Dresden Files
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Ebenezar McCoy is a human wizard, and member of the White Council. He first appears in Summer Knight.


There're things we keep hidden from one another. Things we hide from ourselves. Things that are kept hidden from us. And things no one knows. You always learn the damnedest things at the worst possible times.— Ebenezar McCoy[1]

Ebenezar McCoy is a senior member on the White Council. He is the Blackstaff, a covert wet work position, which he has held for at least a century.[2]

McCoy is a short, stocky man, with white tufts of hair fringing his mostly bald head, and a white beard covering his mouth and jowls. He often wears a white tee-shirt, denim overalls and a big grin.[3]

He drives a black '37 Ford pick-up with rounded fenders and wooden sides on the bed. There was no rust on it and it is usually freshly waxed. McCoy's staff and a weather-worn shotgun rested on a rack of the passenger compartment.[3]

McCoy wore a scarlet stole the first time he was in the series.[3] After being promoted to the Senior Council, he wore a purple stole.



Home and family[]

Ebenezar McCoy
Your Morse is rusty. On my staff, it sounded like you spelled it 'blampires.'
Harry Dresden
I did. Black Court vampires. I just shortened it some.
Ebenezar McCoy
Blampires. That's the problem with you young people. Shortening all the words.
Harry Dresden
Too many acronyms?
Ebenezar McCoy
Harry Dresden
Well, then. I'm glad you took the time to RSVP me. I have a problem that needs to stay on the QT, but is rapidly going FUBAR. I'm sorry to call you LD through AT&T instead of using UPS, but I needed your help ASAP. I hope that's OK.
Ebenezar McCoy
Don't make me kick your ass.
— McCoy doesn't like change.[4]

McCoy was Harry Dresden's mentor, after Dresden killed Justin DuMorne. McCoy taught and kept watch over Dresden for two or three years, showing Dresden why one does magic, in addition to how one uses it, forming much of Dresden's belief about being a wizard. He placed even more importance on teaching Dresden general values and providing a stable life.[5]

McCoy lives and has lived on a farm in Hog Hollow, Missouri, for at least a couple of centuries.[3] He keeps horses[6] and possibly sheep.[7]

He has continued to be one of Dresden's good friends even after he left McCoy's farm in the Ozarks.[Footnote 1] On several occasions, McCoy has come to Dresden's aid, both politically and as a powerful combat wizard in his own right.

McCoy's affectionate nickname for Dresden, Hoss[Footnote 2] appears to be drawn from the Western Bonanza.[Footnote 3] His assumption of the Ben Cartwright[Footnote 4] role to apprentice Dresden's "Hoss" is a paternal, friendly reference, a bit similar to the "Grasshopper" and "Padawan" nicknames Dresden gives his own apprentice.

In Death Masks, McCoy recalls how he and Dresden set up a telescope on the farm. Dresden recalls with him how that asteroid they discovered turned out to be an old Russian satellite. McCoy thinks that Asteroid Dresden was a better name than Kosmos Five.[8]

In Changes, he is the father and mentor of Margaret LeFay, thus grandfather to Harry Dresden and Thomas Raith and great-grandfather to Maggie Dresden. It is likely that this relationship had some bearing on McCoy's decision to defend and mentor Dresden after Justin DuMorne's death, giving himself a chance to keep Dresden from execution by the White Council.[9]

He says that Arianna Ortega discovered his connection to his Maggie when she invited him to the Raith estate for dinner. They fought like family and Arianna Ortega caught on.[1]

White Council and Blackstaff[]

McCoy has served as the White Council's Blackstaff for at least a century. As Blackstaff, McCoy can ignore the laws of magic in performance of his duties. He is, essentially, the White Council's hit man.[2]

In the politics of the White Council, McCoy and Arthur Langtry, the current head of the White Council are often at odds with one another, owing to a rift that occurred between the two men during the French and Indian War.[Footnote 5][10]

McCoy caused the New Madrid earthquakes in 1811-1812. He caused Krakatoa to erupt in 1883, and the Tunguska event in 1908,[2] when he presumably killed a dragon.[11]

McCoy has dealings with his counterparts as Blackstaff in other factions, notably Jared Kincaid. The two had a professional courtesy for each other until events taking place in Istanbul around the year 1900.[2]

Abilities and background[]

As an established member of the White Council, McCoy is fluent in Latin. He also penned a text on magical ethics and the basic mechanics that govern the use of magic, titled Elementary Magic. It is commonly given to novice practitioners by their master.[12]

His magical talents are significant, ranked as the 7th most powerful member of the Senior Council at the time of his nomination, but the most experienced in direct mayhem. Considered the heavyweight champion of wizards when it comes to conflict and duels, he could reasonably be expected to overcome Donald Morgan, the most notorious Warden on the Council in his day.[13]

His forte has been shown to be terramancy and kinetomancy, and the associated manipulation of gravity, force and electromagnetism. Examples being pounding structures to rubble, tossing creatures half a mile away with a gesture,[14] and dragging objects out of orbit to turn them into comet like projectiles.[15]

He comes from a line of Masters and Apprentices that stretches back to the original Merlin.[16] There is some speculation that, due to the nature of how Magic is somewhat based on bloodline and on the traditional nature of the Master/Apprentice relationship, he, and through him Harry Dresden, is a descendant of the original Merlin.

Ebenezar McCoy crafted the Speaking stones[17] and has a stone that is identical to Dresden's.[18]

In the series[]

"A Fistful of Warlocks"[]

In "A Fistful of Warlocks", McCoy is the Captain of the Wardens. Anastasia Luccio claims that while two warlocks could be a serious challenge to even a well prepared Warden, Mccoy had once brought down three by himself.[19]

Summer Knight[]

In Summer Knight, After the attack on Archangel resulted in the death of Senior Council member Simon Pietrovich,[3] McCoy joined the Senior Council, having long declined the opportunity in the past, to help Dresden win a vote for his own life.[7]

Death Masks[]

In Death Masks, McCoy calls Harry Dresden to tell him he doesn't have to fight the duel with Paolo Ortega, "We're going to slap it down". Dresden tells him not to bother because Ortega has brought in goons, both human and vampire and will kill people he cares about if Dresden doesn't Duel. Dresden tells McCoy all about the what happened with Ortega and that he'll figure out some way to give himself an advantage. Then, McCoy updates Dresden on The War.[8]

Blood Rites[]

In Blood Rites, McCoy was forced to reveal to Harry Dresden his other position on the White Council, that of Blackstaff. During the course of his duties as Blackstaff, he caused the Tunguska explosion, the New Madrid earthquake, Krakatoa and brought down a Soviet satellite on the Red Court stronghold of Casaverde, and other events. Dresden alienates himself from McCoy for a time because he is outraged by the hypocrisy of the mentor who taught him the evils of Black magic yet uses it as the Blackstaff. [2]

Dead Beat[]

In Dead Beat, McCoy persuaded the Senior Council, including The Gatekeeper and Ancient Mai to take the field with the Wardens in a major assault on Red Court territories in order to gain intelligence on the whereabouts of White Council prisoners. He and Martha Liberty then helped defend the retreating Wardens against Outsiders after they were counter-attacked moving wounded through the Nevernever. McCoy was injured in this attack.[20]

Proven Guilty[]

In Proven Guilty, McCoy is present during the beheading of a Warlock in Chicago.[21] Afterward, he stops Harry Dresden from leaving to ask him to find out why the Faerie Courts are not attacking the Red Court for passing through Faerie (location). He explains that the Senior Council does not know about this request as they don't know who the traitor is. Before leaving, he gives Dresden a message from The Gatekeeper.[22]

After the battle in Oregon, when the Reds attack Captain Luccio's Warden Bootcamp, McCoy, Joseph Listens-to-Wind and Martha Liberty lead a force to protect the camp. With Michael Carpenter's help, they manage to successfully relocate all the trainees and mentors to the Chicago Warehouse.[23]

McCoy and Dresden make up over a beer, and McCoy draws out the beginnings of Dresden's theory about the Black Council. After telling Dresden not to reveal this theory to anyone else, and vouching for Injun' Joe, McCoy states that he was at Dresden's trial and sentencing and even defended him.[24]

White Night[]

In White Night, McCoy is occupied, along with most of the other Wardens, in India. Apparently, McCoy and Donald Morgan are busy hammering a group of "bad guys" serving a powerful rakshasa who were attacking monasteries friendly to the White Council.[25]

"Dog Men"[]

