as the author admits, the title of chapter 23, 'Halfway out of the Dark', is directly cribbed from A Christmas Carol.
  • The title of the first major arc, Forever Red, is taken from Margaret Stohl's Black Widow book of the same name.
  • Carol complains about Harry's newly developed Stealth Hi/Bye tendencies, and Bucky's own talents in that department, saying that someone needs to put a bell on the two of them, something lifted almost directly from "School Hard". Appropriate, since Harry is an In-Universe Buffy fan.
  • In chapter 7, Draco refers to a piece of music that a couple of enchanted instruments are playing as, when played fast, 'Arthur's Triumph', and when played slow, 'Merlin's Lament', supposedly composed by Merlin himself after the fall of Camelot. This appears to be a direct reference to the theme of Merlin. (Though Professor Bach a.k.a. Doctor Strange a.k.a. Taliesin remarks that Merlin didn't compose it; while he was the greatest mage of all time, he apparently had a tin ear for music).
  • In chapter 10, Harry makes an in-universe Shout-Out to The Princess Bride and escapes from a psychic construct death trap with a sonic screwdriver.
    • In the same chapter, Wanda echoes the Ninth Doctor's furious speech in Dalek, complete with Slasher Smile, after Sinister tells her that she's just like him and she at first repudiated it.
    Wanda: Actually, no. You're right. I am like my father. I am his daughter. And do you know why? Because I am going to fulfil that promise I made, a promise to render you down to traumatised, screaming atoms if you ever went near my godson again. And while I'm not going to have the time to make it last, I am going to enjoy it. So scream, you bastard, scream!
  • Lukin promises to "make Russia great again." With the author's known political leanings, it's hard to imagine that it's anything other than an intentional jab.
  • When discussing Dream of the Endless, Mab refers to him by one of his common names, Morpheus. Pepper correctly assumes they're not talking about the guy from The Matrix.
  • Harry's appearance as the Dark Phoenix is preceded by the usual "I AM LIFE. I AM FIRE. I AM PHOENIX" line. His physical appearance, meanwhile, is heavily drawn from Scott Summers' time as the Dark Phoenix at the culmination of Avengers vs. X-Men.
    • Word of God also references Carpe Jugulum when remarking on Harry's flamboyance as a Phoenix host and being more strongly (for the time being) connected to the Phoenix than traditional canon hosts Jean and Maddie (who is a Composite Character of Madelyn Pryor and Rachel Grey, the latter of whom spent a very long time as the Phoenix's host): "Male birds are always the ones for the big display."
  • Strange mentions that his "days are like crazy paving," calling back to the Seventh Doctor's farewell speech to his companion, Mel.
  • When three of the female Endless, Death, Delirium, and Destruction (a.k.a. Didi, Luna, and Lily) turn up, the description of the three is very consciously the Discworld version of The Hecate Sisters, with references to 'the Maiden, the Mother and... the Other One'.
  • Carol takes Coulson's request to "start at the beginning" a bit too literally:
  • Strange's Red Barons of "the Evergreen Man" (and, of course, "Lord of Time") is once again a Shout-Out to the Doctor - in the former case, to the Seventh Doctor in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe.
  • Uhtred, when noting his and Ron's Birds of a Feather status, remarks on seeing in Ron's eyes "the same fear that would take the heart of me." Aragorn, is that you?
  • In chapter 20, Cedric paraphrases Hamlet's famous line that "there's more in Heaven and Earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy."
  • Alison's deceptively calm "How dare you? How dare you?" line to Joe Danvers is a more or less exact quote from Hogfather. In the original example, it was delivered by Death to some unwise entities who broke certain non-interference rules by hiring someone to interfere with the human mind. Here, it's delivered to Alison to someone who unwisely attempted to get someone else to meddle in Carol's mind. In neither case does it end well for those to whom it is delivered.
