The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

In an alternate version of modern London, a world ruled by magicians, a precocious young |apprentice magician named Nathaniel summons the ancient, powerful, wisecracking djinni Bartimaeus to steal a valuable amulet. He quickly finds himself caught up in a dark world of corruption and political intrigue with the unwilling djinni in tow.

As Nathaniel learns to navigate the realm of magic and politics, he crosses paths with Kitty Jones, a "commoner" with ties to the mysterious group called the Resistance.

The trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

  • The Amulet of Samarkand
  • The Golem's Eye
  • Ptolemy's Gate
  • The Ring of Solomon, a prequel set, surprisingly enough, in the time of Solomon.
The following tropes are common to many or all entries in the The Bartimaeus Trilogy franchise.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
  • Action Girl: Kitty, Asmira from the prequel, and some of the "female" demons, assuming they have genders.
  • Adults Are Useless: Not all of them, admittedly, but the Big Bads are all defeated with the brains of a kid or a couple of kids, the mentors are all fairweather and the commoner adults are generally sheep. This may be somewhat of an overstatement, though, as most of the plotting and trickery is pulled off by a djinni who is thousands of years old. Additionally, many adult commoners secretly resist the government in later novels.
  • Affably Evil: Almost all of the magicians.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Averted; Nathaniel's reaction to The Call Knows Where You Live is surprisingly cold for a young boy. Also inverted to an extent. In the first book, he is devastated at Mrs. Underwood's death, but by the second, his hair takes top priority. Though also played straight in the third book where he has complex feelings about the cruelties of the government and his own part in it, culminating in his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • All Myths Are True: Mythology from all over the world shows up in this universe - and, if Bartimaeus is to be believed, he had a hand in most of it.
  • Alternate History: Gladstone in this universe led a campaign to conquer all of Europe...and was a magician.
    • Since magic exists in this version of our world, it also fits the Never Was This Universe type of Alternate History.
    • The American Revolution has just recently started in modern times. In the third book, the demons are threatened with "being sent to fight in the Colonies".
  • Amazon Brigade: The hereditary guards of the Queen of Sheba in The Ring of Solomon.
  • Ambition Is Evil
  • Anti-Hero:
    • Nathaniel, at his high points.
    • Bartimaeus and Kitty too. (Yes, Kitty has noble intentions, but do remember that she's a terrorist.) So, everyone.
  • Anti-Magic: The "resilience" possessed by Kitty Jones and several other characters, as well as the most dangerous property of a Golem: as an immensely powerful creature of earth, it is anathema to the spirits composed of air and fire that the magicians summon.
  • Anti-Villain: Nathaniel becomes one at the low point of his Character Development.
  • Apothecary Alligator: Mentioned in Book 1 in the description of the magician Arthur Underwood's study. Bart notes that this is a good indication that Underwood is distinctly second rate and trying to hide it; truly powerful magicians favor a sleek, modern look.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Solomon to Asmira in The Ring of Solomon after Khaba is defeated and the Ring returned to him.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Justified since the government consists of powerful magicians. Also see Klingon Promotion below.
  • Badass Boast: Bartimaeus, constantly. For example: "I am Bartimaeus of Uruk! I am Sakhr al-Jinni, N'gorso the Mighty and the Serpent of Silver Plumes! I have rebuilt the walls of Uruk, Karnak and Prague. I have spoken with Solomon. I have run with the buffalo fathers of the plains. I have watched over Old Zimbabwe till the stones fell and the jackals fed on its people. I am Bartimaeus!" However, it's just as likely to be subverted when the subject either doesn't recognize him or is simply unimpressed.
  • Badass Longcoat: Unsuccessfully invoked by Nathaniel. He marks his rise in society by buying a long black coat that billows dramatically behind him when he walks, hoping for exactly this effect. It doesn't work.
  • Badass Normal: Kitty Jones.
    • Semi-normal. She's immune to magic, remember?
  • Beautiful All Along: Kitty, when Nathaniel first sees her aura. She sarcastically retorts, "Only just now?"
  • Bittersweet Ending: Most of the government has been killed off, much of the city is in ruins, and Nathaniel is dead. On the other hand, things are looking up for a more equal society, and Nouda is dead.
  • Big Bad: One for each book, but it's ultimately revealed that Quentin Makepeace tops them all.
