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The Septimus Heap series is a series of Young Adult Fantasy novels written by Angie Sage. Like the Harry Potter books, they take place in a rather whimsical fantasy world resembling a sort of mash-up of Medieval European Fantasy and the modern day. And like the Harry Potter books, they do not skimp out on the Nightmare Fuel for young readers.

One unfortunate evening, an evil wizard and his underlings invade the Castle of a peaceful, unnamed nation. They murder the Queen and The Archmage of the Castle, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard of the time, Alther. On the same night, a family of Ordinary Wizards, the Heaps, down in the castle town awaits the birth of their seventh son, Septimus. His father, Silas, was also a seventh son, meaning that Septimus will have great power. But he is pronounced dead by the midwife and ferretted away. Instead, the Queen's newborn daughter is thrust into their arms for them to raise as her own. They name her Jenna, unaware that she's the Princess. But not for long, and the Heap family must now protect their adopted daughter from the evil forces out searching for her.

Cut to ten years later — and now they've been found out. The Heap family is forced to flee their home to protect Jenna. Along the way, they pick up a quiet young soldier boy "named" Boy 412, who joins them in their hideout deep in the marshes. Just from the title of the series alone, you can probably guess who he really is. Overjoyed to have finally found his family, Septimus becomes an apprentice to the most (politically) powerful wizard in the world — and embarks on a slew of adventures with his sister Princess Jenna, his brother Nicko, best friend Beetle, and many, many others. But plenty of ills lurk in the world, wanting to get their hands on either his innate mystic power or his sister's political worth. Including one distressingly close to home...

The series consists of six books so far:

  • Magyk
  • Flyte
  • Physik
  • Queste
  • Syren
  • Darke

Compare with Discworld.