  • Professor Bach a.k.a. Doctor Strange discusses summoning rituals, noting that if you do them wrong, and you're very fortunate, you can try again. If you're less fortunate, you may have a problem on your hands, depending on the benevolence of the being in question. If you're completely unsuccessful... well, "being born is the traditional next step."
  • Magneto, of all people, makes an extremely deadpan reference to Scooby-Doo:
    "Curses. Foiled again. If only if it wasn't for you, you meddling child."
  • Harry's Motive Rant in Chapter 28 has definite shades of the Twelfth Doctor's.
  • Carol, quite appropriately, nicknames Syrus "Hammer Horror," and Harry later derisively refers to him as a "would-be Angelus."
  • Carol, again, refers to a female vampire as 'Bride of Dracula' in chapter 32.
  • And Harry, also in chapter 32, makes a rather frightening reference before turning another vampire to Ludicrous Gibs mid speech.
  • Peter Parker references Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, and Anne Rice when asking for advice on being a vampire. He is later informed that the former is the most accurate.
  • Dresden calls the necromancers "Sergeant Kemmler's Lonely Hearts Club Band." This, in turn, was a Shout-Out in the original Dresden book the exchange is taken from, making it a recursive shout out.
  • Carol's first line to Harry when the latter wakes up ("It's the third of November, and 2:30 in the afternoon"), echoes Gandalf's line to Frodo after the hero wakes up in safety, having been stabbed in the shoulder with a magical sword by an undead monarch.
    • There are countless references to Tolkien's magnum opus, which is apparently based off of Asgardian history in turn, making it a sort of recursive Shout-Out.
  • Shortly after, when Harry finds that his sword, made by Uhtred, has been magically reforged by a combination of his being stabbed with it, bringing it into contact with his magically very potent blood, then it being used a lightning rod by Dracula, referred to as 'the Dragon', to fry him with. While this normally would have no real lasting effects, Strange knitted the combination together into something lasting, which is compared In-Universe to the Merlin (2008) version of Excalibur (a very well-forged but mundane sword that was enchanted by being reforged in a dragon's flame at Merlin's behest). Since Strange grew up alongside Merlin and was involved in those events as a boy, was involved in the creation of that sword, Loki remarks that it was almost certainly intentional. Harry, a King Arthur geek, spends the next few minutes on the verge of nerdgasm, and eventually gives it a very Arthurian name: Curtana, the Sword of Mercy.
    • In the process, Loki also explains how Arthur wielded this sword, as per Merlin (2008), and the sword otherwise known as Amoracchius, one of the Swords of the Cross, which was also known as Excalibur. Essentially, the dragon-forged one was the original Excalibur, and became the Sword in the Stone, while Arthur wielded Amoracchius in later life, and confused record-keepers conflated the two, calling it Excalibur.
  • Clark Kent is described as ruminating on "life, the universe, and everything," and Dumbledore later references this as well.
  • Harry notes that there's no justice or mercy in the universe, just people and what they do. This is often said by Death in Discworld.
  • While he's snuggling with Carol, she asks him to stay with her that night. His response?
    • Carol later comments on it, noting that she's seen the film in question and knows exactly what he meant.
  • Doctor Strange has Harry and Bucky back at Hogwarts before one could click their heels together three times and think of home. Loki later gives Carol a Portkey activated by doing exactly this.
  • Wanda Maximoff served as a technical consultant on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which she tells Harry is actually surprisingly accurate when it comes to its portrayal of Grey and (in terms of behaviour and use of both magic and technology) Red Court vampires - which is why she ended up as a technical consultant in the first place, because she had to stop the cast and crew being eaten by said vampires. Harry, apparently, has been getting all of Gryffindor House hooked on it.
  • Betsy references Fiddler on the Roof while discussing Harry's matchmaking efforts. "Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match."
  • In chapter 42, the Wights' song, and what they're doing to the other champions, is clearly adapted from the chapter on the Barrow Downs of Fellowship of the Ring, which Harry lampshades.
  • The same chapter has Harry sarcastically suggest a ticking crocodile as a further challenge.
