Dresden Files
Winter Court
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Harry Dresden, whose full name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden,[1] is a male human wizard with a talent for thaumaturgy,[14] evocation[15], alchemy,[16] and necromancy,[17] working as a private investigator out of Chicago. He's the titular and viewpoint character of The Dresden Files series. As of Cold Days, he is 37 years old.[18][19]


I believe that there’s a cloud for every silver lining.— Dresden[20]

Harry Dresden was born on Halloween, to Margaret LeFay and Malcolm Dresden. His mother died in childbirth, so Malcolm took care of him while traveling across the country trying to make a career as a stage magician. When Dresden was six, his father died of a brain aneurysm. Dresden, orphaned, became a ward of the state.[21]

He first manifested his powers at age ten, during a running long jump at school Olympics in the spring. Desperate to win, he magically pushed himself about ten feet farther than he would have jumped on his own. Though he landed badly and sprained his wrist, he won a blue ribbon that he keeps to this day.[22]

He was adopted by Justin DuMorne, a wizard and former Warden of the White Council, who took him as his apprentice.[22]

At thirteen, Dresden was given his first shielding lesson by DuMorne, who used baseballs as projectiles.[23]

When Dresden was sixteen, DuMorne tried to enthrall both him and his girlfriend, fellow adoptee Elaine Mallory, succeeding with Elaine, but not with Dresden. He faced and beat He Who Walks Behind, an Outsider summoned by DuMorne to kill Dresden; afterwards, he decided to go back and rescue Elaine. Dresden made a bargain with the Leanansidhe in which he received power enough to defeat Justin DuMorne, a debt he would owe his godmother for years to come. Dresden faced DuMorne in a duel to the death and won. He stole Bob, the air spirit of knowledge, and left, thinking Elaine died in the fire.

Dresden was then found by the White Council (to his surprise - as far as he knew, there were no other wizards besides himself, DuMorne, and Elaine) and was put on trial for breaking the First Law of Magic. He was let off the death penalty due to the killing being ruled as self defence, and instead was put under the Doom of Damocles.[15] This was due to some of the Council members, notably Ebenezar McCoy.

Dresden was taken in as apprentice by McCoy; though this would later be found out to be because McCoy was the Council's wet-works man, and was under orders to kill Dresden if he showed any signs of rebelliousness -- which happened fairly often, apparently. Dresden lived with McCoy on his farm in Hog Hollow, Missouri; his days were spent with hard work on the farm during the day, and studying in the evening. Although McCoy trained him about magic, his moral teachings and general support in a stable and peaceful homelife were even more important, and crucial for shaping his life.[4] Dresden has a scar on his right forearm, from where his knife slipped while cleaning a fish during this time.[24]

After spending some years "getting his head together" under McCoy's tutelage, Dresden attained membership to the Council, though he didn't, and still doesn't, trust them. (This is improving, albeit slowly.) He spent some years traveling across America, much like he did with his father, before settling down in Chicago.

After he first came to Chicago, he worked at a many different jobs, among them being a dance partner with a senior-citizen organization, where he learned ballroom dancing.[25] He then joined Nicholas Christian at Ragged Angel Investigations, where he spent three years gaining his licence as a private investigator.[26] After this, he opened his own business, which had been open for two years as Storm Front opens.

When needed, he wears a blue unembroidered stole over his formal black robe.[27]


Over the years I’ve learned that ignorance is more than just bliss. It’s freaking orgasmic ecstasy.— Dresden[93]

As one of the most powerful younger wizards of the White Council, Dresden has a large repertoire of magical powers. His skills at evocation, or 'quick and dirty' magic, aka "kaboom magic", aka "battle magic", lean toward large blasts of fire and force, sometimes using wind, and also has some skill with earth (usually manipulating gravity) and lightning magic. He has considerable magical brute strength, though his control is initially somewhat lacking - for example, while he could easily shatter a pair of handcuffs, he may also break the wrists of the person wearing them. For this reason, Dresden is ofttimes referred to as a magical 'thug'. Later in the series, Dresden is also shown to have tremendous power in ritual form battle magic, when he uses the energy of a ley line to concentrate gravity for several miles around into a small zone, and flattens hundreds of enemy combatants at once.


Dresden defeating a Denarian.

Dresden's skill with battle magic has increased steadily and quickly. His shields are the most striking example, initially unable to deal with sufficiently strong attacks, and not warding away heat, such that his hand was almost burned off. Now, thanks to practice and improved foci, they can deal with significant attacks without a problem. While the head of the Wardens has sufficient focus to wield fire magic with a pinpoint laser-like effect that can cut a person in two, Dresden has the power to take out a building, fry an I-beam, and has 'upgraded' to a blue-white shot of fire magic powered by his soul, strong enough to bore through a Denarian. Dresden is also using physics more, using his shields to turn enemies attacks back upon themselves or their allies, and ripping heat away from areas to create ice as well as power fire attacks simultaneously, and transforming himself (and a White Court vampire) into an explosion-powered cannonball.

Dresden was frequently accused of a lack of subtlety in his magic until he began training Molly as his apprentice. Through teaching to her particular talents (especially for veiling, illusion and subtle mind magic) and weaknesses (lacking brute force, emotional oversensitivity), Dresden gained a greater understanding and finer control over his talents and began using subtler versions of his own spells, such as tightly controlled wind gusts.

In Changes Dresden develops a much better control of magic, starting to cast illusions, veils, and Luccio's cutting fire beam, raising and lowering shields with great speed, and fine uses of soulfire, affecting huge areas with spells, mentally summoning of extremely powerful entities without a circle, and using the fire and ice exchange trick in combat multiple times.