Tropes used in Septimus Heap include:
  • Acceptable Professional Targets: Wizards and Witches are often mocked at or plainly distrusted In-Universe.
  • Action Girl: Let's say "quite a few," and leave it at that. Jenna is an on-and-off example, but Snorri is also pretty awesome.
  • Adults Are Useless: Played with. Most of the adults characters aren't useless per se, but the kids are usually the ones who get the important stuff done, and there's been more than one occasion where the adults contribute to problems by refusing to listen to the kids.
  • After the End: Possibly — Syren has characters discuss old stories about men flying to the moon in white tubes. Later, a relatively modern submarine is encountered, and a tower holds what seems to be a modern levator, with a light that shows a down-pointing arrow when you, well, go down. Also, the books talk about Roman temples, and make constant references to real world places, like Peru, China, and Persia.
  • All There in the Manual: The back of each book has snippets from the Manual in it, explaining the backstories of several minor characters. There's also a recently-released full-color illustrated "manual" of backstory and worldbuilding for the series.
  • Author Appeal: Angie Sage likes shoes. A lot. Often the first thing she describes about a character is footwear. In highly elaborate detail.
  • The Apprentice: Septimus himself.
  • The Archmage: Marcia, though the majority of her power is political.
  • Artifact Title: Inverted — Septimus Heap isn't even called by name until the very last chapter of the first book. In fact, as Boy 412 he plays a secondary role to Jenna and Nicko for most of the first book.
  • Becoming the Boast: Septimus lies about "almost" knowing a spell; later he has to scramble to make the spell work for real.
  • Big Bad: DomDaniel in Magyk and Flyte, Queen Etheldredda in Physik, Tertius Fume in Queste and Syren and Merrin Meredith in Darke.
  • Bold Inflation: Magykal words and terms are always written in bold. They can also be identified by their Xtreme Kool Letterz spelling. For some reason, this is absent in Darke though.
  • Bumbling Dad: Silas Heap.
  • Cat Man: Miarr in Syren.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The green rock Septimus finds in book one is a dragon egg.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Syrah Syara. She's mentioned in the epilogue of Queste and becomes a major character in Syren.
  • Child Soldiers: The Young Army in the first book. Septimus (back when he was known as Boy 412) was an Expendable, which, unfortunately, was Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Country With No Name: The queendom in which the series takes place is never officially named. The closest thing to a name it has is given in Syren, where Septimus sends a letter there and calls it "The Small, Damp Country Across the Sea." The map in the sixth book also calls it that. So maybe, as odd as it sounds, that is its real name.
  • Close Knit Community: The Ramblings.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Zelda. All of her dishes are perfectly edible, if rather odd-sounding. Her haddock-and-banana pie briefly mentioned in Flyte comes to mind.
  • Crazy Prepared: Though not in the usual sense — Epheniah Grebe, who can't speak, has a box filled with hundreds of cards, apparently written to apply to any occasion, including one written just for the off-chance that he somehow meets the Queen ("Greetings, Your Majesty"). When his cards fail him, he resorts to a pen and paper.
  • December-December Romance: Alther and Alice Nettles — with bonus points awarded for them finally getting together as ghosts, once they're already dead.
  • Deep Sleep: Septimus once sleeps so deeply as to forget Spyt Fyre.
  • Demonic Possession: What the Syren does to Syrah.
  • Died Happily Ever After: Ghosts are a common sight in this universe, so it's quite common to meet your deceased loved ones and find out they're quite OK. This is especially the case in Physik, where Alther and Alice are Together in Death.
  • Disappeared Dad: So the Queen was killed... but what happened to Jenna's biological father? He's still very much alive, but he's been away for most of her life hunting treasure. They reunite in Flyte, and he attempts to bond with her (somewhat disasterously) in Syren.
  • Distressed Damsel / Distressed Dude / Badass in Distress: Marcia in Magyk, Jenna in Flyte, Septimus in Physik, Nicko and Snorri in Queste.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The Custodian Youth — and especially their Tell-Tale hour — is very similar to the Hitler Youth groups in Nazi Germany.
    • The Heap family seems oddly familiar.
  • Dragon Rider: Septimus gets a dragon named Spit Fyre in Flyte. You're supposed to ride them if they've bonded with you, or else they're somewhat unstable.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Jenna is normally an ordinary girl, but she's known to use her clout as Future Ruler of the Land to get what she wants if the situation is dire.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The witches must keep their Darke bargains — though the Witch Mother must remind Linda of that.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: Poor Jim Knee.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting. All the books have two parallel-running plots that eventually merge into a single one.
  • Gender Bender: Before he became a genie, Jim Knee was a woman. It's implied that occasional Gender Bending is par for the course for genies.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Syren, Septimus is given a Water Gnome, which is basically a Magykal watering can. Beetle notes that it's different from the rude ones he usually sees. At first this can just fly over your head as swearing inanimate objects (God knows Harry Potter has enough of them), but once you take into consideration that it's a watering can, it can easily be interpreted as something far worse. Not a pretty thought when you're watering your plants.
  • Good Guy Bar: The Hole In The Wall tavern, where several meetings of the characters occur.
  • Happily Adopted: Even if her biological mother was a Queen, Jenna's real family are the Heaps. She loves them more than anything in the world. If anything, Septimus qualifies more as the adopted child, and now and then this is discussed.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Simon. He's a good guy in the first book, the antagonist of the second book, a non-entity in the third, in the fourth, he's grudgingly back to being a good guy and by the time the fifth comes along, he's back on the Magykal straight-and-narrow.
  • Honorary Uncle: Aunt Zelda to Wolf Boy
  • Hope Is Scary: When Boy 412 realizes that for the first time in his life, he has more Good Things than Bad ones, he is afraid because it means the possibility of loss.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The beginning of Darke: "It is a Darke and stormy night."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Marcia.
  • Jerkass: Merrin Meredith.
  • Joker Immunity: Averted. DomDaniel is So Utterly Obliviated He Doesn't Even Leave A Ghost in Queste.
