Bob is a spirit of intellect bound to a human skull. He acts as Harry Dresden's assistant and living encyclopedia of magic. He first appears in Storm Front.


Bob has been assisting wizards since the Dark Ages; innately knowledgeable about the rules and status of the supernatural realm, he has therefore gathered extensive information and experience in applied magic,[3] which he does not forget, unless he intentionally chooses to do so.[4] He is, however, unable to make most moral distinctions between good and evil.[5]

In Ghost Story, Bob's self-representation is of an ordinary-looking young man, moderately tall, slender, with decent shoulders, dressed like James Dean[Footnote 1] in a biker jacket, with an embroidered skull over the heart, and a white shirt which appeared forced on him.[6]

Bob has an ongoing "misunderstanding" with and a fear of Queen Mab,[7] who is likely wary about his knowledge of how to kill immortals. Information which poses a risk to her and her court.[8]


What’s up, boss?
Harry Dresden
Evil’s afoot.
Well, sure, because it refuses to learn the metric system. Otherwise it’d be up to a meter by now.
— Bob bantering[9]
Under Harry Dresden, Bob is benign and helpful, if smart-mouthed. However he is also a sexual pervert, generally insisting that Dresden buy him romance novels in exchange for his help[3][10][7][5][11] in addition to causing trouble, usually sexual in nature, every time he is let out of his skull.[12][3][13]

In Storm Front, Bob is given a 24-hour pass; at the end of the book, Dresden "looked the other way" on a party that lasted for an entire day.[14]

In Fool Moon, Dresden chides him for invading a party and inciting an orgy after having earned a day out, to which Bob replies by saying "I didn't do anything to anyone that a keg wouldn't have done".[3]

In Blood Rites, Bob is let out for the day to find Mavra's hideout, but spends his time at strip clubs. Dresden threatens to smash his skull, prompting Bob to go out for another attempt.[13]

Every time Molly Carpenter comes to Dresden's apartment, Bob relentlessly pesters him to let him talk to her. It's likely that he is influenced by his owner's personality - if this is the case, Bob's tendency to be smart-mouthed is likely a direct consequence of his cohabitation with Dresden.(reference needed)

Under Waldo Butters, he acts a lot like he used to with Dresden, due to Butters knowing Dresden, basing his personality off that first impression.(reference needed)

Skull interiorEdit

It is a penthouse very much like James Bond's[Footnote 2] apartment. There is black marble, mahogony, a huge fireplace, and matching hand-carved hardwood furniture as well: couches, recliners, two chaises, covered in fabric like raw silk embroidered with sigils in gold and silver. There is a table with a huge spread including a turkey, fruits, vegetables, and multiple side-dishes. A curtain hides a huge TV, a stereo system, and multiple video game units.[6]

Bob points out to Dresden that this isn't literally what the inside of the skull is like, and Dresden agrees, saying, "it's my head interpreting what I see into familiar things".[6]


Bob was bound to the skull by Etienne the Enchanter in France, at the time of the medieval Inquisition.[15][Footnote 3]

A few centuries later he was owned by Heinrich Kemmler, pursuing dark interests for close to forty years. After Kemmler's death, the White Council Wardens thought Bob destroyed, but he was in fact taken by Warden Justin DuMorne.[5]

DuMorne later left the wardens, secretly keeping Bob for himself. It was in this time that Bob was instructed (or possibly chose) to forget about his time with Kemmler and the work he did, thus destroying many things and locking away what couldn't be destroyed.[5] Because Bob is a spirit of intellect, and is made of knowledge, losing this information would amount to a human losing a limb, or worse. After DuMorne was killed, Harry Dresden picked up the spirit's skull and gave him the name, 'Bob'.[5]

Bob is able to lend Dresden access to his vast magical experience, often providing vital information about magical objects or rituals or difficult problems. As a form of payment, Bob often demands trashy romance novels; Dresden thinks that being a creature of intellect himself, Bob somehow identifies with characters that exist only in the mind living therefore vicariously through their actions in novels. Dresden notes that it was entirely possible that Bob merely looked at them the same way some men look at blow-up dolls.[16] It also seems to help Bob to stave off his more impulsive urges.(reference needed)