He also takes up the Winter Knight's Mantle. It is a position of incredible power, giving Dresden access to the abilities of the Winter Sidhe. This gives him substantially increased stamina, speed, and strength in both the physical and magical sense, improved ability with "ice magic" which he either lacked or was reluctant to use prior to his appointment, and gives him greater protection from physical attacks. It is presumed that Dresden will hold the mantle of Winter Knight until he dies, as only with the death of the old knight can a new one be named - according to Jim Butcher, he is still the Winter Knight in the novel Ghost Story.[94] However, in Cold Days, Kringle mentions that Mantles can at times be removed.[95]

Dresden was able to employ Hellfire while possessed by the Shadow of the Denarian Lasciel, a power that especially aided destructive spells and fire effects. He first experienced this power during the events of Blood Rites, noticing that his staff had begun to generate heat and smoke when he used it, and he realized that his brief exposure to Lasciel's coin had allowed him to tap into it involuntarily. After Dresden lost that power, the Archangel Uriel awarded him the Angelic power of soulfire, which is used to make a sort of magical framework for the magic being used, turning, for instance, a straight force attack into an enduring silvery construct hand able to bash and batter repeatedly. The portion of the soul used in the soulfire returns over a period of days, enabling the wielder to get back to full strength; using all of one's soul is still fatal, however. Soulfire excels when used in creation magic, a notable example of which is illusions.

Magic itself has an innate power to disrupt technology in the Dresden Files. A strong wizard's aura interferes with devices such as computers, airplane engines, and car motors, severely limiting his use of any modern/electronic gadgets. ("I can kill a copier at fifty paces," Dresden remarks in Storm Front.) As a result, Dresden becomes a potential safety risk whenever he visits places containing sophisticated equipment, such as hospitals in which patients are on life support. He prefers older, less refined technology when he has to deal with it; he drives a 1963s Volkswagen Beetle, knows a mechanic who can keep it running eight or nine days out of every ten, and favors revolvers over semiautomatic pistols when he needs to carry a firearm. Dresden uses candles, a fireplace, a kerosene heater, and an icebox in his apartment and lab, and he keeps dozens of spare light bulbs in his office in case one burns out when he walks past it. He can deliberately cause widespread havoc around high-tech items just by drawing in his magic, a practice he refers to as "hexing."

Because of this technological stricture, many wizards employ the Nevernever to travel long distances. If a wizard knows the path, they can step into the Nevernever, walk a short distance, and emerge somewhere else far away, as distance and time function differently inside. Due to their difficulty in using advanced means of transportation, control of paths and locations in the Nevernever is of critical importance to wizards for getting around rapidly. Knowledge of access points to the Nevernever is among the more useful secrets in the Dresden Files...and an important bargaining chip for the Faerie Courts, who control most of the Paths through them. Dresden's mother was one of the most knowledgeable of such travelers. According to Luccio she would breakfast in Prague, lunch in Rome, and be in Tibet by sundown, with a couple of stops for coffee along the way. Dresden obtained a red crystal belonging to his mother in Changes, which contains his mother's knowledge of these paths. He has become slowly better, faster, and neater about opening portals to the Nevernever…he even uses one as a shield in combat to absorb falling stalactites from a collapsing ceiling.

Dresden also possesses great skill at thaumaturgy including tracking and sympathy spells - he prefers it, since it gives him more structure and precision for his power. According to Dresden in White Night, his skills lie in "redirecting energy, sending energy out into the world to resonate...". Dresden has summoned spirits across multiple mythos in his time, including faeries big and small, Loa spirits of knowledge, and actual demons, using this skill and thaumaturgic rituals. His first use of a ritual in battle is in Changes.

Dresden is implied to have a natural talent for dark magic; during Storm Front he was confident that, if he used it, he could effortlessly destroy Victor Sells and Donald Morgan, and defy the White Council.[96]

A power that all true wizards have is The Sight, or the Third Eye. Using this power is one of the earmarks of wizardry. It allows a wizard to see the world as it truly is, on a magical and spiritual level, bypassing all veils and illusions and showing people and things as they truly are. Anything that is witnessed under the Third Eye is remembered perfectly, forever, which leads to reluctance to employ it, as it is often called on in situations to reveal evil, horrible supernatural harm, and the like, and the weight of such memories can cause significant mental stress over time. Dresden's first use of the Sight was on a tree, and he can perfectly picture the gnome-like spirit within it to this day. His use of Sight on the Skinwalker (in Turn Coat) nearly drove him mad with fear and terror at the depth of the evil, cruelty and anathema he witnessed within the creature. It is noteworthy he has never used True Sight on a true Denarian, although he has witnessed the conflict of the Fey Courts using this ability... which completely turned his estimation of the power of Mab on its ear in his awe (and fear). (In Book One of the Dresden Files, the 'drug' being manufactured by the antagonist is actually an alchemical potion allowing normal mortals to use True Sight, an experience few are ready for.)

Yet another power that all wizards have is the soulgaze, a meeting of the eyes that transforms into a highly personalized and revealing look at the other person's psyche and soul, and one of the reasons why people instinctively don't look deep into another's eyes. It is an immediate way to identify someone or something flawlessly. It is notably something he has never shared with Murphy, although he has with Susan. Dresden has no idea how people perceive him, although those who have Gazed him tend to have their opinion and respect for him taken up several notches after it happens, as they realize the true nature of who they are dealing with. The crime lord Marcone, for instance, evidences a remarkable amount of respect for Dresden after sharing a soulgaze, and a young wizard who shared a soulgaze with him said that Dresden was gentle, kind, and alone. However, in the few instances when Dresden has Gazed an enemy during a confrontation, they generally have had a horrified reaction (one even gasped that he "[didn't] believe in hell").

On a more mundane level, wizards like Dresden are also capable of slowly 'healing perfectly' from injuries, leaving no scars or breaks. For example, his broken bones will seal and leave no mark behind, and he is slowly regaining use of his flame-seared left hand, damaged so severely the normal doctors recommended it be amputated. This characteristic is tied to the exceptionally long lifespan of wizards. It has limits...a wizard might take 40–50 years to heal the broken back Dresden suffers in Changes. Luckily for him, his back problem was fixed instantly when he became the Winter Knight. This is conditional; when he once considered defying Winter's Law, he momentarily lost control of his legs, giving him a moment to reconsider.

