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A series of novels set in the Warhammer world.
Felix Jaeger was the son of a wealthy merchant, a student and aspiring writer/poet, until the day he accidentally killed a man in a duel. Disowned by his family, he ran away from home, where he eventually became a bit of an activist, and inadvertently started a riot over an unfair Window Tax.
Just as he faces the lance tips of a squad of oncoming Knights, Felix's life is saved by Gotrek Gurnisson, a Dwarf with an odd hairstyle and a huge axe. After a night of discussion (and much drinking), Felix discovers that Gotrek is a Troll Slayer, a warrior who seeks his death in combat to atone for a past failure or shame.
And that the previous night, Felix had sworn an oath to accompany Gotrek in his travels and record his doom in an epic poem. And Dwarves take oaths very seriously.
Now Felix travels the world with his Dwarven companion, finding the truth about just now nasty the world really is, fighting Evil and Chaos at every turn, and wondering how the hell he's going to survive anything that would be tough enough to kill Gotrek long enough to write about it?
The books were originally written by William King but have since been taken over by Nathan Long. The books are notable for the fact that in the largely grim and depressing world of Warhammer Fantasy, Gotrek and Felix usually manage to make a real difference in the fight of Order vs. Chaos. After twelve books, they've probably killed more enemies of the Empire than anyone who isn't a legendary hero.
These novels include examples of:
- An Axe to Grind - Gotrek, in every sense of the phrase.
- Badass - Slayers are pretty badass to start with. Gotrek is a Slayer wielding an artifact-level axe which is slowly changing him into a super-dwarf. He may seek a mighty doom, but having banished daemons and fought mutant dragons, it's slowly looking like there's nothing mighty enough to do the job.
- Felix, though overshadowed by Gotrek, has a magic weapon of his own and a level of skill that would be legendary in it's own right if he kept any other company. When separated from the slayer he has frequently cut a path through superhuman enemies that could each do the same to normal humans.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed - Pretty much sums up the big plot in Shamen Slayer.
- BFS - Ok more like a Big Axe but hey it is pretty big.
- Battle Couple - Felix and Ulrika, Felix and Kat.
- Beyond the Impossible: Felix and Gotrek start as relatively typical heroes of the setting. By the end of the third book, they've done things that should by all accounts never happen by the rules.
- Berserk Button - Getting between a Slayer and alcohol is a bad idea.
- Do not hurt Felix's friends.
- Chaotic Stupid - The Skaven are usually too busy scheming against each other and getting egoistic about their race's "superiority" to accomplish much.
- Which is a good thing cause even when they fight each OTHER their plots threaten cities, when the work together to combat a common threat they can destroy nations.
- The Chew Toy - Grey Seer Thanquol is somewhat like this. Every time he is about to make it big, Gotrek and Felix ruin his plans...and kill Bone Ripper. You'd almost feel bad for the guy if he wasn't HIDEOUSLY evil.
- This happens so often that he concludes they are hunting him down, and for a while they thought he was following them... And then, in one Nathan Long novel, he captures them at last and learns they've never even heard of his name before now.
- He has his own books now. He doesn't manage to fulfill his plans there, either.
- In the novel "The Serpent's Temple", a Slaan (in essence a physically incarnated godling with prophetic and magical powers unmatched by any individual Greater Daemon) is about to destroy Thanquol with a mere thought, when it notices something about Thanquol's fate-line. It promptly calls off its Lizardmen goons and creates a temporary current to speed Thanquol safely back to the Skaven under-empire. Why? Because it realises that letting Thanquol live would bring unspeakable doom, death, destruction and disaster... to the Skaven race. That's right, Thanquol is officially one of the worst enemies the Skaven have.
- Covers Always Spoil - Not really a problem, given the title of each story already tells you whats going to happen, but this Trope appears particularly in Manslayer. The cover shows Gotrek and Felix fighting a flame-wielding wizard. By the time we're three-quarters of the way through the book, we only meet a single Wizard. He is unsurprisingly revealed as The Mole and justly receives a slaying as a result.
- Crapsack World - When it's not a straight-up World Half Empty. Warhammer is not a very pleasant setting.
- Bizarrely, averted as the novels drag on. In much the same way as the Ciaphas Cain novels, Gotrek and Felix have started to do enough damage to the bad guys that the world is starting to get glimmers of hope. Since Warhammer Fantasy is already a brighter world than Warhammer 40000 you might actually argue that the duo's twenty-five in-universe years of adventuring have proven mortals can make a difference.
- Cursed with Awesome - Gotrek, despite throwing himself at the most dangerous enemies he can find, repeatedly fails to get himself killed.
- Felix to a lesser extent. This is after he finds out he hasn't aged a day in 20 odd years of adventuring.
- In Zombieslayer another slayer believed that Gotrek is literally cursed with awesome. He locks a door behind him before a fight to keep that ridiculous luck from preventing his own doom.
