Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / The Wardstone Chronicles

Go To

The Book Series

  • Anti-Climax Boss: After all the build-up about how she is one of the worst witches ever, Mother Malkin ends up killed quite easily the two times she confronts Tom. To add insult to injury, her final death is being eaten by pigs.
    • Also, Mistress Wurmalde, who after acting as the major antagonist of most of the book and being called an immortal, is unceremiously killed off by one of Tom's lamia aunts. Lampshaded by Gregory.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Elizabeth of the Bones, commonly known as Bony Lizzie, is a sadistic child-killing witch who harvests bones for rituals. Posing as Alice Deane's aunt, she's actually her mother, having conceived with the Fiend. She once had a brain-eating familiar, and Lizzie didn't interfere when it targeted her daughter. She first plots to free her dreaded grandmother Mother Malkin by tricking Tom into giving her blood cakes and abducting a little boy as a meal. She inflicts Tom with nightmarish hallucinations, before she tries to take his thumb bones. After taking over the isle of Mona, she murders a miller who challenged her authority, trapping his soul in limbo, sentences John Gregory, Adriana and Commander Stanton to be fed to the Buggane, drinks the blood of a yeoman and leads raiding parties slaughtering entire families. When Alice ruins her plans of world domination, she attempts to take her life then successfully kills Adriana and her fiancé. The flashback of the twelfth book reveals that she killed a Spook before torturing his soul and attempted to kill thirteen children for a ritual, while in the present day, her ghost ambushes Alice and Thorne to be interrogated and tortured by the daemon Beelzebub. In The Dark Assassin, Lizzie treacherously delivers the witch assassin Grimalkin and Thorne to another daemon.
    • Advertisement:
    • The Fiend is the master of the dark and main antagonist of the series who tries to bring the world to a new age of darkness. Having control of practitioners of the dark, he sentences his enemies as well as people who make deals with him to eternal torments. Fathering many children with witches, he kills those who are neither humans nor witches, as he killed Grimalkin’s baby son, earning her hatred. He prevents Bill Arkwright’s ghost parents from reaching the light, condemning them to haunt their mill. When the witches release him from his plane, his mere presence on earth causes many wars. He murders and takes the appearance of the bargeman Matthew Guilbert in order to lure Tom and his master into a trap. After failing to convert Thomas Ward to his cause, he challenges him to face his daughter Morwena with the threat of killing his friends if he refuses or gets killed. He later tricks Tom into selling his soul and when his other daughter Alice prevents him from claiming it, he curses her to share her friend’s fate. He submits her to unspeakable torture and allows Tom to hear her cries. When Grimalkin takes one of his eyes, he threatens his followers with eternal damnation. Finally, he sends the Vampire God Siscoi against Tom and sends his agents to murder Tom’s brother James out of spite.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Bill Arkwright is abusive toward Tom and relies on drastic methods to deal with creatures of the Dark, but considering his whole family died and ended up as ghosts trapped in his home with him unable to help them, you have to feel sorry for him.
    • Morgan Hurst, the antagonist of the third book, could be seen as this, seeing as he never met his father and his adoptive parents beat him because he fell in love with his adoptive sister which lead to her killing herself. However, his general awfulness makes it pretty difficult to feel sorry for him.
  • Nightmare Fuel: A lot of it. The series put the "dark" in "Dark Fantasy."
  • Paranoia Fuel: In book eight, the blood jar gets weaker throughout the book.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Thomas thinks Bill Arkwright is cruel to give witch hearts to dogs instead of making jails like Gregory. However some would consider it better to eliminate evil for good than keeping potential threats around.
  • Advertisement:
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The books have a recommended age group of "10 and up" despite the sheer amount of death, horror, and violence contained in each entry of the series. Although they're geared towards a younger audience, they're still pretty grim and frightening.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Her Back?: For some fans, the fact that Alice left Tom for Lukrasta not once but twice is something that should completely disqualify her from being any kind of serious love interest to Tom.
  • The Woobie:
    • Alice has been raised for most of her childhood by her aunt (who is actually her mother who temporarily abandoned her then took her back as an apprentice) Bony Lizzy, who was ruthless with her, forced her to learn black magic against her will, and injured her just so she could use her blood. When she finally escapes this life by befriending Tom, she is moved to another nicer aunt only to have this aunt die by the next book thanks to the Inquisitor. She is then allowed to live with Tom and Gregory for a while, but Gregory refuses to trust her and threatens to throw her in the pit should she ever show signs of joining the Dark. Come Book 8, the Fiend takes her to his Realm as a punishment for helping Tom, and though he manages to save her eventually the torture she goes through leaves her with huge trauma. And to make matters worse, Book 10 reveals the only way Tom will be able to defeat the Devil for good will be by sacrificing her, because she's the being he cares about the most.
    • Judd Brinscall in Book 10 fell in love with a woman he met during his travels and was about to marry her only for the woman to be possessed by a strigoica (and this kind of possession is irreversible). He tried to chase the strigoica to avenge his love’s loss, only to end up captured, reduced to a living food supply by them and forced into betraying his former master Gregory by luring him into a trap. When he is freed by Tom, the boy understandably has a hard time trusting him or forgiving him even though he is more than willing to make up for it. Then he ends up killing the Strigoica who possessed the woman he loved, forcing him to not only kill her but also brutally mutilate her body to ensure she won’t be possessed again. And then the body ends up possessed again anyway by a vampire god, forcing him to kill it again.

