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Honor Harrington is a Military Science Fiction series by David Weber. The book series is mainly set around the adventures of the titular heroine, although we see a fair amount of the wider universe. The primary conflict of the storyline is the Kingdom of Manticore (The Good Guys) vs. The (People's) Republic of Haven (The Bad Guys Who Aren't Entirely Unsympathetic).

Weber has explicitly described the series as "Horatio Hornblower" IN SPACE! with the series being a great deal more focused on (Space) Naval operations than other science fiction series. Honor Harrington occasionally performs ground-based and political adventures, but the vast majority of the series is focused on her ship-to-ship conflicts, where she serves as commanding officer.

Brief synopses of the books

  • On Basilisk Station: When the prototype weapon mounted on Honor's light cruiser Fearless fails to work as well as its designer wished, she and the crew are sent off to the eponymous backwater where Honor's old enemy Pavel Young is in command, the natives are troublesome, and Haven is behaving suspiciously.
  • The Honor of the Queen: Manticore sends a delegation to Grayson, hoping to form an alliance, but the other side's sexism makes things difficult, and Haven is working through their old enemies Masada against them.
  • The Short Victorious War: Haven attempts to thrust further into Manticoran alliance territory, but the threats to the existing Havenite system are not solely external this time.
  • Field of Dishonor: Pavel Young plans a vicious vengeance on Honor and succeeds, but that decision backfires. It doesn't make Honor's life any easier, though.
  • Flag in Exile: Events lead to Honor returning to Grayson to manage her steading, where enemies conspire against her. Meanwhile, the war intensifies, and Manticore starts to lose momentum.
  • Honor Among Enemies: Honor is called back from Grayson to command an anti-piracy mission of Q-ships in the Silesian Confederacy, a lawless territory but an important trading market.
  • In Enemy Hands: Honor is captured by Haven and is taken to be executed for crimes she was convicted of by Haven following On Basilisk Station.
  • Echoes of Honor: Manticore grieves over Honor's execution while the emboldened Peeps launch devastating deep raids, but the video of her death is a fake and Honor is actually plotting her escape from a Haven prison planet called Hades.
  • Ashes of Victory: The war between Manticore and Haven heats up even more, with major events on both sides that completely change the politics of the conflict.
  • War of Honor: A cease-fire has held between Manticore and Haven for years. Honor is out of favor with the current Manticoran government and has lost her command, but she's vocally opposed to reduced military spending and considers the new government to be fools. To quiet her, the government gives her a command at a remote outpost near Silesia. Meanwhile, the new government of Haven struggles to keep the peace against popular pressure and dangerous political rivals.
  • At All Costs: Manticore struggles to overcome the loss of so much of their navy due to cutbacks in War of Honor, so Honor commands a fleet equipped with cutting edge technology to make quick strikes into Haven territory. Haven sees Manticore's weakness but is terrified by the implications of the new technology, causing the war to come to a climax.
  • Mission of Honor: Honor leads a diplomatic mission to the heart of Haven in order to finally create true peace, but the Solarian League threatens the negotiations by drawing Manticore into a second conflict and tipping the balance of power. Meanwhile, the mysterious planet of Mesa has dangerous plans of its own.
  • A Rising Thunder The Solarian League Conflict continues to grow while the Grand Alliance is formed, and the cracks in the Solarian League start to show.


Spinoffs

  • Crown of Slaves: Anton Zilwicki leads a small group to the Republic of Erewhon to try and convince it to stay under the Manticoran umbrella. Problem is, Havenite superspy Victor Cachat is there too to convince the locals to his side, a group of Solarians are up to no good, and other factions have their own plans.
  • Torch of Freedom: Anton Zilwicki and Victor Cachat go into the belly of the beast to find out what Manpower is up to, while the villains put the finishing touches on their preparations for Oyster Bay.
  • Shadow of Saganami: What should have been a boring mission for newly-graduated Manticoran officers turns out to be rather more than bargained for.
  • Storm from the Shadows: Michelle Henke heads to the Talbott Quadrant in order to protect Manticore's interests from the Solarian League, but has she bitten off more than she can chew?
  • A Beautiful Friendship: Young Adult subseries focusing on Stephanie Harrington's exploration of the new colony on Sphinx and the Treecats.


All the novels up to A Beautiful Friendship are legally available for free, along with many other Baen Books titles, via the Baen Free CD site. The best collection of Honorverse titles is on the Mission of Honor promotional CD.

David Weber announced on 27-Sept-2011 that a movie deal has been closed.

Also, please help to make and expand the character page.

Warning: Spoilers ahead. As a Long Runner, Late Arrival Spoilers of the early books are unavoidable. Caution advised.


These novels provide examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: Used in spirit. They're not actually absent, just... Not important. Humanity has made contact with at least twelve sapient species during its exploration of the galaxy, and at least one multi-stellar species has gone extinct (The Alphanes), but they are not involved in the story at all. The Medusans of Basilisk are important in the first novel, but fade into the background once Honor leaves their system since they only possess a Bronze Age level of technology. The only sapient aliens that have a presence throughout the series are the treecats of Sphinx, primarily represented by Nimitz, the 'cat who has adopted Honor-- and tropewise they're more Manticoran Bond Creatures than an alien faction.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: The Graysons make some revolutionary discoveries due to having to rebuild their tech base from scratch—most notably, acceleration compensators that are more efficient than Manticore's version, and fission reactors that are smaller and more efficient and powerful than the rest of the galaxy thought feasible. At the time Manticore comes along they are very thankful they have some modern tech examples to work with to help relieve the backwards nature of their industry, but Manticore is also happy to have new ideas to try for themselves.
  • Action Girl: Tons of.
  • Action Girlfriend: Honor to Hamish Alexander. He declines her offer to teach him martial arts, saying that in the (highly unlikely) event that some poor mugger makes it through her bodyguards, he will be content to hold her coat while she beats the hell out of him.
  • Action Mom: Take a wild guess.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Epsilon Eridani Edict.
  • All There in the Manual: Weber posts a lot in forums providing additional details, mostly about the underlying architecture of the world building. Most of it is collected here
  • Almighty Janitor: Sir Horace Harkness. Nobody ever takes him for anything more than a battered old working-class noncom, but behind the unremarkable exterior lurks the mind of a hacking genius clever enough to hack his way into one of Manticore's most-protected military computer systems solely to make sure that he is always assigned to the same duty station as the young officer he has taken under his wing. This comes in extremely handy in In Enemy Hands.
    • The real rulers of the Solarian League are a quartet of Permanent Undersecretaries.
  • Always Identical Twins: Subverted or averted each time we can see twins in the series:
    • Honor's siblings, being a girl-boy pair, are clearly fraternal twins and resemble each other no more than normal brother and sister.
    • Albrecht Detweiler's sons initially look like identical sextuplets, but we later find out that they aren't really his sons, they are his clones.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: When we meet Honor's mother, the first words out of her mouth are an observation of how nice a butt Honor's executive officer has, and telling Honor she needs to tap that. And she does that kind of thing all the time. Ironically, she is considered a bit of a prude on her home planet, due to her being decidedly monogamous.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Over the two thousand years since the present-day, the human race has interbred enough (not to mention played with genetic manipulation here and there) that it is actually fairly uncommon for the ethnicity, let alone skin color, of a character's name to match his features. This can lead to Darkskinned Blonde or Dark-Skinned Redhead characters (both of which have been seen in the series), as well as to characters such as Thandi (whose people started from an African genotype, lost their skin and hair pigmentation, but kept its kinkiness).
  • American Customary Measurements: Grayson still uses them, for baseball, at least, demonstrating their hat of being stubbornly traditional to the extreme. Everyone else wonders why they do not just round everything up to the nearest meter.
  • And I Must Scream: Anyone unlucky enough to be targeted by the nanotech assassination virus experiences this. It takes over motor control only, so the victim remains fully conscious and aware even though he can't stop his motions or make a sound in protest. Chillingly portrayed by one loose end for the Mesan Alignment, who finds himself desperately trying to call for help, as he watches his own arm pull a gun out of his desk drawer and put the barrel into his mouth. In a twist, the empathic/telepathic treecats can hear the mental screams and react accordingly.
  • Anyone Can Die: Unexpected character deaths abound. Even the title character was originally intended to die at the conclusion of the Manticore/Haven conflict and be replaced by her son and daughter after a Time Skip to the confrontation with Mesa and the Solarians. She was saved only by a combination of fan outcry and a timeline change by co-writer Eric Flint. Word of God says only Honor's valet is invulnerable, because the author's wife likes him. Weber wrote:

  "Military fiction in which only bad people—the ones the readers want to die—die and the heroes don't suffer agonizing personal losses isn't military fiction: it's military pornography. Someone who write [sic] military fiction has a responsibility to show the human cost, particular [sic] because so few of his readers may have any personal experience with that cost.

  • Anti-Hero: Mostly as secondary characters. Chief Harkness, Jeremy X, Klaus Hauptmann, etc. The Spook Duo (Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki) are more than willing to ignore some pesky little rules in their pursuits, too.
  • Apocalypse How: Discussed in detail. It would be much easier for a warfleet to bombard and destroy a planet (apocalypse Class 4) than to fight another warfleet. The "Eridani Edict," a declaration by the Solarian League, forbids them from doing so, unless they first take control of the orbitals and offer a surrender chance. Controlling the orbitals is the equivalent of holding a sword to the planet's throat, and no sane opponent would keep fighting under that threat.
    • A brief (by Weber's standards) discussion in one book also points out that even civilian spacecraft could become a relativity kill vehicle. Later, Mission of Honor demonstrates how much devastation can be caused as collateral damage or even accidentally. Debris from an orbital strike (not a treaty violation, and not even aimed at the planet) kills 5 million people on the surface, including most of Honor's large extended clan. Many more people would have died had not an intervening ship been quick on the draw.
  • Appropriated Appelation: The ruling members of the League bureaucrats are referred to as "Mandarins" by newsies critical of their actions, despite the best efforts of the League propoganda officials to stamp out the practice. The practice has gained so much traction that they have begun to accidentally refer to themselves as Mandarins, and are not happy when they realize it.
  • Arc Welding: Mesa and Manpower, Incorporated are first mentioned in War of Honor, ten books into the series and two books before their rise to the position of primary antagonists; but the later books give them credit for not just a lot of the earlier events of the series, but even historical events stretching back centuries that had been mentioned and discussed by characters for years.
  • Arc Words: Oyster Bay, and before that "The Onion", before The Reveal of The Mesan Alignment.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The series provides an in-depth examination of the pros and cons of an established aristocracy, and the impacts it can have on the development of those born into the system. Pavel Young, Michael Janvier (Baron of High Ridge), Steadholders Mueller and Burdette, and the Countess of New Kiev might as well be the poster boys of this trope, but the series also features the honorable House of Winton, the Mayhew family of Grayson (excepting such black sheep as Maccabeus), the Alexanders of White Haven, and eventually Honor Harrington herself. At several points in the series the characters themselves will debate the merits of various political systems, with the eventual conclusion that they all have positive and negative aspects, but the Manticoran model at least does its best to curb the excesses of any power elite.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted - When Point Defenseless and sidewall have failed, armor is the last line, and often does make a difference. Against the thick hides of dreadnoughts and superdreadnoughts, the armaments of smaller ships usually prove too weak.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Ginny Usher's reasons for Jessica Stein being "off" in Crown of Slaves.
  • Artificial Gravity: The effects of this technology are pervasive -- impossibly tall skyscrapers, the replacement of all forms of ground transport, interstellar shipping cheap enough to ship perishables, FTL communication and travel, tractor beams, protective force fields, cheap and practical nuclear fusion, shaped nuclear explosions for laser warheads, cheap satellite launches, etc, etc.
  • You Fail Economics Forever: Haven, In-Universe. Their economy is such a hash that it cripples their ability to fight a much smaller enemy that should be a pushover.
  • Physics Goof: Although David Weber takes pains to get the physics right, he's primarily a naval historian by training, and a few creative changes to the laws of the universe do slip through.
    • At one point in Flag in Exile, the Peep missiles being used are said to be able to accelerate to a maximum velocity of about 60,000 kps relative to the ship that launched it, at which point their drives will burn out. That's a delta-v budget of 0.2c. Yet at another point in this same engagement, the claim is made that if the launching ships are incoming at 0.8c, their missiles will have a burnout speed of 0.99c. Unfortunately, that close to the speed of light, speeds don't add together in such a straightforward fashion -- two velocities v1 and v2 add together as v = (v1 + v2) / (1 + (v1 * v2 / c2)). A missile launched at 0.8c would, if it accelerated by another 0.2c in its own reference frame, have a final speed of 0.862c, not 0.99c. (Time Dilation is a factor from one perspective; relativistic mass is a factor from another.) In order to accelerate from 0.8c to 0.99c, a missile would have to accelerate to 0.913c relative to the launching ship, which represents a delta-v of over 673,000 kps as viewed from its own reference frame.
    • Similarly, in chapter 35 of Ashes of Victory, Weber says that missiles accelerating at 48,000g (470 kps-squared) over a distance of 3.5 light-minutes will have a final velocity of 0.83c. But under special relativity, at high speeds an object accelerating at 470 km/s2 will actually gain less than 470 km/s of velocity every second. For an object accelerating over a given distance, where the distance is measured in a fixed observer's reference frame, the formula for how much time it takes in the accelerating object's reference frame is T = (c/a) * ArcCosh (a * d/c2 + 1), which for these missiles works out to T = 504 seconds. The formula for the final velocity you'll have when accelerating for a certain length of time, where the time is measured in the accelerating object's reference frame, is v = c * Tanh(a*T/c). Even if we generously assume that these missiles can actually accelerate for a full 9 minutes (T = 540 seconds) in their own reference frames, their final velocity will only be 0.69c, not 0.83c.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Honor has survived a half dozen attempted assassinations. Scores of bystanders and several of her bodyguards have been wounded or killed, one of her friends died Taking the Bullet, she herself has been injured more than once, but she has always made it out alive. Few of the assassins have gotten away. She has even foiled more than one assassination attempt against other people when she was nearby.
  • Attempted Rape: Pavel Young tried to rape Honor when they were both midshipmen. She beat the snot out of him, but was too scared of the potential political ramifications to press charges. Her character growth and his distinct lack of character are a fair chunk of the plot of the first three novels and most of the plot of the fourth.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: For most of the series so far, the Solarian League has been effectively ignoring the activities of the protagonists and antagonists, since their total military forces are, in numerical terms, insignificant compared to those of the League. Starting in Mission of Honor, their stance has changed, and they have participated in some rather one-sided engagements. The results have made them extremely nervous about Manticore's military supremacy; too bad for them it's not just Manticore who's ahead.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Even Honor admits that the Grav Lance represents a potentially revolutionary military technology that could, if properly developed, upset the entire manner of space combat, but she also decries the fact that it has not yet properly developed. Though it has the ability to render even a superdreadnaught defenseless, it can only function at 1/4 (or less) the range of all other existing weaponry, and that assumes it does not malfunction all on its own.
  • Badass: Most of the cast. Notably Honor herself and Victor Cachat, the two characters who have keen analytical minds, but are also involved in the first-person violence.
  • Badass Adorable: The entire treecat species. Cute, cuddly little critters who have six limbs, each tipped with razor-sharp claws, and who turn into berserk buzzsaws when the ones they love are in danger.
    • Shannon "Oops!" Foraker.
  • Badass Family: The Zilwicki clan. Posthumous war hero mom, Genius Bruiser super-spy dad, Cute Bruiser and Lady of War-in-training daughter, rabble-rousing anti-slavery step-mom, A Child Shall Lead Them adopted daughter, and that does not even count the super-spies, Super Soldiers, and various freedom-fighters who make up the family friends.
  • Batter Up: When Honor sees a baseball team for the first time she thinks she is witnessing the outbreak of mob violence armed with wooden clubs. Andrew LaFollet manages to stop laughing long enough to explain to her that baseball is a sport on Grayson and those clubs are sports equipment.
  • Battle Butler: Cathy Montaigne's butler is an ex-combat slave and undercover freedom fighter.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill:
    • The only steward in the RMN who is not actually in the Navy, James MacGuiness.
    • Master Steward Chris Billingsley, Michelle Henke's personal steward, got a pet cat aboard her flag ship.
  • Beam Spam: When an attacking spacecraft gets within energy range of its prey, it typically fires every single laser and graser mounted on its broadside in continuous-fire mode until the target dies. In Honor Among Enemies, Honor's Q-ship Wayfarer mounts nine superdreadnought-sized grasers on its broadside, capable of reducing to incandescent flinders any attacking ship dumb enough to get close.
  • Beat Them At Their Own Game: In At All Costs, the new Manticoran Eighth Fleet's job is to conduct deep raids in response to the Peeps repeatedly doing that.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted and played straight. Honor gets severely wounded multiple times and suffers disfiguring injuries, but (with one exception) gets patched up as good as new by the time the next book starts.
    • Fittingly for an Expy of an Expy of Horatio Nelson, she loses an arm and an eye (though unlike him, technology exists to grant her artificial replacements). Incidentally, she loses the same arm and eye as Nelson lost (the left in both cases).
  • The Bechdel Test: Passed in the first book, not later than the first discussion of system security with the local governor.
  • Becoming the Mask: The State Sec remnant forces, who finally become a well-disciplined, focused fighting force as the Peoples' Navy In Exile. Unfortunately, they realize the transformation has happened as their fleet is being torn to shreds by an enemy that has them badly outclassed.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: One of the things that made Cordelia Ransom so dangerous, and foolish, is that she appears to genuinely believe all of her own propaganda.
  • Beneath the Mask: In Mission Of Honor, after Oyster Bay, Hamish Alexander notes that after all these years knowing Honor, this was the first time he had met The Salamander.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Honor can be pushed too far. The results are bad for the ones who do it.

