True Fans

January 25th, 2013

A short while ago I was admiring Brent’s commitment to the cause by getting a full sleeve done First Law style.  Ever since I have been positively bombarded by photos of people’s First Law themed tattoos.  Well.  Two of them.

Step forward the chest of James:

And the freshly inked forearm of Hayden:

Congratulations, fellas, you are true fans.  Now who’s going to get one half of their entire body tattooed with runes a la Fenris the Feared.  Well?


Posted in Uncategorized by Joe Abercrombie on January 25th, 2013.

32 comments so far

  • Luke Scull says:

    Not exactly a tattoo, but after reading The Heroes I kept repeating “Man says a thing, man does a thing” (a Black Dow quote, I believe) whenever anyone asked me to do anything, until my wife wanted to punch me in the face. So I’ve done my bit to share the wisdom of Joe Abercrombie with the world.

  • Mike Hunt is Wet says:

    No Lestek tats? Soft.

  • Lor says:

    You pay, I’ll get the runes tattoo. I’m totally up for that. 😉

  • Jonathan says:

    If I was 7ft tall, huge, and it wouldn’t affect my life otherwise, I’d totally go for the Feared-style blue script.

    If only…

  • Lance Lewis says:

    im actually booked to get fenris’s runes to fill in my sleeve and ribs! but i don’t actually know what they say so getting ragnorok translated to runes. ha!

  • Kegogut says:

    One of my favorites. “I have learned all kinds of things from my many mistakes. The one thing I never learn is to stop making them.”

  • Anders says:

    @ Luke
    I think that’s a quote from Game of Thrones.
    The mand that help Arrya escape – don’t have the books in front of me right now.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Paying for it is all part of the commitment that being a true fan entails. You should also pay me a licence fee. In fact, perhaps I should talk to my lawyer about copyright violation on some of these tattoos….

    Mike Hunt,
    “My best performance is still ahead of me…”

    Yeah, that’s not me, sadly.

    Send us a photo. But until you get the face done it ain’t really Fenris, is it?

    Yes, that one is me.

  • Luke Scull says:

    The bit I’m referring to is when Black Dow is ranting about the failure of certain Northmen to hold their position against the Union, and he starts talking about how things aren’t the same as they used to be, back when he kept the company of Dogman and co. He says something along the lines of “Even the Bloody-Nine, when he said he would do a thing, he fucking did it! Man says a thing, man fucking does a thing.” It was a nice bit of characterisation that showed that even though Black Dow is a murderous bastard, he’s still from that old school of doing things where a man’s word and loyalty to his comrades is something you just don’t break.

    I’ve probably got the quotes all wrong (don’t have the book with me), but the sentiment’s the same. Though the fact I can’t remember them by heart inevitably casts doubt on my True Fan credentials…

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Getting quotes wrong is why a true fan needs the proper words tattooed across the backs of their hands…

  • Luke Scull says:

    Found the quote:

    ‘Those were men!’ He roared the word in Ironhead’s face, spraying spit and making everyone flinch. ‘They said a thing, they did a fucking thing!’

    I’ve booked a visit to the tattooist tomorrow. I’m going to get those words tattooed on my eyeballs as an eternal reminder of my epic failure this day. On the plus side, I now get to use my made-up version in my own novels.

  • ColinJ says:

    Bad-ass indeed.

    I wish there was more Abercrombie fan art out there. If I had a shred of artistic talent I would do some myself.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I think the only honourable thing is to get the words tattooed directly into your visual cortex, then have a piece cut out of your skull and a mirror on an arm attached to the back of your head, so that you can constantly see, at the corner of your vision, the words tattooed onto your own brain.

    Sound reasonable?

  • Lor says:

    I’m planning on getting a half-sleeve of quotes sometime in the near future, I’m sure I’ll manage to fit some Abercrombian wisdom in there somewhere 🙂

  • Luke Scull says:


    Actually, that sounds like a brilliant concept for a grimdark protagonist. Mind if I steal that too?

    In all seriousness, once my harem of Amazonian beauties have finished whipping me with their thongs, my wife is serving up homemade pizza. Anyone who’s sampled her previous offerings will know this is punishment akin to performing penis reduction surgery with a cheese grater. My penance will suffice.

    (I’m going to hope she never visits this blog.)

  • AntMac says:

    Well, I guess we need a Maori fella for the Fenris tatts, if it has to be the face too.

    And when I say, “Need a Maori fella”, I actually and seriously mean to say “Some OTHER Maori fella than I”, as tattoos bloody hurt!.