In Ghost Story, Bob reappears again, under the control of Butters.[17] The evil piece of himself that he split off from is assisting the Corpsetaker on attacking Mort's home.[18] It is revealed that he looks attractive in spirit form and can literally curbstomp any ghost, wraith, or spirit other than his evil self and Corpsetaker. The inside of his skull is similar to a mansion.[6]

In the seriesEdit

Storm FrontEdit

In Storm Front, he helps Harry Dresden make an escape potion and a love potion, the latter at his insistence.[12] Later, when Susan Rodriguez accidentally drinks the wrong potion, they're trapped in the lab's circle and the potion kicks in. Dresden lets Bob out so he can throw him the escape potion in exchange for twenty-four hour leave.[19] Bob returned after a wild party at the University of Chicago.[14][Footnote 4]

Fool MoonEdit

In Fool Moon, Bob helps again Dresden to brew two potions, and informs him about therianthropy, lupine theriomorphs, werewolveslycanthropes, loup-garous, shapeshifting, etc. Dresden bribes him with new romance novels in exchange for him engaging on an information hunt on werewolves in Chicago.[3]

"Ghoul Goblin"Edit

In "Ghoul Goblin", Bob accompanies Harry Dresden to Boone Mill and explains to him the nature of the Talbot curse.[20]

Grave PerilEdit

In Grave Peril, Bob provides Harry Dresden and Michael Carpenter with the location and other details about Agatha Hagglethorn.[21]

Bob can communicate to Dresden at his office by way of an antique radio that sits next to the coffee machine.[22]

It is revealed that Bob has some previous misunderstanding with Mab.[7] Bob continues to assist Dresden by informing him that "someone else" has been torturing the spirits to create the turbulence that stirs up the Nevernever.[7] When discussing going after Bianca St. Claire, Bob struggles with the idea of right and wrong with regard to "going around killing people".[23]

Bob reluctantly goes on an expedition with Dresden, Thomas Raith and Michael Carpenter through the Nevernever as he can provide them guidance on the other side.[24] Bianca St. Claire captures him along with Dresden and all his equipment, which he convinces Bianca may explode if anyone messes around with.[25]

Summer KnightEdit

In Summer Knight, Bob and Dresden discuss the hierarchy of the Sidhe Courts. Bob tells Dresden that Ronald Reuel was the Summer Knight.[26]

Death MasksEdit

In Death Masks, Dresden gets out his copy of the Unseelie Accords to look up the Code Duello in preparation for his duel with Paolo Ortega but can't make out the hight-toned language. Bob gives him the CliffNotes version. They also talk about the plague curse that got that corpse in the morgue and the Eye of Thoth.[Footnote 5] Dresden shows him the drawing of the sigil and Bob freaks, tells Dresden to throw it out or burn it. He says they're worse than just Fallen: assassins, poisoners, sorcerers, warriors, the coins make them nearly immortal. Bob can't track down the Shroud of Turin, it's an object of faith and not his jurisdiction and suggests he talk to Ulsharavas. Dresden sends him out to find what he can about Paolo Ortega and to swing by John Marcone's estate.[27]

Later, Bob returns from his info-hunt reporting reports that Ortega is at the Rothchild Hotel with six vampires and a dozen mortals.[28] He's badly hurt by Marcone's estate's wards, which were made by Gard, Marcone's newest security person.[29]

"Publicity and Advertising"Edit

In "Publicity and Advertising", he and Harry Dresden argue on how better to write an announcement on the Yellow Pages.[30]

Blood RitesEdit

In Blood Rites, Dresden asks Bob to ride Mister in an attempt of locating Black Court vampire Mavra and her scourge.[31] The next morning, Dresden is woken up by Mister, inhabited by Bob, walking over his face.[32] Upon his return, Bob admits going to strip joints rather than sticking to his mission; Dresden is forced to threaten to break Bob's skull with a hammer until he re-inhabits Mister and goes out again.[13]

