- 1 Description
- 2 Biography
- 3 In the series
- 3.1 Storm Front
- 3.2 Fool Moon
- 3.3 "Ghoul Goblin"
- 3.4 Grave Peril
- 3.5 Summer Knight
- 3.6 Death Masks
- 3.7 "Publicity and Advertising"
- 3.8 Blood Rites
- 3.9 Dead Beat
- 3.10 Proven Guilty
- 3.11 White Night
- 3.12 "Down Town"
- 3.13 Small Favor
- 3.14 Backup
- 3.15 "Curses"
- 3.16 Turn Coat
- 3.17 Changes
- 3.18 Ghost Story
- 3.19 Cold Days
- 3.20 Skin Game
- 3.21 Battle Ground
- 4 Concept and creation
- 5 Word of Jim
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
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, which he does not forget, unless he intentionally chooses to do so. He is, however, unable to make most moral distinctions between good and evil.
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.
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. He also causes trouble, usually sexual in nature, every time he is let out of his skull.
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".
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.
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.
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".
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.
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. 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'.
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. 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. The evil piece of himself that he split off from is assisting the Corpsetaker on attacking Mort's home. 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.
In the series
In Storm Front, he helps Harry Dresden make an escape potion and a love potion, the latter at his own insistence. When Susan Rodriguez accidentally drinks the love 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. Bob returned after a wild party at the University of Chicago.[Footnote 4]
In Fool Moon, Bob helps Dresden to brew another two potions, and informs him about therianthropy, lupine theriomorphs, werewolves, lycanthropes, loup-garous, shapeshifting, etc. Dresden bribes him with new romance novels in exchange for him engaging on an information hunt about werewolves in Chicago.
Bob can communicate to Dresden at his office by way of an antique radio that sits next to the coffee machine.
It is revealed that Bob has some previous misunderstanding with Mab. Bob continues to assist Dresden by informing him that "someone else" has been torturing spirits to create the turbulence that stirs up the Nevernever. When discussing going after Bianca St. Claire, Bob struggles to understand the idea of right and wrong as it relates to "going around killing people".
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. Bianca St. Claire captures him along with Dresden and all his equipment, which he convinces Bianca may explode if anyone messes around with.
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 Cliff-notes version. They also talk about the plague curse that sent a corpse to the morgue and the Eye of Thoth.[Footnote 5] Dresden shows him a drawing of the sigil from Ursiel's forehead and Bob freaks, telling Dresden burn it. He says that the Order of the Blackened Denarius are worse than just Fallen; the hosts are assassins, poisoners, sorcerers and warriors who the coins make nearly immortal. Bob can't track down the Shroud of Turin, it's an object of faith and not his jurisdiction. He suggests that Dresden talk to Ulsharavas. Dresden sends him out to find what he can about Paolo Ortega and to swing by John Marcone's estate.
Later, Bob returns from his info-hunt and reports that Ortega is at the Rothchild Hotel with six vampires and a dozen mortals. He's badly hurt by Marcone's estate's wards, which were made by Gard, Marcone's newest security person.
"Publicity and Advertising"
In Blood Rites, Dresden asks Bob to ride Mister in an attempt of locating the Black Court vampire Mavra and her scourge. The next morning, Dresden is woken up by Mister, still inhabited by Bob, walking over his face. Upon his return, Bob admits going to strip joints rather than sticking to his mission and Dresden is forced to threaten to break Bob's skull with a hammer, convincing Bob to re-inhabit Mister and go out again.
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 and Bob says that even the Original Merlin could not undo a Renfield. Justin DuMorne had done a lot of research on the subject so Bob is sure of his facts.
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.
Later, he was stolen by Cowl and Kumori 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, comparing the choice between inhabiting a dinosaur or any other zombie to choosing between a steak and a hot dog.
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.
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.
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. He later tells Dresden that he did find something wrong with Little Chicago. He says the spell should have backfired but that someone fixed it.
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.
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.
In "Down Town", Bob is brought to the scene of Sam Fogle's murder but does not add 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.
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.
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.
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!
In Backup, Thomas Raith sneaks into Dresden's apartment and asks Bob 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. This is the first time the two have spoken, though not the first time that Raith has heard Bob speak.
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 dis-proportioned and imbalanced angles of the items. He says they are meant for something destructive and deadly, involving human sacrifice.
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. Dresden stashes Bob, the Swords of the Cross and bag full of contraband in a hole and returns to his apartment.
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. 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. 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.
In Ghost Story, Bob is now in the possession of Waldo Butters who was given the skull by Karrin Murphy. Butters and Bob save Harry Dresden's ghost from a pack of Lemurs eating him. Bob kills the Lemurs and then returns some of Dresden's essence to him.
When discussing the Lemur attack, Bob informs Dresden that when he was instructed to forget his dark side and never again bring it out, he in fact "cut it off", which resulted in Evil Bob, who has "about 100 years" of destructive, poisonous and dangerous knowledge.
Dresden joins Bob inside the skull in order to protect himself from the daylight. The inside of the skull is extremely plush, and Bob informs Dresden that since entering Butters' service he now has access to, among other things, the internet. Bob and Dresden talk over Dresden's situation, and Bob suggest that Dresden is the subject of a shell game involving Mab and Uriel. He also prompts Dresden to realize that He Who Walks Behind was in fact Justin DuMorne's mentor, not the other way around and that Dresden was being pushed into becoming a weapon. Bob also informs Dresden that he is running around in his Soul (without his spirit); that if he were to be killed, he would End.
On Butters' orders, Bob follows Dresden through his assisting Fitz to save Daniel Carpenter. He saves Dresden from Evil Bob in the Nevernever and distracts it, allowing Dresden and his ghost-troops to escape and enter the Big Hoods' hideout, Corpsetaker's stronghold.
