Dresden Files
Black Council

The Black Council is a hypothetical group, theorized to explain the organized and atypical behavior of a wide number of members of the supernatural. The term was coined by Harry Dresden;[1] Carlos Ramirez called them the Black Hats.[2]


The Black Council was mostly a hypothetical organization. It consisted of a lot of mysterious figures in black robes with delusions of Ringwraith-hood. They liked to call up the deadly dangerous demons from outside of reality, the Outsiders, and to infiltrate and corrupt every supernatural nation they could get to. Their motivations were mysterious, but they’d been causing trouble for the Council and everyone else for quite a while.Dresden[3]

Up until Cold Days, it was believed that the Black Council was a group of Wizards using dark magic to influence various events around the world.[4]

Any cautions of their existence had been met with derision and accusations of paranoia. After the traitor was discovered, only the possibility of its existence was accepted among some Council members. The Merlin refused to admit that the Black Council existed, thus escalating the paranoia and fear instead of "throwing the cold light of truth on the situation".[5]

Most events associated with the Black Council were the result of Nemesis, a mind-altering sentient contagion or possession, originating with the Outsiders, to help them get in through the Outer Gates.[6]

In the series[]

Fool Moon[]

In Fool Moon, Harry Dresden first suspects that someone is operating behind the scenes, wondering who taught Victor Sells the advanced Black magic he used in Storm Front, and how the FBI agents got their hands on the cursed wolf belts.[7][1]

Grave Peril[]

In Grave Peril, suspected Black Council operatives Cowl and Kumori were aligned with Bianca St. Claire, and made cameos at Bianca St. Claire's ball. They supplied her with the Athame given to the Leanansidhe in exchange for Amoracchius, and perhaps the unknown object given to Ferrovax. As they were involved in the party, it's assumed that they had at least some role in the aftermath; mainly, the The War between the Red Court and the White Council.[8]

In the words of Cowl himself: "A great many things of significance happened that night. Most of which you are not yet aware."[9]

They may have also arranged for Mavra training Bianca St. Claire in sorcery.[1]

Harry Dresden posits that Leonid Kravos was helped by St. Claire and Mavra, as well.[10][1]

Summer Knight[]

In Summer Knight, the Black Council are suspected of influencing Aurora's descent into madness.[11][1]

They are presumed to have played a role in the attack on the compound at Archangel[11] and the death of Simon Pietrovich.[1]

Death Masks[]

In Death Masks, Harry Dresden discovers that Paolo Ortega was the one who orchestrated the attack at Archangel. As he was also at Bianca's Grave Peril party, it's likely that he was also a Black Council member.[12][13]

Blood Rites[]

In Blood Rites, the prominent Outsider He Who Walks Behind was the power behind Lord Raith's hold on the White Court's throne for centuries, supplying him with invunerability to magic and the energy for a entropic death magic ritual responsible for the death of Margaret LeFay and a number of other known victims.[14] Lord Raith's Hunger demon had unique capabilities which may have come from his arrangement with the Walker, or the "Lord of Slowest Terror" referenced in the entropy ritual.[15]

Dead Beat[]

In Dead Beat, Mavra blackmailed Harry Dresden into getting the Word of Kemmler, which inadvertently tipped him off to the activities of the Heirs of Kemmler, one of whom—Cowl—was a Black Council operative in league with the Red Court.[16]

The Red Court use Outsiders in battle, which can only be called up by a mortal wizard. Dresden suspects the Black Council.[17]

Proven Guilty[]

In Proven Guilty, Harry Dresden found the scent of sulfur and brimstone at Arctis Tor. His intuition told him that Hellfire was thrown around Arctis Tor which meant that the forces or agents of the literal Hell were playing a part.[18]

Dresden coins the term "Black Council" for the first time, and discusses it with Ebenezar McCoy. It is implied that the Black Council is behind the the belts going Hexenwulfen, as well as: Shadowman, the Nightmare, the Summer Lady Aurora and the Red Court all being more powerful and more connected than they should be. Plus: the Fetch taking Molly Carpenter to Arctis Tor and Hellfire[18] used there, and a highly-placed traitor on the White Council.[1]

White Night[]

