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  • Alas, Poor Villain - Strangely enough, one can feel sorry for a lot of these cold-blooded killers. Severard for example.
  • Anvilicious - The Heroes is pretty unsubtle with its War Is Hell message...
    • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped - It's got alot of sub-messages that usually escape Anti-War books. Supply lines are long, arduous, and rarely efficient. Petty, stupid rivalries on your own side can be far more deadly than the enemy. Sometimes, the most unlikely men are actually courageous, and even then, they rarely receive the glory they deserve. It goes on and on to subvert the stereotypical image of a smoothly-running, well-trained professional army. YMMV, but it's about time someone pointed out that there's a REASON armies rarely rose above forty thousand men before the Industrial Revolution.
  • Complete Monster - Bayaz.
    • The Bloody-Nine as well; the "Great Leveler" who slaughters his once-comrades.
  • Crazy Awesome - The ever-quotable Whirrun of Bligh.
  • Crosses the Line Twice - For the most part the books avoid this, but Best Served Cold provides one example. Despite the tone of the series, it's sarcasm.

 Morveer: "What could possibly be more amusing than orphan children sold into slavery?",

  • Evil Is Sexy - Caurib, Bethod's sorceress, is described as frighteningly beautiful. Tolomei was certainly a looker as well.
  • Jerkass Woobie - Inquisitor Glokta. He certainly doesn't do much that merits sympathy, but at the same time it's impossible not to pity his broken body and wish him a miraculous recovery, even if it would only serve to make him do horrible things more efficiently.
    • Terez, a man-hating Royal Brat who ends up having become a baby farm for the king to prevent her lover from being tortured to death.
  • Magnificent Bastard - Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune, is here for dinner.
    • Also Bayaz
    • Glokta seems to be heading this way, judging by Carlot dan Eider's words in Best Served Cold.
      • One could argue he has always been that.
  • Narm - Partial subversion, as most of it is played deliberately, to show that real life drama tends to be incredibly melodramatic, even outright senseless most of the time.
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