Have you ever read any of the Movies in Fifteen Minutes?
RANDOM SCOTTISH PEOPLE: Lymond is back.
READERS: And we’ll have to wait hundreds of pages to find out why.
LYMOND: *is incomprehensible*
PIG: *is drunk*
READERS WHO ARE NEW TO THE SERIES: wtf?
READERS WHO HAVE READ THE WHOLE SERIES: You’ll learn.
JANET BEATON: So, how about those sons of ours?
SYBILLA: Don’t get me started.
MARIOTTA, ON STAIRCASE: Heya, baby! How’s about you and m — wait, you’re my brother-in-law.
LYMOND: *is drunk*
SYBILLA: Oh dear. Didn’t I teach you any manners?
LYMOND: Remember, Mother, I’m supposed to be Europe’s most dissolute and amoral outlaw. Do play along.
SYBILLA: The way you’re acting? That won’t be hard.
CASTLE: *is on fire*
READERS: This guy’s the hero?
Wherever Lymond’s Merry Men are hanging out
WILL SCOTT: Hi! I heard you’re accepting applications for impressionable and not entirely bright young men with whom to engage in dysfunctional and rather slashable relationships?
LYMOND: Er, no.
WILL: Well, SOMEBODY put that ad in the paper.
DUNNETT: *whistles innocently*
LYMOND: Whatever. Kill that guy over there for me.
OYSTER CHARLIE: &@$#?!?!?!
LYMOND: I should enjoy this while I can, since that’s about the last order of mine you’ll obey. Welcome to my band of naughty, naughty rogues.
READERS: Did you say something about slash?
Hall What’s Next To A Bog
SYM: Lady Christian, I found this guy in the bog . . . .
CHRISTIAN. I see. Strip him, wash him, and bring him to my chamber.
SYM: Uh . . . .
CHRISTIAN: So I may heal him, of course! Get your mind out of the gutter.
LYMOND: Who are you? Are we enemies? Why am I
on this wall-walk in your bedroom? . . . and who am I?
CHRISTIAN: We’re entirely unclear on whether I know that just yet or not, so let’s leave it for later.
LYMOND: If you insist. The good news is, that means you get to be one of the few people in this book who sees my good side.
READERS: You have a good side?
LORD GREY: Hath anyone elthe notithed that Dunnett’th a thadithtic bitch?
WILL, IN CHAINS: Yes.
DON LUIS: *is flamboyantly Spanish*
WILL: Oh shit.
LYMOND: Don’t worry. I engineered the whole thing so you could both exercise your free will and three brain cells and then learn from your mistakes, in such a fashion that the credit for tweaking Grey’s nose will go to you and therefore your father who could use it, leaving my tarnished reputation intact — such as it is. Also, I haven’t done anything ridiculous since the incident with the pig, and I was getting bored.
WILL: I hate you.
SIR ANDREW: I should have asked Sir George for a complimentary gag with my purchase of this guy.
CROUCH: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah . . . .
LYMOND: <deep voice> I’m Batman. </deep voice>
SIR ANDREW: ow ow OW ow.
LYMOND AND CROUCH: *are gone*
SIR ANDREW: . . . that didn’t go like I planned.
(Politics begin playing Twister.)
Wapenshaw of Brotherly Warfare
[[compiler’s note — just as I started in on this bit, “The Battle of Stirling” came up on shuffle, from the Braveheart soundtrack. True story.]]
RANDOM SCOTTISH PEOPLE: It’s a Papingo/Fratricide double feature!
PARROT: I hate you all. [to Richard] I’m tied to a 120-foot pole. What’s your excuse?
RICHARD: Congenital tendencies toward self-destructive behavior?
RANDOM SCOTTISH PEOPLE: *hold breath*
READERS: *hold breath*
LYMOND: *shoots better* Fly, my pretty, fly! Be free!
PARROT: At least SOMEBODY here likes m —
LYMOND: *shoots again*
PARROT: Bastard. *hrk*
THIRD ARROW: *pretends to be from Lymond*
RICHARD: Bastard. *hrk*
READERS WHO HAVE READ THE WHOLE SERIES: Hey, don’t joke about that.
Wherever Lymond’s Merry Men are hiding now
WILL: I can’t seem to make up my mind whether I hate Lymond or love him.
READERS: We know the feeling.
WILL: I’ll settle for imitating him.
CROUCH: Want to learn to play cards better?
WILL: Sure. You never know when it and the name you’ll drop in passing will come in handy.
(Politics tie themselves in a knot.)
LYMOND: Enough of politics. Let’s have some fun.
ARGYLL’S PIPER: *ruptures eardrums*
UNSUSPECTING PATRONS OF THE OSTRICH: You’re as much of a sadist as your author is.
All along the Border
LYMOND: Mind if I borrow your livestock?
LENNOX’S MEN: Hey! That’s my sheep!
BUCCLEUCH: Pssst. Will. Quick, while he’s not looking.
WILL: Nah, I like Lymond. Bye!
RICHARD: Hulk smash!
GIDEON: I didn’t do it.
LYMOND: Ooookay . . . mind if I ask your daughter some questions?
KATE AND GIDEON: Yes.
PHILIPPA: omg I hate you forever.
Someplace in Scotland
WILL: Come to think of it, I hate you too.
Edinburgh and Perth
RICHARD: Why should my dissolute and amoral brother have all the fun? Hey, Patey —
PATEY: Sorry, your plot point is in another castle.
RICHARD: Hey, fellow —
MALCOLM WAUGH: Sorry, your plot point is in another tavern.
RICHARD: Hey, you —
JOCK MERTON: Sorry, your plot point is drunk off his ass.
JAMIE WAUGH: *is drunk*
RICHARD: Sod this. *throws Jamie in a river*
JAMIE WAUGH: Son of a bitch! But I’m still drunk enough for that to be kind of fun. Um, let’s see . . . oh, sorry, turns out your brother anticipated your every move.
(Politics file for a legal name change to “Gordion.”)
Forest of Familial Fistfighting
BUCCLEUCH: Come home, son.
WILL: But . . . okay, I don’t really LIKE Lymond . . . but I still want to stay.
BUCCLEUCH: He blew up his own SISTER.
RANDOM SCOTTISH TROOPS: *close trap*
BUCCLEUCH: Oh shit.
WILL: Traitor! I’m going back to Lymond!
Midculter of Marital Mistakes
MARIOTTA: Don’t I get a voice in politics?
RICHARD: Not for another couple hundred years, no. Sorry.
MARIOTTA: Wah! You don’t care about me! Your brother’s the only one who cares about me! See, he sent me sparklies!
RICHARD: Bidding appears to have been commendably brisk. So, is this like an eBay auction? Can I snipe my brother at the last second? ‘Cause that would be SWEET.
MARIOTTA: WAHHHHHHH!!!! *runs away*
Wherever they’ve dragged the not-so-Merry Countess
MARGARET LENNOX: Hello, readers. I’m here to provide some backstory.
READERS: THANK GOD.
MARGARET LENNOX: Francis, you know Henry would never have betrayed you.
LYMOND: . . . are we talking about the same Henry? The one who apparently killed a guy for beating him too often at cards?
MARGARET LENNOX: But I can make all your problems vanish! My love, come away with me!
IMAGINARY SOUNDTRACK: *is romantic*
LYMOND: Bitch, please.
IMAGINARY SOUNDTRACK: *dies with a squawk*
MARGARET LENNOX: I must confess, I never thought you would. By the way, we have your brother’s wife. How’s about you send me back and in exchange we take care of that little problem for you?
LYMOND: I have a better idea.
Later that night
WILL: GODDAMN IT I’VE HAD ENOUGH WITH YOU MISTREATING WOMEN.
LYMOND: You appear to be operating under the misapprehension that Margaret Lennox is a woman and not a devil.
WILL: I MEANT MARIOTTA.
LYMOND: Dude, she’s not even here yet for me to mistreat. But whatever. You want to take over? Be my guest.
WILL: . . .what’s the catch?