Later, Bob returns and reports. Mavra is in a homeless shelter near Cabrini Green. They most likely came from Undertown. Bob draws a map of the shelter and its lower levels. There are people locked on a closet, six Renfields each with a darkhound and the staff are changed into rough thralls. Bob teaches Dresden about Renfields and that the White Court had Stoker publish his book to tell people about them. Black Court vampires use mind control magic to recruit Renfields. Bob says that even the Original Merlin could not undo a Renfield. Justin DuMorne had done a lot of research on the subject so he's sure of his facts.[33]

Dead BeatEdit

In Dead Beat, when Harry Dresden asks Bob to remember what he can concerning Heinrich Kemmler, Bob refused to answer unless Dresden let him out for the duration of the conversation. Once out, he warned Dresden about the dangers of him accessing these memories. Once ordered to access said memories, he tricked Dresden into being tainted with a hint of necromancy, and almost killed Dresden before being ordered back into his skull.[5]

Later, he was stolen by Cowl and Kumori[34] and assumed an alternate personality. It is currently unknown whether he was faking this personality, or if he is forced to become attuned to his current holder. Once put down by Cowl, Dresden reminded Bob about how he had Named him, as previous owners had simply called him "spirit", which supposedly freed Bob to help Dresden. When he helped Dresden, he took over Sue the T-Rex[35] and compared that or any other zombie to a choice between steak or a hot dog.[36]

Proven GuiltyEdit

In Proven Guilty, Bob guides Harry Dresden in his construction of Little Chicago and introduces him to the idea of 'Hindsight' by implying that Rashid may have sent himself or otherwise received a message from the future without technically violating the Seven Laws of Magic.[37]

Dresden then takes Bob with him to SplatterCon!!!,[38] and they come up with a plan to detect and redirect the Phobophage.[39]

After Molly Carpenter visits Dresden's hotel room at the convention and heads into the bathroom, Bob makes some leering comments about her. When Lash call's Bob a "perverted little creep", Dresden defends him, saying that Bob is his little creep and sends her away.[40]

When Dresden attempts to use Little Chicago to find Molly and it fails, he grabs Bob to ask what is wrong with it. Bob tells him that it is working fine, but that the focus he is using (Molly's baby hair) is too old.[41] He later tells Dresden that he did find something wrong with Little Chicago. He says the spell should have backfired and that someone fixed it.[42]

White NightEdit

In White Night, Bob complains that Harry Dresden hasn't introduced him to Molly Carpenter yet. Dresden redirects his attention by asking about Temple Dogs, which Bob explains are scions of Foo Dogs and regular dogs. Bob then powers up and checks Little Chicago.[9]

After Cowl kicks Dresden out of Little Chicago, Bob explains that someone sent a burst of psychic energy at him, which caused Little Chicago to short out.[43]

Sometime before Dresden countersigns John Marcone's membership to the Unseelie Accords, he has Bob look into Freeholding Lords.[44]

Following Lash's disappearance, Bob examines Dresden's burned hand, and observes that Lasciel's mark is gone. He explains that Lash sacrificed herself to protect Dresden from Vittorio Malvora's psychic attack. He notes that a part of Dresden's soul is missing, but it will grow back.[44]

"Down Town"Edit

In "Down Town", Bob is brought at the scene of Sam Fogle's murder but does not bring any new take on the case. Later, in the first real break in the case, he leads Harry Dresden to meet a local nature spirit, with knowledge about the murders.[45]

Small FavorEdit

In Small Favor, Bob assists Harry Dresden in identifying the fae assassins as the Gruffs, ridiculing him for getting beaten up by a nursery tale. He congratulates Dresden on the success of the Paranet, though seems to miss the point, calling it "constructive cowardice". By the way Bob reacts to the novels he reads, Dresden believes that he feels a kinship with the characters, since Bob makes an intellectual effort in visualizing them.[16]

Bob later gives Dresden information about Soulfire, contrasting it with Hellfire and stating that the soul is used as the power source. He also informs Dresden that the soul does recharge, but using it all up would be very bad.[46]

When Dresden asks Bob about Uriel, Bob says that he is "Old Testament", and nothing much is known about him. He also seems delighted by the fact that Uriel doing Dresden a favor just can't be good![46]