  • Big Brother Is Employing You: Commoners are frequently needed for messy or difficult jobs like tutoring apprentices and manufacturing spellbooks.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The vigilance spheres used throughout the series.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The commoners in the Resistance aren't immune to pettiness, greed, cowardice, and prejudice.
  • Blatant Lies: When Ptolemy first summons Bartimaeus, Bartimaeus greets him with the following - "I know the secrets of the earth and the mysteries of the air; I know the key to the minds of women." In his footnote, he comments "Patently all lies. Especially the last bit."
  • Blessed with Suck: Solomon's ring is an item of unparalleled magical power, one that gives him undisputed rule of any kingdom he set his eyes on, allows him to summon 20,000 demons with a single twist, and is basically the reason for his entire success. It also causes him incredibly pain to wear it, and saps his life force with every use. He can only take it off while he sleeps, because if he is ever seen without it, his circle of magicians will slay him and take the ring for themselves in a second. On top of this, due to the many miracles he worked with the ring in his youth, the populace expects him to use the ring to solve every little problem. As a result Solomon must continue to shorten his life to appease the people, and spend what little of it he has left in unbearable agony.
  • Break the Cutie: Kitty's flashback.
  • Break the Haughty: Nathaniel, particularly in the third book.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Bartimaeus sometimes addresses the readers directly in his footnotes.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the first book, Bartimaeus explains that the footnotes are due to the fact that he has multiple layers of conscious thought—he can go off on tangents while still thinking about the original subject. Late in the third book, when he and Nathaniel combine, he tries to do the footnotes again, but Nathaniel stops him because it feels really, really weird.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Mr. Button is implied to be an incredibly powerful magician, who could easily stand up to some of the magicians on the council, but he is not interested in power; rather he is interested in knowledge. As such he remains a very low level magician.
  • The Brute: Jabor all the way.
  • Call Forward: Several in the prequel, most notably Khaba and his shadow, a marid, being his equal and in love.
  • Cassandra Truth: Faquarl when he says it's possible for the spirits to start a revolution (though it fails, he still started one). Also, Nathaniel's theories are never believed until it's almost too late.
  • Cats Are Magic: Cats are the only animals naturally able to see more than one plane.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first book is noticeably lighter, shorter and has a kinder Nathaniel. That changes fast.
  • Chained Heat: Nathaniel and Bartimaeus in book three, while Bartimaeus is possessing and mind-linked with Nathaniel.
  • Character Development: Done very well for all three main characters.
  • Chef of Iron: Farqual's preferred form is a jovial chef - Bartimaeus notes that he's been hanging around in kitchens for a few thousand years. This also makes him an Evil Chef.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In Amulet of Samarkand, Bartimaeus mentions seeing a golem's eye among Lovelace's possessions, commenting that he probably didn't know what it was when he bought it. When Lovelace is killed, the eye is stolen by Duvall.
    • In "Golem's Eye" Jakob makes an offhand remark to Kitty that since his family runs a binding shop, they can doctor any books Tallow sends to them as revenge for assaulting Jakob. Later, when the various magicians perform a mass summoning to quell Honorius, Tallow attempts to summon an afrit. His book contained an error Jakob's family put in, and the afrit devours him whole.
    • First played straight and later subverted by the serpent statue in the prequel. Bartimaeus uses it to get rid of his master near the beginning of the book after being told about its powers by the spirit that had been guarding it. At the end, Solomon tries to use it on Khaba, but only succeeds in activating its anti-theft mechanisms on himself.
  • The Chessmaster: The magicians all attempt to be this, with reasonable amounts of success; Makepeace did a terrifyingly good job of it.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Used by Ammet the marid to Bartimaeus in The Ring of Solomon. Also used by Honorius on Kitty in The Golems Eye when they loot Gladstones tomb.
  • Compensating for Something: Kitty accuses Bartimaeus of this in Ptolemy's Gate when he appears in the form of a hideous, roaring demon.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Tybalt in the prequel. He normally takes the form of a harmless white mouse, but is implied to be a very powerful spirit. (Although we never get to see exactly how powerful. We don't even know what class of spirit he is!)
  • Crystal Ball: One method of scrying; bowls and discs are also common.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Faquarl vs. four djinn sent to capture him. (More precisely, they were sent to capture the person whose body he was residing in, and so didn't really see that coming.)
    • Honorius vs. The Resistance.
  • The Dark Side: The change from Nathaniel to John Mandrake in the second and third books.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: The third book shows this, to some extent.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bartimaeus; Kitty also has her moments.