- Death Seeker - All Slayers are dwarves who have taken an oath to seek heroic doom in recompense for something so disgraceful or shameful that death can be the only recompense.
- It highlights the importance of death in a Slayer's role that Gotrek is considered the worst slayer of all time.
- Not just considered. He might be a hero, but until he gets killed in combat, whatever disgrace he committed cannot be atoned for, but at the rate he's going, he's going to die of old age. Which is the worst possible shame for any Slayer. (And this is for a group who are already so shamed that the only proper way to make up for it is by getting killed by something big and mean.)
- It highlights the importance of death in a Slayer's role that Gotrek is considered the worst slayer of all time.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? - Gotrek is tossed aside and left for dead by a Chaos Daemon. The last thing it hears before being blasted back to the black realms from which it came is:
"Oi! You! I'm not finished with you yet!"
- Gotrek and Felix have never quite equaled that feat but the events of Elfslayer, Shamanslayer, and Dragonslayer have all gone to Up to Eleven levels for mortals in Warhammer Fantasy's setting.
- Another Greater Daemon met them, remarked it had no chance since the Slayer was fated to die fighting something much more powerful than itself, and promptly fled the planet.
- Empathic Weapon - Felix's sword is designed to destroy dragons. As such, most of its true power only works in the presence of dragons, and the sword actively seeks to push the wielder into combat with such beasts. It's also intelligent enough to activate itself against other foes if doing so means that the wielder will be able to fight a dragon.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin - In Trollslayer, Gotrek slays a Troll. In Skavenslayer, Gotrek slays a lot of Skaven. Guess what happens in Daemonslayer?
- Partially subverted in Dragonslayer, when to everyone's surprise (including his own) it's Felix who slays a Dragon!
- Gadgeteer Genius - Malakai Makaisson
- Possibly suberted with Heskitt One-Eye. A tech genius certainly but rather than invent his own things he tries to steal them from humans and improve on them.
- Handsome Lech: Subverted. Felix certainly enjoys the company of attractive women, though not to the extent that he's a lech. It's just, well, the girls add up a bit over time.
- Heroic BSOD - Through the first part of Elfslayer Gotrek suffered a BIG one of these.
- Gotrek is actually permanently stuck in one of these. Really, the only time he ever really removes himself is when he's fighting. He's not exactly congenial company.
- Heterosexual Life Partners
- Hypocritical Humor: Thanquol's main schtick. When we see from his perspective he actively re-writes his memories and opinions moment to moment depending on how powerful he is in the group and how well his current plan is doing.
- Infinity+1 Sword - Again the Axe, it has killed or had a part in killing a Greater Demon, a dragon, a giant, a vampire, werewolves, elderitch horrors, Demon powered siege equipment, chaos champions, and a dark elf CITY. It can also cut through enemy mooks like they were made of screaming butter.
- Dual-wielding it with a certain Rune Hammer combined their powers, making him so powerful he cut through an entire army.
- I Just Want to Be Normal - Felix sometimes, it is usually happens when he finds a girl he cares for and thinks about settling down.
- Felix is starting to realize that's never going to happen, having essentially become the Highlander. However, he's surprisingly resistant to every level of weirdness. He acts more like a middle aged man than what his twenty-something body would indicate.
- It Got Worse - The Skaven attack on Nuln counts here. Skaven playing your cities head of the secret police like a fiddle? check. Trying to steal vital war machines and plans from your armory and accidentally burning it down? check. Unleashing a bio-warfare agent into your city? Check. Unleashing a hoard of gentically engineered rats who will eat EVERYTHING they can get their teeth into and breed like mad? Oh boy check. Launching a full out two pronged assault on your city one front blitzing through the citizens the other going for the ball the local nobility are attending? Big time check. Yes folks THIS is what Skaven can do while being Chaotic Stupid.
- The Juggernaut - Gotrek, and to a lesser extent Felix in the more recent books.
- Mercy Kill - More then a few times in the books, Most recently in Elf Slayer and Shamen Slayer.
- Noodle Incident: A few references to adventures during the twenty year time jump, like the time they stayed the night in a Tomb King's... tomb.
- Nobody says what exactly happened during the infamous Window Tax Riots that started Gotrek and Felix on their adventures together.
- Not So Harmless - Thanquol's incompetence and inflated opinion of himself makes it easy to think of him as a comic relief villain after his first couple of appearances. It can come as a shock when we're reminded he really is a powerful Grey Seer, for example when he almost drags the Spirit of Grungni down to earth using his warpstone-enhanced powers alone.
- Felix, himself, may be this. He's definitely the bard of the group. It's just, in D&D terms, he'd be a 20th level one in a world were most people are damned lucky to make 4th level.
- Phlebotinum - Warpstone, which seems capable of doing almost anything.
- The Plan- A couple of Chaos sorcerers tried this in order to get rid of our heroes.... didn't work. This caused the two or three they were successfully throwing at the entire rest of the world to also crumble.