In Backup, Thomas Raith asks him to explain how best to disarm the trap the Stygian Sisterhood has set for Harry Dresden without violating the guiding principles of the Oblivion War.[47]


In "Curses", Bob accompanies Harry Dresden to the Wrigley Field to check on the Billy Goat curse.[48]

Turn CoatEdit

In Turn Coat, after failing to get a tracking spell working on the kidnapped Thomas Raith, Harry Dresden is informed by Bob about the Naagloshii and their origins.[49]


Bob & Mister

Bob & Mister drawing

In Changes, Bob looks at photos of a Red Court shipment, and informs Harry Dresden that it contains ritual objects of dark and dangerous magic, which is obvious from the disproportioned and imbalanced angles of the items. He says they are meant for something destructive and deadly, involving human sacrifice.[4]

Dresden instructs Bob to remove all his Wards rather than disarming them as the FBI is about to raid his apartment. He also has Bob help him locate anything that might be considered contraband. He takes Bob into the Nevernever with him to escape Barry Tilly and Rudolph.[50] Dresden stashes Bob, the Swords of the Cross and bag full of contraband in a hole and returns to his apartment.[51] 

Molly Carpenter is still unaware of Bob's existence when Thomas Raith asks her to go collect him.[52] the Leanansidhe later returns Dresden's bag with Bob in it.[53] 

In Chichén Itzá, Dresden takes Bob out of he bag, shows him the set-up for the ritual Bloodline curse and Bob describes how the spell would work. He also informs Dresden that Thomas' human side would be killed if the curse goes off as planned.[54] On a mental request from Dresden, Bob creates a shield that blocks the power of the Red King, freeing Dresden, who then instructs him to follow Murphy and protect her, to Bob's utter delight. He appears as a halo around Murphy's head during the battle.[55] After the battle, Bob floats out of the P-90 and back into his Skull complaining that sunrise was too close by the time that Dresden got him out. Bob is stored in a concealed compartment on the Water Beetle along with the two swords.[56]

Ghost StoryEdit

In Ghost Story, Waldo Butters and Bob save Harry Dresden's ghost from a pack of lemurs eating him. Bob kills the Lemurs then returns Dresden's essence to him.[17] Dresden rides along with Bob inside the skull. Bob and Dresden talk over Dresden's situation, and acts as a sounding board for who may have killed Dresden. Bob suggest that Dresden is the subject of a shell game involving Mab and Uriel. And, He Who Walks Behind was Justin DuMorne's mentor, not the other way around—that Dresden was being pushed into becoming a weapon. Plus Dresden is running around in his Soul without his spirit. (His theory is that the: "Spirit is the seed and the soul is the earth it grows in.") If something happens to him here, it's for keeps. Dresden had a choice, but didn't read the fine print.[57] Bob fought with Evil Bob in the Nevernever allowing Dresden and his ghost-troops to escape and enter the Big Hoods' hideout: Corpsetaker's stronghold.[58]

Cold DaysEdit

In Cold Days, Harry Dresden breaks into Waldo Butters' apartment to steal Bob; Andi Macklin attacks him. Dresden extricates himself with the idea that stealing the skull, rather than borrowing it, is a perfect cover against competitors.[59] Bob admits that Mab wants to destroy it for his knowledge of how to kill immortal beings, making Dresden promise to build it a new house in exchange of that knowledge. Bob also tells Dresden about Conjunctions in time and that Halloween is the one on which immortals are mortal and vulnerable; they are refueling on energy and adding power to their Mantle.[8]

On Demonreach, Bob said the spells on the rocks of the tower were complex and impossible but someone didn't care. Dresden and Bob followed the Demonreach Entity down into a deep well on the island where he showed them the Naagloshii and the Dark Gods imprisoned there. Dresden is now the Warden of the prison.[60] Bob played a movie for Dresden showing The Original Merlin creating the prison in various times but all at the same time, building an immortal jail in four dimensions. The problem: a whole lot of energy hits the containment spell, it will unravel, releasing the nightmare prisoners.[2]