  • Dem Bones: Honorius, the mad afrit, was charged to guard Gladstone's tomb and did so by encasing himself in Gladstone's skeleton.
  • Demonic Possession: Honorius in the second book possesses the bones of Gladstone; in addition, hundreds of demons possess the British parliament in Nouda and Faquarl's rebellion - Nathaniel and Bartimaeus are forced to do the same in order to stop them.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Bartimaeus gives bigger, more powerful spirits lip too often for his own good.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Since he's big on self-preservation, this happens a lot less, but still occurs, especially in Book 3.
  • Disney Villain Death: Duvall. After he is arrested, he tries to escape by turning into a werewolf and killing his guards, then jumping out the window. Unfortunately for him, they were five floors up.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Quentin Makepeace, who resembles a foppish playwright in the prime minister's company.
  • The Dragon:
    • Faquarl and Jabor serve this role to Simon Lovelace in the first book.
    • Faquarl in the third book serves as this to Makepeace (in his disguise as Hopkins) and later, Nouda. Of course, he's actually weaker than Nouda, since Nouda is a force of nature.
  • Double Entendre: In this scene.

Nathaniel: I tried last night and you were gone. Who was it? Which magician were you seeing?
Bartimaeus: Don’t get so worked up. It was a brief encounter. Nothing serious. It’s over.
Nathaniel: Nothing serious? Think I’m going to believe that?
Bartimaeus: Calm down, Mr. Jealous. You’re making a scene.
Nathaniel: Who was it? Man or woman?
Bartimaeus: Look, I know what you’re thinking, and I didn’t.

  • Dragon with an Agenda: Faquarl. He engineers, by out-Chessmaster-ing Makepeace, a chance for spirits to rebel against and take revenge on humanity.
  • Dumb Muscle: Jabor has the personality down pat. We are never actually told he's dumb. It's possible he just can't think straight when angry. Of course, since he's almost ALWAYS angry...
    • Most afrits are described as being this.
  • Dystopia: Magician-ruled England, and many other sorcerous empires.
  • Eldritch Abomination
    • The spirits on the higher planes, Faquarl especially. His true form (which is never described besides having tentacles) makes even other demons queasy and he even killed some ravens when he appeared to them in that form. Furthermore, Ramuthra and later Nouda appear as, respectively, a disturbance on all seven planes, only visible because he's the only area that isn't being ripped at the seams and, after inhabiting a normal human body, a mass of inhuman tentacles: barbs, horns, you name it.
  • Eldritch Location: The "Other Place" where all imps, foliots, djinn, afrits, and marids "live". It is possible for a human to visit, but is strongly recommended against, as it wreaks havoc on both body (staying in the Other Place too long forces the person to forget how to move their physical body) and mind (it's quite the Acid Trip Dimension, and the person will be trapped forever, absorbed by some spirit's essence if he or she does not have a trustworthy spirit to call upon and serve as a guide.)
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower: Subverted in the second book; Nathaniel fails to activate Gladstone's Staff and instead gets knocked out by it. Not so in the third book, where he gets the seven-league boots from the mercenary, retrieves Gladstone's Staff and is then possessed by Bartimaeus, which enhances his magical aptitude and physical ability enough so that he can go skipping across London, destroying human/spirit hybrids at every turn with the same staff he couldn't use earlier.
  • Enemy Mine: Bartimaeus and Faquarl in the prequel, due to sharing the same master (and equally loathing said master).
  • Enigmatic Minion: Bartimaeus, from Kitty's point of view.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Faquarl is this to Bartimaeus. Both are djinn of considerable power and cunning and resent the spirits' slavery by magicians. However, while Faquarl sets off a violent spirit rebellion against humanity, Bartimaeus, through interactions with people such as Ptolemy, Kitty, and Nathaniel, starts to believe that both people and spirits can change for the better and ends up saving humanity.
    • Simon Lovelace is what Nathaniel could have become if he allowed his ambition to consume him. In the later books, Nathaniel at the lower points of his Character Development starts to resemble Simon Lovelace, which Bartimaeus points out.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The message that magicians attempt to instill in their apprentices, reminding them that if they make the slightest mistake the demon will be free to destroy them. In Ptolemy's Gate Makepeace and his conspirators believe they can control demons massively more powerful than themselves through willpower, and are taken over. Makepeace himself is particularly notable for summoning into his own body Nouda, a creature that would usually require several magicians to summon and partially control under normal circumstances.