  • The title of the First Task arc is "Of Dungeons & Dragons." As Word of God observed, he was trying to keep to the two word arc title structure, but honestly couldn't resist.
  • In chapter 43, Harry escapes the Elder Wyrm, with the Champions, and one of the undines, referencing the Tenth Doctor's dramatic speech in The End of Time (made just before he puts the ship he's flying into a near suicidal dive) just before he does so, culminating with the same two words:
  • In chapter 44, Tony hacks the Valiant so it will broadcast "Thunderstruck". When Bucky complains, Tony replies that it was that or "Macarena". Wanda, understandably, shudders.
  • In the same chapter, Harry references the Seventh Doctor's taunting of an opponent, cutting off their Badass Boast by mockingly noting that they will become claim "ultimate power, endless dominion, and unlimited rice pudding."
    • Shortly after, he also adds a reference to the Twelfth Doctor's opening episode, thanking his enemy, "For all the gratuitous information, o rubbish reptile from the dawn of time."
  • There are two quick references to King Arthur in chapter 44: Tony's project codename for Harry's armour is "Project Galahad," i.e. the fabled exemplar of Incorruptible Pure Pureness, and it's mentioned at the end of the chapter that Harry's sword was stuck in the stone.
    • Coulson later appropriates "Galahad" as Harry's (supposed) SHIELD codename.
  • Thor informs the arc villain of Of Dungeons & Dragons that one thing he's learnt over the years is to always go for the head.
  • Wanda notes that Three Point Landings are terrible on the knees.
  • During the regrowth of the Forbidden Forest after the fight with the Elder Wyrm, Strange, demonstrating his warped sense of humour, brings in a few new tree species, one of them a white tree with red leaves and a somewhat creepy aura about it, which, once Strange was done with it, had a face carved on its trunk. It's also one In-Universe, as Tony - previously established as a dyed-in-the-wool Game of Thrones fan - finds them particularly hilarious. Dumbledore, implied to also recognise it, is less amused.
    • Related to the above, said fight resulted in the not inconsiderable matter of a very large mountain in the middle of the Lake, with questions as to what to name it. Strange suggests calling it the Dragonmount, on the grounds that it was raised up by a literal dragon. This was apparently vetoed as soon as someone looked up the reference.
  • Following this, he fades away, with his smile being the last to go.
  • A subtle one to "A Good Man Goes To War" in chapter 53: Harry thinks that good men don't need rules, and wonders what it says that he has so many.
  • Later in that chapter, he intentionally paraphrases Qui-Gon Jinn: "Feel, don't think."
  • When Strange brings in Jean and Maddie's new tutor in all Phoenix-related matters, Nathan, the alternate Harry met during the First Task, the latter states he's not going to say "I come back to you now at the turn of the tide". Strange is visibly disappointed.
  • Harry unknowingly copies Misaka Mikoto when he railguns a merged ghoul.
  • In chapter 59, when asked why he didn't bribe the Kents with an infertility cure, Strange all but quotes Granny Weatherwax: "If you had needed paying, you would not have been worth the price."
    • In the same chapter, Strange refers to the Phantom Zone in terms very familiar from Doctor Who: "The Eternals [...] called it the Howling. I always just called it the Void."
  • Chapter 60 draws quite a bit of dialogue and thematic elements from "The Wedding of River Song."
    • There's also an oblique reference to the Soothsayer in "Kung Fu Panda 2," specifically her line about "Your story did not have such a happy beginning. But that does not make you who you are."
  • The title of chapter 63, "Riddles in the Dark," is drawn from The Hobbit.
  • Chapter 65 has Dumbledore acknowledge the history of the Elder Wand when the Spirt of the Fortress recognises it for what it is (and all the death it's left behind it), remarking that he will eventually go with Death as a friend... "but not today, I think. Not today." Syrio Forel would be proud.
  • Chapter 66, in the midst of an otherwise emotionally tumultuous chapter, has an irritable Harry deal with Filch by pulling a Jedi Mind Trick on him (and on Mrs Norris), right down to "these are not the droids you are looking for". He directly references Star Wars, explaining that Carol (who spent a good while teasing him about basically being Luke Skywalker) force-fed him the entire series. Twice.
  • As part of his final curse on Apocalypse, Strange quotes the famous line from Ozymandias: "Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair." Given that the original poem is about "a traveller from an antique land" (Strange) and an Egyptian pharoah who thought himself invincible being humbled by time, it's quite apropos (as is the following line: "Nothing beside remains/the lone and level sands stretch far away").
  • In talking about some of Surtur's generals, Loki mentions that his nephew would call them Weeping Angels.
  • Scott tells Gambit that "Your name is Remy, and you are a person." Anakin would be proud.

     Unfinished Business 
Unfinished Business takes each of its first four titles from part of the Ring Verse; 'One Ring to Bring Them', 'One Ring to Find Them', 'And In The Darkness Bind Them', and 'Where the Shadows Lie'. The next four are also LOTR quotes, as is the last: 'The Burned Hand', 'Darkness Took Me', 'From The Ashes', 'A Fire Shall Be Woken', and 'One Ring To Rule Them All'.
  • Deadpool wouldn't be Deadpool without making a couple of these, and manages to make a double-shout out to himself in one line, when he explains his appearance by saying that he's actually "a clone of Ryan Reynolds, until I got bitten by a radioactive Shar-Pei". This neatly references the actor, the films (quoting the first one almost exactly), Cable & Deadpool, where Deadpool described himself as looking "like Ryan Reynolds crossed with a shar-pei", and Spider-Man's classic origin, given that Peter Parker is right next to him and gets bitten by spiders the next chapter. He also alludes to his Bea Arthur obsession.
  • Deadpool also derisively references Justice League (2017) and Zack Snyder's Justice League, especially the latter.
    “Oh yeah, total post-modern fake-out, the lampshade that this is actually gritty reality and it doesn’t play by all those nice rules, and says that we’re taking ourselves so fucking seriously that we’re doing a four-hour four years late Director’s Cut of all your favourite heroes being assholes to each other, filmed exclusively in greyscale.”
  • Doctor Strange makes an indirect appearance via an object enchanted to retain an echo of his personality and knowledge for a little while. It's an entirely intentional Star Wars shout out, with Carol wondering if he's being a Force Ghost, before being corrected - he's more like a Holocron. Peter's internal monologue takes to referring to him as "Weirdy Wan."
  • Holocron!Strange then activates Carol's shield. The codeword he uses to activate it? Shazam!.
  • Strange quotes Lovecraft in regards to the original, Soviet iteration of Project Pegasus: "do not call up that which you cannot put down."
  • Holocron!Strange summons his true self with a rhyme borrowed from an old friend:
    "Gone, gone, the Shade of Man,
    The Spirit has done all he can,
    So banish the Spirit, bring on the change,
    Now behold – the true Stephen Strange!"
  • In the eighth chapter, Harry Dresden is faced with a ravening magic-wielding symbiote that's most powerful in/with water and trying to dissolve through his shield. His solution? Turning his shield into a grenade that unleashes all the kinetic energy it's been charged with, Flipping the Bird and quoting Jaws.
    "Smile, you son of a bitch."
    • And shortly before, given that it was possessing a Forest Person and had hostages...
  • At the end of the seventh chapter, Doctor Strange decides to set the background music to Queen's "We Will Rock You." And at the end of the eighth chapter, once the music faded and silence falls, when all seems to have gone sideways, the final line?
  • Carol's magical constructs include a fleet of X-wings and the Millennium Falcon.
  • In the ninth chapter, Nimue notices that some wild magic transforms a bunch for falling ectoplasm into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias.
  • In the final chapter, Strange traps Nimue's spirit in his former holocron. Peter notices and quips: