The Horse and His Boy

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The fifth book written for The Chronicles of Narnia series; a Midquel that takes place during the reign of the Pevensies in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The Horse and His Boy is the only book in the series where no action takes place in our world. It tells the story of four runaways from the southern kingdom Calormen -- the peasant boy Shasta, the Rebellious Princess Aravis, and two Narnian horses Bree and Hwin -- whose quest for their own freedom soon turns into a mission to warn Narnia and Archenland of an impending invasion by the Calormene prince Rabadash. The journey will take them through the great city of Tashbaan, across the treacherous desert that borders Calormen, and over the mountains that separate Archenland from their ultimate goal -- Narnia and the North!

Tropes used in The Horse and His Boy include:
  • A Boy and His X: A Boy and his Horse as well as A Girl and her Mare. Bree, however, finds this phrasing prejudiced and believes it's just as fair to say that the children are the horses' humans. Hence the title.
  • Adipose Rex: The Tisroc of Calormen.
  • A Friend in Need: Both Bree and Hwin reveal they can talk just when Shasta and Aravis, respectively, are in desperate need of help.
  • Exclusively Evil: Played straight with the Calormene rulers, though their people are frequently portrayed as being simply dull and boring (or silly and stupid) rather than evil.
  • Arranged Marriage: What Aravis is fleeing.
  • Aslan Was My Co-pilot: A lot of Shasta's misadventures were Aslan saving him from something worse.
  • Automaton Horses: Defied quite resoundingly. Not only can the horses tell their humans what they need, the threat of "Rabadash and two hundred horse" drops from 'legendary' to 'big but manageable' when Bree points out how long it will take to get that many riders moving, saddled, provisioned, watered, etc.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Aslan turns Prince Rabadash into a donkey during his Humiliation Conga. The final part? He can only be changed back by showing up at the temple during his country's largest festival, letting the entire country see what happened to him.
    • Furthermore, if he ever goes too far from the palace, he'll turn back into a donkey forever. This prevents him from conducting any military campaigns against neighboring kingdoms.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Aravis and Cor become so used to fighting and making up again that they get married "to go on doing it more conveniently."
  • Break the Haughty: Bree, Aravis, and Rabadash, although only the first two really learn anything from the experience.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Shasta, a peasant orphan, turns out to be the long-lost prince of Archenland. Atypically for the trope, Shasta is kind of dismayed by the fact that this means he'll have to be king one day, and his brother is only too happy to be relieved of the responsibility. ("I shan't have to be king! It's princes that get all the fun!")
  • Driven to Suicide: Aravis in her Backstory. Hwin stops her.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Played straight with the Calormene nobility, subverted with the Narnian nobility who dress more modestly but seem more regal, averted with King Lune in everyday clothes.
  • Evil Chancellor: The Grand Vizier, though unusually for this trope he's more of a passive-aggressive back-biter than anything else.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Bree tells Shasta that he would rather be dead tonight than be Tarkhaan Anradin's slave tomorrow.
  • Game Face: Subverted -- Rabadash rolls his eyes, sticks out his tongue, and wiggles his ears. It terrifies his underlings (who know he can have them boiled in oil at any minute), but it has no effect on the free Narnians.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: All that's said among the Narnians about Rabadash's plans for Susan is that he plans to make her his "wife -- or more likely, slave."
  • The Grand Vizier: The Calormene Grand Vizier is too minor of a character to be a good example of the trope, but he is most definitely not a nice person. He's Calormene and an aristocrat, what were you expecting?
    • His brief appearance is an interesting deconstruction of the Evil Vizier trope, though.
  • Hero of Another Story: Aslan warns against being too interested in this, but the Pevensies are this to Shasta and his is this to them. It's one of the few books that are written from the Hero Of Another Story's point-of-view.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Shasta's backstory, the knight who starved himself to keep Shasta alive.
  • Humiliation Conga: Prince Rabadash, ending with a Karmic Transformation.
  • Ice Queen: Aravis is pretty prudish and cold toward Shasta for the first half of the book, though she eventually defrosts.
  • Intellectual Animal: Bree.
  • In That Order: Lasaraleen threatens to beat her servants to death, burn them alive, and keep them on bread and water for three weeks -- rather, rather ineffectual punishments if done in that order.
  • Justified Criminal: Shasta feels guilty about "raiding" food and supplies from the Calormenes, but Bree rationalizes it by explaining that they are in "enemy territory".
  • Lady of War: Queen Lucy joins the archers in battle. Queen Susan, it is explained, is an excellent shot, but doesn't like fighting.
  • Last Stand
  • Made a Slave: What Shasta is fleeing, and the horses' backstory.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Shasta a.k.a. Prince Cor.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Averted as part of Aravis's Character Development: she drugged one of her servant girls in order to escape. When Shasta asked what happened to the servant, Aravis casually speculated that she was whipped for it. Shasta pointed out that this was hardly fair to the servant, which Aravis coldly rebuffed as she thought the girl was a mere spy of her Wicked Stepmother. Aravis did get her just desserts when Aslan attacked the party as a lion and slashed her back, giving her the same wounds as the servant received.
  • The Ojou: Lasaraleen Tarkheena is the Spoiled Sweet type: ditzy, gossipy and shallow, but not half as bad as others.
  • Phrase Catcher/Verbal Tic: The name "The Tisroc" is usually followed with "May he live forever." As a free Narnian at heart, Bree makes a point of omitting that little tidbit.
  • Ravens and Crows: Sallowpad the giant raven.
  • Rebellious Princess: Aravis.
  • Right Behind Me: Aslan appears just as Bree is holding forth on how ludicrous it would be for their Big Good to be an actual lion.
  • Runaway Fiance: Aravis again. She's got a good reason, though: she was engaged to the much older Ahoshta Tarkaan aka the Grand Vizier as both a way to gain power for her nobleman father and an excuse for her Wicked Stepmother to get rid of her.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Aravis, though the confusion happens at their first meeting, at night, and is cleared up quickly.
  • Sapient Steed: The two Narnian horses in the story. Some additional talking horses are seen as the Narnians go to war, although it's noted that nobody rides talking horses when there isn't a pressing need.
  • Separated at Birth: Cor and Corin.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Aravis and Shasta, canonically.
  • Smug Snake: Ye gods, Prince Rabadash.
    • Ahoshta Tarkaan as well.
  • Spare to the Throne: Turns out Shasta was one of two princes of Archenland and had been kidnapped as a baby. As the older twin, guess who's next for the throne? His twin brother is delighted when this is discovered, not wanting the throne anyway.
    • Prince Rabadash's father the Tisroc allows his son to attack Archenland specifically because the prince is Hot-Blooded and hard to control and he has plenty of spares to replace him.
  • Stealth Pun: the grand vizier describing Rabadash's familial love as a "carbuncle."
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Aravis dresses in her brother's armour so she won't be recognised when she runs away. This is only on the first night however.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Aslan tells several characters that they are not meant to know a) other people's stories, and b) what could have been if they made different choices. However, the implication is less "You would Go Mad from the Revelation" and more "Hey, look, I'm not a gossip."
  • This Is My Human: the title, also mentioned explicitly in the text when Aravis complains about Bree asking questions of "her" horse instead of her.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Aravis and Lasaraleen.
  • Tomboy Princess: Aravis, again. Also Queen Lucy, although she acts a little more feminine in a private environment, since when she and Aravis meet they start talking about dresses and girly stuff.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Aravis.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Lions?
  • Wicked Stepmother: Aravis had one, and was one of the reasons why she left.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Corin. When Shasta tries to suggest a lie and concludes he will have to tell the truth, he scorns the notion that he would not.