  • Exact Words: Bartimaeus allows Kitty to escape anywhere but in Nathaniel's limo, because his orders were "Stop them from escaping in that car!" This is actually a recurring theme in the series, as demons are required to carry out the orders that their masters give them, but they can interpret those words with some liberty, making exact words important for loopholes.
    • Another great example in Solomon's Ring: At the end, Bartimaeus is ordered to drop the Ring in the ocean. When he returns (after a chase and battle), he reveals that he still has the Ring. How? Asmira didn't say he had to leave it in the ocean.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Nathaniel's haircut between books two and three underscores the changes in his personality.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The demon/human hybrids in the third book; Nouda becomes more demon than human rather quickly, though.
  • Face Heel Turn: Going into government leads to this, invariably.
  • Failure Knight: We learn in book three that Bartimaeus feels this way about Ptolemy.
  • Fair Weather Mentor: All of Nathaniel's masters are willing to sacrifice him to save their own reputations.
  • Faking the Dead: Kitty at the end of Book 2.
  • Femme Fatale: Jane Farrar, though she's not as good as she likes to think.
  • First-Person Smartass: Bartimaeus in the chapters he narrates, and even more so in the footnotes.
  • Footnote Fever: Bartimaeus's sections are littered with it.
  • Functional Magic
  • Genie in a Bottle: Used in several ways. The Indefinite Confinement spell is a punishment for disobedient spirits, and traps them eternally in whatever object the magician selects. Additionally, it is apparently possible to trap many spirits inside objects such as bottles if they enter of their own free will. However, it's also an ancient trick that is very unlikely to work.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Magicians have glasses (though contact lenses are far more popular) that allow them to see past the guises of weaker spirits by enabling them to view up to the third plane.
  • Golem
  • Good All Along: Nathaniel.
  • Government Conspiracy
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The less morally questionable governmental bickering.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Simpkin, a minor demon character, is happy to be a servant. Also a major theme in The Ring of Solomon, with both the human protagonist and The Dragon. Bartimaeus finds the idea of willing servitude an abomination.
  • Hero Antagonist: Kitty for a good portion of the second book.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Nathaniel and Ptolemy. Subverted with Bartimaeus's master during the siege of Prague. He accidentally blew himself up trying to save the Emperor, and Bartimaeus calls this his finest moment since it freed Bartimaeus and thus saved his life.
  • Heel Face Turn: Nathaniel and the junior magicians at the end of the third book.
  • Heel Realization: Nathaniel in the third book.
  • Historical In-Joke: Bartimaeus's anecdotes about his past masters. Quite a few about Britain as well, such as Gladstone's famous magicians' duel with Disraeli.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Simon Lovelace is devoured by the very being he summoned to destroy all his opposition in the government.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Bartimaeus certainly thinks so, while Nathaniel thinks djinn are Exclusively Evil. The ultimate conclusion seems to be that neither species is inherently better or worse.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Bartimaeus, at times. It's unclear how aware he is of his hypocrisy, though.

Bartimaeus: Faquarl wasn't a sly old equivocator like Tchue; he prided himself on blunt speaking. Mind you, he did have a weakness for boasting. If you believed all his stories, you'd have thought him responsible for most of the world's major landmarks as well as being adviser and confidant to all the notable magicians. This, as I once remarked to Solomon, was quite a ridiculous claim.

    • From the nature of his interactions with Solomon in The Ring of Solomon it seems unlikely that they ever got around to discussing Faquarl, which also brings up the subject of Unreliable Narrator.
      • Don't forget the part where Bartimaeus's section ends with this exchange:

"But we haven't time..."
I spoke gently to quieten him. "Just watch and listen."
I didn't show it, but I was worried myself now. The boy was right: we really had no time. *Skip to Nathaniel's part*
"But we haven't time-" Nathaniel began.
"Just shut up and watch!" The fly was buzzing frantically around their prison. It sounded decidedly panicked.

      • It's left unclear as to which author is accurately portraying the scene.
  • I Know Your True Name: Magician's birth names are closely guarded secrets as knowledge of them protects you from most of their magic, while demons can only be summoned using one of their (many) true names. Barimaeus knows Nathanial's true name, which means that Nathaniel continuing to summon Bartimaeus would ordinarily be considered recklessly dangerous. However, the two have reached an agreement. Ptolemy told Bartimaeus his true name the first time that he asked. He, however, was unique—he never employed any punishment spells against the spirits he summoned (thus no magic to turn against him) and gained their trust through politeness and dogged persistence.
