Lessons Learned From the A&E “Hornblower” Series

I’m in the middle of sorting through my stuff to decide what to keep/pack, what to throw out, what to give away, and what I will need for my epic road trip.

In the process, I found an old journal that contained a very interesting list: “What I Learned From Horatio Hornblower.” It was too entertaining not to share.

1. Duty is everything. No, I mean, everything.

2. Always carry a pair of thick mittens with you. (Not a euphemism.) You never know when they’ll be useful.

3. The rules don’t apply if you’re cute enough.


4. When you find yourself in times of trouble, pretend to be French.

5. Oatmeal cures anything.

6. If the oatmeal fails, there is always laudanum.

7. When you face your enemy, pistol in hand, just point the gun at him and engage him in conversation, and eventually someone else will shoot and kill him.

8. Never trust an unattractive Irishman. Cute ones are fine.*

9. Metal expands when heated.

And gunpowder explodes.

10. Nobility and stupidity often go hand-in-hand.

11. Think you’ve contracted the plague? Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you will die.

12. Make sure you maintain at least two best friends and confidantes, in case you lose one of them in battle.

13. You’re not being paranoid. There really is a psychopath out to kill you.**

14. Never hire a guy fresh out of prison as your cook.

15. Once you win the respect and affection of Sir Edward Pellew, you can literally get away with murder.

16. Do not rent from landladies with unmarried daughters.

Our hero, on the verge of a terrible mistake

17. Gambling is an excellent source of income.

18. Frenchmen have surprisingly bad French accents.

19. Duchesses have surprisingly working-class accents.

20. If a new, young officer shows the slightest hint of cowardice, shoot him immediately. It will save you a lot of trouble later on.

“But I have absolutely no intention of panicking in the middle of battle and telling transparent lies to save my wussy ass!”

21. Archie Kennedy says whatever the hell he wants.***

* May or may not apply in Downton Abbey.

** Also applies to Sherlock.

*** Does not apply in the presence of Lt. William Bush.

And just for good measure, I was actually at the church where Horatio Hornblower made that terrible mistake:




6 thoughts on “Lessons Learned From the A&E “Hornblower” Series

  1. Haha, this was probably the first british show I watched… I guess this and Austen were my gateway drugs into romanticism

  2. Also, this is not Ioan Gruffud’s only tangle with laudanum; he also plays an addicted William Wilberforce in Amazing Grace

    1. Ah yes, indeed. I actually saw that movie before I ever watched the Hornblower series. Although when I think of a person taking laudanum in “Hornblower,” Captain Sawyer is who first comes to mind.

  3. 2 things: this is awesome and really funny, and how on earth have I only watched a couple episodes of this show?

  4. Laughing like crazy right now. I loved this miniseries and your rules are hilarious. So true!

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