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Patriot Games is the second novel written by Tom Clancy in the Jack Ryan series, and second in the entire series timeline of events, serving a prequel to The Hunt for Red October and Red Rabbit, exploring how Ryan joined the CIA, with a plot revolving around The Troubles.

The book starts with Jack being on vacation with his family in London and being present to foil an assassination attempt on what turns out to be the Prince and Princess of Wales (changed to a more generic British noble in the movie adaptation), which turns him and his family into a target of an Irish terrorist group, which Jack joins the CIA to both defend his family and put an end to their terrorism.

Was adapted into a movie with Jack Ryan played by Harrison Ford and Sean Miller played by Sean Bean, while James Earl Jones reprises his role as Admiral James Greer.

Tropes used in Patriot Games include:
  • Adaptation Decay: The movie, while making understandable changes to compress the book to fit in a 90 minute movie, also tries to change a few elements to make the movie more action oriented, resulting in most of Jack's CIA scenes being omitted as well as completely changing the ending, which omits the conclusion of the book in favor of a more generic ending.
  • Ax Crazy: Sean Miller.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: A British barrister tries to trip Jack Ryan up in court when trying to defend his terrorist client with this trope, whom Ryan took down, saying Ryan should have tried to shoot the man's gun out of his hand. Jack parries the blow and points out that such a thing is only a viable tactic in movies, and that it contradicts said lawyer's prior attempt to show Jack was a bungling idiot who couldn't shoot very well, so it would have been illogical to expect him to make such good shooting efforts later.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Dennis Cooley is a mild mannered, harmless looking poof of a man, but he's secretly nursing a massive grudge against the British and fantasizes often about their demise.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) is at odds with both the Irish Nationalist Liberation Army (INLA) and especially the Ulster Liberation Army (ULA). In fact, the PIRA is at such odds with the latter they and the British Security Service cut an informal yet deadly serious nonaggression pact over the latter not interfering with attempts by the former to take out the ULA's leader.
    • Evil Versus Evil: Alex Dobbens group and the ULA eventually decide to shoot each other once their patience with the quirks of the other runs out.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Kevin O'Donnell makes frequent use of this trope to evade capture, his primary safe house located within spitting distance of his enemies, since he rightly believes they would never suspect him of hiding there.
    • Dennis Cooley, a mild mannered bookshop owner, is in reality the key link in a courier chain for intelligence leaked from the highest level of the British government, but despite an easily exposed past with possible ties to the ULA's leader and a Communist family, the Brits find it incredibly hard to pin him down on any legal wrong since they cannot find evidence of deliberate wrongdoing on his part. In fact, they never find it, even after Cooley flees London due to fear he has been exposed, and only get confirmation of his guilt post mortem at the book's end.
  • Hypocrite: The ULA is composed of these in its leaders. Kevin O'Donnell claims to be fighting for Ireland, but really, his motives are revenge on being cast out of the PIRA, whose members he betrays to the Brits, mostly out of spite. Sean Grady, despite his Communist beliefs and purported brotherhood with his fellow terrorists, is a massive bigot and has turned his acts of terror into personal revenge against Jack Ryan even though doing so has crippled the effectiveness of his own plans.
  • Mad Bomber: Maureen Dwyer, a PIRA bomb expert who the ULA sell out early on for spite.
  • Miles Gloriosus: The Prince of Wales restrained his impulse to do this when terrorists attacked him and in doing so saved the lives of himself and his family, and while he wishes otherwise, Jack points out that any attempt to have been a Badass instead would have gotten him killed and that he did the right thing.
  • Order Versus Chaos: The meta-argument of the book is that disruption of the order of nation-state cannot be justified on the grounds of trying to deliberately cause chaos to destroy it, no matter how illegitimate they find it, especially provided there is still a reasonable alternative that will achieve change within the system lawfully.
  • Plausible Deniability: Both heroes and villains make use of this trope.
    • Heroes: They try to keep their operations against terrorists secret so no one know who did them, in the hopes of generating paranoia and dissension in terror cells.
    • Villains: Terrorists often act through proxies and via unwitting or otherwise neutral middlemen in order to elude pursuit and police surveillance.
  • Power Perversion Potential: While examining satellite enhanced photos, Jack is able to ID a female French terrorist. His boss notes that her busty figure gives them an additional ID point to make sure and points out it's entirely possible to use the enhancements of satellite imagery to be a major pervert, a fact Jack is not amused by.
  • Properly Paranoid: The CIA's security measures are described as being this, which is entirely appropriate.
    • Alex Dobbens studies police manuals to be well informed on how to evade legal reach, a factor that helps him elude capture more than once.
    • Sean Miller certainly tries to consider every possibly if something goes wrong, but as his own boss notes, his anger compromises his reason.
  • Spy Speak: Dennis Cooley has a code phrase system set up with Geoffrey Watkins to exchange information on what information is being handled and should be passed off to other areas disguised as a discussion on book editions and where they were found. The code itself is never broken, though it's phrasing gives investigators cause to believe it's a code phrase system when they listen in later.
  • Too Awesome to Use: It's remarked by O'Donnell his best intelligence information carries this quality, as it's use can betray it's source and so he attempts to use it as sparingly as possible.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: In the words of O'Donnell, he plans to lead a revolution "in boldness and blood".
  • Truce Zone: It's falsely believed no Irish terrorist would dare cross the pond to the US and commit terror there, as it would be too politically lethal to their cause. However, given the ULA is a splinter faction that doesn't care, they make a joke of this trope, particularly because they seek it as an exploitable weakness against their rivals.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: A running theme.
    • Sean Miller is saved from a Prison Rape made possible by a deliberately careless gaoler. He later repays a perfectly innocent cop who saved him from it with two shots to the gut, believing he staged the whole thing, when the cop in question was furious Miller had been subjected to such treatment.
    • Later, Sean Miller makes numerous screwups, which Alex Dobbens either rectifies or suggests plans to mitigate them. Instead of taking this maturely, he nurses a grudge against Alex for embarrassing him and later has him killed.
    • Jack himself crosses this with Hypocrite when he's aghast he helped send terrorists to their deaths while admitting he would not mind watching the ULA die. He's called out by his superior at the CIA for not realizing that it's how the job works and not realizing he had to give assistance to help other terrorists die to get assistance with his own problem makes him this trope on top of being naive.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Erik Martens is a known arms merchant with a shady background who will sell weapons to just about anyone, but he's got so many well heeled clients in high places who will shield him and sing his praises legal trouble doesn't touch him.
    • The PIRA depend on this to retain public support, which the ULA exploit against them by framing them for actions actually done by the ULA to discredit them.
  • Western Terrorists: Focus is primarily on Irish terrorists, though some French and Italian terrorists are mentioned, with some Middle Eastern terrorists serving as background characters in a few minor scenes. There is even a domestic American group of terrorist led by a black man with Marxist beliefs.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Discussed at multiple points. Early in the book a PIRA agent and a MI-5 officer exchange commentary on this topic while outlining an Enemy Mine deal against someone they both want to see dead, and while they do so the MI-5 man concedes to himself that somewhere along the way the terrorists may have had a valid political point at one time, but he still believes it's a moot one in the end and that their actions still deny them any right to be considered anything more than criminals.
    • Is notably discredited by Robby Jackson, who does a Title Drop (taken from an Irish song about the trope) while he points out there is a difference between legitimate soldiers and thugs LARPing as them.