 It was a merciless something, her "monster"--something that went far beyond military talent, or skills, or even courage. Those things, he knew without conceit, he, too, possessed in plenty. But not that deeply personal something at the core of her, as unstoppable as Juggernaut, merciless and colder than space itself, that no sane human being would ever willingly rouse. In that instant her husband knew, with an icy shiver which somehow, perversely, only made him love her even more deeply, that as he gazed into those agate-hard eyes, he looked into the gates of Hell itself. And whatever anyone else might think, he knew now that there was no fire in Hell. There was only the handmaiden of death, and ice, and purpose, and a determination which would not--could not--relent or rest.

    • Even though treecats are "cute" to humans and love children, they turn into ruthless living implements of death (once described as berserking buzzsaws) when "their" humans are threatened.
    • Shannon Foraker, who simply remarks "Oops!" when two full squadrons of super-dreadnoughts (with crews numbering in the tens of thousands) get annihilated by a few keystrokes.
  • Beware the Superman: Earth's devastating Final War was fought by Super Soldiers with drastic adjustments to their physiology for increased combat capability. They were also supposed to be modified for super-intelligence, which all too frequently had the side effect of increased aggression and sociopathy, and that has led to lasting prejudice against all genetic engineering. Honor herself, who inherited a set of adjustments for life on high-gravity worlds, fears that her modifications may be responsible for her temper and her lethal combat abilities.
  • BFG: The tri-barrel, a portable weapon verging on light artillery, has frequently been described as shredding the environment around their target.
  • Big Bad: Albrecht Detweiler and the Mesan Alignment, the mastermind behind events stretching back centuries.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Zig-zagged so much you would expect it to blow an impeller node in Honor Of The Queen.

  Dear god. She doesn't know we're here.

    • From the short story The Service Of The Sword: HMS Gauntlet's return to Refuge after defeating three heavy cruisers in open battle and blowing the forth and last out of orbit with one salvo.
  • Big Eater: Due to her genetically altered metabolism, Honor (like her father) can eat like a horse and never gain a pound. This becomes less than helpful when she is a prisoner of war.
  • Bishonen: Victor Cachat, repeatedly described as cute, and Jeremy X, who was literally genetically engineered to be one, to fit his intended role as a jester.
  • Bi the Way: Emily Alexander-Harrington.
  • Black Sheep: Denver Summervale, relative of the well-liked and highly competent Prime Minister Summervale, is a professional duelist/assassin.
  • Bling of War: This is also a hallmark of the Mesa System Navy (the attention-getting false front of the Mesan Alignment's military might) and emphasizes their showiness and lack of competence compared to the much more subdued uniforms of the top-secret Mesan Alignment Navy.
  • Blithe Spirit:
    • Allison Benton-Ramirez y Chou Harrington enjoys playing this trope immensely, being from a whole Planet of Hats populated by them. She often managed to scandalize even "libertine" Manticorans, not to mention members of her husband's much more straitlaced society on Sphynx. She did have to tone it down when Harringtons moved to Grayson, though.
    • Ginny Usher seems to be the personal Blithe Spirit of her adopted little brother Victor Cachat.
  • Blown Across the Room: Pulsers tend to shred their victims, but occasionally the tattered remnants of their bodies will be propelled down a hallway.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Hugh Arai for Queen Berry in Torch of Freedom, initially against his will and fully expected by Jeremy X.
  • Bond Creatures: Treecats which "adopt" humans form an instant and indissoluble psychic bond with them.
    • Early on, this was terribly tragic. Treecats tend to suicide from despair when their human partner dies. Treecats are also one of those species that are long-lived for their size, clocking 2 to 3 centuries on average. This meant that to bond with a human was to be Blessed with Suck. The first bonded treecat did so with a child, and still only lived half his allotted lifespan. The advent of prolong helped this a bit.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • Haven's main method of ensuring prisoners of war do not escape their prisons is to stick them on an island hundreds of miles from any mainland. Michelle Henke remarks in one book that she has to admit the "moat" is pretty effective even for keeping in hundreds of people who are known to both be martially competent and have a desire to be elsewhere. By doing this, Haven is able to spare the prison camp of pretty much all of their own personnel, aside from a liaison, and lets the prisoners run it almost autonomously.
    • The same method is later adopted by Torch. Worth noting, they put their prisoners on a very scenic island. Surrounded by terrifying aquatic predators.
  • Braids of Action: Honor's default hairstyle since she started to wear her hair long. Also used by other characters due to the inherent Awesome Yet Practical nature of this hairstyle.
  • Bread and Circuses: How the old Republic of Haven became the People's Republic of Haven.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant: Honor in At All Costs. The trope name is more or less a direct quote, by the way. There was a birth control failure, when a paperwork error prevented her doctor from realizing her implant had expired during her "death" on Hades.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards:
    • The body guards for the Hereditary President of the Peoples' Republic of Haven are all from Neo Geneva.
    • Honor's armsmen hail from Grayson, prompting some ruffled feathers when she has to take armed foreign nationals onto Her Majesty's warships.
    • Matteo Guttierez, late of the Manticoran Marines, is the Armsman for Abigail Hearns, daughter of Steadholder Owens of Grayson. Though in his case it's more of them being Fire-Forged Friends after that business on the Refuge, so Steadholder Owens preferred someone tried and familiar for his daughter's bodyguard.
  • Call a Smeerp a Rabbit:
    • Sphinxian chipmunks. The only description given of one is that it has six legs (typical of creatures from Sphinx), and that it looks nothing like a Terran chipmunk.
    • Treecats. Their only part that looks like that of an Old Earth cat is the head. Otherwise they look much more like big six-legged weasels. In the short story A Beautiful Friendship, Stephanie Harrington laments the lack of imagination behind such names, shortly before discovering Treecats and giving them their name.
    • Almost all Manticoran system wildlife got tagged with a name of some Earth lifeform, but few actually resemble their namesakes. Even "mistletoe" is a tree that does not resemble its namesake at all.
    • A number of other planets seen throughout the series also have wildlife or plants named for Terran wildlife or plants, attaching prefixes like "near-" or "neo-" or "pseudo-" to the earth fauna or flora's name.
    • Lampshaded in Storm From the Shadows when Mike Henke describes the local seafood on Flax in a message to her mother: "They've got what they call 'lobsters,' even if they don't look anything like ours —or like Old Earth's, for that matter—..."
  • The Captain: Honor and many others, this being a navy focused series.
  • Cassandra Truth: The few Sollies that recognise how far behind the times the League Navy is are often brushed off as alarmists and defeatists. Once the rest of the Sollies figure it out, they accuse the aforementioned Sollies of not being alarmist enough.
  • Cast Herd: Rather than strictly follow Honor, the books often alternate chapters or sections covering characters from particular groups—the Manties, the Havenites, the Sollies, the Talbot Cluster/Quadrant residents, the Torches, the Mesan Alignment, etc. Later in the series, the Torch and Talbot herds got their own sub-series.
  • Casual Interplanetary Travel: To the point of day trips to other planets by middle class people being possible (with favorable orbital positions). In Ashes of Victory Admiral Caparelli mentions the Navy's willingness to ferry Honor between her father's hospital on Sphinx and Saganami Island on Manticore — "it's only a few hours away".
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: It helps that it is the year AD 4023, with interstellar travel having existed for almost 2,000 years. Historical asides note that travel only became casual in the last 600 years. Before the development of the Warshawski Sail, travel through hyperspace between even the nearest stars took weeks or months, and ran such high risks of running into a Negative Space Wedgie that most colony ships were actually slower-than-light vessels.
  • Catch Phrase: "Let's be about it." Honor's use of it as such has been picked up on in the books. Honor herself has been zinged a few times by having it quoted back to her by one of the other characters, and we learned in "Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington" that she picked it up from her first captain during her middie cruise.
  • Catfolk: The Treecats, although they have many significant differences from actual cats, including six limbs and telepathy.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Appears several times throughout the series, the most blatant use in the first book where a new weapons system is briefly demonstrated and then forgotten about until the height of the final engagement.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Kevin Usher first appears in The Short Victorious War, set a number of years before he becomes a main character in the "Wages of Sin" stories and books. He appears as the leader of the special-ops team that takes out Internal Security head Constance Palmer-Levy's car with a SAM as part of Rob Pierre's coup against the Legislaturalists. In the same book, fellow "Wages of Sin" main characters Anton and Helen Zilwicki also make their first brief appearance.
  • Chessmaster: Half the cast are top notch military strategists, others are political strategists, and some are both.
  • Chew Toy: Joe Buckley. Every time the name appears. Especially the latest SLNS Joseph Buckley, most of her predecessors in the SLN, and the scientist after whom she is named. That's about half a dozen in one paragraph. Joe Buckley is a Baen-wide official Designated Victim.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Averted.
    • Honor is Third Stellar, which appears to be an outgrowth of Methodists. The Queen, and the House of Winton as a whole, is 2nd Reformation Catholic.
    • Grayson state church is a new religion evolved from Christianity much as Christianity did from Judaism. They have an additional scriptural book alongside the Bible, The Book of the New Way, collecting the sayings of their founder, Saint Austin Grayson. Their faith, the Church of Humanity Unchained, was founded on an anti-technology platform, believing that society on Earth had become corrupted due to the influence of technology. Their descendants have mellowed, and current doctrine is that technology is okay, provided it does not change how you live or behave.
    • The splinter church of Masada rejects the New Testament and portions of Old Testament, creating a new faith with portions of the Old Testament combined with The Book of the New Way.
  • Cincinnatus: Thomas Theisman, who not only had the the opportunity to, but actually had successfully orchestrated a coup and taken control of the People's Republic of Haven. However, he immediately held general elections, resurrected the original constitution of the Republic of Haven and gladly accepted a cabinet position as Secretary of War. In the ensuing years and internal political struggles, several characters remark that the new government of Haven stands no chance of being internally toppled because Theisman stands behind it, and the navy stands behind him.
  • Cliff Hanger: Several of the books end abruptly with a galaxy-changing action or revelation, and no denoument to clear up the loose ends. For example, the last thing we see in Ashes of Victory is Citizen-Admiral Theisman shooting Oscan Saint-Just, and the last thing we see in Mission of Honor is President Pritchard proposing an alliance with Manticore against the Solarian League and Mesa.
  • Colony Drop: Operation Oyster Bay, though mostly accidentally, results in chunks of the Manticore system's orbital industry falling and killing millions, including 1% of all treecats and most of Honor's extended family. Because the biggest chunk fell on Yawata Crossing, Manticorans refer to the attack as "The Yawata Strike".
  • Command Roster: A new one in every book, though characters that survive will often move into a more senior position in the next, often leaving for a time and then come back. A common pattern is Assistant Tactical Officer (Junior Security Officer) to Tactical Officer (Security Officer) to XO (Number Two), and then into The Captain.
  • Continuity Nod: Many times, we will see passing references to ships or people that featured prominently in earlier books. Of particular note is HMS Warlock taking part in the Battle of Monica in Shadow of Saginami. It is stated by Warlock's captain that the ship has had a poor reputation ever since Pavel Young was the captain during A Short Victorious War.
  • Continuity Snarl: Represented by some of the expanded-universe short stories written by other writers (and in some cases, Weber himself).
    • The "Let's Dance" story, written as backfill for the "Crown of Slaves" stories, in which Honor Harrington ends up causing a diplomatic incident by working with a gang of known terrorists to capture a slave-trading space station. Said incident is not mentioned in On Basilisk Station (written considerably earlier) which happens immediately afterward—nor does anyone throughout the book show the sort of reaction that might be expected to someone who caused an incident of that nature.
    • Regarding Jane Lindskold's "Promised Land", you would think the fact that a member of Manticore's royal family is married to a Grayson-born former Masadan captive wife would merit some mention in (the earlier-written) The Honor of the Queen, concerning as it did a possible alliance between Manticore and Grayson.
  • Cool Spaceship:
    • The converted merchant ship that Honor captained in Honor Among Enemies was cool. It had superdreadnought class lasers and large numbers of missile pods. Which were stealth to boot.
    • The "super LAC," CLAC, and SD(P) classes developed during Echoes of Honor and Ashes of Victory also qualify.
  • Copy Protection: Averted in this and all other Baen Books titles. Their books are made digitally available, unencrypted and in all common formats, on CD compilations that are explicitly stated as free for distribution by any third parties, like the site linked in this page's header. It deserves a mention, because it is awesome! Given how friendly they are, you would have to be a Jerkass to steal from Baen.
  • Covers Always Lie: Some of the short story anthologies notably play this trope straight in various typical sci-fi book ways, most egregiously done by Service Of The Sword, which portrayed a group of Space Fighters, even though no such thing exists anywhere in the Honorverse. The David Mattingly covers for the main series in general tend to avert this trope, but even they will have the occasional scene absent from the book.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: played straight and subverted.
    • Played straight with the board of directors of Manpower Incorporated, and all of Mesa's rulers in general. It is becoming increasingly clear that the whole Corrupt Corporate Executive thing is just a cover for their real evil scheme.
    • Subverted with the Hauptmann Cartel and Honor's various enterprises, though Hauptman originally played it straight -- the very first book has him getting into a conflict with Honor that involves threatening her parents' careers. He gets so nasty she issues a death threat to stop him cold. His Heel Face Turn comes only five books and about ten in-universe years later after Harrington saves his daughter Stacey's life and Stacey called the old man out.
  • Cult Colony:
    • Grayson and Masada. Probably a few more.
    • Nuncio in the Talbott Cluster stands out. Founded as a more-or-less standard Cult Colony, the original organizers screwed up so badly the few survivors became an atheist colony.
  • Culture Clash: A major theme of stories taking place on Grayson. Honor's mother and Tomas Ramirez both also play the role of (mostly integrated) outsiders to Manticore's culture. One of the funnier moments in the books is Honor's first exposure to baseball. She radically misunderstands why a group of people would be heading to the park armed with "clubs."
  • Culture Chop Suey: Just frakking everywhere -- humanity's push for the stars mashed the cultures into a chunky salsa even better than globalism does it now. You still can make the basic ingredients, usually, but the overall results do not really look like anything in particular.
  • Curb Stomp Battle:
    • The Manties have even been on the receiving end of one of these when the Havenites restart the war in War of Honor and take back most of the gains Manticore had made before the cessation of hostilities.
    • Oyster Bay, the Mesan Allignment's sneak attack on the Manticore home system, resulting in millions dead, smashed orbital industries, and no Mesan losses. To add insult to injury, Manticore's military forces are never engaged, being utterly insignificant to the outcome of the attack.
    • There are several utterly one sided naval battles over the course of the series. The one that stands out the most, if only for its sheer scale, is in A Rising Thunder, when the joint Manticoran and Havenite fleet under Honors command engages the Solarians. Honor loses two thousand people. The Solarians lose over 1.2 million.
  • Damage Sponge Boss: The Solarian League's navy is obsolete in every meaningful way. Its hardware is 20 years or more out of date, its got no sense of modern doctrine, its officers have never had real war experience, and it's so convinced of its own superiority that it's barely even paying attention to the huge war between Haven and Manticore. Ship to ship, any Havenite or Manticoran ship would beat a Solarian ship without the Solarians even getting in range to fire a shot. But, the League's navy is so goddamn big that, when discussing the possibility of all out war, the Manticorans are seriously concerned that they'll run out of ammo. For reference, at this point in the series, hundreds of thousands of missiles are usually exchanged over the course of a single battle.
  • David Versus Goliath: Several times, including Honor's early commands.
  • Days of Future Past: The Napoleonic Wars set in the future, complete with laws of physics specifically designed to give starship-to-starship combat the flavor of Wooden Ships and Iron Men.
  • Death by Irony: Denver Summervale carefully plans out how he wants to goad Honor into challenging him to a duel, and then kill her slowly with several shots to give her time to realize what's happening. Unfortunately for him, he completely underestimates her, and she uses precisely the same plan to kill him.
  • Death World: Several.
    • Grayson has such high concentration of heavy metals, just breathing the natural air will kill you via lead poisoning long before the lung cancer has time to develop. Inhabitants must live in sealed environments with carefully filtered air; food must be grown either in expensively detoxified soil or in even more expensive (but somewhat less laborious) orbital farms. It is later revealed that even with these measures, the original colonists would never have survived if not for the genetic modification performed on them without their knowledge.
    • The prison planet Hades ("nicknamed" Hell by its inmates, not that that is much different from its actual name) is covered with wildlife that is distinctly Red in Tooth and Claw and the biochemistry of the place is such that humans can not eat the native life. It turns out there is one plant we can at least digest. It causes brain damage.
    • Guanyin (the original name of the Andermani Empire's capitol planet) also counts -- it had undetected bacteria that ate chlorophyll, leading to mass crop failure and famine.
  • Deep-Cover Agent: Taken to ridiculous extremes by Mesa, whose Long-Range Planning Board plants its agents by first planting their grandparents long before they're ever born.
  • Deflector Shields: Starships are protected above and below by their utterly impenetrable impeller wedge, which distorts space so much that no physical or radiative weapon can get through them. To the sides, they have weaker (but still formidable) sidewalls that can turn some direct laser hits into misses. From the front and back, though, ships have no protection other than their hull armor. Space stations and other installations that lack impellers can be protected by an omnidirectional sidewall.
  • Delaying Action: A few times, most notably with Rear Admiral Sarnow's battlecruisers against a Peep force of dreadnoughts in A Short Victorious War. Not only did they have to delay them until The Cavalry arrived, but they had to continue to delay them so they would not have time to escape before Admiral Danislav's fleet could pounce on them. Buying that time cost them greatly.
  • Determinator: Honor & Victor Cachat, to name just two.
  • Designated Victim: Poor, poor Mr. Buckley. He is Baen's general designated victim.
  • Designer Babies: Manpower, Incorporated's hat, both for their products and themselves.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • In The Short Victorious War, Peep battlecruisers expecting a lone Manty light cruiser stumble upon a dreadnought at close range. The results are... obvious.
    • Oyster Bay. The Mesans were not using impellers, but their new spider drives. The Manties literally had no way of seeing the MAN coming, despite being alert and ready.
    • The Spook Duo's survival on Mesa, Jack McBryde's Heel Face Turn, and the subsequent alliance between Manticore and Haven, for the Mesan Alignment.
  • Disastrous Training Sim Opening: If a chapter opens with the good guys in the middle of a pitched battle that we didn't see the lead-up for, it's almost always one of these.
  • Divided for Publication:
    • ...but only for translation purposes. The Japanese versions of the Honor Harrington books are split in two starting with the third or fourth book, more with the later volumes.
    • Weber has indicated that the 13th Honorverse book, A Rising Thunder, was divided for publication due to being too long for economical hardcover printing and binding. This would not be the first Weber book to which this had happened.
  • Doctor Doctor Doctor: Most often Admiral Admiral Admiral, but also sometimes Steadholder Steadholder Steadholder or Duke Earl Countess.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: The beginning of Mission of Honor, where for the first time Honor can personally express her desire for the war to end.