Dresden's 'final' ability possessed by all wizards is that of the death curse. While it is typically targeted at the being that kills them, it may be employed upon anyone within line of sight (such as when Dresden was readying to send the Death Curse at one of the Necromancers in Dead Beat when he anticipated Morgan's attack), and the wizard must have time to use it (a few seconds). Death curses can be incredibly powerful. Dresden believes that the force of his curse could wipe every living thing off the island of Demonreach, and others agree. His mother's Curse completely blocked the ability of the King of the White Court of Vampires to feed, though he was otherwise immune to magic. Dresden himself has been the target of a Death Curse, although the lesser power of the caster left it open-ended and of vague purpose.

Starting with his first exposure to the island of Demonreach, it also appears that Dresden is starting to develop foresight, a characteristic seemingly common to all wizards as they get older (and are not warned about ahead of time to stop them from wondering if this or that event was foreseen).

Additionally, after bonding with the native spirit of Demonreach in Turn Coat, Dresden is able to link in with the spirit's intellectus ability concerning itself and all upon the island, enabling him perfect knowledge of Demonreach and its denizens, and natural harmony with the creatures dwelling there, giving Dresden a nigh-insurmountable tactical advantage while he is present.

It seems that by the timing of Dresden's conception and birth, he (and his ex-lover, Elaine) have some form of power over Outsiders, such as He Who Walks Behind, resulting in his astonishing ability to overcome a major Outsider while still a teenager after his master had sent it after him, and actually surviving an Entropy Curse (a lethally malevolent form of bad luck). He and Elaine are known as 'Starborn' for this innate ability.

Dresden has a fairly uncommon magical power he has developed with time and experience, the ability to Listen. This is more akin to a clairaudience effect of limited range then merely enhanced hearing, but the sensitivity of it has risen with time, to the point where Dresden can even filter out and discern different heartbeats around corners and in rooms close by. Although it can be stopped by a Veil, it provides an excellent tactical edge against many opponents for him.

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Dresden casting a spell.

Unlike some of the other magic users in the series, Dresden shouts foreign languages and faux Latin commands to perform spells. For example, Dresden lights candles in his apartment by muttering "Fliccum Biccus," an allusion to the "Flick your Bic" lighter advertising campaign. When Dresden utters this phrase and infuses the spell with a minor effort of his will, his candles light up or the fire in his fireplace comes to life. He often uses "Fuego!" (Spanish for fire) when using fire magic and "Forzare!" (Italian for 'to force') with kinetic magic. He explained that most magic users use some language they're not familiar with for their incantations, to provide a bit of magical insulation to the user's mind from the forces they are channeling and to avoid accidentally casting a spell by uttering a common phrase in a language they're used to. Elaine uses Egyptian.

In Ghost Story, Harry Dresden finds itself being a spirit/ghost, with a whole new set of magic. We learn that ghosts can 'vanish', like a short-range teleport, they hurt one another with strong memories, can consume other ghosts for their memories, are destroyed if caught outside a sanctum by the morning light, and can wield magic once again by calling up memories of having used magic before. However, casting magic is fueled by the essence of the spirit itself, much like soulfire, and can consume them entirely if not watched for. Ghosts can manifest physically by use of extreme willpower, as well.

Ghost Story also introduces us to the mechanics of mental assault and defense in the Dresden Files, the uses of advanced illusions via Molly Carpenter's burgeoning ability, and the rather spookily powerful abilities of ectomancers, the people who can speak with and control ghosts (a very separate line of study from necromancy). Dresden's mental ability is noted as being incredibly obdurate on defense, and blundering tough on offense. Molly Carpenter is noted as being swarmingly effective on offense and elusive and hard to find on defense.

In Cold Days, we get a much better idea of Dresden's abilities as a Winter Knight. Losing all of his equipment at the end of Changes, Dresden is forced to learn to fight without using foci or charms; this means his barriers are now only forward facing and his attacks are less focused. In return, the boost from his new station gives him access to much more mental power to cast from, and he can perform ice spells with ease, including freezing a virtual iceberg to save him and his friends from drowning in the cold waters. He is immune to cold, won't slip on icy surfaces, can manifest icy claws from his hands, and when fully drawing on the Knight's power, displays the strength to jump fifty feet through the air and bench-press almost nine hundred pounds, coupled with incredible endurance and the ability to ignore pain and heal more quickly then a normal man. The power of the Winter Knight is also incredibly savage, even predatory, and Dresden has to constantly be on guard against its influences (and comes to know how his brother Thomas sees the world). Finally, the mantle has raised his threshold to pain; he has several wounds stitched up without any anesthesia, remarking that he was aware of the sensation and it was not pleasant, but it did not hurt. This last is almost as much curse as boon, as he can become critically injured and not even realize it is happening.

This latest set of abilities does come at a cost. As a thrall of Winter, he is now bound by the codes of Queen Mab's Winter Court; any attempt to violate them deactivates his Winter Knight abilities, including his "healed" spinal injury. Also, any contact with iron or steel weakens him greatly, as he discovers after being shot with a nail gun and stabbed with fish hooks.

He also temporarily becomes a member of the Wild Hunt. This effect cloaks him in shadowy power, turns mundane weapons into powerful magical killing tools, lets a motorcycle ride across Lake Michigan, and hides the identity of those under its influence behind masks of ancient hunters, even supplying mounts for those without them (Karrin's motorcycle becomes a huge shadowy cat). By defeating the leaders of the Hunt, he takes command of the entire pack to lead the defense against an Outsider assault on Demonreach Island.

In Skin Game, Dresden's magical abilities are not on as much display. It's alluded that he has managed to find out much more about the powers the Warden of Demonreach possesses, but they are not described. The force energy that used to be stored in his rings he has instead moved into his staff, as he has not had time to make rings, and he has a new trick for getting around things immune to magic: condensing a steel hard ball of ice into existence and propelling it with force magic like a cannonball, to great effect. He is also shown redirecting a blast of Hellfire with a cyclone of air. In addition, Dresden discovers that his Mantle of the Winter Knight has allowed him to push and train his body to its peak ability, and now has strength, speed, agility, and endurance as good as the world's top athletes, even without the aid of magic. It is also revealed that Dresden's spinal injury has been healing, and he can move freely even if stripped of his Winter powers.



Dresden files ring by mad queen1013-d34s074

Artist's depiction of Dresden's energy-storing ring. Website

  • Staff — A long staff used for channeling magic. Also works well as a bludgeoning weapon. It's proper to wield the staff in the left hand[97]. Dresden's original staff, made from a part of an old oak tree that was struck by lightning on Ebenezar McCoy's farm, was destroyed as of Changes. As of Skin Game, Dresden has replaced it with a staff carved from the oldest tree on the island of Demonreach.[98] This version of his staff has been inscribed with the same sigils formerly used on his now lost kinetic energy rings. While the staff can only cast the spell once, it has the energy storage sigil carved into it 77 times.[99]
  • Enchanted duster — One of his signature pieces of gear, originally a black canvas duster, it is now a long leather coat enchanted to work as armor against various attacks. The first leather duster was given to him by Susan Rodriguez in Fool Moon.[100] First appears with the armored enchantments at the beginning of Blood Rites: fighting Shen[101] and later when fighting a Black Court vampire.[102] In Cold Days, Molly Carpenter provides Dresden with an Inverness coat to replace the ruined duster.
  • Blasting rod — A rod used for channeling fire spells.[97]
  • Shield bracelet — A bracelet with tiny medieval shield charms on it. Used for creating force fields. The bracelet began as a simple silver construction, but has evolved to feature a chain of multiple metals woven together and shields of different metals. The evolved bracelet was destroyed as of Changes. As of Jury Duty Dresden has replaced it with a single band of copper inscribed with sigils which occasionally throws out sparks.
  • Energy-storing rings — Rings which are enchanted to store a small fraction of kinetic energy into them at all times. Dresden first owned only one copper ring, and later had rings made of silver for each of his fingers. They are described as simple bands with a number of runes inscribed on the interior. As of Small Favor, he had upgraded these rings from single bands to three bands stacked on top of each other, with each band capable of holding the same amount of energy as one of the previous rings.[103] As of Skin Game, these rings were lost.[104]
  • Silver pentacle pendant — A pendant Dresden inherited from his mother. Used for various spells, including tracking Thomas's identical pendant[105] and as a focus for calling up wizardly light. Once used to kill a loup-garou.[85]
  • Margaret LeFay's jewel — Also, in Changes, Dresden gained a red jewel that he has joined to the center of the pentacle. This jewel contains Dresden's mother, Margaret LeFay's vast knowledge of the Ways.[106]
  • Cane sword - able to channel earth-based magic, Victorian, has a slender thirty-inch steel blade inside.[107]
  • Dead Man's Talisman — Used to protect him from spirits. In Grave Peril, he gives it to Lydia who had asked him for protection from a hostile spirit.[108]
  • Enchanted rope — The rope is Faerie make, it has hair from a unicorn woven through it. Holds where handcuffs won't. The spell Dresden put on it that operates it with his will is set to his apartment and won't work elsewhere.[109]
  • Speaking stone (also sending stone) — a smooth piece of fire-rounded obsidian that Dresden uses it to communicate with Ebenezar McCoy. Dresden keeps it in a cigar box amid other miscellaneous stones as camouflage.[91]
  • Silver belt buckle — Hand-carved by Dresden between Death Masks and Blood Rites, the belt buckle was cast from silver into the design of a standing bear. Its purpose was to contain a reservoir of raw life and magic in case of emergencies, "nitrous for the body, mind, and soul." Upon activation, the energy contained within the buckle would flow into the bearer, rejuvenating them.[44]

Non magical[]


Harry Dresden's current firearm as of Skin Game: The Smith and Wesson .500

  • Blue Beetle — Dresden's VW bug car
  • Mickey Mouse alarm clock[6][110][111]
  • Original Star Wars poster[112][113]
  • Book: The Hobbit
  • Book: The Two Towers, given to Dresden by Uriel. Twice, it gave Dresden messages from Uriel.[114]
  • Mundane weapon backup: Dresden started off with a Smith and Wesson .38 Chief's Special revolver,[88] upgraded to a unknown medium barreled .357 revolver,[115] and again to a Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum revolver.[116] In Changes he acquired two guns from bad guys: Security Guard's .40 caliber + Gunman's nine millimeter,[31] though it's uncertain what happened to the last 3 pistols. As of Cold Days he has a Winchester rifle chambered in .45 Colt.[117] and in Skin Game is given a Smith and Wesson 500.[118]

Titles and positions[]

Harry Dresden
I have a life, man. And my life isn’t all about feuding demigods and nations at war and solving a mystery before it kills me.
[Thomas lifted an eyebrow]
Thomas Raith
It’s also about mold demons and flaming monkey poo?
Harry Dresden
What can I say? I put the ‘ick’ in ‘magic’.
— Harry and Thomas talking about the gutted interior of the Blue Beetle.[101]

As of "Jury Duty", Harry Dresden holds the following titles and positions which carry with them certain special abilities:

Warden of the White Council: As of Dead Beat, Dresden has been recruited to be a member of the wardens,[119] the law-enforcement/Military arm of the White Council.[120] They traditionally wear a grey cloak,[119] enchanted to not stain with blood;[121] Wardens were also given enchanted silver swords which could dispell any magical enchantment; these swords were made by Captain Luccio before the Corpsetaker switched bodies with her.[122] The position pays a salary that was established in 1959.[123] As of Cold Days, Senior Council member Rashid, the Gatekeeper, has confirmed that Dresden is still a Warden, despite his other titles, conditions, and obligations.[124]