  • Lethal Chef: Aunt Zelda is, erm, "renowned" for her boiled cabbage sandwiches and jellied eel stew. Only Septimus is a fan of her cooking, but it seems to be Nostalgia Filter for him.
  • L Is for Dyslexia: Silas is implied to be dyslexic in the first book's epilogue.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Septimus and Jenna. Well, Jenna and all the Heap brothers, obviously, but her relationship with Septimus stands out, since the Word of God constantly mentions their brotherly connection (starting with the second book); although it doesn't help clear off all that Relationship Writing Fumble.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Are there ever! Even the incredibly minor characters have backstories. The recently-released "guidebook" provides information on a lot of them.
  • Lost Technology: Syren displays quite a bit of it, and it is even called "Beyond Magyk."
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: There are a lot of Heap children. Discussed in-book as well, when Snorri asks, "How many brothers do you have?!"
  • Magyk A is Magyk A: Magyk has very specific rules that it must follow.
  • Matter of Life and Death: In Flyte, this is thrown around twice.
  • Meaningful Name: Septimus is the seventh son of a seventh son. His name means "seventh" in Latin. Furthermore, his Young Army "name" was Boy 412, and 4+1+2=7
  • Micro Monarchy: The Castle.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Merrin was thought by Dom Daniel to be Septimus Heap, who was the seventh son of the seventh son that was said to have extreme magical talent. So he took Merrin in as an apprentice waiting for the talent to arise. It turns he was switch with the real Septimus at birth. Merrin doesn't take this well.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: New powers, myths, and Bold Inflation terms tend to show up in every book. But since the world itself is pretty big and expansive, this is somewhat Justified.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Simon unleashing the Darke Domaine. Also Septimus not listening to Jenna.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Saving Merrin doesn't make him like you. In fact, it doesn't stop him from trying and nearly succeeding to kill you all.
  • Not So Harmless: Merrin Meredith in Darke.
  • The Not Love Interest: Septimus is Jenna's not love interest and vice-versa. Syrah may or may not also be a candidate.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: All witches have pale blue eyes.
  • Our Genies Are Different
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Most, if not all, people who die become ghosts. These are tied to the places they visited when they were alive, and while they cannot touch or grab things, they have the limited ability to Cause things to happen.
  • Our Witches Are Different: Witches in the Septimus-verse mostly work with potions and Magykal items rather than outright spellcasting, and have icy blue eyes. They are often in rivalry with Wizards.
  • Panthera Awesome: Ullr — cute kitty in the daytime, badass panther at night.
  • Peaceful in Death: Alice
  • Pet the Dog: It's said in Darke that DomDaniel once gave a bowl of milk for a stray cat. Semi-justified, as it's mentioned that a Darke witch or wizard can never become completely evil simply because he or she is human.
  • Phantasy Spelling: Too many examples to name them all, especially in Magyk words.
  • Princesses Rule: At least for the time being, Princess Jenna is acting as queen without being crowned as one.
  • Recurring Traveler: Stanley the rat has a way of popping up where Septimus and Jenna least expect him.
  • Reformed but Rejected: Simon.
  • Room 101: Dungeon Number One.
  • Running Gag:
    • Queen Etheldredda always referring to Jenna as her great-great-great (and then some) granddaughter, which she is, as all Queens and their Princesses are directly related. The author, Angie Sage, actually writes "great-great-great and then some" several times in her stories.
    • Wizard Sandwiches and the many, many things they don't believe in.
    • Hamsters come up a lot in The Magykal Papers.
  • Soaperizing: This series can be described as "a Soap Opera in an Alternate Universe WITH WIZARDS."
  • Switched At Birth: Jenna was taken by the Heap family after Septimus disappeared.
  • Taking the Bullet: Jenna is haunted all her life by a "named bullet" — a bullet guaranteed to find the person bearing its name. Initially, it "comes" to her unshot and free of its gun — she owns it, so it "found" her. However, it's stolen from her and fired. Alice Nettles takes it, and due to the way the bullet was named, it accepts her as its target.
  • Talking Animal: Stanley the Message/Secret Service Rat.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Wizards always have green eyes. Witches have blue eyes. All those embroiled in the Darke have dark eyes. Many heirs to the Castle have violet eyes, as does Jenna, since she has no inherent Magyk. Yes, female wizards are still called wizards — because witches use a different system of Magyk than wizards do. It's a technical term.
  • Thoroughly Mistaken Identity: "Esmeralda"
  • Time Abyss: Jim Knee.
  • Together in Death: Alther and Alice, in what might be considered and extreme December-December Romance.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Septimus timidly starts off as The Load. But becomes more awesome as he gets better at magic.
  • Took a Level In Jerkass: Septimus, in Darke.
  • Tsundere: Marcia is a nonromantic variant — she's self-centered and abrasive as all get-out, but she very clearly cares deeply for Septimus (when she slips enough to let it show).
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Queen Etheldredda the Awful in Physik.
  • Uncanny Valley: An In-Universe example: Syrah when she's possessed by the Syren.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Merrin Meredith.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Green Eyes are often described as this, such as in Syren where Simon is courted by a few women after falling in the harbour.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Justified with Septimus's fear from heights, as most powerful Wizards are afraid of heights.
  • Wild Hair: The boys in the woods
  • Write Back to the Future: Septimus does this in Physik, and Nicko and Snorri do this in Queste.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Magykal words and phrases tend to display this.
  • A Year and a Day: An often-seen deadline across the books.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The titles of the books and most of the terms when they're not Xtreme Kool Letterz.
  • You're Not My Father: A variation occurs in Syren. Jenna screams this at Milo Banda when he tries to prevent her from going off with Septimus and Beetle. The kicker is that Milo is her biological father, but he's been so utterly absent from her life that she has no real ties to him.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Linda starts to pull this on a part of lovebirds — both the hostage and the bird who obeyed her for its mate's safety.