In "Dog Men", Harry Dresden dreams of Ebenezar McCoy intervening in a fight between himself and Donald Morgan making him stand down.[26]

Turn Coat[]

In Turn Coat, McCoy orders Anastasia Luccio to keep Harry Dresden out of the investigation into Aleron LaFortier's murder.[27] When Dresden visits the White Council headquarters in Edinburgh, Chandler the Warden describes McCoy as one of the few wizards capable of overpowering Donald Morgan.[13] When Dresden confronts him, McCoy denies his request to join the war party. Once he realizes Dresden's intent however, he suggests speaking to Joseph Listens-to-Wind.[28]

McCoy brings the war party, including Listens-to-Wind and Ancient Mai to Demonreach to confront Dresden, and on arrival confirms that Rashid has spoken to him before unsuccessfully arguing with Mai and Listens-to-Wind against arresting Dresden.[29] After Morgan is arrested, McCoy tells Dresden that Listens-to-Wind has offered to teach him about dealing with injustice. He goes on to rebuke Dresden for focusing on saving Thomas Raith rather than taking down the killer, confirming that Molly Carpenter used her shield crystal to defend against the vampire.[30]

In his chambers, McCoy tells Dresden that the number of journals in a bookshelf are the musings of a trail of apprentices to masters that traces all the way back to the original Merlin. He suggests that Dresden should take care of them and add his own one day.[16] Following Dresden's presentation of evidence against the traitor, McCoy and Carlos Ramirez searched the traitor's chambers, finding further evidence of mental manipulation.[16] During the Mordite Mistfiend attack, McCoy assists the Senior Council in trapping the creature.[31]

While walking back to Chicago, McCoy explains to Dresden some of the Council politics involved in the selection of the latest Senior member, Gregori Cristos. He informs Dresden that some people are planning to 'do something' about the recent events facilitated by the Black Council and proposes the creation of a Grey Council, to fight them. He is the only one to know the names of those few trusted individuals involved.[32]


In "Journal", Donald Morgan regrets the Blackstaff's intervention in favor of Harry Dresden, as he is worried that Dresden may have been corrupted by Nemesis. However he recognized that Dresden managed to stay away from the Adversary's spiderwebs in the Senior Council.[33]


In Changes, McCoy sits among the Senior Council listening to Duchess Arianna Ortega's peace proposal when Harry Dresden interrupts. He meets Dresden's eyes and silently indicates that the younger wizard should allow himself to be escorted from the room.[34] He was in fact, besides Gregori Cristos, the only other senior member present at the proposal.[35]

McCoy and Dresden talk through the Speaking stone, where Dresden beseeches the Grey Council for help. McCoy refuses to lend assist in saving the child, not knowing her connection to Dresden. He says it's sometimes necessary to sacrifice one for the greater many. He asks Dresden to meet him in order to assist the Grey Council, and hangs up.[18] Dresden misses this planned meeting.[36] Later, McCoy calls Dresden through the Stone. This time Dresden gets his chance to tell McCoy about Maggie, Arianna Ortega, Chichén Itzá, the Red King, the Bloodline curse and that he's going to be there for his daughter. McCoy accepts this and wishes him well and warns him against going to White Council headquarters in Edinburgh, as there's a mysterious disease there released by Arianna Ortega.[37]

During the battle at Chichén Itzá, he shows up with the Grey Council who join the fray. McCoy gives Dresden his own personal staff and draws the Blackstaff for himself. He uses the Blackstaff's power to rip the life from over a hundred men before instructing another Grey Council member to create a Way, allowing an army of Kenku to join the battle, stating that they owed him a favor.[14]

He and Dresden talk after the battle. He didn't tell Dresden he was his grandfather because he did not want him to have the same enemies, at least not until Dresden was ready. After surveying the remains of the Red Court, he acknowledges that Dresden more or less is ready. He knows that Dresden had to sacrifice Susan to save Maggie. McCoy says he came more for Maggie than for Dresden. He's not sure if Gregori Cristos is Black Council or just stupid, saying that stupid is scarier every time. He points out that one of the members of the Grey Council is none other than Donar Vadderung, who apparently taught the original Merlin. Before leaving, he says Dresden can keep his staff until he makes a new blank for him.[1]

Ghost Story[]

In Ghost Story, Harry Dresden tells Molly Carpenter that he thinks McCoy or Injun Joe will take over her training in the event of his death.[38]

Zoo Day[]

In Zoo Day, Harry Dresden mentions Ebenezar McCoy as not so much parenting as enacting psychological damage control after Dresden's stay with Justin DuMorne.[39]

Peace Talks[]

In Peace Talks, Carlos Ramirez mentions Ebenezar McCoy as the person tasking him with relaying Harry Dresden that the Fomors have convened a peace summit in Chicago, and informing him of his duties in this situation.[40] In meeting with Dresden at Dresden's place, where Thomas Raith is present, he shows intense animosity towards the vampire, which is reciprocated; only Dresden's invocation of the Laws of hospitality brings them under control. When Raith departs, McCoy informs Dresden that the latter is likely to be stripped of his Warden status and covertly targeted for termination.[41] He is later removed from Molly Carpenter's apartment on Etri's as his behavior scares the svartalves' children.[42]

McCoy's suspicions of Dresden grow when he discovers Dresden outside Thomas Raith's apartment, even after Thomas was captured for the attempted assassination of Etri of Svartalfheim. McCoy demands to know why Dresden is helping the White Court, nearly coming to blows, but they are interrupted by the arrival of Cornerhounds.[43] Together, McCoy and Dresden manage to banish the Cornerhounds, but they part on bad terms.[44] McCoy then attends the peace summit, not being particularly involved until Ethniu delivers her ultimatum to the accorded nations. There he asks after Dresden, and learns that Dresden was "consorting" with Lara Raith. Fearing the worst, he rushes after Dresden on a flying rock.[45]

McCoy confronts Dresden at the marina, attempting to blast the Water Beetle out of the water to prevent Thomas Raith's escape. Dresden duels him to prevent this, and although McCoy is victorious, Dresden distracts him with the revelation that Thomas Raith is his second grandson. Enraged that one of the White Court who he hates so fervently could be in his family, McCoy readies himself to blast the boat, but Dresden takes the shot instead, and is mortally wounded. Horrified, McCoy began to cry at what he had done — until suddenly he realized that Dresden was made of ectoplasm, at which point his mortally wounded body dissolved, the real Dresden safe and out of range on the fleeing Water Beetle.[46]

Battle Ground[]

In Battle Ground, McCoy formulates a plan to wear out Ethniu enough to allow Dresden to bind the Titan.[47] He advises against helping the people on his street, but Dresden does it anyway.[48] He then decides to bring everyone to halt the advance of King Corb's legion, allowing River Shoulders, Listens-to-Wind, and the Wardens to peel off with Dresden to deal with some necromancers.[49] He and Gregori Cristos hold off several forces until Dresden rejoins them, at which point he and Cristos transform the ground before them into quicksand to engulf incoming Jotnar,[50] although one breaks free and scatters everyone.[51]

Throughout the rest of the battle, McCoy helps Marcone's and Summer's forces to eliminate the Fomor's reinforcements,[52] and then joins the main battle with the Blackstaff, ripping the life from swathes of Fomor soldiers. Ethniu herself casts lightning at him from Gungnir, which he simply redirects back into the enemy lines. Ethniu later sparred with him, with him holding his own with his staff, until she manages to land a kick to his ribs which cracks his pelvis and sends him down.[53] He survives,[54] but is ordered to kill Dresden if he "cross[es] the line", to be threatened with charges of treason if he doesn't comply.[55]

McCoy's quarters at Edinburgh[]

McCoy's receiving room was lined with overflowing bookshelves, hundreds of which were handmade and handwritten, including museum-worthy illuminated grimiores, but also writings by Stephen King,[Footnote 6] Robert Anson Heinlein,[Footnote 7] Tom Clancy,[Footnote 8] Stephen Hawking,[Footnote 9] Friedrich Nietzsche,[Footnote 10] Julius Caesar,[Footnote 11], D. H. Lawrence,[Footnote 12] and great religious texts of the world. The books were not in any order and some were upright, some were laying on their sides.

One neat row held leather bound journals, all the same general design, though with slightly differing materials. These were the journals of his mentor and those preceding him all the way back to the Original Merlin.[16]

Word of Jim[]

McCoy is over 300 years old. He and the Merlin have known each other for a very long time and they fought on opposite sides in the French and Indian wars.[56]



See also[]

External references[]