  • Idiot Ball: For all his intelligence, Bartimaeus gets this on occasion. For example, accidentally leading Lovelace to Underwood's house in the first book, and turning off the lights when faced with Faquarl in the third book (even though spirits can see perfectly well in the dark).
  • If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him: Played with: True Neutral demon Bartimaeus persuades Kitty to save Nathaniel by telling her, "if you let him die, you'll be just like me."
  • I Have Many Names: Bartimaeus, a.k.a. Bartimaeus of Uruk, Sakhr al-Jinni, N'Gorso the mighty, the Serpent of Silver Plumes...
    • Most importantly, his Egyptian name, which is Rekhyt.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Most demons, who show no qualms about devouring either humans or each other. Bartimaeus enjoys playing it for squick in the footnotes. Possibly due to their nature in the Other Place, in which they have no true individual identity, combined with their hatred for humans over thousands of years of slavery.
  • Implacable Man:
    • The bearded mercenary.
    • Anyone with sufficiently strong resilience becomes this.
    • Subverted painfully when the Resistance attempts to rob Gladstone's tomb. Also, even someone as strong as the mercenary can be brought down with truly overwhelming application of magic.
  • Improbable Age: Nathaniel is on the fast track to being a government minister by the time he is fourteen. Granted, he was a prodigy with high-end magical knowledge early on (though little practice), and he narrowly saved the prime minister's life.
  • Incoming Ham: Bartimaeus, like most spirits, enjoys making his initial materialization in the human world as flashy as possible. The first lines in the entire series are describing him doing an act that wouldn't be out of place in Religious Horror climaxes.
  • Insistent Terminology: Spirits really hate being called demons (or the equivalent in the local language). Additionally, in The Ring of Solomon, Asmira hates being referred to as either a "slave" or an "assassin," insisting that she's a "hereditary guard."
  • Inspector Javert: Nathaniel -> Kitty at some points.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Although Gladstone was a magician who became Prime Minister by overthrowing the non-magical government of Britian and instituting a police state, he still had a famous rivalry with (his fellow magician) Disraeli; although Europe's major empire in the first half of the 19th century was Prague, London still has a Trafalgar Square containing Nelson's Column.
  • Interspecies Romance: Parodied and ridiculed, not that it stops the Shippers. Also, while it may not qualify as romance per se, Succubi exist and are at times summoned. In The Ring of Solomon, the Big Bad and his shadow.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: From The Golem's Eye:

Kitty: You're all callous and wicked and heartless and vain!
Nathaniel: Vain? How wonderfully hysterical. I'm just well turned out. Presentation's important, you know.

  • It Has Been an Honor: Oh so subverted. Played straight in the minor occurrence, also somewhat inverted in the major occurrence, based on the last sentence. Nathaniel, also, seems to have changed enough to feel it was an honor, though he refuses to admit it. He is, after all, very old-fashioned in some ways, and perhaps a tad Tsundere.
  • The Juggernaut: The golem in the second book, as well as The Mercenary due to his extraordinary resilience.
  • Kid with the Leash: Deconstructed/subverted: Nathaniel firmly believes that demons are Exclusively Evil, and that elaborate incantations and careful wording are necessary to keep enslaved summons in check. While this is not unjustified (Bartimaeus is very open about his willingness to free himself by killing Nathaniel and brags of magicians he has killed in the past), Bartimaeus - the demon - is often more moral than Nathaniel. He complains about being given less-than-ethical tasks, and there are hints throughout the series that both the djinni and the boy would be better off if Nathaniel had shown more trust in him. However, it is quite clear that even Nathaniel and Bartimaeus's strained relationship is unusual and that spirits will destroy their masters in painful ways given any opportunity.
    • Of course, even that idea is subverted - when Kitty calls up Bartimaeus with talk of friendship and mutual trust, he challenges her to step outside the bounds of the pentacle protecting her to demonstrate her trust, and when she doesn't, he remarks that it was "worth a try". Whether he would have killed her, simply left, or actually taken her up on her offer was left an open question due to the ambiguity of that statement.
  • Kick the Dog: The magicians frequently do so.
  • Knight Templar: Nathaniel is a borderline case in the later books.
  • Large Ham:
  • La Résistance: The Resistance. Numerous references to others are mentioned in the third book.
  • Lemony Narrator: Bartimaeus, in the chapters he narrates.
  • The Legions of Hell: Nouda and co. in Book 3.