LYMOND: You have to beat me in a drinking contest.
WILL: YOU’RE ON.
So much later that night it’s morning again
WILL: *is passed out cold*
Wherever they’ve dragged the not-so-Merry Mariotta and her dead baby
LYMOND: That better idea of mine seems not to have worked.
MARIOTTA: ‘sokay. I love you! We can have many blonde — er, black — er, particoloured babies together!
LYMOND: Bitch, please.
WILL: Psst. Over here. While my common sense is still passed out from that drinking match.
Heriot of the Many Armies
LORD GREY: I didn’t bring Samuel Harvey.
LYMOND: I didn’t bring Will Scott.
RICHARD AND ERSKINE: But we brought the smackdown.
GREY’S BACKUP: So did we.
EVERYBODY: *runs away*
Lymond — the place, not the person
WILL: I, er, hid the gold where you blew up your sister. Hope you don’t mind.
ARMY: *shows up*
LYMOND: What, did you miss the party at Heriot?
WILL, LYMOND, AND MAT: *hide in basement*
WILL: Hey, look — coincidentally, there just happens to be a pile of gunpowder sitting over the only other exit! What tasty irony!
LYMOND: Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
WRESTLING: *is suggestive*
WILL: From hell’s heart I stab at thee!
CHRISTIAN: I know this man!
LYMOND: No you don’t.
CHRISTIAN: Yes I do.
LYMOND: [to everyone else] No she doesn’t.
CHRISTIAN: Yes I — oh, hell with it. Will you just cut him down already?
LYMOND: Hey! Those manacles were the only thing keeping me from collapsing!
WILL: *is thrown in*
LYMOND: Nah, it’s okay. You actually planned a decent trap AND delivered a scathing monologue at me, thus proving that some of my lessons got through your thick skull. Mind you, you’ve fucked over everything I’ve been doing for the last three hundred and fifty pages, but whatever. I’ll figure something out. ‘Night!
WILL: Man, I SUCK.
DUNNETT: How’s about I make it up to you with some awesome Casino Royale-style action later?
WILL: YOU’RE ON.
CELLAR: *is empty*
AGNES HERRIES: IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT YOU STUPID BOY.
WILL: *sigh* I think I love that man again.
(Politics begin to violate Euclidean geometry)
KATE: . . . you want me to take care of the guy who stole our livestock, invaded our home, interrogated our daughter, and undid all your hard work of retirement.
GIDEON: . . . yes?
KATE: At least he provides some conversational exercise. He’d just better not start forming a romantic relationship with Philippa, ’cause that would be sketchy. He’s WAY too old.
DUNNETT: *makes hasty revision notes*
All over the north of Great Britain
EVERYBODY: *heads toward Hexham*
In the vicinity of Hadrian’s Wall
CHRISTIAN: Why do I have a bad feeling that riding at top speed across unfamiliar country while blind is a bad idea?
DITCH: *is evil*
READERS: *hate ditch with the burning heat of a thousand suns*
EVERYBODY: *heads there instead*
PAPERS: *are blank*
READERS WHO ARE NEW TO THE SERIES: omgnotcool.
READERS WHO HAVE READ THE WHOLE SERIES: You might want to just stop now. She doesn’t get any nicer.
Hall of Divine Dueling
TOUR GUIDE: Here you may see the location of the best fight scene in all of English literature. Take special note of where every object, person, and beam of light is, because they’re all going to be relevant by the time we’re done.
LYMOND: *pretends to fight*
RICHARD: You bloody-minded little vampire — how in God’s name can I hurt you enough?
LYMOND: How about you let me get shot full of holes at Hexham, then nurse me back to health for my eventual public execution while eviscerating what’s left of my soul until I try to commit suicide, whereupon you knee me right in all those little holes?
DUEL: *is the awesomest awesome to ever be awesome*
LYMOND: Catch me if you can!
CONVERSATION: *is ignored, because everybody’s watching Acheson*
LYMOND: Fortunately, Margaret Lennox is the one woman I don’t mind using as a meat shield.
