The original novel
- Iron Woobie: Lady Marguerite Blakeney.
- It Was His Sled: The dramatic revelation, two-thirds of the way through, that the demmed idiot Sir Percy Blakeney is the Scarlet Pimpernel, to the point that no adaptations try to hide this.
- Protagonist Title Fallacy: Poor Marguerite...
- "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Chauvelin, for one, would be guilty of unforgiveable Genre Blindness... except his genre didn't exist yet.
- Values Dissonance:
- It was easier in the earlier 20th century to completely vilify the French Revolution and have more sympathy for the French aristocracy.
- Similarly, the depiction of the Jewish prisoner or rather, Sir Percy's depiction of the Jewish prisoner might be read with some discomfort by modern readers. Note that Percy is deliberately playing to the Frenchmen's prejudices.
The sequel novels
- Foe Yay: Chauvelin and Sir Percy, the man who haunts "his daydreams and his sleepless nights."
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Sir Percy Hits Back reveals that Chauvelin has an 18-year-old daughter. Count how many adaptations make him an ex-suitor or love interest for the 25-year-old Marguerite. Not a lot of hindsight is even required here, since almost the first thing the original novel says about him (even before the first "fox-like") is that he's "nearer forty than thirty".
- In The Life and Exploits of the Scarlet Pimpernel, written by Baroness Orczy's son, Sir Andrew recalls the day Blakeney explained his reasoning behind adopting the scarlet pimpernel motif and his m.o. of leaving his calling card whenever he made a rescue:"He told me that our best chance of safety lay in making ourselves feared. To superstitious, half-educated people, the mysterious device ... would reduce many to a state of fear."
- Evil Is Sexy: One female viewer wrote to the Radio Times regarding the 1997 series, asking if she was the only one to find Martin Shaw's Chauvelin far more attractive than Richard E. Grant's Sir Percy.
- Retroactive Recognition: The 1982 version features Ian McKellen as Chauvelin in one of his first recognizable roles.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Literally in the 1934 film. The film unaccountably bungles the trick related in the first chapter of the novel, in which the Pimpernel rescues a good twenty aristos at one time by disguising them as troops pursuing escaping aristocrats; in the film, the entire League rescues only three.
- The Woobie: The 1999 TV version has Tony Dewhurst, played by Jamie Bamber in the middle of the Professional Woobie stage of his career. Such a Cutie and killed off so quickly, becoming the first of many of Bamber's characters to bite the dust (adding insult to injury is that Dewhurst did not die in the books the series is based on). TV Tropes send the guy a hug.