Grey Council member: Dresden is a member of the Grey Council, an underground covert group within the White Council which serves to investigate and combat the hypothetical Black Council; thought to be a group of practicioners of Black Magic trying to destroy the White Counsil from without and from within. As of Cold Days it has been discovered that what were thought to be the actions of a Black Council have actually been the actions of an entity called Nemesis who controls the Outsiders, include the Walkers He Who Walks Behind and He Who Walks Before. Dresden, Ebenezar McCoy, and Donar Vadderung are the only confirmed members, but there are at least ten more.[58][125]

Winter Knight: As of Changes, Dresden has agreed to become the Winter Knight; Mab's personal hitman in the mortal world. The Winter Knight's Mantle pushes Dresden to give into his primal thoughts and urges such as teritoriality, posession, lust, and violence. The more Dresden gives into the nature of Winter, the more he can access the mantle's powers and abilities. In Cold Days Dresden displays the ability to do reps on a weight lifting machine of 400 kilograms (880 pounds), lift the rear end of a hearse off of the ground, freeze an opponent and shatter them, cover his fists with ice when throwing a punch, and maintain sure footing on any icy surface. Additionally Dresden, when fully giving into the mantle's nature, can grow claws of ice on his fingertips, and can leap distances over thirty feet.[126]

Za-Lord: Short for Pizza-Lord, this title was given to Dresden by Toot-Toot and the other dew-drop Faeries that Dresden buys pizza for in exchange for information.[127] While many consider the title laughable[128], Toot and the other Faeries, while under Dresden's command, are formidable and have even killed Aurora, the Summer Lady.[129] The Za-Lord's Guard have successfully defended Dresden, and defeated his opponents on many occasions such as when Captain Hook and her entourage attacked Dresden in the events of Cold Days.[130][131]

Warden of Demonreach: As of Turn Coat, Dresden has become the Warden of Demonreach. This position was claimed by Dresden when he used the Sanctum invocation to claim the island and bind himself to it. This position grants Dresden Intellectus of the island, meaning that Dresden simply knows all information about the island by simply thinking about it. Additionally, since Demonreach is a super-natural prison Dresden can, at-will, release any of the monsters, Naagloshii, Dark-Gods, and nightmares imprisoned on the island. Dresden can also command the Genius loci, that is the spirit of the island, whom Dresden has named Alfred Demonreach, to follow his orders when he is on the island. The island is imbued with numerous defenses which Dresden can activate at will. None of these abilities can be used when Dresden is not physically on the island. Alfred Demonreach, the physical manifestation of the spirit of the island, has indicated there have been other Wardens of the island before Dresden took up the job.[132]

Unconscious self[]

I like to stay cozy with my paranoia, not pass her around to my friends and family.— Dresden[133]

He is Dresden's internal self that sometimes leans a little to the dark side of choices. He shows up occasionally in dreams, or when Dresden is unconscious or with Lasciel's Shadow. His commentary isn't always dark, though, and is strongly rooted in Dresden's instincts and urges; telling Dresden to get laid, or pointing out what Dresden should do on the few instances he appears. Being Dresden's unconscious self, he knows things Dresden is not aware of, such as the identity of the Parasite, and Dresden's real thoughts and worries, such as telling Karrin Murphy about the White Council.

He looks like a handsomer, better-groomed version of Dresden, wearing a black leather duster instead of a canvas one. His pants, shirt and boots are all-black and tailor-made, and, once Dresden accepts the Mantle of the winter Knight, he wears a single lapel pin in the shape of an intricate snowflake. His hair is neatly cut and his bad-guy goatee is well-trimmed. He has more confidence, raw knowledge and strength, lacking the self-doubt and heroic conflict that Dresden endures. The Double says he's partly Dresden's intuition.[134]

In the series[]

"Restoration of Faith"[]


Harry and Murphy fighting Gogoth.

In "Restoration of Faith", Harry Dresden and Nicholas Christian are involved in the search for Faith Astor, a ten years old child. They learn that her parents are trying to frame them for her kidnapping, rather than to admit she had run away, but Dresden cannot leave her alone in the city at night. He's proven right, when the bridge troll Gogoth tries to claim her. Dresden defeats it, only to have Karrin Murphy find them at the end of the bridge. Mainly on Faith's testimony, she lets Dresden and Christian go free of the kidnapping charge.[26]

"Welcome to the Jungle"[]

In "Welcome to the Jungle", in the investigation of Maurice Sandbourne's murder, Dresden chases down and destroys a hecatean hag bent to a rite of ascention.[42]

Storm Front[]


In Storm Front, Dresden comes up against a two-bit sorcerer mixing sex, drugs, magic and murder, the Shadowman. Also introduced, among others, are the White Council, the Warden Morgan, Lieutenant Karrin Murphy of the Chicago Police Department's Special Investigations division, who hires Dresden on a "per case" basis as a consultant, and Susan Rodriguez, a reporter for the Midwestern Arcane, a newspaper that reports on the supernatural occurances in the area.

By the end of the book the Doom of Damocles is lifted from him in a Council meeting due to "valorous action above and beyond the call of duty", although he himself cannot attend due to still being hospitalized.[135]

Fool Moon[]

In Fool Moon, Dresden faces off against several different kinds of werewolves, and gains a new ally in Billy and his gang of werewolves, known as the Alphas. Dresden also concludes at the end of the novel that someone is trying to kill him, having put together certain facts from the novels.

Dresden's other side appears in a dream. He counsels Dresden to tell Murphy everything: the White Council, Nevernever, all of it, she may get eaten by a monster if he doesn't tell her and Murphy's a big girl; and Dresden should ask Murphy out. Not trusting Susan Rodriguez might have something to do with Elaine Mallory. It isn't over as long as he holds himself responsible for Justin DuMorne's death and Elaine's fall. And, that Dresden knows she's still alive. Until he faces reality, he won't be able to heal. Then they talk about MacFinn, the case and John Marcone, Streetwolves.[134]

"Ghoul Goblin"[]

In "Ghoul Goblin", Harry Dresden is called to Boone Mill to investigate the murders of Carl Talbot and Sarah Patterson-Talbot. He rapidly determines the presence of two murderers with different modi operandi, a goblin and a ghoul.

Bob's help being insufficient, he is forced to summon a nature spirit for information, who redirects him to another spirit more knowledgeable than itself.

Later, Dresden fails to save Alex Talbot, when Sheriff Dagget arrests him and lands him in jail, from which Mayor Cedar frees him. He leads the fight against Ambre and Griswald, winning it.[36]

"B is for Bigfoot"[]

In "B is for Bigfoot", he counsels Irwin Pounder on how to stop the Bully Brothers from tormenting him.[136]

Grave Peril[]

In Grave Peril, Dresden is manipulated into a conflict with the Red Court of Vampires, led by Bianca. Another friend of his is also introduced, Michael Carpenter, a Knight of the Holy Cross. And Dresden also meets Thomas Raith, of the White Court of Vampires, for the first time. Unfortunately for Dresden, Susan is kidnapped by Bianca, and half-turned into a Red Court vampire. Dresden gets her back, but only by killing his host while a representative of the White Council, thereby starting a Wizards vs. Vampires war.

It is also revealed that Dresden has a faerie Godmother, the Leanansidhe, who helped him escape DuMorne in exchange for his loyalty.

Summer Knight[]

Summer Knight begins with Harry Dresden living rough, spending all his time trying to find a cure for Susan Rodriguez. He is quickly ensnared into averting a war between the Faerie Courts, Summer and Winter, as not doing so would send the world into one of two climates. Dresden also learns that the current Queen of the Winter Court, Mab, has bought his debt from his Godmother. They haggle a deal whereby Dresden will do three favors for Mab, which he chooses, and he'll be free from Fae influence. The events of Summer Knight make one favour, so Dresden owes Mab two more.[137]

It is mentioned that Elaine survived the fire with which Dresden took down Justin DuMorne, and hid in the Summer Court, building up a debt to the current Summer Lady, Aurora, to protect her from those who would want to find and use her.[138]

Death Masks[]

In Death Masks, Harry Dresden meets the other two Knights of the Cross, and has to find the Shroud of Turin before Nicodemus Archleone, the head of the Order of the Blackened Denarius (Denarians being Fallen Angels who inhabit the 30 pieces of silver used to pay off Judas Iscariot for his betrayal of Christ) uses it to set off an apocalyptic plague. He also has to contend with a duel with Paolo Ortega, a Duke of the Red Court, and meets Susan again for the first time since her half-transformation in Grave Peril. At the end of the novel, Dresden picks up the coin of the Fallen Angel Lasciel to protect Michael's youngest son.

Harry Dresden meets Thomas Raith again, Jared Kincaid, a mercenary, and The Archive (whom Dresden names Ivy), a seven-year-old child who is the living repository for all human knowledge.

"Publicity and Advertising"[]

In "Publicity and Advertising", he and Bob argue on how better to write an announcement on the Yellow Pages.[139]

Blood Rites[]

Blampire hunters

Harry, Murphy, and Kincaid on the hunt for Mavra's nest.

In Blood Rites, Dresden picks up a stowaway from a job, a Temple Dog, whom he eventually names Mouse and decides to keep. Dresden also has to contend with a ritual curse being sent to kill the women around Arturo Genosa, a pornographic movie director. He also finds out that Thomas Raith is his half-brother, on his mother's side. Eventually, he's pulled into a power struggle in the White Court.

Dresden decides to stamp on the Black Court subversion that is happening also. While taking out Mavra, he severely burns his hand after she exploits a gap in his defensive capabilities.

Dresden learns that Ebenezar McCoy is the White Council's Blackstaff, the wet-works man who can break the Laws of Magic at will, if he thinks that the Council is being manipulated by them. Dresden also learns that Kincaid is a Scion, or part demon.

Dead Beat[]

In Dead Beat, Dresden being forced by a still-living Mavra to take a job looking for "The Word of Kemmler", the last in a series of magical texts by the (deceased) necromancer, Heinrich Kemmler‎, in order to protect Murphy, who is on holiday in Hawaii with Kincaid. While trying to deal with the group of "Kemmlerites", the Red Court launch their first major offensive on the Council, killing most of the Wardens in the process. Captain Luccio therefore makes Dresden a Warden - the White Council needs every available wizard, and Dresden becoming a Warden raises morale among the younger members of the Council.

Dresden also becomes aware of Lasciel's presence in his head, and has to walk a fine line between using her gifts (such as Hellfire, which supercharges his spells, and her photographic memory) and resisting her, or else he will fall under her power.

His double is part of a three-way internal dialogue with Lasciel's shadow right after Dresden was tortured by Quintus Cassius. The discussion centers around how much use to make of her ability to enhance Dresden's abilities, how much to trust her, and around the contents of the Word of Kemmler.[17]

"I Was a Teenage Bigfoot"[]

In "I Was a Teenage Bigfoot", Dresden is charged with checking on Irwin Pounder again. The youngsters is sick and tired, his life force being drained away with black magic; Harry Dresden scares the culprit out of this action.[77]

"War Cry"[]

In "War Cry", Harry Dresden leads a small team of young and inexperienced Wardens to help a group of Venatori besieged by the Red Court. When the team arrives to the besieged house hosting the Venatori, he quickly organizes the defense, but is noticed by the Red Court leader, who rapidly invites him to a parley, whose terms Dresden refuses. After Carlos Ramirez reports of the existance of a shoggoth in the house, Dresden quickly surmises the direness of the situation and the intentions of the Red Court.

Later, the house they're in being destroyed by a cadre of White Court soldiers, he releases the Shoggoth, killing Bravosa and scattering his forces. He and Thomas Raith then draw the Shoggoth to an abandoned quarry, and destroy it.[140]

"Something Borrowed"[]

In "Something Borrowed", he and Karrin Murphy are on the hunt for Georgia Borden who has disappeared just before she is to be married to Billy Borden. They discover that Jenny Greenteeth has cast a sleeping spell on her in order to take her place at the wedding and get some serious supernatural influence on Billy.[141]

Proven Guilty[]

Proven Guilty sees Dresden investigate black magic in Chicago, at the behest of the Gatekeeper. He also finds himself up against faerie constructs based around horror films, and leads a charge on the Winter Fae capital, Arctis Tor, in order to retrieve Molly Carpenter, Michael's oldest daughter, who is later revealed to be the warlock behind the black magic. At Molly's trial, Dresden "becomes a politician", in his own words, cutting off the Merlin's choices until the Merlin is forced to allow Dresden to take Molly under the Doom of Damocles.

"AAAA Wizardry"[]

In "AAAA Wizardry", Harry Dresden lectures a class of warden trainees about the importance of the five As in their future life: "ascertain", "analysis", "assemble", "act", "arrogance". In an attempt of helping the Yardly family dealing with a boogeyman, Dresden realizes that the creature was just benefiting from a preexisting situation.[142]

White Night[]

In White Night, female practitioners start disappearing. It looks like the White Court may be taking a more active role in the war between vampires and wizards and it looks like Thomas Raith is connected. To make things worse, Thomas isn't answering Dresden's calls. Several rival interests among the White vampires are interwoven into a thicker, yet well-coordinated plot full of surprises and tag-team dueling action.

"Down Town"[]

In "Down Town", Karrin Murphy calls Dresden to a murder scene, showing him a pocket watch that was found on the victim's body. Dresden collects a piece of residue from the scene and promises to look into the matter. A visit to Thomas Raith at the Coiffure Cup and an inspection by Bob on the murder scene, yield nothing.[143]

"It's My Birthday, Too"[]

In "It's My Birthday, Too", Harry Dresden intends to give his brother a birthday present. Thomas is enjoying a game of "Evernight" at the Woodfield Mall, when Dresden reaches him, but a Black Court vampire gets in the way.[51]


In "Heorot", Dresden and Ms. Gard collaborate in finding Elizabeth Braddock, kidnapped from the "NIGHT OF THE LIVING BREWS" by the Grendelkin.[67]

Small Favor[]

In Small Favor, Dresden loses his ability to charge his spells with Hellfire[144] and has to make do without it for his favor to Queen Mab and the recent resurgence of the Denarians. He gains the ability to use Soulfire, the divine equivalent of Hellfire, fueled by his own soul.[145][30]

"Wild Card"[]

In "Wild Card", Harry Dresden investigates a series of killings, variously attributed to the White Court and John Marcone's cartel. While they increasingly violently clash with each other and with the Chicago Police Department, Dresden figures out that a fae is sowing discord in Chicago for his own amusement.[146]


In "Mike", Harry Dresden brings the Blue Beetle to Mike Atagi's workshop to be repaired. He has to improvise a non-magical white lie to cover what happened to the car, as Mike Atagi wouldn't accept the magical truth. Mike Atagi offers him only two choices among "cheap, fast and good".[147]

"Day Off"[]

In "Day Off", Dresden tries to enjoy a well earned day off. A group of non-talented youngsters, his apprentice, and two of the Alphas interfere, and the day off turns out as busy as his regular days.[148]


In Backup, Thomas Raith chases a Stygian who is bent on tricking Harry Dresden to discover and release a book that would wreck the century old Oblivion War.[149]

The Warrior[]

In The Warrior, Harry Dresden and Michael Carpenter team up to stop a a priest from getting the Swords of the Cross.[150]


In "Curses", Harry Dresden is tasked with ending the Billy Goat curse. After a meeting with Gwynn ap Nudd, he refuses to do it, having discovered the true meaning of the course.[151]

"Last Call"[]

In "Last Call", Dresden discovers that maenad Meditrina Bassarid has magicked McAnally's beer and that he is running against time to prevent a disaster at Chicago's United Center.[142]

"Dog Men"[]

In "Dog Men", he accepts Joseph Listens-to-Wind's request for help in a disappearance case, where a Wolf Man has been seen. After examining the crime scene, and making friends with Mary and Max Martineaux and with Deputy Gentle, he is stopped by Agents Biggs and Lytle and warned not to interfere with their activities. He enters Taylor's pub for a beer where he is hit on by a ghoul in disguise who lures him on the street and engages him in a fight, interrupted by Listens-to-Wind, who leads him to the Wolf people's grove; a palaver with the Wolf people's alpha results in a fight with them, which is stopped with the intervention of agent Lytle and his men. In a dream sequence, Dresden finds himself pitted against Donald Morgan and Ebenezar McCoy, only to wake in a hospital, near Listens-to-Wind bed. Agents Lytle and Biggs are there and they have almost a fight with Dresden, interrupted by Deputy Gentle who calls jurisdiction on the two agents.[152]

Turn Coat[]

In Turn Coat, Donald Morgan arrives on Dresden's door, injured and on the run; he's accused of the murder of a Senior Council member, though it's a setup. Dresden assists the White Court, which has also been set up by the Black Council, in proving Morgan's innocence. During his investigation, he claims a Sanctum invocation, has to fight a Skinwalker and is finally able to pinpoint a traitor in the White Council. Meanwhile, Dresden's brother is kidnapped and darkened by the Skinwalker. Dresden throws down a challenge of violence to the remaining Senior Council members.[153]


In "Journal", Donald Morgan discloses that his antagonistic relationship with Harry Dresden was in an attempt to establish whether Dresden was tainted by the Adversary.[154]

"Bigfoot on Campus"[]

In "Bigfoot on Campus", Harry Dresden interferes with White Court vampire Charles Barrowill to have his daughter come to age as a vampire by killing Irwin Pounder. He manages, at the cost of an university building's destruction.[155]

"Love Hurts"[]

In Love Hurts, Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy are investigating a series of double suicides and link it to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, discovering that the Baroness Leblanc of the Red Court was behind it all since the beginning.[156]