Murphy got Harry Dresden to agree to return Bob to Waldo Butters because he's too valuable to let fall into the wrong hands.[61]

Skin GameEdit

In Skin Game,

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Concept and creationEdit

Bob started off as an inside joke between my writing teacher, Debbie Chester, and myself. I needed a device to get the rules of magic across to my readers, so that they would have a point of reference for the laws of my story world. I talked with Debbie about maybe designing a character whose fundamental function was to have conversations with Dresden about the nature of magic, so that the readers could all understand what was going on. “Sounds fine,” says Debbie. “But whatever you do, don't create some kind of talking head.” In story craft terms, a talking head refers to a character whose purpose in life is to dispense information. Talking heads will wander onto the page, blurt out exposition without bothering to display much in the way of character or motivation, and promptly exit. So when I designed Bob, complete with his little obsessions and quirks, I decided to make him a literal talking head, while avoiding the traits that add up to a story-craft talking head.Jim Butcher on his inspiration for writing Bob[62]

The idea of the skull itself was inspired by the Scooby Doo splash screen.[63]

Word of JimEdit

Jim Butcher has stated that that Bob takes on some of the personality of his "master", explaining that he is such a smart aleck and into girls because Dresden picked him up when he was just 16.[64]


  1. James Dean - Wikipedia
  2. James Bond - Wikipedia
  3. Inquisition - Wikipedia
  4. University of Chicago - Wikipedia
  5. Eye of Horus - Wikipedia


  1. "Welcome to the Jungle"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cold Days, ch. 17
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Fool Moon, ch. 7
  4. 4.0 4.1 Changes, ch. 9
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Dead Beat, ch. 3
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Ghost Story, ch. 35
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Grave Peril, ch. 14
  8. 8.0 8.1 Cold Days, ch. 11
  9. 9.0 9.1 White Night, ch. 14
  10. Grave Peril, ch. 9
  11. Proven Guilty, ch. 6
  12. 12.0 12.1 Storm Front, ch. 8
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Blood Rites, ch. 22
  14. 14.0 14.1 Storm Front, ch. 27
  15. Word of Jim on Dresden's Friends - Bob
  16. 16.0 16.1 Small Favor, ch. 3
  17. 17.0 17.1 Ghost Story, ch. 16
  18. Ghost Story, ch. 5
  19. Storm Front, ch. 13 & 14
  20. "Ghoul Goblin"
  21. Grave Peril, ch. 2
  22. Grave Peril, ch. 4
  23. Grave Peril, ch. 18
  24. Grave Peril, ch. 32
  25. Grave Peril, ch. 37
  26. Summer Knight, ch. 10
  27. Death Masks, ch. 8
  28. Death Masks, ch. 9
  29. Death Masks, ch. 19
  30. "Publicity and Advertising"
  31. Blood Rites, ch. 5
  32. Blood Rites, ch. 6
  33. Blood Rites, ch. 27
  34. Dead Beat, ch. 34
  35. Dead Beat, ch. 42
  36. Dead Beat, ch. 43
  37. Proven Guilty, ch. 6
  38. Proven Guilty, ch. 15
  39. Proven Guilty, ch. 22
  40. Proven Guilty, ch. 23
  41. Proven Guilty, ch. 33
  42. Proven Guilty, ch. 47
  43. White Night, Ch. 16
  44. 44.0 44.1 White Night, ch. 43
  45. "Down Town"
  46. 46.0 46.1 Small Favor, ch. 46
  47. Backup
  48. "Curses"
  49. Turn Coat, ch. 29
  50. Changes, ch. 11
  51. Changes, ch. 12
  52. Changes, ch. 27
  53. Changes, ch. 38
  54. Changes, ch. 44
  55. Changes, ch. 46
  56. Changes, ch. 49
  57. Ghost Story, ch. 35
  58. Ghost Story, ch. 46
  59. Cold Days, ch. 10
  60. Cold Days, ch. 15-16
  61. Cold Days, ch. 27
  62. The SF Site: A conversation with Jim Butcher
  64. Jim Butcher 2009 Ann Arbor Signing


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