Dresden Files
Summer Court

The Three Gruffs.

Gruffs are a kind of faerie, allied with the Summer Court. They are first seen in Small Favor.


Likest thou jelly within thy doughnut?Eldest Gruff[1]

Gruffs appear as bipedal goats with white fur, digitigrade legs, hooved feet, claws, and tightly-curled horns;[2] their size varies by age. Average Gruffs have a height around five foot six, while older Gruffs range from human size to twenty feet tall.

They smell like a cross of a skunk and rotting eggs.[2] They are intelligent beings, and can handle weapons as diverse as oaken cudgels and submachine guns.[3] Older gruffs can also wield powerful magic.[1] They are, however, susceptible to cold iron or steel.[4] Like many large digitigrade animals, their hooves are also vulnerable to damage if hit behind the ankle; such a hit can lame them indefinitely, especially when dealt against larger and heavier gruffs.[3]

While younger gruffs might not wear anything or use any tools unless necessary, older Gruffs may wear clothing or armor, wield weapons, and even use very powerful magic.[1] The Eldest Gruff has killed several Senior Council members in battle and still wears the purple stoles as a trophy on his belt.[1]

Gruffs are very similar to satyrs,[Footnote 1] half-man half-goat creatures from Greek mythology. They are believed to be the origin of the fairy tale "Three Billy Goats Gruff".[5]

Role in the Summer Court[]

Among the Summer Fae, Gruffs serve as enforcers and bodyguards; they are noted for their ability to kill trolls, and as a group they are reasonably highly ranked-"up there", as Harry Dresden puts it. Like the fairy tale, younger Gruffs are sent at a target first, with their older (and larger) brothers continuing the pursuit if they fail.[5]

In the series[]

Small Favor[]

In Small Favor, Gruffs collectively act as the Summer Emissary,[3] countering Harry Dresden who is once again the Winter Emissary.[6] At first, four Gruffs are sent to assault Dresden while he is training his apprentice at the Carpenter household; three of them attack the Carpenter family as a distraction so that a fourth could attack Dresden from the roof. One of them is killed by Charity Carpenter, while the rest retreat, wounded.[2]

After Mab informs Dresden that he is her Emissary, three more Gruffs with submachine guns assail Dresden. He manages to lame one before retreating into a building and climbing down the side, leaving steel nails on the ground where he lands. One of the Gruffs follows, but lands on the nails and, being a faeire, is burned by the iron in the nails, allowing Dresden to escape.[3]

While meeting with Karrin Murphy at McAnally's Pub, Tiny the Gruff arrives to issue challenge to Dresden, but is made to leave by Murphy as McAnally's Pub is Accorded Neutral Territory. He arrives again at the Union Station,[7][Footnote 2] where Dresden uses Gard's rune-based magic to defeat him, although he is shown mercy and allowed to depart in peace.[8]

On Demonreach island, Eldest Gruff arrives to challenge Dresden, having zeroed in on Dresden's use of fire magic, which became keyed to Summer when Dresden used Summer fire to fuel his fire spells at Arctis Tor. Eldest Gruff is interrupted by Magog, who he slays, before accosting Dresden. They share a laugh, and as an Esquire of Summer, Dresden is able to send Eldest Gruff away to get him a doughnut. After leaving the field, thus relinquishing the role of Winter Emissary, the agents of Summer were no longer obligated to hunt Dresden and the Gruffs disengaged.[1] Dresden receives the doughnut from Eldest Gruff later on, in a brown paper bag.[9]

Cold Days[]

In Cold Days, Eldest Gruff attends Harry Dresden's birthday party, albeit obligatorily. Kringle invites Eldest Gruff to Hunt, although he declines like always. When Sarissa is kidnapped by the Redcap, Eldest Gruff's right ear twitches, pointing Dresden in the direction of the Redcap without overtly being seen to get involved.[10] When Mab enters the room, Eldest Gruff is one of only a very few people in the room not kneeling down to her, instead merely bowing his head in acknowledgement of the Queen of Winter.[11]

Later, when Dresden summons Queen Titania in Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary, she reveals that Eldest Gruff counseled her against pursuing a path of vengeance against Dresden.[12]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Small Favor, ch. 44
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Small Favor, ch. 1
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Small Favor, ch. 7
  4. Small Favor, ch. 17
  5. 5.0 5.1 Small Favor, ch. 3
  6. Small Favor, ch. 6
  7. Small Favor, ch. 24
  8. Small Favor, ch. 25
  9. Small Favor, ch. 46
  10. Cold Days, ch. 5
  11. Cold Days, ch. 6
  12. Cold Days, ch. 30