The Film Adaptation

  • Anti-Climax Boss: Malkin does have a big fight... against Bony Lizzie, who she defeats. After that, she is easily killed by Tom using a knife.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: The film was doomed for failure when you realize that it had no audience to hope for to rake in the cash, in addition to being placed in a dump month for release, which is a pretty big red flag. The fans of the novels were already pissed off at all of the creative liberties taken with the source material, to the point where it barely resembles the first book, and the trite and predictable plot was also a turn-off for the general audience with the groan-inducing cliches and tropes present in just the trailer alone. This film had no hope for success.
  • Cliché Storm: A prophecy that can only be fulfilled by The Chosen One? Check. Medieval Europe setting perfect for a fantasy adventure? Check. An evil and one-dimensional villain with mundane goals and a strong preference for black and red robes who lives in an evil lair? Check. An ordinary farm boy who's swept up in a grand adventure full of magic and wonder to defeat an evil overlord with the help of his friends? Check. An old wizard who takes the hero under his wing to be his apprentice with a tendency to speak in riddles? Check. A generic love interest who's a Flat Character and betrays her evil overlord to assist the heroes? Check. A magical object that the heroes must protect lest it fall into the wrong hands? Check. To be slightly fair, the source material was also guilty of some of these cliches as well, but it's no wonder that the film bombed as massively as it did for how clearly they marketed it. Audiences and critics alike were reported to have been disinterested from just the trailers and the synopsis alone because the film is presented as a run-of-the-mill fantasy adventure film with nothing that makes it stand out from the rest of its ilk.
  • Evil Is Sexy: The evil female witches are dressed in somewhat provocative clothing, with Bony Lizzie in a tight corset and Mother Malkin in a flamboyant black outfit complimented by huge eyelashes and black eye shadow. The good witches wear plainer-looking attire.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Seeing Alicia Vikander as the lone good witch of the bunch is amusing if you watch her in Ex Machina where she turns out to have been The Chessmaster playing the men around her.
  • Narm:
    • Everything Gregory says due to the odd way Jeff Bridges speaks. Many reviews wondered if he spent the entire movie holding marbles inside his mouth.
    • Julianne Moore's ridiculously hammy performance as Malkin. Entertaining yes, but the film fails to make her remotely frightening as a villain.
    • Olivia Williams chooses to give Mam a terribly fake Oireland accent, which is strange when the rest of the cast use American accents.
  • Special Effect Failure: There are a few times when the CGI monsters clearly do not look natural on screen.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Tom and Alice share two scenes before they kiss and confess their love for each other. In the books, it takes several novels before Tom acknowledges he might have feelings for her.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The first trailer already showed many things that pissed off the fans of the books, like Tom and Alice being significantly older, them kissing (their relationship in the books is straight Unresolved Sexual Tension), Adaptational Attractiveness for Big Bad Mother Malkin, creatures not from the book (like a dragon or a four-armed man), Gregory using magic and martial arts moves...
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: In contrast to Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges, who go for Ham and Cheese, both Ben Barnes and Alicia Vikander try to take the Narm-filled CGI fest seriously.

Alternative Title(s): Seventh Son 2015


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: