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 "This is the way it was meant to be."

A series of modern fantasy books written by DJ MacHale. Each book is divided into two viewpoints. The journal segments, detailing the adventures of Bobby Pendragon, the main character, who is whisked away from his Ordinary High School Student life by his Uncle Press, via a magical gate called a flume hidden in the subway systems of New York City. The other part follows Bobby's best friends, Mark and Courtney, who get into a bit of trouble themselves, despite lacking the ability to travel to alternate worlds. Each world is called a territory, and every territory has a Traveler, filling various roles. Every territory is reaching a turning point, which will radically alter the fate of that world. The Travelers exist to make sure that the turning points, and the destiny of the territories, go the way they naturally would, without outside interference. Obviously, if this was all there was to it, it'd be pretty uneventful. Enter Saint Dane, a sadistic Magnificent Bastard who wants to push the territories towards chaos, destroying the barriers between them, so he can reshape Halla (everything that has, does, or ever will exist) in his image. The series consists of 10 books, with the final book released May 12, 2009.

The series' books include:

  1. The Merchant of Death
  2. The Lost City of Faar
  3. The Never War
  4. The Reality Bug
  5. Black Water
  6. The Rivers of Zadaa
  7. The Quillan Games
  8. The Pilgrims of Rayne
  9. Raven Rise
  10. The Soldiers of Halla

In addition to the main series, there is also a trio of prequels, Pendragon: Before the War, showing what happened to the nine other Travelers besides Bobby before their journey began; a Guide to the Territories of Halla Volume 1, with no Volume 2 in sight; and a graphic novel version of The Merchant of Death. And the obsessive reference-spotters will note that MacHale's movie Tower of Terror takes place in the same continuity.

And so we go.