  "Speaking for myself, as an individual, and not for my Star Empire or my Queen, I implore you to accept Her Majesty's proposal. I've killed too many of your people over the last twenty T-years, and your people have killed too many of mine. Don't make me kill any more, Madame President. Please."

  • Doomed by Canon: There are a great deal of historical parallels with the series being Horatio Hornblower In Space. However, over time the plot goes Off the Rails and several characters Doomed by Canon end up surviving and vice versa, with Napoleon's expy suffering a rather bad fate.
  • Doom Magnet: Honor repeatedly laments every death that she's caused in the course of her duties, even when they're all justified and may have prevented even more deaths down the line. Nevertheless, due to her tendency to be in the right place at the right time, her casualty count is higher than it is for officers who are even more ruthless than she. Lampshaded in Honor Among Enemies, when a couple of the wash-outs hastily assigned to her Q-ship are overheard complaining about their chances of surviving their mission.
  • Dramatic Irony: Constantly, to varying degrees, since the narrative follows scores of characters on a dozen different sides, and none of them ever have perfect intelligence. For example, On Basilisk Station ends with Honor chasing a ship that is trying to call off a Havenite invasion. Honor thinks they are trying to summon said invasion. The captain of the opposing ship even lampshades it.
  • Drunk Driver: Arnold Giancola is killed by one in At All Costs. This provides innumerable headaches for the government, since "accidents" were a favorite method of the Legislaturalists when they wanted to remove a political opponent and nobody is going to believe that this time it really was an accident, unfortunately timed right as they got information that implicated him in restarting the war--with him dead, they couldn't investigate it, and they couldn't come forward with what information they did have because it would have looked for all the world like they had killed him and made up an excuse.
  • Duel to the Death: Duelling with pistols is allowed, if frowned upon, in Manticore. This fact plays an important role in Field of Dishonor.
  • Dumb Muscle: The Scrags; how many times do you see Super Soldiers that could not pass a high school entrance exam?
  • Earth That Used to Be Better
  • The Empire: Subverted; the new Star Empire of Manticore and the Andermani Empire may be expansionist monarchies, but they are the nice guys of the galactic political setting - the Manticorans more so than the Andermani, however. Lampshaded in Echoes of Honor by the Prime Minister:

  "Never mind that we've got a participating democracy, as well, and the Peeps don't. [...] They're a 'republic,' and we're a 'kingdom,' and any good oatmeal-brained Solly ideologue knows 'republics' are good guys and 'kingdoms' are bad guys!"

  • Enemy Civil War: Haven, multiple times. It is also heavily hinted that the same fate awaits the Solarian League in the near future. The Mesan Alignment is, as of the later books, actively attempting to foster these wars in star nations opposing them.
  • Enemy Mine: A couple of instances of this.
    • Alfredo Yu when he defects to Manticore after he realizes he will get blamed for the monumental Peep screw-up at Masada. He eventually ends up an officer in the Grayson Navy.
    • Warner Caslet, another Peep officer, also defects to Manticore in an impossible situation.
    • Victor Cachat has managed to rope Manticoran secret agent Anton Zilwicki, in addition to a Manticoran warship or two, into doing the Republic's dirty work on more then one occasion. In Mission of Honor Zilwicki and Cachat get proof back to their respective governments of Mesan manipulation and sabotage of the peace talks in order to keep Manticore and Haven shooting at each other. The book ends with a formal decision to ally together against the Solarian League.
  • Eternal English: English remains the universal language and is largely unchanged due to the use of recordings and standard education materials, but the trope itself is averted in that, when Honor reads a 20th century book to some children in At All Costs, she says that some of the word meanings have changed since it was written.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Basically what drove Jack McBryde's Heel Face Turn in the Torch of Freedom.
  • Even the Rats Won't Touch It: Even in the future, the only thing worse than RMN emergency rations are Peep e-rats.
  • Everyone Can See It: The relationship between Honor and Hamish by War of Honor.

 Sweet Tester [...] each of them thinks no one in the world -- including each other -- can tell what's going on. They actually believe that.

Idiots.

  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Not in-your-face, but a lot. Given that Grayson Steadholder title basically equals royalty, we have Lt. Abigail Hearns, Miss Owens, and Honor as well, at least formally. There is also Queen Berry's intelligence advisor, Princess Ruth Winton, then Vice Admiral Michelle Henke, Countess of Gold Peak and Elizabeth's first cousin, and many, many others. Captain Terekhov once notes that between Lt. Hearns, and Midshipwoman Zilwicki (Crown Princess Helen of Torch) his ship, Hexapuma, has a super-abundance of princesses.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Pavel Young is a complete dick, and assumes that everyone else thinks like he does. He really does not understand the actions of his opponents.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: The people of Beowulf, the premier genetic research and development planet in the galaxy, have strict guidelines in place to make sure they do not cross any moral or ethical lines when it comes to their work on the human genetic code. Because Mesans are, in a nutshell, the rogue Beowulfans who did not like the Beowulf Code, they are composed almost solely of Evilutionary Biologists who hate Beowulf with a passion.
  • Explosions in Space: Completely averted, all explosions in vacuum are realistically described.
  • Eyes Never Lie: All over the place in a world full of stoic, navy poker faces and smooth, evil politicians.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Honor loses her left eye in The Honor of the Queen, but it is replaced by a prosthetic that has some superiority despite the imagery from it not seeming as 'real'. The prosthetic is burned out by a technician aboard Tepes in the book In Enemy Hands, and goes unreplaced for over two years.
  • Face Palm: In The Honor of the Queen, "Ambassador Langtry covered his eyes with one hand ... Langtry's other hand rose to join its fellow over his eyes".
  • Fake Defector: Horace Harkness, who is knighted because of it.
  • Famed in Story: Honor, to her constant chagrin. Many of the other high-ranking political and military figures are also famous, of course, but they are used to it.
  • Fantastic Slur: "Genie," for a genetically-engineered person, in A Beautiful Friendship. Honor calls herself one rather casually, so by her time it's possible the word has lost its sting (or become irrelevant given No Transhumanism Allowed). But then, Honor may just have G Word Privileges.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Some blatantly obvious, some mixed-and-matched:
    • The Star Kingdom of Manticore is 18th century Britain: Manticore itself is England, Landing is London, and Sphinx and Gryphon are Scotland and Ireland, respectively, though without the brutal exploitation the British applied to Ireland in that era.
    • The People's Republic of Haven is mostly 18th century Revolutionary France -- lampshaded with Oscar Saint-Juste, his government is called the Committee for Public Safety, characters repeatedly refer to his governance as a Reign of Terror, and his capital is Nouveau Paris. Also, the coup's organizer was named Rob S. Pierre. The society mixed with Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Stalin for good measure. In the later books, after yet another revolution, they have returned to their original state structure, closely modeled on the USA. According to Weber, this all was supposed to be a cautionary parallel of the USA turned into a welfare state.
    • The Andermani Empire is explicitly modeled on the Kingdom of Prussia. They were founded by a guy who thought he was the reincarnation of Frederick the Great, to the point of running around in full Prussian military uniform. Just the first in a line of loony, yet competent, emperors. The vast majority of the population is ethnically Chinese, including the royal family whose members sport names like "Chien-Lu Anderman, Herzog von Rabenstrange".
    • Grayson admits that it's Meiji Japan, complete with kudzu, but Protector Benjamin explains that the analogy only goes so far. It turns out that they based large parts of their pre-industrial society on what little fiction they brought with them, including Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai. They still love baseball, though, which is reflective of their other influence being American. They are also one of the last planets to still use neckties, as well as US Air Force style uniforms for their space navy complete with clouds and thunderbolts for field officers. Naturally, this is commented on as anachronistic, as obviously Space Is an Ocean and should have uniforms to match.
    • The Silesian Confederacy is a nice pastiche of the worst parts of the Third World in terms of corruption, ineffectual government, and generally being a very bad place to be, as well as the actual Silesia and its role in history between France, England, Prussia, and Austria.
    • The planet Montana which is, well, exactly what it sounds like as a counterpart culture.
    • The Solarian League has been explicitly said to be too vast for any historical comparison[1], but the ruling group of bureaucrats has been nicknamed in universe "Mandarins", a clear allusion to the corruption and stagnation China has suffered in the past.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: In keeping with the nautical theme, starships accomplish FTL travel by reconfiguring their impeller drive fields into "Warshawski sails".
  • The Federation: Deconstructed with the Solarian League. The Empire of Manticore is shaping up to be a real one.
  • Feminist Fantasy: The more-or-less complete gender equality of Manticore, Haven and most other star nations is lampshaded by Grayson's still heavily-patriarchal, though getting less so, society. Gender issues also play a major role in several plots, notably The Honor of the Queen.
  • Feudal Future:
    • Manticore has an official aristocracy, but many of its titles stem from intellectual property rights and corporate ownership. Only a fraction of the peerage have titles based on direct property ownership.
    • The Anderman Empire has a landed aristocracy based on Prussia and greater German territory from the eighteenth century.
    • Grayson aristocracy is descended from traditions of the Dutch Republic, with nobles enabled to act in the Protector's absence, despite its primary cultural influences of the American South and isolationist Japan.
    • Haven has a declared aristocracy, but its Legislaturalist clans are not bound by property or titles, but political influence.
  • Fighting For a Homeland: The Peoples Navy in Exile.
  • Finger Firearms: A stealthy, emergency-only version. Honor's cybernetic arm packs a pulser (essentially a high-tech gauss pistol) concealed inside her index finger. Firing it blasts the fingertip off.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: Spine-mounted grasers on the later generations of LACs.
  • Floating Head Syndrome: Most of the book covers would tend to suggest that the Royal Manticoran Navy is at war with the ghost of Honor Harrington's ginormous floating head. Even in the books where she has only a cameo appearance.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: HMS Hexapuma, a heavy cruiser affectionately known by its crew as the Nasty Kitty.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Crown of Slaves: Ruth Winton's security detail discusses the difficulties of protecting her on her trip to Erewhon, and they mention receiving medals for their bravery in risking their lives to save hers. The officers discussing the medals receive them. Posthumously. Also, the discussion of how Berry would make a good Queen.
    • In Mission of Honor, White Haven refers to the Solarian fleet led by Sandra Crandall as having been meant as a "Pearl Harbor attack." Just a couple of chapters later, when "Operation Oyster Bay" kicks off, Manticore learns what a "Pearl Harbor attack" really is.
    • While LAC usage as parasite craft first properly came up in Honor Among Enemies and full CLACs only appeared afterwards, the idea of using them as riders adjunct to a hyper-capable carrier could be seen all the way back in Honor of the Queen, albeit being towed rather than internally stowed.
  • Forgotten Superweapon: The grav lance as seen in On Basilisk Station. It got a mention in a short story set right afterward and then vanished forever. When posters to the Baen's Bar discussion forums about Honorverse ship technology mentioned this, as well as coming up with various innovative ways in which such a device could be used, Weber admitted that he had not fully thought through all the game-breaking implications such a weapon would have to space naval combat in his universe when he came up with it, and now rather hoped people would just forget about it. Other posts of his note that Manty wallers do mount grav lances in their broadsides and what was radical about it in Basilisk was "the idea of trying such a mass intensive weapon in a CL hull when it can be used only under extremely unusual circumstances even by a capital ship".
  • Former Regime Personnel: A lot of former People's Navy and StateSec ships wound up as mercenaries or pirates.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Not much of a problem for the first few books, but by the Second Manticore-Haven War, the cast has expanded to the point that some characters and vital subplots only get a chapter or two per book. Not helped by chapters dedicated to one-shot characters to flesh out how events affect the average citizen or lower-level officer.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Lasers are used for missile defense, grasers (gamma-ray lasers) for ship-to-ship combat -- lasers can also technically be used in that role, but their range and power are generally too small to be useful against a target with sidewalls. Missiles usually carry nuclear weapon-pumped X-ray laser warheads that shoot multiple beams at a target from a few thousand kilometers away when the missile detonates.
  • Fun with Acronyms: In Echoes of Honor, it is said that Commanding Officer, Light Attack Craft sounds too much like "colic", but no one wanted Commanding Officer, Wing either.
  • Funetik Aksent: Michael Oversteegen's aristocratic Manticoran accent verges slightly into this territory, suggesting that for all the Star Kingdom's similarity to 18th Century Britain, an upper-class Manticoran accent sounds rather like a Southern drawl.
  • Future Slang:
    • Or rather, future military terminology. "Ship of the Wall" instead of "Ship of the Line", etc. Space is 3-dimensional; on the ocean, a battle line is a line of ships (hence "ship of the line") turned to give maximum cannon cover, while in space, ships can not only line up horizontally, but also vertically, providing a complete wall of cannon cover.
    • A number of current-day expressions are seen in Call a Rabbit a Smeerp form: e.g. "paper hexapuma"
  • Gambit Pileup: Torch of Freedom, although by April 1922 p.d. there are still too few people to understand all the implication of what has just happened.
  • Gender Blender Name: Many female officers go by male versions of their given names. Michelle "Mike" Henke. Harriet "Harry" Benson. There is also a male officer, Gervais Winton Erwin Neville Archer, who goes by Gwen. This, of course, only adds to the Viewer Gender Confusion.
  • Gender Rarity Value: Due to genetic engineering undertaken shortly after their landing on the planet Grayson, the Church of Humanity Unchained has a birth-rate skewed 3:1 in favor of female births. Women have few rights on Grayson, and none on Masada, with their primary duties the "traditional" role of wife and mother.
  • General Ripper:
    • Solarian Admiral Josef Byng from Storm from the Shadows, who takes the traditional Solly scorn for "neobarbs" to new heights, such as having an itchy trigger finger where Manticore is concerned. He becomes an Unwitting Pawn for the Mesan Alignment.
    • Solarian Fleet Admiral Sandra Crandall who, like Admiral Byng, has a disgust and contempt for the Manticoran Navy. Whereas Byng was only able to bring three squadrons of battlecruisers along on his personal vendetta, Admiral Crandall brought nine squadrons of superdreadnoughts with her, and wound up following right in Byng's path.
  • Genius Bruiser:
    • Kevin Usher (acts like a drunken thug of a Space Marine).
    • Honor to a certain degree (six-feet-two, very physically fit, and a eighth-degree (out of 9) black belt in a form of unarmed combat).
    • Anton Zilwicki is perhaps the single most extreme example, being both a (three-times) gold medalist in the Manticoran equivalent of the Olympics for Greco-Roman wrestling, a Heavyworlder with such a massive build that he can literally tear a Scrag limb from limb with only moderate effort, and one of the greatest computer hackers and intelligence agents in known space.
    • Sir Horace Harkness is known for getting in brawls with entire bars full of marines, but when so inclined, can hack through almost any computer system with relative ease.
  • Genius Cripple: Emily Alexander. A triplegic for decades, and easily THE one most shrewd mind in the whole kingdom. Sometimes she looks just like Stephen Hawking's Expy of sorts, only with politics and drama instead of physics.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: Kevin Usher, head of Haven's FIA, asks for and receives a presidential pardon for any crimes one of his agents commits in running a "black" investigation of possible treason by Secretary of State Giancola.
  • The Good Chancellor: Chancellor Prestwick of Grayson.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: Not so much subverted as demolished with comparisons of the democratic monarchy of the Star Empire of Manticore to the totalitarian oligarchy style government of the People's Republic of Haven and the Solarian League. The trope is also referenced in-universe as one of the problems Manticore has in its war against Haven: Solarians tend to automatically think in this trope, and though the League is neutral, public opinion skews against Manticore.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: Manpower, Inc. uses a combination of genetic engineering and powerful medication to control a population of "genetic slaves" to do manual labor, serve as super soldiers, and act as sex slaves. Also, it is heavily hinted that Haven used drugs in the drinking water and food supply to keep a lid on rebellious proles in their welfare state gone wild.
  • Great Escape: Honor Harrington is responsible for one of the grandest examples on record; she managed to take over a whole prison planet and made it back to friendly space with half a million freed inmates.
  • Great Offscreen War: Earth's "Final War" many centuries before the current timeline, where the planet was nearly rendered completely uninhabitable until several colonies sent aid to repair the damage. Prejudice against Genetic Engineering is due to the rampant use of it during the war. Skrags are merely the only surviving human mods that bred true.
  • Grew a Spine: In On Basilisk Station, Alistair McKeon has a strange variety. He proposes a moral course which is promptly discarded as wrong, but the very act of making an independent proposal against Honor and arguing for it was a key in developing the dynamic between the characters.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Although it is not evident in the first book, by the second book we get the first sympathetic Havenite characters, and the series has been trending this way since then, with Manticore as A Lighter Shade of Grey. By the beginning of War of Honor, the two sides are both in about the same place in terms of morality, and it looks as though they will be teaming up in the future against Mesa.
  • Guns Akimbo: Jeremy X dual-wields pistols when engaging Scrags in the novella From the Highlands.
  • Happily Married: Hamish and Emily Alexander (and later Honor happily married to both Hamish and Emily Alexander-Harrington), Alfred and Allison Harrington, and many, many others.
  • Hard Work Montage: Used in On Basilisk Station, when the junior officers of Fearless are shown enforcing trade regulations, catching smugglers, regulating the planetary orbitals, and generally making their presence known.
  • Heavyworlder: Honor Harrington and others from Sphinx (1.35 G). Ramirez and others from San Martin (2.7 G). The series falls under the "heavy worlders are larger" version of this trope, except for the Meyerdahl First Wavers, which were genetically modified not to need additional bulk for additional strain.
  • Heel Face Turn: As a consequence of a large amount of Character Development (and characters, of course), there is lot of it in the series.
  • Heel Realization: Jack McBryde, in Torch Of Freedom.
  • Hegemonic Empire: The Star Empire of Manticore
  • Hereditary Republic: The Legislaturist families and the Hereditary President for life of the People's Republic of Haven.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Andreas Venizelos stayed behind covering Honor and others' getaway from the Tepes in the In Enemy Hands, as did all but one of her armsmen. Special mention goes to Armsman Robert Whitman for deliberately throwing himself directly into the gun muzzles of some Peeps to prevent the rest of his squad from being pinned down and trapped.

 [Timmons] thoughts broke off as someone rolled out into the middle of the passage. His sudden apperance took Timmons totally by surprise, and he gaped at the apparition in shock, unable to believe anyone would deliberately throw himself into what he knew had to be a deathtrap. But that was because he'd never encountered a Grayson armsman whose Steadholder was in danger. Robert Whitman had only one purpose in life, and his very first shot tore Citizen Lieutenant Timons to bloody rags.

    • Jack McBryde, a Mesan security official in Torch of Freedom, who opted to stay behind to cover the heroes' escape.
    • Captain Helen Zilwicki, sacrificing her ship to let civilian ships (with her husband and daughter on board) escape an attack from the enemy navy.
    • Honor Harrington herself. She sends her ship(s) into the teeth of impossible odds almost once a book to save other people. The most starkly sacrificial instances would be in Honor Among Enemies and In Enemy Hands, both cases in which she sacrifices her ship to save merchant ships. And in Ashes of Victory, she interposes her off-duty civilian private pinnace between a missile and the royal transport in order to save her Queen.
  • Heroic Sociopath: A couple...
    • Jeremy X, leader of the Audubon Ballroom. An escaped genetic slave, engineered to be a sort of court jester; now he is kind of the bastard love child of the Joker and the Punisher. He does Very Bad Things to Very Bad People, laughing and cracking wise all the while...
    • Honor keeps her emotions under such tight control that at times she appears to be a sociopath to people who do not know her. To quote from The Honor of the Queen:

 Her emotionless detachment had appalled him ... but then the report came in that Commander McKeon had somehow gotten almost a hundred of his crew away in his single surviving pinnace, and the mask had slipped. He'd seen her turn away, trying to hide the tears in her good eye, the way her shoulders shook, and he'd stepped between her and his staff to block their view and guard her secret as he realized this one was special. That her armor of detachment was so thick because the pain and grief behind it were so terrible.

  • Heterosexual Life Partners+Those Two Guys: Horace Harkness(later knighted), and Scotty Tremaine. It's mentioned in Mission of Honor that Scotty's jacket has a note that says never to break him up with Harkness. The Bureu of Personnel Officer which tells him this notes dryly that if anyone tried, she knows Harkness would just hack his way to Tremaine's side anyway.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • The Citizens Rights Union (And their official political branch, the Citizens Rights Party) of the People's Republic of Haven. Though they fight for the continued improvement of the standard of living of the PRH's citizens, the (enemy) Legislaturalists recognize them as an integral part of the system they theoretically oppose.
    • Robert Stanton Pierre and Oscar Saint-Just. Yes, those two. The thought of them ever not being "monsters" is pretty hard to swallow, but at least they originally staged their coup with legitimate goals. They were always planning to push their plans through with blood, but at least they were going to make changes, and some of their changes actually pay off, especially for the economy. However, as the series progresses they progressively become more and more like the Legislaturalists, falling into the same pitfalls and traps that spelt doom for their predecessors. As Saint-Just himself said, what mattered to him was not who held power or why, as long as it was used effectively. However, by the time of Echoes of Honor he himself is promoting incompetent officers to positions of authority, whitewashing military reports that do not agree with the Committee line, and absolving those same officers of blame based on their political connections. Those specific acts were some of the final straws that pushed him and Pierre into revolt. There seem to be moments when Pierre realizes this to some extent, but he feels trapped and unable to stop it.
  • Historical Domain Character: Rob S. Pierre and Saint-Just are re-imaginings political figures of the French Revolution, part and parcel of the Days of Future Past.
  • Hit So Hard the Calendar Felt It: Almost every nation in the Honorverse uses two distinct calendars, one which is universal throughout almost all humanity, and one which is specific to each nation. Grayson, alone in the Honorverse, still uses the Gregorian calendar, even though it is grossly unsuited to the orbital mechanics of their homeworld.
    • The calendar used by humanity as a whole is derived from the launching of the first human colony ship, the Prometheus, in 2103CE, splitting history into Ante Diaspora and Post Diaspora eras measured in the traditional 365 day "T-year."
    • Each nation has its own local calendar, which measures time with the length of the local year and counts from the date of the founding of that nation. Manticoran dates are reckoned in Manticoran years "After Landing", which occurred in 1416 Post Diaspora.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Mostly in proverbs that use metric units instead of their original imperial measurements. And replacing 'bullet' with 'pulser dart' in certain other proverbs (both silver and magic pulser darts have been mentioned).
  • Homage: The entire series started as one big homage to Horatio Hornblower, though as of late it has moved away from that.
  • Honor Before Reason: Subverted; characters express a very low opinion of commanders who futilely get their commands destroyed just to not be seen as running away. It is mentioned, however, that the "honor of the Star Kingdom" is one of the few acceptable reasons to stand and fight a suicidal battle. That is because such fights tend to build quite a reputation, and reputation is a fuel that merchant empires (which Manticore effectively is) run on. Michael Oversteegan in Crown Of Slaves sums this up:

  "Well," Oversteegen said with a cold, hungry smile, "defendin' other people's planets against unprovoked attack by murderous scum seems t' have become something of a tradition for my Queen's Navy over the past few decades. Under the circumstances, I'm sure she'll forgive me for followin' that tradition."

  • Hot Amazon: Inevitable in a setting such as this. Iris Babcock is quite clearly described as not being particularly attractive. In the middle of book four, however, her pure badassitude leaves Harkness gawking and the next time we hear of either of them they are married.
  • Hufflepuff House: Matapan, the Midgard Federation, and the Asgard Association. They appear on maps in the first few books (with Matapan called Mazapan), but we know nothing about them beyond a minor blurb in The Short Victorious War and a handful of infodumps that mention the Matapan terminus by Weber.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
    • Alfred and Allison Harrington. Alfred is 4 cm taller than his daughter, which gives him 192 cm, while Allison is not even a two-thirds of that.
    • On the Havenite side is Kevin and Virginia Usher.
    • Berry Zilwicki (not extremely tiny, but fairly petite, possibly due to poor nutrition when she was growing up homeless in the slums of Old Chicago) and Hugh Arai -- having been engineered as a Manpower heavy-labor slave, Arai is gigantic, with the musculature of an olympic weight-lifter.
  • Humans Are Bastards: In A Beautiful Friendship we learn that 12 sentient species have been encountered, but only 11 studied- because the one on the planet Barstool was exterminated within 30 years of discovery.
  • Hyperspace Lanes: Gravity waves. They used to be a Negative Space Wedgie before Warshawski sails were invented, but now they serve as high speed highways that allow roughly 10 times the acceleration of pure impeller travel and a way of powering your ship without using any of your reactor fuel, shaving massive amounts of time and cost off of trips. Their role as choke points for interstellar traffic plays a major role in The Short Victorious War and Honor Among Enemies.
    • Wormholes sit on the border between this trope and Portal Network. They aren't necessary for economical interstellar travel, but they make travel over immense distances instant. They're important enough that Manticore is a notable power even when it has only two systems because it has six (later seven) wormhole termini. Control of the junction's termini is a huge focus of both sides' war efforts.
    • Hyperspace rifts, like the Selker Rift, serve as an inversion of this trope. They provide choke points too but by making travel slower instead of faster.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: Comes up from time to time, but usually only outside of a star's hyper limit. It does come up from time to time inside the hyper limit when dealing with wormhole junctions, most notably at the Battle of Trevor's Star and the Battle of Manticore (notably, in the Battle of Manticore, the Havenites and Manticorans both managed to pull this on each other in rapid succession).
  • Hyperspeed Escape: If a ship is outside the hyperlimit of the nearby star, they can usually escape just by transitioning into hyperspace. At least a few battles have featured a defeated force attempting to run for the hyper limit while the victorious force attempts to run them down before they can escape. Alternately, a force pretending to be weaker than it is (or stalling for time) might attempt to bait a superior force into chasing them too far inside the hyper limit to escape when The Cavalry arrives, or simply to draw them away from weaker ships that they are escorting.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: In the run-up to Operation Buttercup, Manticoran and Grayson Pod-laying Superdreadnoughts had concealed their full capabilities by pretending the Manticoran Missile Massacre was coming from their consorts. What they were able to do when they finally cut loose was...impressive.
    • This was also policy against the Solarian League, to run the ship impeller drives at lower acceleration and fire from ranges that would only need two drives of their Multi-Drive Missiles rather than the range offered by the full three.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Elizabeth's first thought upon entering a meeting with President Pritchart and her cabinet in Mission of Honor is that she needs a whiskey. She does not, however, mention this to anyone else.
  • Interquel: The action in A Rising Thunder starts a month before the last of the events described in the previous book, Mission of Honor.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down:
    • Commander Alvarez and the Madrigal in Honor of the Queen.
    • Admiral Michelle Henke does the same in At All Costs though she survives
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All even-numbered books are titled with some pun involving the title character's first name.
  • Idiot Ball: Villains sometimes like to toss it between them, the current holder being the Mesan Alignment's LRPB.
    • The main purpose of the Manticorean Opposition seems to be juggling, dribbling, carrying and holding the idiot ball, in addition to providing the setup for political commentary.
    • The LRPB shows a pattern of being "pound wise and penny foolish"—whereas their overall large-scale strategic planning is extremely well-executed and avoids a number of the usual villain flaws (for example, Detweiler's son talking him out of overconfidently trying to repeat Oyster Bay's success), every instance where the LRPB or one of its members falls down is in underestimating the abilities, effects, and motivations of individual human beings. This is consistent with their superiority complex over "normal" human beings.
      • In Torch of Freedom it is largely Isabel Bardasano carrying the Idiot Ball for the Alignment. The LRPB did act callously, but they had no reason to expect anything worse than Simoes' tragic burn-out. The real problems began when Bardasano specifically assigned Jack McBryde, one of her senior intel/security commanders, to become Simoes' confidante and therapist. Not only was this a serious violation of normal procedure in-and-of-itself, but it was exceptionally stupid to assign McBryde, who had already been pulled from field work for being too "soft" and "sentimental". In other words, Bardasano assigned the guy most likely to lose faith in the Alignment, and that same guy also had access to most of the Alignment's most damaging secrets.
      • The LRPB underestimated Zilwicki's computer skills and both his and Cachat's survival skills in assuming they died instead of escaping and thus implicating Zilwicki in the park bombing. This is going to come back and bite them big time.
    • Pavel Young blackmails his chief of security into having sex with him (And it is a violent and painful night in and of itself), and he never does figure out that she betrays him afterwards.
  • Improvised Weapon: In Honor of the Queen, Honor uses a metal tray as a throwing weapon against Protector Benjamin's would-be assassins.
  • In-Series Nickname: All of the star nations are given nicknames for their peoples. Star Kingdom of Manticore = Manties, People's Republic of Haven = Peeps, Andermani Empire = Andies, Solarian League = Sollies, and the poor members of the Silesian Confederacy get called Sillies (or, more respectfully, Confeds).
  • Indy Ploy: The area where Victor Cachat shines. The guy can take any situation, no matter how craptastic, and turn it on its head with a bit of creativity and a whole lot of sheer guts.
  • Inertial Dampening: Complete with explanation of how it works, and what happens to any poor SOB on board a ship that has it fail.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted several times.
  • Infodumps: David Weber's specialty; the series is flooded with these. Arguably the worst and most Egregious use was in the climax of the first book. Honor's vastly outsized and outgunned starship is chasing a Havenite ship, trying to get to it and take it down before it can make good its escape. It is a tense chase as the range closes, with both sides readying their weapons and defenses, steeling their resolve...and then Weber dumps a full ten pages of the history of hyperspace travel in the middle of it. It really could have gone most anywhere else in the book and would have fit better. Though it did help hammer home the point that that tense chase scene lasted several hours. Space is big.
  • Insane Troll Logic: In one book, several characters discuss how certain media personalities were lambasting Honor for shooting and killing Pavel Young in a duel, despite the fact that he had no ammo left and thus could not defend himself. He had no ammo left because moments before, he had spent it all shooting Honor in the back before the duel formally began.
  • Insignia Rip Off Ritual: In Field of Dishonor, Pavel Young is ritually stripped of all rank insignia and decorations, including his sword, before being dishonorably discharged.
  • Instant Death Radius: Energy weapons are very deadly within the range where sidewall cannot negate them. So are treecats to anyone foolish enough to try fighting one in melee.
  • Insult to Rocks:
    • Solarian Admiral Byng was described as not having the brains of a cockroach.
    • Solarian Admiral Crandall was described as having the disposition of a grizzly bear trying to pass a pinecone, but it was later decided that this was a gross slander against grizzly bears.
    • The Beowulf Board of Directors would consider the ruling members of the Solarian League to be imbeciles, if they did not think they were being unfair to imbeciles.
  • Internal Reveal: Frequent, due to all of the Dramatic Irony. Most significantly with the forged diplomatic correspondence, and everything else Mesa has been up to.
  • It's Personal: Several times, but notably:
    • Honor's duel with Pavel Young, a personal vendetta starting when they were both Midshipman students at Saganami Island.
    • Beowulf and Mesa, and everything between them.
    • Elizabeth's issues with Haven.
    • In Mission of Honor, Mesa orchestrates an attack that kills about 8 million people in the Manticore home system alone, including the majority of Honor's extended family. When she meets with her husband again after the attack, she has this to say:

  I'll miss them...but I won't forget. I'll never forget and one day--one day--we're going to find the people who did this, you and I. And when we do, the only thing I'll ask of God is that He let them live long enough to know who's killing them"

  • Interservice Rivalry:
    • The reason PO Harkness has been passed over for CPO TWENTY times. He considers it his personal duty to dismantle the contents of any Marine Corps uniform when on liberty. After his marriage to Sergeant Major Iris Babcock, RMMC, He gets better, because he knows his wife would kick his ass if he tried any of his old tricks. It is explicitly noted that most marines consider Harkness' attentions to be a compliment, part of the friendly competition between any branch of any service.
    • The Solarian League Navy's Frontier Fleet and Battle Fleet do not like each other. Unlike the Harkness/Marine Corps rivalry, this is a rather unfriendly one.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Subverted by Audrey O'Hanrahan who is actually a spy taking advantage of her well-earned reputation for hard-hitting journalism to agitate a war between Manticore and the Solarian League.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique:
    • How some of Honor's friends get Denver Summervale to confess that Pavel Young hired him.
    • It is a favorite pastime of State Sec, but it is often just for fun. For business, they just threaten to shoot you and your family.
  • Kangaroo Court:
    • The title character herself is subjected to a sham trial in absentia at the end of her first book, where the People's Republic of Haven convicted her in absentia of war crimes for the murder of the "civilian" crew of the "unarmed merchant freighter" Sirius to cover up the fact that Sirius was Q-ship and part of a failed Havenite plot. No one in the know viewed the trial and verdict as anything other than a joke, until Honor was later captured as a prisoner of war and the new bloodthirsty regime of Haven used the verdict as a rationale for her execution and exemption from treaties covering the care of POWs.
    • Subverted brutally when Thomas Theismann stages his coup and overthrows Oscar Saint-Just and the State Sec regime. Saint-Just asks cynically if he will get a show trial just like all the ones he has been responsible for, but Theismann informs him there have been enough of those and promptly shoots him in the face.
  • Karmic Death: In the Service of the Sword story "Fanatic", a useless Jerkass gravitics tech dies fleeing arrest when the spacesuit he had avoided training with slams him into the gravitics array he had avoided servicing.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Manpower, Inc. is an openly corrupt, shady genetic slave trading company. It is a well-known fact that they collude with all the other Mesan transtellar companies and that they have their fingers in all kinds of political corruption and crime. They are a front for a centuries old conspiracy intending to create a society ruled by genetic elites.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The swords of Grayson are katanas with a western hilt put on them, as Grayson based most of its martial arts off of Seven Samurai. However, Grayson swords, unlike katanas, have sharpened spines a third of their length.
  • Kill'Em All: At All Costs manages to kill off at least a third of the cast, including some of the most important characters on both sides.
  • Killer Rabbit: Treecats. Dear Lord, treecats.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: While generally Averted, there have been instances where "antique" chemically-based hand weapons were a better bet than the hypervelocity flechette rounds used by pulsers. Because they have no detectable power source they can be smuggled into areas a pulser would never be allowed, and since their projectiles carry far less force they are considerably less lethal and prone to irrevocably damage the surrounding environment.
  • The Kingdom: Subverted; far from being the political Butt Monkey, anyone who attacks the Star Kingdom of Manticore is in for a world of hurt. It is now the Star Empire of Manticore, upon the formal incorporation of San Martin, the Talbott Quadrant, and half of Silesia.
  • The Klutz: Carson Clinkscales, in In Enemy Hands. At one conference, he tripped over his own feet, which knocked an officer's cap off, which went sailing across the conference table and hit a water decanter hard enough to knock it over, and because the decanter's lid hadn't been secured it dumped its entire contents in the Flag Captain's lap.
  • Knight Templar: The entire Committee of Public Safety. The old government was indeed corrupt and needed to go, and they did make a ton of positive reforms to the economy. But they drowned Haven in a sea of blood doing so. Specifically referencing Napoleon and his "Whiff of Grapeshot" when a riot is put down using orbital bombardment.
  • Lady of War: Honor first and foremost, although most female military types count. Of course, considering the fact that it is a military science fiction series, it makes sense that the Lady of War archetype comes up regularly.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A particularly literal example in Storm From The Shadows, compliments of the Royal Manticoran Navy's excellent sensor and missile guidance technology.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: If you are this far down the page, it is already too late.
  • Latex Perfection: Agent Covilla, aka Rachel, in "Let's Go to Prague".
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Weber is particularly good with this, frequently giving one-off characters personalities within a page or so, often just before killing them off (See Like You Would Really Do It, below).
  • Leave No Survivors: In Echoes of Honor, when the combined Grayson-Manticore fleet with the new podnaughts rides to the defence of Basilisk, Earl White Haven nearly has a heart attack when he thinks Admiral Yanakov ordered no quarter. Fortunately, the latter only called for no mercy, which is a powerful emotional statement but is not actually a command to execute survivors.
  • Lensman Arms Race: Superior technology is often treated as a powerful tactical edge, but one that can be and is overcome if not used properly or simply overwhelmed. As the series goes on, several new technologies are introduced that revolutionize space combat, only to have the advantage negated within a few months as counter-technologies are developed.
  • Let Me At Him: In The Honor of the Queen, Honor learns that a P.O.W. prison guard has been ordering prisoners raped and beaten, and goes after him with murderous intent. Only the intervention of one of her subordinates, who shoves her arm aside just as she is pulling the trigger, keeps her from committing career suicide by killing him without a trial.
  • Living Lie Detector: Treecats are empaths, who can sense people's emotions and thusly can easily tell if a person is lying. Beginning in Honor of the Queen, Honor herself can sense the emotions of others through her treecat, and can likewise tell when they are lying.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Between thirteen main storyline novels, four spinoff novels, and four short story anthologies, the series' cast numbers in the hundreds only for named characters. The list of Honorverse characters on The Other Wiki is 200K long and still growing.
  • Long Running Book Series
  • Loophole Abuse: How the Solarian League's bureaucrats gained their power.
  • Lower Deck Episode:
    • Honor Among Enemies spent a great deal of time with new ratings on their first deployment.
    • Shadow of Saganami focused largely on four midshipmen fresh out of the academy.
    • Grayson Navy Letters Home (found here) are the letters of a female Grayson Ensign on her first post-commission deployment.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: Done quietly as the Manticoran navy needs the manpower, which is how folks like Steilman from Honor Among Enemies are still in service.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The Legislaturalists favored method of removing troublesome political opponents were aircar "accidents." This returns to make problems for the new Republic of Haven government when Arnold Giancola is killed in a legitimate crash caused by a Drunk Driver; they honestly had nothing to do with it, but nobody is going to believe that they did not have him killed.
  • Mama Bear: Honor lives by this. Whether it is her crew, her family, her Steading, or anyone she considers under her protection, attacking them is effectively committing suicide.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Detweiler has had a hand in just about every major event in the books, if he did not plan them outright to begin with.
  • Manchurian Agent: In At All Costs, Mesa secretly deploys a nanotech virus that can reprogram its victim to perform a predefined action under specific circumstances. Now, anybody could be a sleeper assassin without even knowing it.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Mesan Alignment, who accomplished almost everything through manipulation and cats-paws.
  • Manticoran Missile Massacre: Weber is fond of fleets getting utterly annihilated by waves of missiles. Interestingly, however, this is a fairly new development in universe, as prior to the technological and tactical advances of the Havenite wars it was just too hard to kill a capital ship with missiles. In fact, the Solarian League thinks it is still impossible.
  • Master of None: The given reason why Manticore does not build or use battleships: Not strong or survivable enough to fight full wallers, not capable of enough acceleration to match battlecruisers or below. Eventually, the Havenites manage to turn them into Jack of All Stats by using them in deep raiding, where being stronger than battlecruisers allows them to blow away pickets using said class while outrunning full wallers, and every Manty waller stuck guarding a backwater is one fewer at the frontlines. The ability to tow a LOT of pods helps, too.
  • Match Cut
  • Meaningful Name: "Honor" Harrington is one of the characters with the most personal integrity and honor seen in the entire series—hence, almost every book with "Honor" in the title (The Honor of the Queen, Honor Among Enemies, etc.) is also a Pun-Based Title. Lampshaded at the end of "Let's Dance".

 Allison Harrington looked up at her towering daughter for endless seconds, and then, slowly, she shook her own head.

“You’re wrong, you know,” she said softly, “it is my fault—mine and your father’s. After all,” she smiled hugely through a haze of tears, “we’re the ones who named you Honor.”

    • Also any treecat name ever. 'Cats are empaths who tend to give out names based on the one most noticeable character trait that they sense first in the person's "mindglow". Given their Psychic Powers these names may sometimes seem to be too whimsical for us "mind-blind", but they are always spot-on.
  • Mega Corp: Manpower, Incorporated is the poster child for this trope, although it is not the only one in the setting.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted. Both the villains and heroes consist of male and female characters, including many female redshirts and mooks. There are female naval personnel, marines, soldiers, pilots, thugs, and pirates and they die as frequently as the men do. The Graysons tend to play it straight, but their attitudes on this have been changing throughout the series.
  • The Messiah: Judith Newland, to the "Sisterhood of Barbara", a group of women dedicated to escaping Masada.
  • Mildly Military: Beowulf's Biological Survey Corps. The rest of their military is described as unorthodox, too, but it's not elaborated upon.
  • Military Academy: Saganami Island, named for Commander Edward Saganami, regarded as the founder of the Royal Manticoran Navy for his legendary last stand at the Battle of Carson and his foundation of "the Saganami Tradition."
  • Military Alphabet: The modern NATO/ICAO alphabet is used universally, with a few variations like Able, Baker and Roger for flavor.
  • Military Science Fiction: Space Navy focused.
  • Minovsky Physics: Gravity control technology forms the basis for just about every piece of Applied Phlebotinum in the Honorverse: The Warshawsky Sail, the Impeller Drive, the sidewalls, the pulser guns and shipboard missile launchers, even the super-tall skyscrapers that pepper the landscapes of most big cities.
  • Misguided Missile: A most dreaded thing for any naval commander due to Eridani Edict, which forbids the deliberate bombardment of an occupied planet without first securing an orbital position and offering surrender. Though an errant missile is not technically a violation of the Edict, it might be perceived as such by the Solarian League, which could then use that as a rationale for an overwhelming military response.
  • Mohs Scale of Sci Fi Hardness: Weber attempts to write Hard Science fiction, while using several coincidences of Applied Phlebotinum to justify combat being explicitly naval in nature.
  • Monopoly: Apparently still quite popular on Grayson, as evidenced in Echoes of Honor.
  • Monster Clown: Jeremy X, Audubon Ballroom leader and Torch's Secretary of War. A former genetic slave intended to be a house entertainer, he became a terrorist/freedom fighter extraordinaire, but still keeps quite a few of his clownish habits. Not to mention a rather vitriolic sense of humor and the best pistol hand in the known universe.
  • Moving the Goalposts: An admiral who did not care for the development of LAC-based tactics and technology managed to get himself put in charge of the evaluation board and started putting more and more restrictions on how the weapons could be used in an effort to get a test battle in which the new LACs would be decisively defeated. Captain Truman recognized the plan and sent notification letters to even higher ranking officers; not asking them to change anything or intervene on her behalf, but simply appraising them of the situation so that they would look at all the data when it came time to review the exercise. When the Peeps launch an actual attack on the system the entire plan becomes moot, as the LACs are put into real combat and perform superbly.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: A number of Havenite military and political officers.
    • Subverted in heartbreaking manner in Echoes of Honor. Warner Caslet holds onto this attitude like a life preserver, until Legislaturalist Admiral Parnell lays it out for him: "Son, you don't have a country any more..."
    • Many of the Havenites (in fact, pretty much all of them who are not painted as morally reprehensible slime) subscribe to the forgotten part of the quote: "if wrong, to be set right". Most notably Victor Cachat, Kevin Usher, Lester Tourville, Javier Giscard, Dennis LePic, Shannon Foraker, and of course Thomas Theisman and Eloise Pritchart.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Several examples throughout the series. Two noteworthy ones in Storm From The Shadows:
    • Admiral Byng after ordering the unwarranted destruction of three Manticoran destroyers, which had been in the system on a diplomatic mission. To make things worse, not only was the battle staggeringly one-sided due to numbers alone, but the Manticoran warships had their engines and weapons off line, and were given no warning of the impending attack, leaving them totally helpless. Byng would later suffer from a literal case of Laser-Guided Karma, compliments of Admiral Henke's squadron of battlecruisers, and the Royal Manticoran Navy's infamously effective missile guidance systems.
    • Aldona Anisimovna has a bout of this after destroying a New Tuscan space station, killing over 40,000 innocents, in order to provoke Admiral Byng's attack on the Manticoran destroyers. She quickly rationalizes it away by saying that she was doing what was necessary for the Mesan Alignment's plans.
    • Albrecht Detweiler has one after the Oyster Bay raids result in over eight million dead in the Manticore home systems alone. He decides that he needs to accept that, because it would be a drop in the bucket by the time he is done if the plan is to succeed.
    • Literally when, in Flag in Exile, a hardcore fundamentalist Grayson kills the head of his own church in an attempt to assassinate Honor. He suffers a BSOD upon realising and his grief stricken testimony is the main plank in the case that convicts the Steadholder Burdette of treason and murder.
    • Thomas Theisman has one in In Enemy Hands when he realises that his bringing up the Deneb Accords leads to Cordelia Ransom thinking of ways to Rules Lawyer around them in her typically horrific manner.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Being partially telepathic, treecats can spot potential trouble before it appears. This has saved Honor's life at least twice and may prove an Achilles Heel for the Mesan Alignment (as altered humans taste "wrong" to treecats).
  • Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: The Treecats use these names not only for themselves (Laughs Brightly, Swift Striker, Sorrow Singer) but also for humans they think are important (Death Fang's Bane, Soul Of Steel, Dances On Clouds). It is worth noting that a Treecat may have his or her name changed several times during their life but adopted Treecats have two names, their descriptive name and the name that their human gives them (which never changes).
  • Name's the Same: Despite what it sounds like, Manticore is not at war with trays of marshmallow chickens and bunnies.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter
  • Nerves of Steel: Half of the characters, but especially Honor, if only because she is routinely thrown into the worst situations. Hundreds or thousands of other people are along with her in the same situations, but she is in command, and their lives are her responsibility.
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • Almost every single villain of the series is either dismissive or outright contemptuous of their servants, as most of them come from high-society and wealthy backgrounds; multiple characters point out (Or at least think) that that is entirely indicative of the way they believe that the universe revolves around them, and that their lower-class supporters are there for the express purpose of appeasing them.
    • Rob S. Pierre and Oscar Saint-Just are the only two villains of the series who are courteous to their subordinates; Esther McQueen, who knows that they will kill her the moment she is a threat and is already planning to kill them, believes that it is actually an authentic character trait and not something assumed for appearances.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: "Manties" (Star Kingdom/Empire of Manticore), "Peeps" (People's Repubic of Haven),"Andies" (Andermani Empire), "Sillies" or "Confeds" (Silesian Confederacy), and "Sollies" (Solarian League).
  • No Dead Body Poops: An undercover agent, realizing he has been made, judo flips over and snaps the neck of the man who has caught him, and notes in narration the smell of the voided bowels, presumably while his victim is still upside down.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: You have got to feel sorry for Commander Caslet and crew in Honor Among Enemies.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: The Beowulf Life Code outlaws anything that adjusts the human body beyond its natural limits, even prolong is described as just modifying and extending natural biological processes as opposed to drastically altering the human genome. Honor has faced occasional issues with her own status as a "Genie," a person whose ancestry includes genetic modification (In her case, the Meyerdahl First Wave modification which adjusted her ancestors for life on the high-gravity world of Meyerdahl). The role of Mesa is designed to explore this; David Weber has commented that Mesa has perfectly valid concerns and is right about Beowulf holding back humanity by outlawing transhumanism, but that they have been corrupted by hundreds of years of insular planning and hiding and now believe they must show that Beowulf is wrong by force.
  • "No Warping" Zone: Every astronomical body of sufficient mass has a "hyper limit;" inside this limit, translation into or out of hyperspace is either impossible or lethal. Most of the encountered hyper limits are caused by stars, but even the larger planets can have hyper limits of their own, if they're sufficiently far out from their primaries for it to matter.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Whatever it was that Lt. Takahashi did to the flight simulators at Kreskin Flight School. He got an impressive number of demerits for it and strict orders not to do it again.
    • The second-worst drunken night of Thomas Theisman's life, a "disastrous evening in his third year at the Academy". (The worst drunken experience of his life was when Cordelia Ransom interrupted with a knock at the door.)
  • Not Me This Time: When news finally begins to spread of what the Mesan Alignment is truly after, Manticore and Haven realize that they were behind the resumption of hostilities when they had Arnold Giancola modify the diplomatic notes between the two governments. Detweiler, however, is confused when that conclusion reaches him, because that was something he actually had no part in, and he realizes that they are being improperly blamed because they had one of their operatives helping with the clean-up afterwards.
  • Number Two for Brains: If you see this trope, it's an ironclad guarantee that the Number Two in question will wind up in command by the end of the book, and it will be a disaster.
  • N-Word Privileges: Honor makes her guest feel uncomfortable when she explains that she is a "Genie". She then goes on to venture that most people on her homeworld are genetically modified by now they just do not think about it.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • A number of Havenite military and political officers, most spectacularly Admiral Lester "Cowboy" Tourville. It was something of a survival trait in the old PRH, thanks to State Sec.
    • For a very long time, treecats practiced Obfuscating Cuteness. Treecats are soft, cuddly, affectionate creatures who occasionally "adopt" humans--and they would love you to think that is all there is to them. As of Ashes of Victory, they are learning how to communicate using sign language and are starting to reveal more details about their culture. They have also casually begun colonizing other worlds (worlds populated by humans friendly to them, as they do not have their own means of getting around off-world). Notably, they began doing this before telling even their Manticoran companions about it.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Several are found throughout the series, but particularly the High Ridge government in War of Honor, where they are more concerned with holding power and acumulating wealth than the good of Manticore. Quite prevalent in the Solarian League, as well, given the SL Constitution makes it almost impossible for the government to take any but the most milquetoast of actions, leaving most actual power in the bureaucracies.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • The Third Battle of Yeltsin, which was a critical battle in the opening stages of the Haven/Manticore war that was fought on a scale which had not been encountered in hundreds of years, but which was never seen or described in detail.
    • The capture of Trevor's Star, a major strategic objective of the Manties, which is captured "offscreen" between two books.
    • In The Service of the Sword, half of the naval battle -- the cooler half, too -- takes place offscreen, while the readers follow Abigail's adventures dirtside.
  • Oh Crap: There are many instances where characters realize how monumentally screwed they are, usually right before dying:
    • Honor has a couple; in On Basilisk Station when she realizes that the merchant ship she is chasing is not really a merchant ship, but a Peep Q-ship with the firepower of a heavy battlecruiser, and in The Honor of the Queen when she realizes exactly what type of warships the Peeps gave Masada. One of which is a heavy battlecruiser.
    • The entire Star Kingdom of Manticore has a couple in War of Honor and At All Costs when they realize just exactly what the new Republican Navy is capable of. Specifically, the RN is capable of reverse engineering or reinventing most of the technology that gave Manticore the lead in the Lensman Arms Race. And of launching really big surprise attacks.
    • The Peeps have one almost every time the Manties drop their EW or emerge from stealth, most notably at Fourth Yeltsin.
    • Competent professionals on the wrong side of such situations tend have reactions closer to This Is Gonna Suck. Sometimes at the same time that their less-competent superiors are giving the standard Oh Crap response. Example: the captain of the Jean Bart at New Tuscany, while his commanding admiral was in a total panic, was basically pondering how unfair it was that he was going to be collateral damage to a well-deserved Darwin Award.
    • In Mission of Honor, some Solarian analysts are discussing the implications of the Manties' performance at the Battle of Spindle, and their initial reaction is "Oh Crap, we're behind the curve." Then, after the Manties get kneecapped by Oyster Bay, those analysts realize it's even worse than that: "Oh Crap, whoever did that to them is going to be coming after us."
    • The trope is said exactly by the commander of an LAC watching from the sidelines in his own system as Manticoran and Solarian ships confront each other, then less specifically by Solarians when the Manticorans launch an overwhelming missile strike well beyond their range and with far better ECM- only to deliberately suicide the missiles against their wedges. And are told the next wave will 'fired for effect'. They leave.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Both Mesa and Beowulf, as Mesa is Beowulf's Evil Twin.
  • One Steve Limit: Actual Steves are in short supply, but other common names are reused. Given the scale of the series, characters with the same name rarely ever meet or come within light-centuries of each other at all.
  • Operation Blank:
    • Manticoran op names are randomly assigned, so that if the name leaks there is no indication what the plan is, which gives us gems like Operations Buttercup, Cutworm, and Sanskrit. Operation Laocoön is an outlier, since the name is relatively apropos.
    • Haven tends to favor grandiose names like Operations Icarus, Pegasus, and Thunderbolt.
    • Solarian naval ops favor the poetic, like Operations East Wind, Winter Forage and even Raging Justice.
    • Mesan covert ops favor very direct names like Operation Rat Poison, Operation Wooden Horse, and Operation Oyster Bay (they are really not even trying with that one).
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Averted as traditional religions, in addition to some new sects and movements, are alive and well in the Honorverse living alongside Atheists. Sometimes in peace, sometimes not.
  • Out of Focus: Honor herself past Mission of Honor as she is now the strategic overview due to her high rank, and not able to get into the fights she used to be able to do.
  • Outside Context Villain: The Mesan Alignment. Until the protagonists started being a spanner in their long term plans and forcing them to act slightly more openly to get things back on track, nobody even suspected their existence. And the protagonists were still lucky that their initial investigation hit jackpot the way it did. Nevertheless, they have plans on plans on backup plans stretching centuries, claws sunk into places no one expects and their technology breaks the rules the rest of the galaxy has comfortably become used to.
  • Papa Wolf: Many Grayson men embody this trope. The rest believe they do.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Happens all the time when officers converse with each other, particularly in On Basilisk Station. Everybody's trying to guess what everybody else really means, because military professionalism prevents them from coming out and saying it.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: The aforementioned People's Republic of Haven.
  • Planet of Hats:
    • Most of the various star nations have hats that correspond to Terran national identities, though they are usually not as pronounced as most Hat examples.
    • The Talbott Cluster is pretty much just an excuse for these. From New Montana (founded by worshippers of Montana who made it as close to the original state ("Planet of Stetson Hats"?) as possible) to Rembrandt (founded by art lovers). Erewhon (founded by gangsters with somewhat odd senses of humor) also qualifies.
  • Playing Drunk: Kevin Usher put on a charade as a hopeless (and constant) drunk in order to avoid suspicion while under the authority of the Committee of Publc Safety.

 "Lesson number - what is it, now? - eight, I think. A reputation for being a drunk can keep you out of as much trouble as being one gets you into." [Usher] padded to his couch and sunk into it. "I've got a high capacity for alcohol, but I don't drink anywhere near as much as people think."

  • Plucky Middie: Honor herself in the prequel story Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington, several other characters in various books, especially the Shadow of Saganami side novels.
  • The Political Officer: The "Citizen Commissioners" placed on PRH warships to watch officers.
  • Politically-Incorrect Villain: Damn near all of them. The easiest way to pick a Honor Harrington villain out of a crowd is to wait for them to deride the titular character's sex or her origins as a commoner, sometimes both at once. One almost starts to wonder if Weber came up with Grayson and Masada just so he would always have a place to pick out aristocratic mysogynists if he needed them.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Almost literally: In In Enemy Hands, Honor's heightened empathic sensitivity alerts her that White Haven has suddenly fallen in love with her. She cannot deal with this, so she runs off to the navy again and promptly gets captured and then "executed", leaving White Haven to go through the rest of that book and Echoes of Honor feeling guiltily certain that he somehow scared her off to her death. They then spend part of Ashes of Victory and almost all of War of Honor continuing not to communicate with each other, and are saved from it at the end of War of Honor only by Samantha having a heart-to-heart with Hamish's current wife.
    • In Ashes of Victory/"Nightfall" a snatch of conversation between Oscar St. Just and Esther McQueen's minder Erasmus Fontein, heard out of context by an informant, causes Esther McQueen to kick off her coup attempt before she is fully prepared—needlessly, as it turned out, as Oscar St. Just was only asking Fontein to fabricate evidence against McQueen, not to move against her as the informant assumed. In the end, this case of poor communication ends up killing 1.3 million people.
    • In War of Honor, a recursive example: Haven Secretary of State Arnold Giancola is fooled by President Eloise Pritchart's extremely-controlled facade into misjudging the amount of anger hiding beneath it. (He forgot that not only was she one of the only surviving members of a more doctrinaire pre-Committee revolutionary group, she was also one of few People's Commissioners good enough at hiding what she really felt to survive the Committee's reign of terror.) As a result, when he changes key points in diplomatic communiques to ratchet up tensions between Haven and Manticore so that he then can make himself look good by smoothing the tensions away, Giancola inadvertently goes too far and provokes Pritchart to announce a return to war.
  • Powered Armor: Quite a few examples, mostly among Space Marines.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Honor never swears, so you know she is angry when she dares to say "hell". This is commented on within the series, as several officers who had served with her for years sit up and take notice when they hear her swear for the first time, especially when she eventually brings out the more dramatic curses.
    • Captain Alfredo Yu, in The Honor of the Queen, vents his frustrations in a profanity-laden rant to his XO after spending the first part of the book being scrupulously polite around Sword Simmons.
    • Queen Elizabeth, though legendary for the 'Winton Temper,' almost always retains an air of civility and control, even when in the throes of almost violent anger. This lends more credence to her emphasis when she finally decides to swear.

 "I suppose the only thing I'm really surprised about is who seems to have arranged this entire--what's that charming military phrase? Oh, yes. This entire cluster fuck."

    • Fleet Admiral Massimo Filareta, the very first time we see him lose his temper. With the same line, he is Killed Mid-Sentence.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Good-bye, Citizen Chairman."
  • President Corrupt: Baron High Ridge, during War of Honor.
  • Privateer: Mentioned occasionally. The majority of them seem to be outright pirates using a Letter of Marque as a shield to protect themselves if captured but more respectable ones turn up occasionally.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Rob Pierre notes, in the opening to In Enemy Hands, that he much preferred when he simply was paranoid. Now that he actually has people after him he would give anything to go back to seeing shadows.
    • A Peep officer in Echoes of Honor deduces that the prison planet of Hades has suffered a prisoner revolt when a courier's mail lacks the warden's latest correspondence chess move. He is absolutely correct.
    • Bodyguards, most notably Honor's armsmen, are always paranoid and frequently right. In Field of Dishonor, Andrew LaFollet is uncomfortable when she changes her plans and decides to go to a restaurant, though he does not really think anything will happen. Halfway through the meal, half a dozen thugs come through the door and start shooting.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Oddly for a franchise that features numerous cosmopolitan worlds whose sexual mores are very "liberal" when compared to the present-day, the only confirmed homosexual character (at least in the main series books) was an unpleasant person. However, there is no implication that her orientation and her personality were in any way related, as her heterosexual compatriots were just as bad; nor does she get more than four lines of dialogue or virtually any character development. Even her lesbianism is only mentioned through exposition. She was one of the characters that intended to jump ship in Silesia using a small explosive device as a distraction.
  • Pun-Based Title: Almost every book with "Honor" in the title. (The Honor of the Queen, Honor Among Enemies, etc.)
  • Putting on the Reich: Havenite State Sec. It is no surprise their initials are SS. David Weber can be subtle when he wants to be, he just chose not to here.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Q-ship crew Honor gets stuck with in Honor Among Enemies.
  • Ramming Always Works: Countermissiles operate by slamming their tiny impeller wedges into the equally-tiny impeller wedges of their missile targets, which destroys both objects. Theoretically, a large manned starship would cause a similar effect if it rammed the impeller wedge of another comparably-sized starship, but in most engagements it's impossible to get that close without getting killed by missiles or energy weapons first.
  • The Rashomon: Latest novels (until the Mission of Honor started the clock again), which basically just go back and forth in the time period around the Battle Of Manticore. The earliest of them (in the internal chronology, that is), Crown of Slaves, is set in 1919 p.d., while Torch of Freedom ends in the spring of 1922, and At All Costs and Mission of Honor overlap both of these books. Weber and Flint needed to introduce a lot of people and concepts in their greatly expanded universe, true, but that's no less frustrating to the reader, who just gets to read about the same events again and again. Especially given the Weber's habit to lapse into chapter-long infodumps and As You Knows.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • Pavel Young attempted to rape Honor during their time at Saganami Island, starting their rivalry that would last for decades.
    • In The Honor of the Queen the crew of a captured Manticoran ship are beaten, tortured, gangraped, and killed by Masadan fanatics. Only 2 of 26 women survived the experience.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil:
    • In The Honor of the Queen, when Honor Harrington discovers what the Masadans had done to the crew of the captured Manticoran destroyer, she loses it and nearly commits what would have been a career-ending murder of the Masadan captain. She has to be physically restrained by her own subordinates to get back under self-control. At least one other officer muses that they'd have acted exactly the same if they'd been in her shoes.
    • In Honor Among Enemies, the brutal rape and murder of a crew of merchantmen leads Warner Caslet to go off-mission to hunt down and bring the pirates responsible to fatal justice
  • Reactionless Drive: A spaceship's impellers work by gravity manipulation. There's no reaction mass getting thrown out the back of the ship as exhaust.
  • Reality Ensues: In On Basilisk Station the Bronze Age-tech Medusans manage to brutally kill some Manticorans by swarming them. Then, the Manties bring out the heavy weapons and air support. The aliens die. And die. And die some more.
  • Really Gets Around: Honor gets accused of this by the press when they discover she has had her baby "tubed" (an artificial gestation environment, commonly used by military women). They ask of her doctor if Earl White Haven is the father (true), but also on the candidate list are Prince Michael (who's married), Baron Grantville (Earl White Haven's brother), and Protector Benjamin (who's married twice over). This has the effect of mashing the Berserk Button flat for both the doctor (who demands that the privacy of patients be maintained) and the Graysons (who consider Honor a planetary hero). Ironically, Honor was a Celibate Hero until Paul Tankersley, and has only been with three men in her life, that the reader knows of.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Honor Harrington appears to be in her early twenties, too young to be an admiral, but this is the result of life-extending treatments (prolong). As of this writing, the character is over sixty. The drawback is that she is literally 20 years old from a physical standpoint, so her hormones can sometimes make her act that age. 90% of the characters fall into this category, though there are a few exceptions in those too old to get prolong.
  • Realpolitik: The dominant foreign policy of the Andermani Empire. Another way in which they resemble Prussia.
  • Reassignment Backfire:
    • The entire plot of the first novel is Honor Harrington's 'exile' to Basilisk Station.
    • In War of Honor, her superiors drop the Villain Ball long enough to get a horrible sinking feeling about dumping her into the rapidly deteriorating political situation at Sidemore Station. Ultimately they decide they actually need her there badly enough to risk yet another backfire. Which, naturally, happens.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • This happens to Honor quite a lot (see Reassignment Backfire above):
      • In On Basilisk Station, she and her crew are assigned to Basilisk Station, the dumping ground where incompetent captains, politically disappointing crews and general screw-ups are sent.
      • At the end of Field of Dishonor, Honor is benched on half-pay as punishment for embarrassing the parties in political power in Manticore.
      • In Honor Among Enemies, Honor is given a dangerous, unglamorous assignment patrolling a pirate-ridden sector of space in extremely fragile "Q-ships" (merchant ships refitted for combat). This is done at the behest of two of her political enemies, who see it as a Xanatos Gambit — she'll either get rid of pirates or get killed, and either way, they win.
    • Pavel Young may be too politically connected to bench, but he spends much of his career in the least important assignments the Navy can find.
    • John Ringo's "A Ship Named Francis" exemplifies this trope, not surprising given that the anime it shouts out does as well.
  • Recycled in Space: Honor Harrington starts as a remake of Horatio Hornblower in space, Manticore being England and Haven being France, complete with Rob S. Pierre running the Committee of Public Safety. Over time, this shifts as State Security gets more focus in-story as a more outright-fascist protector of the Revolution, up to and including Putting On The Committee For Public Safety. By Storm From Shadows the parallels end, in part because a conflict between The Solarian League and Manticore does not have a historical parallel, and because the Hornblower-analogue survived her Trafalgar, against authorial expectations.
    • The HMRS Fearless (ship from the first book), with its rearmament, is a carronade frigate (like the HMS Glatton or HMS Rainbow) IN SPACE!
  • Recursive Ammo: Missiles that shoot lasers. Pure awesomeness, though not without theoretical grounding; see Project Excalibur.
  • Red Baron:
    • Honor is almost invariably called The Salamander by the newsies, a nickname that she just barely tolerates.
    • Also many other canon nicknames, like The Crusher for Saganami Island Advanced Tactial Course or Nasty Kitty for HMS Hexapuma. Also, heaven help you if you call the HMS Minotaur "Minnie" around her XO or Captain.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In the Torch of Freedom, when Jack McBryde understood that he would not be able to get away with the others after his Heel Face Turn, he opted to stay behind and create a hell of a diversion (in the 50 kiloton range, that is) to buy the heroes a chance.
  • Red Herring:
    • In The Short Victorious War Pavel Young and Commander Houseman, both with extremely strong personal dislike for Honor, meet and begin to conspire against her. Mention is made of them attempting to turn Commodore Van Slyke, their immediate superior, against Honor, but before anything can come of that the entire situation is upset by the outbreak of war with Haven, especially when both Houseman and Van Slyke are killed when their Heavy Cruiser is destroyed in combat. Young and Houseman's efforts ultimately have no impact on either the personal, political or military events of the book.
    • In Honor Among Enemies, the resident bully aboard Wayfarer sets up an elaborate plan to jump ship and become a Space Pirate, which included rigging one of the ship's impeller nodes to explode (as a distraction). However, his co-conspirators crack under interrogation and reveal the existence of the sabotage, allowing the crew to make the impeller node safe again long before it would have gone off.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Victor Cachat (Havenite State Security, reformed to Foreign Intelligence Service) and Anton Zilwicki (RMN as first construction, then Intelligence). Played with in that Cachat is a genius at improvisation, but almost coldly emotionless while Zilwicki is the obsessive planner and plotter (using Wild Mass Guessing to spin possible scenerios and planning for every contingency), but much more emotional.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: At the end of Flag in Exile, Honor's political enemy mentally recaps all the awesome things she has done, and wonders how she survived. The capper on it is that he is forced to lead a push to honor Honor, and all the things he mentions are all in that one book.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: There seems to be too much of a reliance on automated spell-checking without enough proofreading, leading to errors like "commander" and "commodore" being confused. Still, it is not a serious issue and stems from David Weber's hands being so crippled the entire series is transcribed by software with some questionable ability.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Just about anywhere where royalty is involved. Manticore, Grayson, Andermani, Torch, etc. Corrupt and unscrupulous they may have been, but the Legislaturists were very nearly the only people in the old PRH that actually did anything.
  • Royally Screwed-Up: The Andermani family, which has had more than its share of rulers with personality quirks, is almost the joke dynasty of the Honorverse. The founder of the dynasty, Gustav Anderman, believed himself to be the reincarnation of Frederick the Great of Prussia and dressed in period dress, and one of his descendants attempted to make a potted plant a government minister. Another had herself legally declared a man in order to comply with the dictate that the ruler must be male. However, despite their personal foibles almost every member of the dynasty (except the afore-mentioned plant guy) has also been a competent ruler who has steadily expanded the boundaries of the Anderman Empire for centuries. Their subjects willingly put up with their faults because of the other skills that they bring to the table.
  • Running Gag:
    • Ruth Winton is a brilliant analyst with a lot of political knowledge, but not terribly familiar with history, hence she confidently explains historical references as references to minor contemporary political figures with the same names. You'd think she'd figure out that modern politicos aren't who they're quoting after the third or fourth time.
    • The explanation of, and the explainee's reaction to, the precise manner in which the Tepes met its fate.
    • In Ashes of Victory, the continual "oopses" when mentioning the Medusa-nee-Harrington-nee-Medusa starship class.
    • Alice Truman's tendency to surround herself with the male officers as blond, blue-eyed and gorgeous as herself.
  • Rule 34: Hinted at in universe. The reader is informed that treecats are not interested in human sexuality, but Havenite tabloids published stories about relations between Queen Elizabeth III and her treecat, among other lurid tales.
  • Samurai: Grayson based a large part of their pre-technological culture on the Samurai and Japan in general, with the twist that their tradition is based on dimly-remembered cultural recollections of Akira Kurosawa samurai movies which had themselves been lost to time. Ultimately, they bore about as much resemblance to real historical samurai as Xena: Warrior Princess does to ancient Greece. When Honor actually dug up said movies out of archives on other worlds, Abigail Hearns noted, modern Graysonites felt they were actually rather silly.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Refreshingly averted. Space is really mutherfrackin' HUGE in the HonorVerse, and times and distances stay the same from one appearance to the next...well, MOSTLY averted. There was the Great Resizing, in which the Superdreadnoughts of the early books have smokelike densities. This is retconned later on, to give them the same masses but much shorter lengths which provide more realistic densities.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections: On a race-wide scale. Treecats have been exempt from the Saganami Academy's no-pets policy ever since one adopted the then-Queen of Manticore, who proceeded to make her views on the subject exceedingly clear.
  • Secret Police: Havenite State Security. Also the Mental Hygiene Police and Internal Security, SS's predecessor services under the Legislaturists.
  • Secret Weapon:
    • The Grav Lance in On Basilisk Station. It is devastatingly effective, but only at 1/4 (or less) the range of all other weaponry and assuming it doesn't malfunction all on its own.
    • In Ashes of Victory, there were three: Project Ghostrider, the Pod Superdreadnoughts, and the Shrike-class LACs.
  • Shout-Out: About a million of them.
    • At one point in Honor Among Enemies, Honor enjoys a Horatio Hornblower novel.
    • Kevin Usher is a real fountain of knowledge where classical cinema is concerned, and gave the same taste to his student, Victor Cachat. Their favorite movie is Casablanca.
    • The planet Erewhon has the same name as a Samuel Butler novel, Haven is also the name of a planet in the CoDominium universe with an oppressive secret police.
    • Grayson based much of their pre-technological society and warfare on Seven Samurai...
    • At least eight of the twelve leaders of the Renaissance Factor are named for famous movie directors.
    • Honor's personal physician is Dr. Janet Frazier.
    • The SS starship Tepes in In Enemy Hands is commanded by a Captain Vladovich.
    • In The Shadow of Saganami, in discussion of not wanting Manticore's offer of aid to a planet to seem like an unwanted invasion, one character refers to Manticoran troops coming off as some kind of "imperial storm troopers".
    • In The Shadow of Saganami, while using a "borrowed" freighter to reconnoiter a potentially unfriendly star system, Commander FitzGerald identifies himself as "Captain Teach" and a subordinate as "Lieutenant Kidd".
    • John Ringo's "A Ship Named Francis" involves a starship where dubiously-competent space navy misfits end up, an alcoholic doctor, a martinet first officer, and a protagonist named Tyler. Hmmmmmmm.
    • The operation Oyster Bay.
    • The children's book David and the Phoenix, prominently featured in At All Costs, is a real book and one of author David Weber's favorites.
    • Grayson's "classical" music is based on country and western, and Ashes of Victory features a couple of snatches of "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Spacers".
    • Late in the series, William Alexander is declared "Baron Grantville"—a reference to Wages of Sin sub-series author Eric Flint's 1632 series (which Weber also co-wrote).
    • A recursive shout-out: Baen Designated Victim Joe Buckley is mentioned in Mission of Honor, as is a starship, Dahak, named for the website that the real-life Buckley runs—which was itself named for a starship from David Weber's own Empire From the Ashes series.
    • The phrase "On the bounce" is used in the first novel.
    • War of Honor features, as minor characters, officers named Zelazny and Zahn.
    • In War of Honor, Zahn's husband Tim is said to be highly regarded by a Manticoran officer named Commodore Tharwan.
    • Crown of Slaves: "You are the walrus". Very carefully set up, no less.
    • The second epigram in Mission of Honor: "I've got a bad feeling about this..." -Admiral Patricia Givens.
    • Officers named Horn and Stackpole were serving aboard HMS Ajax at the Battle of Solon.
    • Echoes of Honor mentions a "Heinlein Maneuver" where lunar rebels dropped rocks on Old Earth.
    • Darcy Lord's "Garrett Randall" psychic detective stories.
  • Show Within a Show: There are references to the adventure series "Preston of the Spaceways" in several books, and in Mission of Honor one character is reading a book about a psychic detective named Garrett Randall by one Darcy Lord.
  • Shown Their Work: Weber went to great length to figure out appropriate scales for vessels, distances, travel times, etc, with one notable exception (see the Great Resizing up in Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale), and he also goes at great length to give you every fact and figure, to the point of near incomprehensibility. Nobody in the series will ever say "about two minutes" when "one-hundred-nineteen seconds" is more accurate, and they use appropriate military procedure when doing so, too.
    • When the Treecats learn a variant of sign language, Weber will frequently thereafter describe the motions for each sign in detail as they speak, apparently to let you know he is not simply handwaving it. This leads to situations where half a page or more is dedicated to a 'cat saying something that would otherwise have taken up five words. (And due to the necessarily abbreviated and interpolatory nature of sign language, often the description involves signs for a few letters separated by other gestures, which are treated as Intelligible Unintelligible by the character they are speaking to. In fact, compared to the number of complete sign descriptions, passages in which treecat sign language is directly translated to English are pretty rare (prior to Mission of Honor, at least).)
  • Shut UP, Hannibal:
    • Michael Oversteegen gives an absolutely brilliant one to the Mesan Navy commander in Crown of Slaves.

  "At least, Sir, the uniform of the Queen of Manticore has never been sold t' the service of whoremasters, murderers, pedophiles, sadists, and perverts. I suppose, however, that those of you who choose t' serve in the navy of Mesa feel comfortable amid such company."

    • Aivars Terekhov gets a similar one in The Shadow of Saganami.

 "And honesty compels me to add that neither I nor any other Manticoran officer have conspired with genetic slavers, pirates, terrorists, and mass murderers to commit acts of war on the sovereign territories of at least two independent star nations. Your government has done precisely that. My responsibility to see to it that those unprovoked and murderous assaults end now overrides any responsibility I may have towards your personnel."

  • Significant Monogram - Honor Harrington's initials are a Shout-Out to Horatio Hornblower.
  • Sink the Life Boats: PRH propaganda claimed that Manticore would shoot up escape pods of destroyed PRN warships.
  • Slave Brand: The identification number keyed onto the tongues of genetic slaves. The Audubon Ballroom makes it their trademark to stick their tongues out to show these marks off whenever they kill slavers.
  • Sleazy Politician: Exemplified by the High Ridge government in War of Honor, but found throughout the series as a whole. Given the bureaucratic hell that is the Solarian League, they are rife in the parts of the series that have contact with the SL.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Lester Tourville smokes cigars as part of his "cowboy" image. Modern medicine has rendered it harmless, but flicking ashes off his clothing and always having to sit under the air intakes is still a pain. He would like to quit, but he figures it would ruin his reputation...besides, he eventually realizes that he is become addicted.
  • Smug Snake: Many politically-appointed higher-ups qualify, but Pavel Young is probably the most shining example.
  • Space Amish:
    • The Grayson colonists tried to create a low-tech colony to obey their religion's tenets; their choice of a Death World forced them to compromise.
      • The fanatics from early Grayson who split off and got exiled to Masada felt that the mainstream Graysons weren't low-tech enough.
    • The planet Refuge, in the short story The Service of the Sword located in the anthology of the same name, which was founded by religious dissidents from Haven.
    • There is one mentioned in The Shadow of Saganami that once again had the misfortune to choose a Death World. While Grayson had a religious schism, the other colony went atheist -- and rather cheerfully so.
  • Space Battle: You have gotten this haven't you?
  • Space Is an Ocean: One of the biggest (ab)users. The series treats all naval conflicts as if they were conducted with cannons blazing, and Weber designed the technological paradigm in the series to do just that. One notable exception is that ships are often maneuvering 'vertically' in relation to the local star system and are not locked into a strictly horizontal movement scheme. It is somewhat Lampshaded in-story: many Manticoran Navy officers are fanatics of Joseph Conrad and other marinistic literature. David Weber is also a naval historian, so certain inventions get large discussion on what is and is not a historical parallel. LACs are not fighters and CLACs are not carriers, LACs are torpedo boats, and CLACs have no straight parallel, but do share functions of both amphibious assault ships and Carriers. Apollo is Radar Gunnery, and David Weber admits he uses The Battle of Surigao Straits as a model for Apollo actions.
    • A fairly close historical counterpart to CLACs is the late-Victorian era Royal Navy motor torpedo boat depot ship HMS Vulcan, an "MTB carrier" capable of launching six MTBs. However, the concept of an MTB carrier never caught on and soon faded into obscurity. And although CLACs are not directly comparable to aircraft carriers the fact they are the closest in-universe equivalent is somewhat Lampshaded: The COLAC position is equivalent to the CAG on a US Navy carrier, the "LAC jock mentality" and nose art referenced in Ashes of Victory are obvious references to military aviation culture and the Katana-class LACs are sometimes referred to as "space superiority fighters." To directly quote In Enemy Hands: "In many respects, [the new LAC and CLAC doctrine] will be a reversion to the old wet-navy aircraft carrier".
  • Space Marine
  • Space Mines
  • Space Navy: The be all and end all of the series.
  • Space Pirates: The Silesian Confederacy is rife with these. In Honor Among Enemies, their existence prompts the RMN to reinstate Honor Harrington for anti-piracy duty.
  • Spiritual Predecessor: David Drake's story "A Grand Tour" in the "More Than Honor" anthology could be mistaken for a Serial Numbers Filed Off version of his own RCN series, if one didn't know that the short story came first.
  • Spy From Weights and Measures: Beowulf's Biological Survey Corps. Commonly regarded as fairly tough, for an innocuous civilian agency. In reality, elite anti-Manpower commandos.
  • State Sec: The trope namer.
  • Stealth in Space: While a starship with its impeller drive active can be detected all the way across the solar system, a ship with its drives turned off ("lying doggo") can only be seen if an enemy bounces a radar beam off of it. ECM technology even allows a ship to remain undetected with its impellers running, provided they are at very low power.
    • At one point normal reaction thrusters are used as a stealthy alternative to the standard impeller wedges, and the plan succeeds in sneaking several warships to within a few hundred thousand kilometers of their targets. Justified as the enemy was not paying attention and thoroughly lampshaded in the next book as being a desperate tactic that was lucky to have worked.
    • The Mesan Alignment Navy's new ships use an entirely new type of propulsion, referred to as the "Spider Drive," instead of the more traditional and easy to detect Impeller Wedge. This makes their ships nigh-undetectable by gravitic sensors.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Rob S. Pierre. If you recognize this name, a great deal of the Havenite side of the plot becomes highly predictable. Also, Admiral Tourville (except in his case the author did not even bother to cosmetically change the name), Admiral DuQuesne who came up with the plan of financing Havenite economy by conquest two centuries ago, and Oscar Saint-Just.
  • Strange Bedfellows: A Haven and Manticoran alliance as of the end of Mission of Honor.
  • Strawman Political: Played straight, but not in the way that most readers seem to expect. Most of the "bad" politicians really are idiotic, self-centered bastards who should not be trusted to govern an after-school club, but they were never meant to be representative of real-world political ideologies in the first place, and both left and right have moral and heroic characters as well. The politicians are still primarily strawmen, but they are not strawmen for real-world politicians.
  • Subspace Ansible: Gravitic detectors can be used to receive faster-than-light messages, but only at relatively short distances, through the generation of gravitic pulses in a precise sequence (It was originally described as a return to Morse-code style transmissions). These pulses, though not instantaneous (Their "speed" is given at 64c, or sixty-four times the speed of light) cause "ripples" along the edge of hyperspace that can be detected and decoded by ships who are familiar with the precise patterns used by the transmiting ship. Weber initially described FTL communication as a direct detection of the gravitic impulses, but when a now famous experiment showed quite convincingly that speed of gravity equals speed of light, he retconned it to the "ripple along hyperspace" idea.
  • Super Prototype: Generally averted throughout the series. All witnessed prototypes fulfil the function of an actual prototype: To assess the viability and practicality of a new design or technology before introducing it into actual use.
    • The light cruiser HMS Fearless, from On Basilisk Station, which was a testbed for experimental new weaponry and not intended for operational use. It only ended up being deployed to Basilisk Station because Honor happened to be the commander and she had fallen afoul of Navy politics.
    • The Mesan Alignment's Shark-class ships that were used for Oyster Bay. They were only underpowered testbeds for the spider drive, but had to be used because the proper production warships were not ready yet.
  • Super Soldier: What the Scrags were originally supposed to be, although by the time of the novel's settings they have devolved into none too bright thugs. Thandi Palane and her wrecking crew are a much more traditional example of this trope. Mesa has been hinted to have combat line clones, though we have not seen them in action yet.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In Basilisk, Honor's response to having apparently asked her bosun to look for smugglers to man customs flights:

 "Of course not, Major. This is a Queen's ship. What would we be doing with smugglers on board?"

