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  • Adorkable: Fone Bone is a terrible poet, can put people to sleep with his enthusiasm for Moby-Dick and breaks out into bashful blushing when interacting with his crush, Thorn. Coupled with his inherent kindness, all this serves to make him more endearing.
  • Complete Monster: The Hooded One, aka Briar Harvestar, is the second-in-command of the Lord of the Locusts and the one trying to free him despite knowing it'd cause the end of the world. As a young woman, her first attempt to free her master involved using a river dragon to cause a bloody slaughter at a small town, leading her lover and his soldiers into an ambush, and trying to overthrow her loving parents and murder her younger sister. Even when shown mercy, Briar continued to serve as a mole for the Locust and led her niece and nephew-in-law to their deaths in an attempt to abduct her five-year-old grandniece. Though she was killed in the process, the Locust resurrected her, and she took on the identity of the Hooded One, using her power to force the Rat Creatures into all-out war against the Valley, when they were formerly content to abide by the old treaty. Even the General of her Pawan allies is enraged by her when she admits she threw away the lives of his men, and is terrified when he realizes she intends to destroy the Valley instead of ruling it, resulting in his decapitation. Though she admits the Locust has been whispering in her ear since childhood, Briar possesses agency, frequently acting against her master's best interests to make sure she remains his favorite servant, and is never portrayed in a tragic light. Instead she's depicted as a petulant child whose unreasonable envy of her little sister, and her own love of the Locust's power, make her willing to damn the world so she can feel superior.
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Fone Bone sounds a lot like Foney Boney - HEHEHEHEHEHEHE!.
  • Ho Yay: Not uncommon in the Bone fandom. Usually it's either with Smiley and Phoney, or Fone Bone and Phoney. Where's Smiley and Fone Bone, then? A far less common one is between the Two Stupid Rat Creatures, but it is more joked about.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The name Bone doesn't actually refers to a certain character in the story - that happens to be the name of the species of the three main characters Fone Bone, Smiley Bone and Phoney Bone. (Keep in mind, the surname Bone is also shared among many others of their kind, if not all of them.)
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • The villagers of Barrelhaven are foolish, gullible people who are easily led into mobs, but it's hard not to feel sorry for them considering the sheer hell they go through once the real conflict starts. Wendell in particular, despite being a jerk many times in the past, constantly seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown as he endures the war.
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    • It's a little hard to not feel at least a bit of pity for Kingdok as he suffers an ever-worsening Humiliation Conga over the course of the series. He once was a mighty king of the Rat Creatures, and was even willing to live in peace with the valley-dwellers and stay in the mountains. His clan was taken over by The Hooded One and he was forced to obey every command given. By the end of the series, having lost an arm, his tongue, been smacked by rocks, and bruised by stumbling around in the dark underground, he's actually demanding Thorn kill him rather than having to go on living the life he's been reduced to.
    • The entire Rat Creature race counts. According to the Two Stupid Rat Creatures, they were happy to just live peacefully in the mountains and honor the treaty and didn't start acting evil until the Hooded One showed up and started manipulating and controlling them (Kingdok in particular; the Bone wiki even describes him as a slave puppet) into going to war. As Smiley points out, the Hooded One basically corrupted a fairly peaceful race into a warlike insect cult.
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  • Memetic Mutation: "Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures!" became one in the early days of the internet.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Kingdok eating Thorn's mother alive. Kingdok even points out that it's a Moral Event Horizon in his attempt to get Thorn to kill him. It doesn't work until he bites into her leg to impede her progress.
  • Narm:
    • In book 9, Briar is shown doing a dance where she has her hands clapped up over her head and with her leg extended, almost like some kind of pagan-dance. Given the seriousness of the series at that point, it seems funny for the wrong reason - especially since it comes out of nowhere.
    • The penultimate scene in Rose has the Lord of the Locusts possess Briar's body after revisiting every instance Rose was favored over her. Sure, most of them show some moments of justified animosity, but among these moments is Briar crying as a baby because her parents are feeding her sister before her. Come on, really?
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: While Out from Boneville was met with average to mixed reception upon release, The Great Cow Race fared better with more positive reception than the first game.
  • Squick: In Old Man's Cave, Rock Jaw reveals to the reader exactly what he did to Kingdok in the fight from the previous volume
    "Cat got your tongue?"
  • Ugly Cute: Rat Creatures. They're vicious Rat Men, but they look absolutely adorable at times, and their Affably Evil Punch-Clock Villain personalities are endearing. Special mention goes to Bartleby.
  • Signature Scene: Say it with me now...
    Fone Bone: "Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures!"
  • Vindicated by History: Arguably, the series never really got into the public eye until the colorized re-prints and the one-book version were released. Part of the reason being that it was very hard to find beforehand.
  • Woolseyism: The Norwegian translation is full of them; translator Jens E. Røsåsen is a veteran in translating comics and seems to have had a field day with this one. He even managed to add a couple of jokes, adding a bit of edge back to one scene after Smiley's "lamaze and bungy-jumping" line was cut.
    Smiley: Remember th' first time you got us run out of town? You opened up a chain of franchises — Bone Environmental: Nuclear reactor and endless salad bars!
    Phoney: That wasn't a silly idea! Th' lettuce wouldn't spoil for decades!
    Smiley: Well, it was pretty silly.
    Phoney: Oh yeah, you're a brilliant judge.

    Norwegian translation:
    Smiley: Remember the first time you got us chased out of town? You started Bone Environmental, which combined a nuclear power plant with a chain of salad bars.
    Phoney: That was a brilliant idea! The lettuce kept for several decades!
    Smiley: The people who ate it didn't.
    Phoney: Details.

Stupid Stupid Rat Tails/Tall Tales


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