This series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Loor and Kasha.
  • An Aesop: More than a couple books have morals, with lessons such as "nuclear weapons are bad!" (The Merchant of Death) and "racism is bad!" (Black Water). This is all well and good, but it leads to Anvilicious messages like "Capitalism is bad!" (The Quillan Games) and (Raven Rise) in different ways.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Quigs, a deadly species that take the form of that world's wild animal. Earth has dogs, Denduron has bears, Cloral has sharks, Eelong has gars (wild humans. Not to be confused with the concept of "Gar"), etc.
  • Anyone Can Die: Especially in the later books. One way or the other, it doesn't quite stick for many of them.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Bobby's journals could count as this, as several times through the series he thinks Halla (the entirety of existence) might end and it is all written in his journals.
  • Arc Words: "This is the way it was meant to be."
  • Artifact of Doom: Usually when something from one territory is brought to another. Especially Tak. Additionally, the Flumes themselves may qualify.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The fate of all the Travelers.
  • Assimilation Plot: Saint Dane plans to merge all the territories.
  • Atlantis: Both The Lost City of Faar and Black Water feature lost cities. Both of these happen to be in their titles.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: Part of the author's writing style. "Statement" was Character's adjective reply.
    • Also, 'craggy' in the earlier books, if I remember correctly.
  • Back From the Dead: Loor, in an event that baffles Bobby still. Also, every traveler that died over the course of the series comes back in the last chapter of Raven Rise. The ones that were trapped on another territory show up too.
  • Badass Grandpa: Gunny is more of a Cool Old Guy, but he can still kick ass. Press is rather old and qualifies too. Elli becomes the Grandma equivalent.
  • Because Destiny Says So: See the Arc Words.
  • Big Applesauce: New York is a major location for events.
  • Big Bad: Saint Dane, of course.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: For a few pages in The Merchant of Death
  • Bittersweet Ending: This series loves them.
    • The series itself ends on this note. Saint Dane is defeated, the Ravinians are allowed to truly control their own destiny and live beyond the walls of the Conclaves, but nobody who was displaced by Naymeer is able to return home. Additionally, the Travelers have to go on to Solara, since their job is done.
      • It's a bit less bittersweet in that there's basically a time reset where the Travelers and Acolytes get sent back to live the lives they would have had if they hadn't been yanked to save the world. Minus their memories of their time as Travelers and each other, of course. Until Press brings back their journals in the very end.
  • Black and White Morality: We find out in The Soldiers of Halla that Solara, the birth place of the Travelers, was originally a place of balance before Saint Dane started monkeying around with things. Due to the existence of Ravinia, Solara has been split into two separate planes of existence. One represents the positive aspects of mankind and is fueled by the hopes of the Exiles. The other, darker, Solara covers the negative aspects and is being empowered by the evil intents of those who joined Ravinia.
  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: Black Water's "Gar" (humans) and "Klee" (giant cats). Fridge Logic kicks in when one recalls that Pendragon's inherent translation skills should take care of this.
    • The author can get away with this one. Klee is a proper noun with no English translation. Gar probably means something weird without a good English equivalent, perhaps a mix of "human" and "slave." Many Earth languages don't line up. See Tsundere, a Japanese colloquialism with no good partner in the English language. Rather than translate it, we simply adopt it verbatim.
  • Catch Phrase: Spader's "Hobey ho." And in later books, Bobby starts saying: "And so we go."
  • Catfolk: The Klees of Eelong are giant, intelligent, bipedal cats.
  • Changed My Jumper: Almost entirely avoided through help from the Acolytes.
  • Character Development: Pretty much everyone, but especially Bobby. Starts out as an Action Survivor, grows into his role as The Hero.
  • The Chessmaster: Saint Dane, although the actual metaphor used is dominoes.
  • Cool Old Guy: Gunny.
  • Cool Uncle: Uncle Press.
  • Cult: The cover of Raven Rise hints at this. Inside the book...oh wow.
  • Dark World: The dark Solara that Saint Dane momentarily warps Bobby to is a twisted nightmare land with images of destruction flying about in the background and constant lightning flashes.
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: Subverted in the final book. When the travelers die, they're just sent back to Solara. On the other hand, this uses up the small amount of energy left there.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Loor, Aja, and Kasha. On the male side, there's Siry.
  • Did Not Do the Research:
    • The first book says that one character has a childish, cartoony "Hentai animation" poster. Reportedly changed in later editions to "colorful anime superhero poster" (perhaps the editors got wind of the error?), and in Raven Rise it's just "anime posters."
    • In The Lost City of Faar, when talking about his background in scuba diving, Bobby explains that rising too the surface to quickly can cause all sorts of awful ailments, like decompression sickness, and "something awful called 'The Bends'". The two are the same, also called nitrogen narcosis and The Rapture of the Deep. He also failed to explain what causes it properly.
  • Distant Finale
  • Downer Ending: The Reality Bug and The Quillan Games. Arguably Raven Rise as well, though mitigated by the return of the Travelers at the end.
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Ten Territories, and three of them are Earth. Even more, Bobby Pendragon, from the modern-day world of Second Earth, is the lead Traveler. Clearly, Earth is special.
    • Not to mention that in Raven Rise, Bobby himself says that everything's been leading to the events on Second Earth. Also, Second Earth is where everything is lost spectacularly at the end of the book.
      • In The Soldiers of Halla, it is explained that in reality Halla should be considered seven worlds, not ten territories. Saint Dane simply targeted Earth and Veelox at multiple turning points, thus dividing it up. The trope is still played straight due to the final battle happening in Third Earth.
        • He may have targeted Earth at multiple points but it was the actions of the Traveler from Veelox that caused Ibara to have a second chance which Saint Dane had to target.
  • Eternal Sexual Freedom: Averted. Bobby and Courtney pretend to be siblings in 1937 because otherwise it would raise eyebrows for them to be staying together at the Manhattan Tower Hotel.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: The quigs of Cloral.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: The quigs of Denduron.
  • Everything's Worse with Bees: The quigs of Ibara.
  • Eyes of Gold: Quigs can be identified by their yellow eyes. Or, in the case of Ibara's bees, the yellow glow of their firefly-like rear ends.
  • Fantastic Racism: A good lot of the plots are of this type.
  • Fictional Document: A good half of each book is made of Bobby's journals.
  • Finger in the Mail: In Black Water, St. Dane leaves Bobby a bag containing Gunny's severed hand.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Kasha initially refuses to believe there are other worlds, or that the gars (humans) can be intelligent, even after meeting Bobby.
  • The Force: Saint Dane's, as well as all the Traveler's powers are derived from Solara. The Travelers get it from the positive energy within Solara, Saint Dane gets his from the negativity of humanity. However, both sides must use this power sparingly because it literally depletes Solara.
  • The Future: Third Earth. Our world, around the year 5010 AD.
  • Future Imperfect: Third Earth inverts this. As one character put it, they "know everything about everyone and everything they ever did."
  • Gainax Ending: Sort of. In the tenth book, the epilogue has Bobby and Courtney living out a normal life, despite Press having just said that they couldn't/wouldn't just turn back the clock and have them live a normal life.
    • Actually, what Press said was that they couldn't go back to their old territories to continue living their lives because they had knowledge of the future.
  • Gambit Roulette: Saint Dane's plans. Which makes everyone, but especially Bobby -- an Unwitting Pawn.
  • Genre Blindness: The books (at least the earlier ones) try to push the idea that Bobby's just an ordinary kid who also happens to be in charge of saving the worlds, but this, along with his outdated slang, hinder it.
  • A God Am I: Saint Dane. He's actually not too far off to begin with, but full-blown godhood is one of his ultimate goals.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Saint Dane is destroyed when people no longer wish to follow him and decide to control their own futures.
  • The Great Depression: First Earth. Our world, circa 1937.
  • Healing Factor: Travelers.
  • Hope Spot: Scarily enough, Saint Dane actually encourages these moments of apparent victory, just so it will hurt more when he sweeps the rug out from under them.
    • Made even more sadistic when we find out Saint Dane's true motives. By defeating you when you're at the cusp of victory, Saint Dane manages to more easily drive in the notion that your situation is hopeless, destroying your will to take destiny into your own hands. By doing this, he effectively takes away your free will, which in turn makes him even more powerful as he feeds on your subsequent hopelessness and despair. A scary notion, that.
  • Huge Holographic Head: Used by Aja to communicate with people entering her territory, Veelox.
  • Human Aliens: On all the other worlds. Flora and non-human fauna tends to be different from world to world, however.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Saint Dane's entire philosophy is based on this.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Saint Dane does this to Loor. Thankfully, she recovers.
  • Instrumentality: Solara
  • Killed Off for Real: Various.
  • Lamarck Was Right: In a way, Nevva Winter is some sort of demigoddess.
  • Last-Name Basis: Except for people who knew him on Second Earth (read: Mark, Courtney, and Press), everyone calls Bobby by his last name. Though, he actually does start introducing himself as just 'Pendragon' later on, so it seems like he noticed and just went with it.
  • The Lifestream: Solara
  • Longing Look
  • Lotus Eater Machine: Veelox's Lifelight.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Right up until the climax of the last book, where Saint Dane dies because a tiny fraction of his followers turn on him without any acknowledgment that this doesn't follow from the rules laid down only a few hundred pages ago.
    • Sadly, there's a good bit of this going on in the final book. For example, in previous books, characters had gone out of their way to acknowledge that they were traveling between territories, not planets. Then, in Soldiers of Halla, this view is revised so that it's clear to everyone that there are seven planets, and that the territories don't matter.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The dados serve this purpose well: an army that can be killed in vast numbers, but is not technically human.
  • Mega Corp: Blok on Quillan. They are a monopoly in the most extreme of extremes, since they pretty much own and produce everything on Quillan, including art.
  • Merged Reality: Arguably what the Turning Points are all about. Bobby wants each Territory to go forth on its own, but Saint Dane also wants to make (what in his opinion is) a better world through something called The Convergence.
  • The Mole: Nevva Winter, The Quillan Games.
  • Narnia Time: Time between the territories is explained to work this way.
  • Near Villain Victory: "It's not over until Saint Dane thinks he's won."
  • New Eden: Third Earth.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bobby's first screw up was the turning point for Denduron. Tak while discovered by the rebels, had not been able to be used in huge amounts besides pea-sized amounts for their slingshots. However, due to Bobby bringing his flashlight with him from second earth, had made the rebels find a way to harness more Tak to create a Bomb. Yeah, Nice Job, Bobby.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: Whenever Saint Dane "dies" he just turns into smoke and reforms elsewhere.
  • No-Paper Future: Third Earth prominently features voice-controlled supercomputers with holographic displays. The one real book on display in the New York Library is a copy of Green Eggs & Ham, to serve as a reminder.
  • Not Quite Dead: Loque, Raven Rise
  • Not So Different: This happens a lot. Makes even more sense when you learn about Solara.
  • The Obi-Wan: Uncle Press.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: The Travelers are not to bring anything from one territory to another except their own bodies. Saint Dane holds to no such rule, and often manipulates the other Travelers into breaking it.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: All of Quillan, except for those who follow Mr. Pop.
  • Only One Name: The people of Denduron, Zadaa, and Eelong. Bobby actually lampshades this in Black Water.
  • Opt Out: A failed attempt at the end of The Pilgrims of Rayne.
  • Ordinary High School Student