In Cold Days, Harry Dresden breaks into Waldo Butters' apartment to steal Bob. While under Waldo Butters’ ownership, Bob has developed an attachment to broadband, and the vast range of material it offers. He is initially concerned that Dresden has come as Mab’s hitman to destroy him. So he stalls Dresden until Andi Macklin can intervene. Dresden explains that whoever owns the skull has Bob’s services, before leaving with Bob. After telling Dresden that killing an immortal is impossible, Bob admits that Mab wants to destroy him because he knows how to kill immortal beings. Dresden promises to build him a new, backup vessel in exchange for that knowledge and Bob tells him that they can only be killed at specific places and times. Bob explains that on Halloween, an immortal standing in the mortal world becomes mortal and is vulnerable. Bob also covers how Mantles can transfer and how they change the new wearer.
Although Bob is with Dresden when Molly Carpenter shows up, he does not reveal his presence, as per Dresden’s instructions. Dresden is worried that with Bob’s knowledge and Molly’s often disregard for self-limitation, they could make a very scary duo.
On Demonreach, Dresden has Bob take a look at the island. Bob says that the spells on the stones of the cottage are impossibly complex and that he doesn’t know what they actually are besides older than anything ever heard of. When the Demonreach entity shows up it refers to Bob as “another one”. When the entity is unable to communicate its problem to Dresden, Bob is seconded to translate. The entity “dumbs” down the information enough so that Bob can understand, and Bob in turn "dumbs" it down so that Dresden can understand. He plays a movie for Dresden showing The Original Merlin creating the prison and showing the energy being directed at the island which triggers its fail-safe. While connected to the island, Bob understands that it it very old and very powerful, and tells Dresden that the Demonreach entity was able to speak through Eternal Silence the year before because it made a deal with Mab to do so.
Bob has been continuing to assist Butters and helps him develop a theory regarding the Winter Knight's Mantle and its effect on Dresden. Dresden worries about how much assistance Bob has been providing, telling Karrin Murphy that Bob was never meant to be used in the field; that if too much attention is drawn to him, he could be countered or stolen by the enemy. Bob teaches Butters some useful spells such as enchanting a skateboard, creating memory fog grenades and making escape potions, however Dresden realizes that Bob has also been acting as the energy source behind a number of these spells. When Butters is chased by Binder’s goons, he has Bob posses a large bronze lion to fend them (and Dresden) off.
He inhabits Dresden’s leather duster when Butters wears it for protection against Nicodemus Archleone and his squires. With Bob’s assistance, Butters throws the Denarians off balance and before he can be subdued, sends the spirit away to his apartment.
In Battle Ground, Bob explains that the amount of energy flying around during the battle is actually straining the veil, and even reality itself, but Ferrovax is holding things together from the Nevernever. He also explains that Mab has put out a psychic aid to the citizens of Chicago to dull their fears and pains, and to give them a willingness to fight, thus counteracting the Eye of Balor's need for fear to function at maximum. En route to Mab, he also helps monitor for communications.
In exchange for 24 hour pass, Bob acts as the circle to bind Ethniu. Although her straining against the circle is painful to Bob, Dresden manages to successfully bind and banish the Titan to Demonreach.
Concept and creation
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
The idea of the skull itself was inspired by the Scooby Doo splash screen.
Word of Jim
- "Welcome to the Jungle"
- Cold Days, ch. 17
- Fool Moon, ch. 7
- Changes, ch. 9
- Dead Beat, ch. 3
- Ghost Story, ch. 35
- Grave Peril, ch. 14
- Cold Days, ch. 11
- White Night, ch. 14
- Grave Peril, ch. 9
- Proven Guilty, ch. 6
- Storm Front, ch. 8
- Blood Rites, ch. 22
- Storm Front, ch. 27
- Word of Jim on Dresden's Friends - Bob
- Small Favor, ch. 3
- Ghost Story, ch. 16
- Ghost Story, ch. 5
- Storm Front, ch. 13 & 14
- "Ghoul Goblin"
- Grave Peril, ch. 2
- Grave Peril, ch. 4
- Grave Peril, ch. 18
- Grave Peril, ch. 32
- Grave Peril, ch. 37
- Summer Knight, ch. 10
- Death Masks, ch. 8
- Death Masks, ch. 9
- Death Masks, ch. 19
- "Publicity and Advertising"
- Blood Rites, ch. 5
- Blood Rites, ch. 6
- Blood Rites, ch. 27
- Dead Beat, ch. 34
- Dead Beat, ch. 42
- Dead Beat, ch. 43
- Proven Guilty, ch. 6
- Proven Guilty, ch. 15
- Proven Guilty, ch. 22
- Proven Guilty, ch. 23
- Proven Guilty, ch. 33
- Proven Guilty, ch. 47
- White Night, Ch. 16
- White Night, ch. 43
- "Down Town"
- Small Favor, ch. 46
- Turn Coat, ch. 29
- Changes, ch. 11
- Changes, ch. 12
- Changes, ch. 27
- Changes, ch. 38
- Changes, ch. 44
- Changes, ch. 46
- Changes, ch. 49
- Ghost Story, ch. 17
- Ghost Story, ch. 39
- Ghost Story, ch. 44 and 45
- Cold Days, ch. 9
- Cold Days, ch. 10
- Cold Days, ch. 13
- Cold Days, ch. 15
- Cold Days, ch. 27
- Skin Game, ch. 13
- Skin Game, ch. 24
- Skin Game, ch. 27
- Skin Game, ch. 50
- Skin Game, ch. 51
- Battle Ground, ch. 16
- Battle Ground, ch. 17
- Battle Ground, ch. 34
- The SF Site: A conversation with Jim Butcher
- Jim Butcher 2009 Ann Arbor Signing