- Powder Trail - In the fourth novel, the dwarfs lay a powder trail (and a couple kegs of powder) to collapse the tunnel leading into a dragon's lair in case they're overrun by orcs or bandits. Their engineer's rocket launcher accidentally sets it off, leading to much swearing since the dragon had quite a large hoard.
- Retcon: The later Nathan Long novels take place twenty years after the ones by William King. This was easily done rather neatly by establishing that the dates in the older ones (from a fictional document) were due to the printer mistakenly using the current year instead of the years they occurred. It was necessary in order to fit the stories in more closely with the official timeline of the setting.
- She Is All Grown Up: Kat when Gotrek and Felix run into her again in Shaman Slayer. Felix is a bit disturbed by her attraction to him. At first.
- Sole Survivor: Thanquol is nearly always the sole survivor of his adventures by the end, its become a running gag.
- Grey Seer: Thanquol uses magic to escape his enemies and manifests alone in a random old woman's house somewhere in the Empire. After being spooked by her cats and killing her, Thanquol sets off on his own back to Skavenblight, plotting how to shift the blame for this onto someone else.
- Temple of the Serpent: Thanquol is cast adrift from Lustria on a small boat with a dying Boneripper, who will likely not last long after Thanquol realises he has no food and starts to stare at Boneripper.
- Thanquol's Doom: Yet again Thanquol is alone after surviving the battle between the Dwarfs, Clan Mors and Skarbrand. Boneripper is with him, albeit badly wounded and possibly dying (And since he is technically Undead he doesn't really count as a survivor), and once again Thanquol is the sole survivor of his mission and must find a way to blame the dead other guy for it.
- Spin-Off: Thanquol and Ulrika have their own novels now.
- Spanner in the Works Gotrek and Felix possibly by Divine Mandate. These guys just putter around looking for something that will finally give Gotrek his mighty doom and somehow the stumble across the plots of the forces of chaos and foil them, sometimes by accident. Just ask Grey Seer Thanquol, The Vampire, the ....ok just ask Thanquol since he is the only of Gotrek's enemies still alive.
- And that's only because he knows when to cut a hasty retreat. Usually when it comes down to that or being cut up.
- The Starscream: Thanquol is this even by Skaven standards, to the point of actively sabotaging his own plans to keep anyone else from getting any credit.
- Its even to the point that He is more of a danger to his own race than any other.
- Took a Level In Badass - This somewhat applies to Felix and Max as we get to see them becoming more competent and deadly as the books go on. Although you'd have to accumulate Badass points simply by surviving that long in the Warhammer world.
- Actually happened to Thanquol in Grey Seer. Upon seeing that his new apprentice Kratch, who the Council forced on him, has betrayed him and sided with Lord Skrolk Thanquol unleashes such a powerful blast of magic against Kratch, annihilating him instantly, that everybody in the chamber, including an Imperial Shadow Wizard and one of the most powerful Plague Priests of Clan Pestilens Lord Skrolk himself are horrified by the magnitude of power that Thanquol commands. Unfortunately he used it all in that blast and was exhaused by it, which Skrolk quickly leapt on.
- True Companions - The recurring companions Gotrek and Felix have had with them on their travels. Max the wizard and Action Girl Ulrika (starting earlier on) with the slayers Bjorni, Ulli, Snorri, and Makaisson joining in later. Several of the slayers obviously complete their oath, and the survivors make their enemies pay dearly for every member lost. With Ulli, for example, Felix notes that while he didn't particularly like him, Ulli had been a friend and comrade on a desperate adventure. Seeing him cut down causes Felix to fly into such a killing rage, he scares the crap out of the beastmen who did it...well, those that survived the initial onslaught.
- Villainous Breakdown - Grey Seer Thanquol is made of this trope. His biggest one comes in Elfslayer when, after two decades of ranting about how the titular duo are his worst enemies and plotting revenge for all of his plans Gotrek and Felix have foiled over the years, he finds out that they don't even know who he is, having ruined Thanquol's life essentially by accident!
- He recovers quickly though which leads to a It Got Worse since his original plan was to torture them for as long as magically possible and now he is REALLY gonna hurt them.
- Violent Glaswegian - Malakai Makaisson. The author does a very good job of capturing the accent - although seeing as Bill King is Scottish, he'd have no excuse for failing to do so.
- Something of a joke on the Scottish-light accent that most fantasy dwarfs, including the others in the books, usually speak in.
- Weapon of X-Slaying: Felix's Situational Sword is especially effective against dragons.
- What the Hell, Hero? - Happens in both Manslayer and Shamanslayer, both by Otto to Felix. Guy can just never catch a break I tell ya.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Obviously Gotrek. However, Felix is starting to feel this even though he's only middle aged.
- You All Look Familiar: Gotrek's outright states this about Skaven. The closest he gets to differing between them is counting certain ones as being alive or dead. Of course in Thanquol's own books he admits that he really can't either; Skaven identify each other by smell for the most part.