  • Take Our Word for It: Massimo Filareta is one of the first Solarian Admirals that we meet who seems to have a reputation as a solid commander with no blinding bigotries towards "Neo Barb" nations such as Manticore or Haven. That said, he is indicated to have a Dark Secret that leaves him in Mesa's pocket early on, and as time goes on, we get more and more details from the handful of characters in the know about him, culminating in the indication that he is into "sick games with little boys and girls".
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine: Havenite beer, according to Honor, could be poured back into the horse and leave the universe a better place...
  • Ten Paces and Turn: The only kind of legal duel in the Star Kingdom of Manticore. Two protocols exist: The Dreyfus Protocol, in which each dueller gets five rounds and has to pause between each shot to ask if satisfaction was attained; and the Ellington Protocol, in which each dueller gets ten rounds and can shoot as often as they like until their target falls or drops his weapon. In both protocols, however, the duellers are allowed to turn and face each other before the actual shooting starts.
  • Technically a Smile: You could make a drinking game of it. This trope is more common than actual smiles. Exact Words are used to describe Honor's communication at the end of the Battle of Manticore

 The expression she produced was technically a smile, but it was one that belonged on something out of deep, dark oceanic depths.

  • Technology Porn: Every starship description and hyperspace jump, ever.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The members of the council that runs the Mesan Alignment all have last names like Polanski, Stone, Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Tarantino.
    • All of Manticore's system planets (and each of their first-gen CLACs) are named after mythological monsters. Their primary shipyards are named after various smithing gods. Their ship classes also largely owe names to Greek mythology; see the Nike- and Agamemnon-class battlecruisers, the Medusa-class podlayer superdreadnought...
    • Many planetary systems have themes: the Lovat system's planets Forge, Furnace, Anvil; the Spindle system's planet Flax and capital city Thimble; etc.
    • The SLN's Scientist-class superdreadnaughts are all named after famous scientists, and SLN Warrior-class destroyers are famous military leaders. The Maya Sector's new Marksman-class light cruisers and Masquerade-class missile freighters are types of ranged troops and types of theater or misdirection respectively. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The SLN (and renegades equipped with SLN ships) are apparently in love with this trope.
  • Theme Song: In In Enemy Hands, the band greeting Honor's mother played the Harrington Steading Anthem. Since Honor founded the steading and was its living embodiment, this is only a short step away from an outright Honor Harrington theme song. (Weber never specified the melody or lyrics, leaving the fans to fill in the blanks for themselves -- for all we know it could sound like this, or even this.)
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Straight up by the Havenites, since it is based on the French Revolution; the revolution is justified and its leader well-intentioned, but it quickly turns into a bloody tyranny. When the military overthrows that regime they are treated a lot more sympathetically, not least because the previous regime's economic policies were beginning to work.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • 8th fleet(RMN) versus 5th fleet(RHN) with over 37,000 laser warheads versus 85 ships. That's after 30% of the missiles were taken out by point defenses, though the very fact that 30% were taken out by point defense shows that it was not in fact overkill.
    • See also the later stages of Operation Buttercup, where the engagements are stupendously tilted in Manticore's favor thanks to the fruits of their Ghost Rider program and having the only "podnaughts" (AKA Manticore Missile Massacre delivery system) at the time.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Well, thinking in your head is. Characters will regularly break in the middle of a conversation to reflect on paragraphs or pages of inner monologue / Info Dump. Rarely does this get acknowledged as an actual pause in the conversation.
  • The Thirty-Six Stratagems: Several. Operation Dagger relied on #6, and the Mesan Alignment is all about #3, #9, #10, #20…about a dozen of them, really. Operation Oyster Bay and Operation Thunderbolt were both based on #19.
  • This Is Not a Drill: On Basilisk Station features "Case Zulu," which is a signal never used in drills. It means Invasion Imminent.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Regarded as an unforgivable atrocity in the Honor universe. Pirates do it all the time, and slavers have their ships designed to space their "cargo" in the event of boarding or mutiny in order to avoid being caught in the actual technical act of slaving. Because of this, Manticoran law specifies that any ship with the auto-spacing facilities is a slaving ship, even if no slaves are found aboard her. The Havenites are described as being even tougher on pirates and slavers than the Manties are, and prescribe this as the summary sentence for any that they catch in the act. Mind you, they make a point of shooting the guilty party as a necessary mercy before dumping their bodies into space.
  • Time Dilation: Ships can travel as fast as their particle shielding will allow; in the case of military ships, the top speed is 0.8c. At that speed, one second of "proper time" passes aboard ship for every one-and-two-thirds seconds that passes dirtside. This even affects ships travelling in hyper, since their "local space" velocity in any of the hyper bands still follows Newton's (and Einstein's) laws.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl:
    • Anton Zilwicki and Cathy Montaigne: Anton is short and stout, Cathy is tall and lanky, though their difference is not that much pronounced as some other examples.
    • Victor Cachat is of average height, but his girlfriend Thandi Palane is from Ndebele and is positively huge by any standard.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Pavel Young, and, surprisingly, Mesan Alignment, or at least its Long-Range Planning Board. There are also a large number of incompetent officers on all sides of the conflict, and they usually get themselves and/or someone else killed.
    • Right now, the SLN's senior officer corps is the living embodiment of this trope. Not only are they willfully ignorant about "neobarbs" possibly having an advantage in technology and war-fighting experience, they are militantly ignorant -- even after having the evidence rubbed in their faces. Most SLN officers who can read the writing on the wall have either had their careers marginalized for their "alarmism" or are keeping their traps shut to avoid the same fate.
    • In Mission of Honor, the techies of the research station Weyland not only ignore the alarm of an emergency drill, but turn it off so they can continue their discussion of their current problem. However, this lead to much more stringent drills by the new station CO, which ended up saving all their lives later in the book.
  • Too Good For This Sinful Universe: Arguably, Paul Tankersley.
  • Took a Level In Badass:
    • A major subplot in Honor Among Enemies is an electronics tech doing just this, with the assistance of Horace Harkness and the ships on-board Marines.
    • Carson Clinkscales never gets anything right, until the entire crew's life depends on the one person who can fit into a stolen uniform. Thereafter he becomes The Big Guy with the BFG.
  • Tractor Beam: Gravity control technology is used to help spacecraft maneuver during docking, and to tow missile pods behind a warship (at some cost to the ship's acceleration). It is too short-ranged to use as a weapon, however, and probably wouldn't interact with an object inside an impeller wedge anyway.
  • Trope 2000: The Solarian League Navy has a program called "Fleet 2000"[2], which is supposed to be a significant upgrade of combat capability. While there are improvements in the hardware, much of it is merely window dressing, modifying the outwardly visible aspects of the hardware like displays and such to be more photogenic. Unfortunately, this makes it harder for a commanding officer to see the tactical and astrogation displays.
  • Trope Overdosed: Are you starting to get the feeling the HH series contains examples of just about everything? You are not alone.
  • Try to Fit That on A Business Card: Since Manticore is based on 18th century Britain, people there tend to accumulate formidable arrays of fancy titles.
    • As of last count, the title character's full name is "Admiral of the Fleet and Captain HMS Unconquered Lady Dame Honor Stephanie Alexander-Harrington KGC MC PMV SG, Duchess and Steadholder Harrington, Countess White Haven". The list of medals and knightly orders after her name is probably longer than that by now, too.
    • Queen Elizabeth's full name is, quoted directly from Mission of Honor *deep breath* , "Elizabeth Adrienne Samantha Annette Winton, Grand Commander of the Order of King Roger, Grand Commander of the Order of Queen Elizabeth I, Grand Commander of the Order of the Golden Lion, Baroness of Crystal Pine, Baroness of White Sand, Countess of Tannerman, Countess of High Garnet, Grand Duchess of Basilisk, Princess Protector of the Realm, and, by God's grace and the will of Parliament, Queen Elizabeth III of the Star Kingdom of Manticore, and Empress Elizabeth I of the Star Empire of Manticore." It takes up a 13-line paragraph all by itself in the paperback.
  • 2-D Space: Strongly averted. The one time Honor sends her ship on a two-dimensional maneuver, it is because the 3-D equivalent, which would have ensured her escape, would not have drawn the attacking ships out of position.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: After the death of the Duke of Cromarty (a Reasonable Authority Figure) the High Ridge government comes to power. It was cowardly in the conflict with Haven, treated its allies badly and mismanaged its navy. The end of the Tyrant story arc comes with resignation of Lord High Ridge and the succession of the Grantvile Government.
  • The Unfettered: Victor Cachat
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Common especially with combat planning.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Manticore and Haven do not know it, but much of the series has been playing right into the hands of the Mesan Alignment.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The Mesan Alignment aims to better humanity through genetic modification - even if they have to kill a few billion to achieve their aims.
  • The War to End All Wars: The Final War, a conflict that nearly destroyed the Earth (and would have, if it weren't for the colonies sending aid). It was begun by 'Scrags', genetically modified soldiers made by Eastern European scientists. We don't have many details beyond that, but as is typical, instead of being an actually final war it sowed the seeds for the next great conflict; it led to prejudice against genetic enhancement of almost any kind since then. That set the stage for the schism that led to the Mesans leaving Beowulf to start a hundreds of years long conspiracy to remake the whole galaxy by force.
  • The Watson: PRH Citizen Commissioners often play this role in a more menacing way than usual.
  • We Have Become Complacent: A realization occurring to a lieutenant and some low-ranking flag officers in the Solarian Navy around the time of Storm from the Shadows and Mission of Honor—because "everybody knows" not to mess with the Solarian Navy, and that the Solarian Navy's tech is "the best in the galaxy," they lost the incentive to improve—and now the Manties and Havenites, who have been engaged in a hot war for the last twenty years that has poured plenty of water and fertilizer onto their respective Tech Trees, are about to kick their tails. These officers' superiors tend to consider this a Cassandra Truth, however.
  • We Have Reserves:
    • The People's Navy, and later the Republican Navy, manages to stave off defeat at the hands of the technologically-superior Manticoran Alliance by virtue of their vast territory and seemingly limitless supply of replacement ships and personnel.
    • The Solarian League has more superdreadnoughts in their navy than Manticore has destroyers; the idea of anybody challenging the League is considered preposterous due to just how superior their numbers are. When it turns out that Manticore really does have the technology to counter-balance those numbers the League suddenly has no viable combat strategy.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future:
    • Averted with Manticore, whose unit of currency is the dollar. Other star nations have their own currency also named the dollar, as numerous characters specify that they are using Manticoran dollars when naming a price.
    • Grayson uses the austin, which has an exchange rate with the Manticoran dollar of 1:1.3. It was named after Austin Grayson, the founder of their religion and leader of planet colonization.
    • The trope is played straight with the Solarian League, and there exists the saying "credits for carrots" instead of "dollars for donuts".
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: Mesa's primary "product line" is slaves for use as physical labor in all facets of personal life and industrial production. Apart from the moral abhorrence that Manticore and Beowulf feel for the use of slaves on general principles, they also find their use in manual labor to be inefficient and unnecessary. This is one of the first clues the protagonists have that Mesa is up to something larger than simple crime and money, as slavery just makes no sense on any functional level.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Rob Pierre and Oscar Saint-Just are legitimate (for a liberal interpretation of the word) examples.
    • This is, at least, how the Mesan Alignment thinks of itself. Word of God is Mesa has a legitimate point on transhumanism, and are being actively discriminated against. However, their plans are a result of wanting to prove everyone else wrong by force.
  • Wham! Episode: Mission Of Honor. This book sees a dynamic shift in the relationship between all interacting nations. Manticore and Haven are allied against the Solarian League after learning of the truth behind the Mesan Alignment. The Alignment itself has launched a successful attack on Manticore and Grayson with Operation Oyster Bay, which killed over five million people (many of them civilians), crippled their industrial capacity and killed several long-term characters from the novels.
  • What Could Have Been: The Honorverse was originally going to be timeskipped several decades, following the death of its namesake character. Her children would have continued the action. The Eric Flint collaboration Crown of Slaves nixed this original plan; its espionage plot ended up fast-forwarding the conflict by putting pressure on the Mesans to enact their plan early. As a happy side effect, Honor was spared, cutting off what would probably have been the greatest fan rebellion in modern Sci-Fi literature.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • When Honor is captured by StateSec in In Enemy Hands she is placed through psychological torture (with isolation, malnourishment, full-body searches and lack of sleep) that eventually does defeat her sense of duty to the Navy and Queen. However, she does not give up because she realizes that, even if she cannot rely on her external duty at this point, she has a duty to herself to resist StateSec, even if nobody outside her own cell ever learns of it.
    • Albrecht Detweiler is unknown to the galaxy at large, his enemies, and even most of his allies. His plans will not come to fruition until long after he is dead, at which point he will still be unknown as figureheads make all the public moves. However, despite the fact that he will never even be acknowledged as existing, he follows through on his plans because he believes they are the right thing to do. Too bad he is the villain.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough...?: Admiral Byng from Storm from the Shadows says something to this effect, thinking that Mike Henke would not dare to go through with her warnings of punishing Sollie aggression. It does not end well for him.
  • Why Won't You Die?:
    • Asked inwardly about Honor's ship Fearless in the first book.
    • Honor herself in Flag in Exile after her shuttle is shot down, it explodes, an assassin shoots at her and she still doesn't die.
  • The Windy City: Chicago is the capital of the Solarian League, and is the setting for the novella From The Highlands, which introduced Victor Cachat and quite a few of the major players in the novel Crown of Slaves.
  • Wine Is Classy:
    • William Alexander is a real connoisseur of the fine vintages and explicitly calls other drinks uncultured and low-class. Played with in that it is his older brother, Hamish, who holds the family title, and he doesn't drink anything except beer. Ham even hangs a lampshade over his brother's love of wine in one of their frequent after-dinner banters.
    • Honor's father Alfred is a self-professed wine snob and gourmand; Honor refuses to follow in his shoes, instead preferring beer.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask:
    • Elizabeth III in her early life. Not so much later, but it still shows sometimes.
    • To a slightly lesser degree (as she is not a Queen), Eloise Pritchart.
    • Honor herself is made of this trope, given how much focus the writer puts on describing the cold, professional mask she has to hide her emotions behind to prevent people from seeing how much she really cares.
  • Women Are Wiser: Averted hard. Women are portrayed as having as much potential to be morally deficient as men are, considering the series takes place in a society where men and women are equal in pretty much every way.
  • World of Badass
  • Write Who You Know: In A Beautiful Friendship, the Harringtons have a meeting at a restaurant called "The Red Letter", owned by a person by the name of Eric Flint. The fictional Flint is said to hail from the world of New Chicago, described as "a dumping ground for radical anarchists, socialists, and - especially - every member of the Levelers’ Association the government could round up after Old Earth’s Final War". The Real Life Flint, an occasional co-author with Weber in this and the 1632 series, is a self-admitted socialist, and currently lives near Chicago.
  • You Are in Command Now: Happens at least once a book: the flagship of a formation is destroyed, or battle damage kills the captain of a spaceship. Sometimes things work out fine; usually they do not.
  • You Are Number Six: Manpower's genetic slaves.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • The Masadans consider any failure to be "treason against the Faith."
    • Haven's Committee for Public Safety also send officers (and their families) who fail in their duties to a gulag in a move reminiscent of Stalin's WW2 policies.
    • Albrecht Detweiler has a reputation of executing those who fail him, but once Aldona Anisimovna is promoted to the inner circle he confesses that his bark is a lot worse than his bite, at least when it comes to higher-ranking operatives, since he knows there is a difference between failure and gross incompetence/treason.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Haven goes through several cycles of revolution and new governments, each time legitimizing the previous rebels as freedom fighters and fighting new "terrorists."
  • You Shall Not Pass: Honor has a tendency to end up in situations where she has to put her command into life-or-death battles against overwhelming odds in order to do her duty and protect a helpless target. In fact, she does this so often that the media calls her The Salamander, her enemies view her as a bloodthirsty commoner/plutocrat with delusions of glory and several crewmen explicitly note that since they are on her ship, their chances of dying like animals have gone up significantly.
  • Zeerust: "Newsfax", data storage on "tape".
  • Zerg Rush:
    • In On Basilisk Station, the drug-crazed Medusan natives try to do this. It does not work for them thanks to Manticoran air support, but they manage to horribly kill some Red Shirts first.
    • The sheer numbers of the People's Republic of Haven are the primary thing that make them a significant threat to Manticore. The Battle of Manticore itself is classic Zerg Rush strategy: Hit the enemy as hard and with as much as you can before they can get their tech upgraded to unbeatable levels.
    • Duplicated by the Solarian League in Mission of Honor - their strategy appears to be throwing ships at Manticore and seeing if Manticore runs out of missiles before they run out of ships. Anyone with any smidgen of sense who learns this is appalled, because it would cost both sides millions of people before they're done.

Notes

  1. one Word of God had it that, by comparison, if the Solarian League was the U.S., then Haven and Manticore might be individual counties in California
  2. the HH date is coming up on the year 2000 Post Diaspora, or after the start of the exodus to the stars
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