  • Literal Genie: Both straight and averted. The orders spirits get function like this and magicians try to word orders to avoid problems, but spirits are rarely shown exploiting this, likely because fulfilling the letter of their order doesn't protect them from magical punishment. Bartimaeus does manage to take advantage of it at times. Also, in the third book, a rather large lampshade is hung on the fact that the spirits failed to exploit a loophole in an agreement.
  • Living Shadow: Khaba has one in the prequel, which is actually a marid.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: The contrast between Bartimaeus's relationship with Nathaniel and his relationship with Ptolemy.
  • MacGuffin: The Amulet of Samarkand, among others. (Except that they get used).
  • The Magocracy: A very corrupted one, at that.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Quentin Makepeace.
  • The Messiah: Ptolemy was like this - no wonder Bartimaeus still likes him. Nathaniel also becomes this at the end of his long Character Development.
  • Masquerade: While magic is no secret - the government is run by magicians - "commoners" are kept from knowing that the magicians' power comes from enslaved demons; without them they are just ordinary humans.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Solomon, to an extent.
  • Monumental Battle: A memorable scene in the British Museum, among others.
  • Monumental Damage
  • More Hero Than Thou
  • Muggles: "Commoners."
  • Multiple Narrative Modes: There are multiple narrators, one of which is first-person and the rest of which are third-person.
  • Mundane Utility: Bartimaeus in the beginning of Book 3.
  • Must Make Amends: Nathaniel when he gives Kitty the Amulet of Samarkand, despite the fact that he would make more use of it.
  • Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: The... Mercenary.
  • My Greatest Failure: Bartimaeus not being able to save Ptolemy, because the boy dismissed him at the cost of his own life.
  • The Nasty Party
  • Never Found the Body
  • Noble Demon: Bartimaeus.
  • No Blood Ties: Enforced just for the magicians, who are not allowed any biological children, but are later given an orphan as an apprentice. This is to prevent instances of Feuding Families, which apparently happened frequently enough in the past to be quite a problem.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: What usually happens to Bartimaeus when he goes up against a demon out of his weight class, such as a marid, in a straight fight. An example is found at the beginning of The Golem's Eye, when he goes up against Honorious and is soundly thrashed for his trouble.
  • The Nondescript: Mr. Hopkins.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Bartimaeus, sort of.
  • Noodle Incident: The "messy episode of the Anarchist and the Oyster."
  • Not Quite Dead: Honorius, among others.
  • Not My Driver
  • Not So Different: In the third book, by stealing magicians' bodies and setting off violent revolt against humanity, Faquarl, Nouda, and other spirits become the very thing they resented, which Bartimaeus doesn't hesitate to point out. Of course, one of the main themes of the trilogy is slavery and how it corrupts both the slavers and the enslaved. Best demonstrated in the following exchange:

Faquarl: Vengeance is our master here. It keeps us here. It gives us purpose.
Bartimaeus: 'Purpose' is a human concept. We never needed that before. This body of yours isn't a disguise anymore, is it? It isn't just a barrier against pain. It's what you are busily becoming.

  • Not Wearing Pants
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: All of the magicians, to a certain degree.
  • Or So I Heard: Bartimaeus sometimes likes to use this to explain his knowledge of subjects he considers himself too dignified to otherwise know about, such as the crude Egyptian game "Dogs and Jackals."
  • Our Demons Are Different: See below.
  • Our Genies Are Different: They're demons.
    • On the contrary! "Demon" is a highly offensive and pejorative term. They're exalted spirits!
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They're police officers.
    • if only there was an 'our police officers are different' trope.
  • Overt Rendezvous: Nathaniel is asked to meet the British agent in Prague at a cemetery at midnight. Complaining about the melodrama, he insists that their next meeting be somewhere more ordinary and they agree to meet in the main square around six - "Harlequin" had wanted to pick the old plague pits. He does cope with the change well, and Nathaniel receives his information in a hot dog bun he bought from the disguised agent.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Bartimaeus hangs a nice painting off it, too.
  • Paratext
    • Bartimaeus peppers the chapters he narrates with long, digressive, usually humorous footnotes. It is later mentioned that, as a djinni, he has the ability to carry on two or more trains of thought at once.
    • Bartimaeus, as part of his introduction, informs us, as an aid to our comprehension of his cranial capacity, that were the text in the book overlaid with the text of three more novels, he could observe the jumble of ink that we would see and discern the text of all four stories, and comprehend them perfectly, without any trouble whatsoever. This is the sort of IQ found in the things wizards trap in order to get their power. That's a being I'd treat with a little respect.