In White Night, Vittorio Malvora's attempted Coup d'état in the White Court was a front for Cowl's manipulations. It turns out that Malvora's "Master" (not superior in what Cowl reffered to as "The Circle")[19] is an Outsider who possessed Madrigal and amplified the Malvora's psychic fear compulsions into a mind-paralyzing and brain damaging attack—a "sending".[20] Cowl may have used a similar attack which Dresden survived due to his use of Little Chicago as a focus and defense.[19] Ghouls of varying power have been employed by Cowl, Vitto and their puppet Madrigal Raith, a vampire Mab once tried to use as a patsy.[21]

Small Favor[]

In Small Favor, Nicodemus Archleone discovered that one of his own Denarians was involved in the Black Council attack on Arctis Tor when Harry Dresden pressed the point that Hellfire was used there.[22] Dresden deduced and Mab confirmed it was Thorned Namshiel—she and The Watchman had a common enemy. Which accounted for why the silver hand batted him around as it did.[23] In the final conversation between Nicodemus and Dresden, Nicodemus theorizes that Tessa and Rosanna are also members.[24]

Turn Coat[]

In Turn Coat, it turns out that Samuel Peabody, wizard and head clerk of the White Council, and Secretary to the Senior Council is a member of the Black Council. Before his death at the hands of Warden Morgan, he had engaged in mass psychic influence by throwing a Mistfiend into the crowds of Wizards at Morgan's trial, and tampering of White Council personnel and the assassination of Aleron LaFortier by brainwashing Anastasia Luccio.[5] Ebenezar McCoy and Harry Dresden founded a group in order to counteract the Black Council, called the Grey Council, as the Merlin will not officially confirm its existence.[25]


In Changes, the ascension of Gregori Cristos[5] to the Senior Council and his subsequent acquiescence to the Red Court interests[26] heavily suggests his membership of the Black Council, his manipulation by them, or perhaps intense selfish stupidity and ignorance.[27]

Cold Days[]

In Cold Days, it is hinted that Nemesis may be an alternate explanation for some, or all, of the Black Council evidence above.[6]

While Harry Dresden and his team planned how to fight whoever is going to attempt a spell aimed at Demonreach, Dresden talked to them about the Black Council and how he suspected them of starting up conflicts between different interests within the same supernatural nations and to drive events, such as one faction of the Red Court wishing to stop the conflict and another trying to stir it up; several White Court houses fighting for control; the two Faerie Courts posturing for war instead of confronting the Red Court for their violations.[4]

Dresden had to be very careful while talking to his team about the Black Council because he couldn't be sure that anyone on it had not been infected by the Contagion and since that morning Dresden has realized that most of what was the Black Council is probably really the Contagion—which needed a better name. He realized that he was both arrogant and nearsighted to assume that the hidden enemy was made up of all wizards.[4]

According to Mab, the Athame that Cowl and Kumori gave to the Leanansidhe at Bianca St. Claire's ball was the carrier of Nemesis that infected her and Maeve, among others. Mab's anger and pain at the apparently permanent infection and insanity of her daughter were the cause of her inability to speak to mortals without causing them harm.[28][29]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Proven Guilty, ch. 47
  2. White Night, ch. 43
  3. Changes, ch. 19
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Cold Days, ch. 28
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Turn Coat, ch. 49
  6. 6.0 6.1 Cold Days, ch. 24, 28, 30, 31, 36, 48, 49
  7. Fool Moon, ch. 24
  8. Grave Peril, ch. 25
  9. Dead Beat, ch. 8
  10. Grave Peril, ch. 32
  11. 11.0 11.1 Summer Knight, ch. 4
  12. Death Masks, ch. 4
  13. Grave Peril, ch. 38
  14. Blood Rites, ch. 41
  15. Blood Rites, ch. 35
  16. Dead Beat, ch. 43
  17. Dead Beat, ch. 31
  18. 18.0 18.1 Proven Guilty, ch. 36
  19. 19.0 19.1 White Night, ch. 15
  20. White Night, ch. 41
  21. White Night, ch. 40
  22. Small Favor, ch. 30
  23. Small Favor, ch. 46
  24. Small Favor, ch. 45
  25. Turn Coat, ch. 48-49
  26. Changes, ch. 7
  27. Changes, ch. 49
  28. Small Favor, ch. 6
  29. Cold Days, ch. 53

See also[]