    Who is making you this sleeve with the tattoos on it, Lor, and how much do they cost?. How transparent is the sleeve material?. I would love some with Tiger stripes on!.


  • David M says:

    When I have kids. If I have kids. I’m getting them tatooed with all manner of wise verbage so that when I’m not there to set them on the right path, if say they get taken away from me by social services, they’ll still know right from wrong. And also fit in if they’re in a biker bar. Or Rotherham.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I don’t know that you HAVE to be a Maori to tattoo your face. But it helps.

    David M,
    That is responsible parenting.

  • Anon says:

    I know if someone asked me to tattoo them a Joe Abercrombie quotes I would have to do it for free, hence ‘Anon’. ‘You have to be realistic!’

  • Lor says:


    I’m hardcore, I go ink in skin 😉

    Though I may lose points for having a Sam Sykes tattoo before I got one with Joe’s wisdom in it…

  • Antmac says:

    Mike Tyson got half his done, I have to say it wasn’t an improvement in his case.

    This, however, pleased me so strongly, it is hard to explain probably to someone who isn’t Maori. And I am about as staunch a loyalist as you could find, one of the Queens partisans. She is our Queen, and to see her with a Kuias Moko seemed right on a visceral level. Profoundly moving to me.

  • SwindonNick says:

    I once got a paper cut reading one of your books – surely that must be hard to top in terms of sacrifice…?

  • Greg Lynch says:

    Please write another post so I don’t have to look at that man’s nipple anymore. No, I am not conflicted about my sexuality.

  • adrian ireland says:

    i would get the wise words of cosca,a drink a drink a drink,i was once a grand duke you know, never steal eggs from a metal eyed man,i wasnt so much at the front as just behind it, the chances of being killed there are really very high, spikes and excrement, theres honor for you. heads on spikes never go out of fashion, i have spent several fortunes in my liftime and look forward to spending another

  • dietl says:

    No Joe, don’t write another post. At least not until I know how long it takes for Greg to get unsure about his sexuality.

  • Ashley says:

    This tattoo is half the reason I started speaking to James! Joe Abercrombie tattoos are a total girl magnet! The other half was that nip. What a spectacular nip!

    James and I are going back and forth with ideas on a duo tattoo based on the books when I come to England from America next month. Any ideas?? If Joe does a last minute book signing promoting his next book where Shivers finally goes to Happy Unicorn Land with me, I’ll get it on my forehead.

  • AntMac says:

    . . . ok?.

    lol. A duo Tattoo would just HAVE to reference Monza and Brenna. And if it was to show your deeply kinky if not actually perverse love for one another, then it is all good. They are the characters who are all about the love-which-speaks-in-an-Appalachian-Drawl. =]

    I think the boy of any of his duos has to settle for second place in the “Excellent Quotes” competition though, doesn’t he?.

    The Happy Unicorn Land thing instantly made me think of an episode of My Little Pony written by Joe. But someone already did that, with the Happy Tree-Friends.

  • Mike L says:

    Can’t we just buy your books in stead of illegally downloading them to show we’re true fans?
    Keep up the fantastic work.

  • Angel says:

    As soon as I have this baby in the next few weeks (and am healed enough to think about tattoos), I’m getting “Better to do it than live with the fear of it”. I’ll send you the picture. You’re the biggest influence to my first novel (in publication stages) and I just have to have something of yours tattooed on me.

  • Tim says:

    I have as yet no tattoo from any of your books.
    However, I am currently going through artwork picking the ones that are the closest to what I imagine them to look like which is not all that easy, It has taken me 5 months of searching and I only as yet have 3 (Logan, Adree and Shivers).
    I have found an amazing tattoo artist that lives 3 hours drive and is willing to do all day sittings on my back, Just need to find a few more then I will post. Loved your books so much I am on my third read. Thank you

  • Ted DeBray says:

    I’m supposing that mine is the only runic “back to the mud” ink you’ve seen? You may recall I showed it to you in Seattle a few years back…stoked for the new novel, first going to listen to Pacey reading everything First Law to me again!

  • Kevin Brown says:

    Hey Joe,
    First of all I’m a HUGE fan of your books. By far the best I’ve read. I recently got a “you have to be realistic” tattoo with a handprint with 9 fingers. Second, I’m curious as to how you choose the philosophical quotes at the begin of each act. These quotes are one of the many reasons why I love your books and my favorite is “unhappy is the land that is in need of heroes” by Bertolt Bretch.

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