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The Travelers and Saint Dane technically turn out to be what we refer to as ghosts, albeit solid ones.
  • Our Souls Are Different: See above.
  • Parental Abandonment: If your family is still around when you become a Traveler, they won't be for long.
  • Planet of the Apes Ending: Ibara is actually Veelox three hundred years down the line.
  • Plank Gag: When Bobby completes his Training From Hell with Loor and Alder and is awarded a real fighting stave, he launches into a long series of these. He'd nearly whack one of them with the stave end as he turns to the other to apologize for nearly whacking them, and then spins around to apologize for that...
  • Portal Network: It's right there in the premise.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Well, girl. Loor and the other Batu people are like this.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: We know Saint Dane is most likely older than he looks, but most people probably weren't expecting him and Press to be as old as sentience itself.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Nevva. She made sure that the Exiles survived for the most part, and told Bobby and Elli the secret to defeating Saint Dane. What does she get in return? She gets scattergunned in the back and is denied access to Solara after death.
    • She also said she could not be saved because Dark Solara gave her existence and she had betrayed it. So why couldn't she rejoin Light Solara? There is a happy note to this; when all world's histories returned to normal without St. Dane and the flumes, Nevva never turned evil, she would've helped Mr. Pop defeat Blok in this timeline, and maybe she and Elli reunited.
  • Red Right Hand: Saint Dane's eyes.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted. Saint Dane gleefully pushes forth the march of technology by playing mix-and-match with time and Territories in order to break down the walls between the territories.
  • Refusal of the Call: Elli Winter was supposed to be the Traveler from Quillan, but she turned down the position because she felt she wasn't ready.
  • La Résistance: The Milago people in The Merchant of Death, the revivers in The Quillan Games. The Yanks in The Soldiers of Halla.
  • Ret-Gone: The fate of any Traveler.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: All Travelers have it, as does anyone who is on another territory at the time, which is good when things start changing severely in the latter half of the series.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Solara, the spirit of mankind formed by the existence of sentience, is usually good in nature. In order for Saint Dane's plan to fully work, he needs to change the nature of humanity itself.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Out of the infinite number of habitable planets in the universe, technological civilizations arose on only seven. Six of these civilizations are exclusively human. Just let that sink in.
    • Given the nature of Halla, it is possible that the people who created the universe did this intentionally
    • That may very well be. Still doesn't make it any less ridiculous, though.
    • Except that the most optimistic answer to the Drake Equation you can seriously propose in a scientific setting is roughly 10... hmmmm how convenient.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Subverted by The Never War. Played straight in the final chapter of The Soldiers of Halla.
  • Ship Sinking: More like Ship Bait and Switch. Bobby/Courtney appears sunk in book 6... and then out of nowhere they end up getting to marry and grow old together in the epilogue. What?
    • It's implied (well, pretty much said) that the clock was rewound all the way back to before each of them became Travelers, so they could life out the lives they would have otherwise had, after what Bobby says to Uncle Press just before the epilogue. So Bobby and Courtney wouldn't have had to deal with the "I'm too busy saving the world and I like Loor" deal, and gotten together.
  • Single Biome Planet: Cloral is almost entirely an Ocean, Eelong is largely a jungle, etc.
  • Spin-Off: The Morpheus Road trilogy has recently been confirmed to be a spin-off from this series.
  • The Stoic: Loor rarely shows emotion. Except for when she does.
  • Supporting Leader: Both Mark and Courtney in Soldiers of Halla.
  • Teach Me How to Fight: After nearly being beaten to death by Saint Dane, Bobby asks Loor to do this with him.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: Veelox, to Lifelight. It gets better.
  • Theme Table
  • Three Amigos: Bobby, Mark, and Courtney.
  • Time Travel Tense Trouble: The Narnia Time in effect between the territories occasionally causes this sort of trouble. Usually involving rookie Travelers (We're looking at you, Spader and Siry).
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: A lot of the time travel doesn't really make sense. It's apparently just fine to go back to the 1930s and change things when Saint Dane had also done so, but after they defeat Saint Dane and humanity on Third Earth is still After the End? They can't go back and fix anything.
  • Title Drop
  • Took a Level In Badass: Bobby does this in book 6. Also, Alder by the time book 8 rolls around and Mark, Courtney, Patrick, and Elli in book 10.
  • Totally Radical: The worst parts of the books.
  • Tournament Arc: The Quillan Games' Grand X.
  • Tricked-Out Time: The Travelers destroy the Hindenberg. Otherwise, German spies would have stolen secrets to the atom bomb and won WWII.
  • Tsundere: Aja to a certain extent.
  • Unperson: What happens to Bobby and possibly the other Travelers when they begin their journeys. In Bobby's case, his records are stricken from any school or government database, his phone number (complete with graffiti) is stricken from the phone book, heck, even Bobby's house is erased from existence, leaving an empty lot where the house once stood. The only records still around are people's memories of the Traveler and their journals.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Saint Dane's mission statement.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Saint Dane takes on a female form once or twice. Subverted in Raven Rise when Bobby thinks that Saint Dane is in the form of the village chief's daughter, who has been trying to seduce him, only to find the shapeshifter to be Saint Dane's female apprentice, Nevva Winter.
  • Villains Blend in Better: Saint Dane blends in well.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Saint Dane, again.
    • All the travelers get this power once they arrive in Solara. They have to use it very sparingly though. Bobby only ever turns to smoke with it.
    • Hilarity ensues when Bobby tries to use it himself without actually knowing how it works, and it boiled down to him trying to will it into happening:

 Bobby: Become Johnny Depp.

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