ERSKINE: I’m beginning to understand why Will both hates and loves you.
ACHESON: I! Am! Your singing telegram!
CHIPS OF STONE: *perforate*
RICHARD: No, see, getting killed is all a part of his cunning plan!
ERSKINE: . . . you keep telling yourself that. We’re going home.
Dell of the Best Part of the Book Except the Duel
RICHARD: No! Don’t die! You have everything to live for! Like the public conclusion of your utter ruin, the devastation of your family, the airing of all our dirty laundry, and your eventual and extremely messy execution!
LYMOND: Tempting, but . . . .
(He tries to commit suicide. Richard stops him. Painfully.)
READERS: Jesus Christ, that even made OUR ribs hurt.
READERS: Y’all are messed up.
SYBILLA: Actually, I’ve got a signed confession from Sir Andrew Hunter saying he did all that stuff.
LAUDER: ‘sokay; I’ve got more. J’accuse!
LYMOND: Nope, not guilty, and here’s why.
READERS: Is THAT what was going on?
LAUDER: FOCUS, people. J’accuse!
SIR GEORGE AND JOHN MAXWELL: Er, he’s not guilty of those either.
LAUDER: Hey, this is still the most fun I’ve had in my life. J’accuse!
LYMOND: Not guilty, but I’m starting to feel a bit wilted here.
READERS: And our brains are melting from the information overload.
LAUDER: Okay, we’ll take a break. Anybody up for some Lymond/Lauder slash? ‘Cause I’d TOTALLY hit that.
Castle of Card-Playing Craziness
WILL: Since the role of red-headed and loud-mouthed Scott is being more than adequately filled by my father right now, I’ll come be useful here.
PALMER: May I see your cards? I will hug them and squeeze them and call them George.
WILL: You’re a bit creepy, you know that? How’s about I just buy the papers off you?
PALMER: No dice. Dunnett tells me you made a deal with her.
WILL: Oh, right. YOU’RE ON.
Courtroom of Whack-a-Mole Charges
LYMOND: I’m running out of alibis, here.
LAUDER: YOU BLEW UP YOUR SISTER.
LYMOND: . . . yes, I did.
READERS: WHAT. THE. HELL.
LYMOND: But I didn’t mean to!
LAUDER: Got any proof of that? No? Didn’t think so.
But that was in another country and besides, the wench is dead. Nearly all the people concerned are dead, and those persons who still remember the event are in enemy country. Therefore, you’re guilty. This is a bad, bad man, and you should execute him publicly and messily so that people know not to blow up their sisters.
ERSKINE: Shouldn’t we wait for Will?
ERSKINE: I still haven’t testified!
LAUDER: That’s okay; we believe you.
RICHARD: I’m Spartacus!
LYMOND: Wrong story, Richard. Now sit down before you undo all my hard work of keeping my family out of this. Or at least what’s left of that hard work, which mostly consists of you not being dead.
Castle of Card-Playing Craziness
WILL: Hey, lady — you promised me James Bond awesomeness, not strip poker!
DUNNETT: Read the fine print next time.
EVERYBODY: *is sweaty*
PALMER: You are the awesomest thing ever. Can I lick you?
WILL: Er, no. I’ve got a life to save. Assuming he didn’t get killed while you and the cards had your special time.
Edinburgh of Happy Endings
DUNNETT: And thus it turned out that, yeah, Lymond blew up his sister, but he didn’t mean to, and the other crimes he committed weren’t actually crimes at all or somebody else did them or — hell, even I can’t keep it all straight anymore. But he’s a good guy. If a bit of an ass. Okay, more than a bit. But he’s a PRETTY ass, and that counts for something.
STRAIGHT FEMALE AND GAY MALE READERS: Hell yeah!
DUNNETT: And so he lived happily ever after. At least until I sent him to France and fed him nightshade and put him in a twenty-horse pile-up and —
READERS WHO ARE NEW TO THE SERIES: What was that you said about stopping now?
READERS WHO HAVE READ THE ENTIRE SERIES: Yeah, but she makes it hurt so good.
I just couldn’t resist.