The Black Swan
Once upon a time there was a princess named Odette who was kidnaped by the evil sorcerer Eric von Rothbart and subjected to an unusual curse -- she is human only at night under moonlight; by day she is a beautiful white swan.
This novel is not about her. This is about the other swan.
Odile von Rothbart is the dutiful daughter of her father and a rising sorceress in her own right. She keeps his palace without complaint, though she longs for more of her father's approval. Like the Baron, she believes the swan maidens are fickle, faithless creatures who deserve their situation because they have been untrue to their men. But then one day, Odette defies the sorcerer to give her a chance to prove her rehabilitation...
Perhaps the two swans are not so different after all.
Not to be confused with the film Black Swan.
- Animal Motifs: The swan for Odile, an eagle-owl for Baron von Rothbart, and one of the princesses at the ball is garbed as a hawk.
- Arranged Marriage: What Odette refused, thus 'earning' her a place in the Baron's flock. Several others are implied to have done the same, including one of the four Little Swans.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Odette and Siegfried attempt suicide rather than let Rothbart separate them.
- Body Snatcher: Von Rothbart uses magic to take control of Odile at the ball so that she can seduce and distract Siegfried -- or at least, not warn him.
- Chekhov's Gun: Odile casually mentions at one point that wizards are generally warded against ordinary weapons but not gold or silver, and that she herself has a little silver dagger.
- Costume Porn: Odile's ballgown. Think Pimped-Out Dress plus Domino Mask plus black swan wings plus jewels all over. Even Odile seems embarrassed at how over-the-top it is.
- Courtly Love: Discussed between Siegfried, Benno, and Wolfgang. Benno is particularly convinced that high-class women are to be adored but not touched; neither he nor Siegfried hold lower-class girls in such esteem.
- Cry Cute: One of the freshly-caught swan maidens at the beginning of the book. Odile's inner monologue is full of acid comments about how hideous this would be by daylight.
- Curse Escape Clause: If Odette can get a man to swear fidelity to her and remain true for a month, the curse will be broken.
- Dances and Balls
- Does Not Like Women: Von Rothbart. He believes all women (and most men) are naturally faithless.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Not only Odette, but six other princesses as bridal candidates for Siegfried.
- Exact Words: Siegfried swears to marry the woman who is standing next to him. Whoops.
- Glamour: Siegfried sees Odile as Odette at the ball. She is unable to tell him otherwise.
- God Save Us From the Queen: Clothilde. She wants to murder her son to keep the throne; unusually for this trope, she's otherwise a good ruler.
- Go Through Me: Three different occasions -- Odette for the flock, Siegfried for Odette, and (awesomely) the flock for Odette and Siegfried.
- Heel Face Turn: Both Odile and Siegfried.
- Heel Realization: Siegfried again.
- Hooked Up Afterwards: Broadly hinted for Odile and Benno.
- The Hunter: Von Rothbart.
- Ladykiller in Love: Siegfried.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: Odette and the rest of the flock, in contrast with the Voluntary Shapeshifting of the Baron and Odile.
- Love Potion: Clothilde used one to marry the King. She contemplates using the same formula on Siegfried or his new bride to keep them infatuated with each other (and thus extend her reign).
- Lower Deck Episode: This is Swan Lake from Odile's point of view.
- Mad Scientist: Von Rothbart is a fantasy example, making Odile the..
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self
- Missing Mom: Odile has only a father. Losing his wife is hinted to be the Baron's Start of Darkness.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Odile and Rothbart. Odile admits that she would probably have done anything for him if he'd just asked...but instead he forcibly bespells her to betray her friend, stealing her own magic to do it, and that's the end of that.
- Moral Myopia: Just about everyone. The sympathetic characters eventually grow out of it.
- Old Man Marrying a Child: Zigzagged. One of the youngest girls was taken from an arranged marriage to a cruel older man -- but when she develops a crush on Siegfried's elderly tutor and wants to marry him, everyone thinks it would be a good arrangement.
- Perspective Flip: Of Swan Lake.
- Princess Classic: Odette.
- Rape as Drama: Siegfried, how could you?
- Regent for Life: Clothilde.
- Requisite Royal Regalia: Odette always wears a coronet. As a swan, she wears a crown-shaped pendant.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: The Baron's view of his magical punishments. It doesn't particularly matter to him whether it's real betrayal, treachery which he enticed or tricked the other person into, or just something that is betrayal From a Certain Point of View..
- Scare'Em Straight: Siegfried's recurring nightmare about the gypsy.
- Self-Made Orphan: Odile literally stabs von Rothbart in the back, though he more than has it coming.
- The Scourge of God: Baron von Rothbart, particularly to the swan maidens and Clothilde.
- Twice-Told Tale
- Vampiric Draining: Mages can steal energy from other people to power their spells. Von Rothbart has been doing it to his flock (without their consent) for years.
- The Von Trope Family: Baron von Rothbart and his daughter, as in the original story.
- "Well Done, Daughter" Girl: Odile, so very much. She could easily have become Daddy's Little Villain except that Baron von Rothbart either 1) didn't think of it or 2) was unwilling to share power.
- White-Haired Pretty Girl: Odile.