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YMMV / The Bartimaeus Trilogy

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  • Accidental Innuendo: In this scene.
    Nathaniel: I tried last night and you were gone. Who was it? Which magician were you seeing?
    Bartimaeus: Don’t get so worked up. It was a brief encounter. Nothing serious. It’s over.
    Nathaniel: Nothing serious? Think I’m going to believe that?
    Bartimaeus: Calm down, Mr. Jealous. You’re making a scene.
    Nathaniel: Who was it? Man or woman?
    Bartimaeus: Look, I know what you’re thinking, and I didn’t.
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  • Badass Decay: Bartimaeus throughout the trilogy. Justified in that he has weakened severely due to having stayed in the mortal world for far too long, to the point where he starts to literally decay due to his failing essence.
  • Catharsis Factor: Julius Tallow is so loathsome that when he gets devoured by an afrit it is impossible not to cheer.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The footstool that Bartimaeus mistakes (possibly on purpose) for a djinni.
  • Fridge Brilliance
    • Some were surprised at how callous and different Bartimaeus was in the prequel. Throughout the book he kills his master, mentions pickling another, is quite willing to eat humans, meets a demon who loves his master and believes him to be disgusting and pathetic, and grovels more than he ever did in the original three books. Then you realize - Bartimaeus hasn't met Ptolemy yet.
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    • Why do we not see any technology more advanced than the telephone? Because with Magicians using magic and demons for things like sending messages, spying and in general carrying out their dirty work there was no demand to develop more advanced technology. The Magicians certainly don't want the Commoners to have access to anything that could threaten them or their power, so don't let things like walkie talkies, advanced bombs or mobile phones be invented.
    • Commoners aren't even seen with conventional weapons like guns. Think of how a metal bullet would affect a demon, considering it's their main weakness.
    • Magicians aren't allowed to have children. The reason stated is because family feuds inevitably happen. However if Commoners are able to develop resilience just by the presence of demons in the city, then imagine what might happen if an unborn child has heavier exposure to magic.
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  • Foe Yay: Nathaniel and Kitty in Book 2. Ptolemy's Gate makes it more obvious; Bartimaeus is most amused by it.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Bartimaeus' aside halfway through book 3 about the impracticality of lions' manes in combat seems like just another of his regular doses of snark at the time. Cue the final Ptolemy chapter, and we discover he was speaking from rather tragic experience.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Uh. Ptolemy, the few times he and Bartimaeus interact. Can also be seen as Intergenerational Friendship - after all, it's YMMV. At least, the subtext is there to be seen that way.
    • With Nathaniel, too. For all his complaints about Bartimaeus, Nathaniel keeps finding excuses to bring him back, even when he could have used a more powerful or efficient servant. Bartimaeus is also the closest thing Nathaniel has to a friend and is the reason Nathaniel didn't become like the other magicians.
    • Khaba and his marid Ammet in the prequel. Good grief.
    • Faquarl/Bartimaeus is a surprisingly popular slash pairing in the fandom.
      • Honestly, they seem more like brothers than lovers. Calling them "sibling rivals" with Farquarl the big (and stronger) brother and Bartimaeus the weaker (but snarkier) little brother just fits.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Lovelace is clearly a scumbag from moment one, but he really crosses the line when he orders Jabor to kill everyone in Nathaniel's house (including the innocent Mrs. Underwood) even though Nathaniel confessed that only he was involved.
    • Arthur Underwood crosses it when he's perfectly willing to let Lovelace kill Nathaniel to save his own skin. He may have crossed it even earlier when he catches Nathaniel with summoning equipment, and suggests that he's thinking of killing him on the spot, and only doesn't do so because "forms would have to be filled out" and "his judgment would be called into question."
      • It's especially scummy, since it happens immediately after Nathaniel admits he stole the Amulet instead of just letting Underwood take the blame.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Honorious slaughtering the entire Resistance as Kitty is desperately trying to escape.
    • In the third book when all the members of Makepeace's conspiracy have been taken over by the demons they summoned and all start laughing in a completely emotionless way.
    • "Bones in black clothes." The best description for the death of Verroq, found right in the book itself.
    • The description of just what exactly is in Khaba's vaults. Mummies, multiple skeletons (of both animals and humans), tortured spirits...
    • Gezeri's final attack on Asmira - he's mentioned as having lots of sharp teeth and claws, as well as skittering with "horrible speed" like some sort of demonic spider.
    • The most powerful spirits are enslaved for thousands of years and if lucky get only a few years in-between periods of captivity. Imagine being cursed with a potent combination of raw physical strength, cunning and intelligence and being forced to serve as a slave for thousands of years.
    • In general, the spirits all declare I'm a Humanitarian. They will eat people every chance they get, as well as each other. What happens after one is eaten by a spirit in material guise is left to the reader, but the screams aren't very encouraging. In a rare moment of real darkness, Bartimaeus shows exactly what happens to magicians who screw up:
      Ezekiel (having been blown out of his protective circle): Bartimaeus—
      Bartimaeus (showing More Teeth than the Osmond Family): That's my name. Now are you going to get up, or shall I come to you?
      The answer he made was incoherent. The pretty maiden shrugged. Then she bared her pretty teeth and fell upon him, and any further sounds he made were swiftly stilled.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In one of the footnotes in which Bartimaeus is describing the nature of the demons, (specifically the fact that they can't be seen unless you have special glasses or they want you to see them) he remarks that there is probably something with lots of tentacles sitting behind you right... about... NOW!
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Really Bartimaeus' relationship with Ptolemy.
    "It's two thousand, one hundred and twenty-nine years since Ptolemy died. He was fourteen. Eight world empires have risen up and fallen away since that day, and I still carry his face. Who do you think's the lucky one?"
    • The death of Nathaniel at the end.
    Kitty: [speaking at the ruins where Nathaniel died] So much for your promises.
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