      • It's not so much IQ as actually having a multiple-track mind. While humans have one conscious and one unconscious track, spirits have several tracks. IIRC, Bartimaeus mentions that he has the ability to simultaneously make small talk, search a room for possible ways to escape, think about various things, and sneak attack the person he is talking to.
      • Subverted hilariously in Ptolemy's Gate, when he is telling us something in a footnote, and Nathaniel, who is melded with Bart at the time, cuts him off in mid-footnote, saying outside of said footnote, "Will you stop doing that? It's distracting!"
  • Parental Abandonment: Happens to all magicians, at least those of this universe's London. Parents can choose to give up their children for the government to have them trained into magicians for a hefty sum in return.
  • Pass the Popcorn: In Golem's Eye Bartimaeus comments, "All I need is some popcorn," as he watches Nathaniel get himself in trouble. He also does this, possibly anachronistically if he hasn't yet been summoned in the Americas, in The Ring of Solomon as he watches the spirit army summoned by the ring descend on Jerusalem.
  • Pet the Dog: Nathaniel does so occasionally.
  • Police State
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Subverted. Bartimaeus scoffs when Nathaniel tries to use the newly-retrieved Gladstone's staff to fight the golem, saying it's impossible for the boy to master such a powerful object on his first try. To his disbelief, Nathaniel seems to generate a powerful aura around the staff... which backfires, knocking Nathaniel unconscious.
  • Posthumous Character: Ptolemy.
  • Power Trio: Only at the end of the last book
  • The Power of Trust: Crucial in the third book. It's Kitty's trust in Bartimaeus that allows Bartimaeus to regain his faith in humans and save London from the spirit revolt.
  • Powers Via Possession: Attempted by Makepeace. It doesn't work very well. Goes better with Bartimaeus and Nathaniel.
  • Propaganda Machine: Nathaniel serves as this role in the third book.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The demons summoned in the third book. Originally intended as a way for magicians to gain power by summoning a spirit into themselves, the spirits took over and then began forcing other magicians to summon spirits into themselves.
  • Ravens and Crows: A form Jakob's grandmother said that demons take. Bartimaeus and other spirits, such as the imps guarding the Tower of London, repeatedly take the form of a crow.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Bartimaeus is thousands of years old, but his preferred form looks about twelve.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Poor, poor Nathaniel.
  • Reverse Psychology: Bartimaeus "praises" Kitty for her "intelligence" in leaving Nathaniel to his doom. He also uses this to trick a trapped marid into revealing the secrets of Solomon's Ring, and to manipulate several of his previous masters to their deaths and...yeah, he does this a lot.
  • The Rival: Faquarl -> Bartimaeus; Jane Farrar -> Nathaniel.
  • Rival Turned Evil
  • Save the Villain: Inverted: towards the end of The Golem's Eye, Kitty saves an unconscious Nathaniel from the golem, even though he has been her Inspector Javert for much of the book and has just betrayed her with the intention of arresting her.
  • Saying Too Much: In The Ring of Solomon, Bartimaeus at one point wears the guise of a pygmy hippo that bears more than a passing resemblance to one of Solomon's wives. Solomon is annoyed because he ordered that none of the spirits wear unnatural guises, but doesn't notice the resemblance to that particular wife. Much later in the book, Solomon chastises Bartimaeus for his various transgressions and mentions the hippo guise and Bartimaeus protests that it looked nothing like his wife. Solomon stops him and says that what he was going to say was that it showed disrespect for the sanctity of his temple.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: Bartimaeus has a plethora of guises at hand, but in the trilogy he is known to be most comfortable in the appearance of Ptolemy. Faquarl similarly defaults to the appearance of a pudgy chef with a meat cleaver.
  • Sharing a Body: Bartimaeus and Nathaniel in Book 3.
  • Shout-Out: Many, mostly to mythology and classic literature, and a very brief Lawyer-Friendly Cameo by Twoflower of Discworld fame. His name is "Mandrake" and he's a "magician."
  • Shoo the Dog: Ptolemy and Nathaniel to Bartimaeus; Bartimaeus and Nathaniel to Kitty.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: In the third book, when Faquarl accuses Bartimaeus of betraying his kind, Bartimaeus angrily retorts that Faquarl is the traitor who abandoned the Other Place (where they and other spirits come from) and even encouraged other spirits to leave for the sake of vengeance.
  • Slave to PR: Nathaniel in the later books, once he enters politics - note that this does not necessarily make him more ethical, just more underhanded.
  • Smug Snake: Lovelace. Nathaniel himself in the second book. And Julius Tallow. And Duvall, seeing as Makepeace played him like a fiddle. And seeing as how Faquarl played him like a fiddle, Quentin Makepeace probably counts. Hell, just about every magician counts.
  • Snooping Little Kid: Nathaniel in the first book.
  • Spirit World: The "Other Place."
  • The Starscream: Khaba in the prequel.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: At the end of the prequel, Bartimaeus does this using Solomon's Ring to get rid of Ammet.
  • Summoning Ritual
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Any time Bartimaeus and Nathaniel work together without a pentacle; actually a subversion, as Bartimaeus would have killed Nathaniel if there hadn't been other parts in the agreement to stop it... Or so he insist.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    • "You'll notice I'm calling you John Mandrake now... the boy who was Nathaniel's fading, almost gone."
    • In the middle of book three, Ms. Lutyens outright tells Nathaniel that he is no longer the boy who was grateful to her and leaves in disgust.
    • Then finally, at the end of book three, Nathaniel tells Kitty his birth name, and no longer goes by Mandrake, looking at how he used to be with disgust.
    • To a lesser extent, Kitty. She considers giving one of her false identities to the junior magicians... and realizes she doesn't need to.
  • Tricking the Shapeshifter - When Kitty tries to use this on Bartimaeus, he laughs at the idea that he would fall for one of The Oldest Tricks in The Book. He notes, however, that had the trick worked it would have been a very powerful binding charm since he would have imprisoned himself of his own free will.
  • Trickster: Bartimaeus.
  • Trilogy Creep: It was a trilogy, then along came the announcement of a prequel.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: The second and third books are more connected in theme, plot, and character than the first to the second.
  • Unknown Rival: Twelve-year-old Nathaniel -> Simon Lovelace in Book 1.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Bartimaeus.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Nathaniel and Kitty; Jane Farrar and John Mandrake, though he's probably happy about that last one being unresolved.
  • Villain Protagonist: Nathaniel, sometimes. Also, depending on your point of view, the human protagonist of The Ring of Solomon for much of the book.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Simon Lovelace, Duvall, Quentin Makepeace.
  • Volleying Insults: Bartimaeus and Nathaniel at their most childish - i.e. most of the time.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Bartimaeus and the other spirits, though the number of shapes varies,and Kitty while in The Other Place, though she's not very good at it. Djinn seem to have the most diverse forms, with lower-level spirits lacking the imagination and high-level spirits being somewhat mode-locked due to their own power.
  • Water Wakeup: Nathaniel gets one in Book 2.
  • Weak but Skilled: Bartimaeus, relatively. Djinn are in the middle in the hirearchy of conventional, commonly summoned demons (behind afrits and marids). He's a moderately strong djinni, but is weaker than Faquarl and Jabor in an all-out fight, not to mention anything stronger. He gets by with his wits and running away at appropriate times, especially as he grows progressively less strong in Book 3 from being continually summoned. As djinn are the most powerful demon likely to be summoned, with afrits and marids being a sign of Oh Crap levels of power, he's often moderately outclassed.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Spirits and silver/iron - but somewhat justified in that they are alien to earth and everything connected to it causes them discomfort (like we get from fire because we are alien to it). It's part of traditional folklore that silver and iron weapons are effective against supernatural beings.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Bartimaeus claims to avoid becoming attached to his human masters because he knows he will inevitably outlive them.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Bartimaeus calls Nathaniel on this every time, though Nathaniel rarely seems to get the point. It is open to interpretation whether Bartimaeus actually cares or just gets his kicks seeing Nathaniel squirm.
  • Whitehall: An alternate universe version.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: None of Faquarl's forms are desribed as having white hair, but he has the personality down pat.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Nathaniel - he gets over it. Almost too far over it at least for a while. More purely, Ptolemy and Kitty.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Played with. In the opening of The Ring of Solomon, the magician Ezekiel grows annoyed with Bartimaeus's cheek and threatens to pummel him with a punishment called the "Essence Fist." "You'd hit a woman?" asks Bartimaeus, who is wearing a sultry female guise at the moment.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Resistance is introduced as a group of crazy teenage anarchists who want to bring down the noble and just government.