Dresden & Murphy by Holly Robinson

Harry and Murphy by Mika Kuloda

In Changes, Dresden is informed by Susan that they have a daughter, Margaret Angelica, who has been kidnapped.[157] Surrendering to Queen Mab's wishes and becoming the new Winter Knight, Dresden is - with the help of his friends and the Grey Council - able to obliterate the Red Court and rescue his daughter. The novel ends with Dresden drowning, having been shot by an unknown assailant. As he drowns, he hears two voices; one male (Quintus Cassius) and one female.[158]


In "Goodbye", Harry Dresden is mentioned contacting Jared Kincaid to organize his shooting on the Water Beetle.[159]

Ghost Story[]

In Ghost Story, Dresden is sent back to Chicago as a ghost to solve his own murder. Mortimer Lindquist is kidnapped by a cult worshiping Corpsetaker's ghost and Dresden rallies his friends to take her down. In the end, he learns that he had arranged his own murder, to renege on his Winter Knight deal with Mab, then had Molly Carpenter erase his memory of the arrangement. Uriel gives Dresden a second chance since his suicide was influenced by a Fallen Angel. When Dresden chooses to "move on", however, it turns out that Queen Mab and Demonreach have kept his body alive all the time. The Queen then takes the resuscitated Knight to her domain.[94]


In Bombshells, as a token of gratitude toward Molly Carpenter, the Leanansidhe mentions that Dresden is in fact not yet dead.[149]

Cold Days[]

In Cold Days, Dresden wakes at Arctis Tor and spends three months in a combination of physiotherapy (under Sarissa) and naked combat training (under Mab)[160] before accepting his first assignment as the Winter Knight - to kill Mab's daughter Maeve, already set on killing Dresden.[161] In Chicago, Molly helps him gather resources and allies, while warning him that Demonreach is soon to explode, taking most of the Midwest with it.[162] Dresden learns of Nemesis, a secret way that Outsiders gain influence in the world. With the help of the Wild Hunt, Mab, and his allies, Dresden prevents the Outsiders and Maeve from staging an apocalyptic prison break on Demonreach.[163] Maeve and Lily are killed, transfering their mantles to Molly and Sarissa respectively.[164] Dresden confronts Mab over it, before being left alone on Demonreach.[98]

Skin Game[]

In Skin Game, Harry Dresden is stuck on Demonreach because of the "parasite" giving him increasing headaches, until Mab sends him off with three days to live, to join her creditor Nicodemus Archleone in a bank vault heist. The mark turns out to be Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Dresden, having no choice at all, insists on bringing Karrin Murphy to watch his back, and a meeting with Donar Vadderung to prepare a strategy. Within a short time, the conspirators make enemies of Waldo Butters, Karrin Murphy, the Carpenters, and the Archangel Uriel, and find Nicodemus' wife Tessa hot on their trail, determined to stop their project at all costs.[165]

Dresden, ostensibly working for the bad guys, is both hampered and conflicted at all times, and needs help keeping his white hat on straight - he gets this eventually from Michael Carpenter and from Hades himself.[166][167]

"Jury Duty"[]

In "Jury Duty", Dresden is drafted as a juror in the murder trial of Hamilton Luther; he manages to get Judge Jefferson to declare it a mistrial, by finding a key witness and by consistently disagreeing with fellow jurors about Luther's guilt.[168]

"Day One"[]

In "Day One", Dresden encourages Waldo Butters to fight the baku by pointing out that God would not assign someone a task greater than he can carry out.[169]

"Zoo Day"[]

In "Zoo Day", while at the zoo, Harry Dresden meets and rescues Austin, a young warlock just come into his powers.[8]

"Everything the Light Touches"[]

In "Everything the Light Touches", Harry Dresden is awakened by Mister requesting to be fed.[170]

Peace Talks[]

In Peace Talks, Dresden is running on Montrose Beach with his brother when he is informed that Justine is pregnant. They're interrupted by Carlos Ramirez informing them that the Fomor have convened a peace summit in Chicago, hosted by Baron Marcone and that Dresden will have to provide security for the White Council's senior members in attendance and to liaise with the Winter Court. When Ramirez and Raith leave, Dresden notices some very unusual footprints on the beach entering the lake, but not coming out of it.[13]

At Dresden's place, Ebenezar McCoy warns him that he is likely to be stripped of his Warden status and covertly targeted for termination.[171] After visiting Murphy and being threatened by Rudolph,[172] Dresden arrives at the Svartalf compound to discover that Thomas Raith attacked Etri and was captured.[173] After fighting off Cornerhounds with McCoy,[174] he teams up with Lara Raith to free Thomas, earning the suspicion of the Wardens in the process[175] but managing to rescue Thomas without issue.[176]

After witnessing the Goddess Ethniu's declaration of war against mortals,[177] Dresden sprints to the marinas, where he duels McCoy and loses. However, he manages to distract McCoy long enough to escape by pretending to be killed by McCoy — what was killed was actually an ectoplasmic construct of himself built for him by the Winter Lady.[178][179] Dresden brings Thomas to Demonreach and then imprisons him there in order to protect him from his out-of-control Hunger,[180] dissuades Lara Raith from attacking him over a misunderstanding, and then sets out to defend Chicago from the Fomor, armed with the knowledge that he can imprison Ethniu in Demonreach if he can only get her to the shores of the island.[181]

Battle Ground[]

In Battle Ground, Dresden helps defeat a Kraken[59] and then leaves Murphy at McAnally's Pub with the placard from Hades' Vault to protect the pub.[182] As the battle begins, Dresden summons Little Folk to counteract squids from the Fomor[183] and fights off Huntsmen with River Shoulders in order to save his former neighbors. He then peels off with Carlos Ramirez, Yuki Yoshimo, Bill Meyers, Listens-to-Wind, and River Shoulders to deal with some necromancers which turn out to be Drakul and a retinue of elder vampires, including Mavra.[184] The battle leaves several dead, so Dresden promises to get revenge before departing to return to the main battle with the Blackstaff,[185] taking time to drop off the human sacrifice that they rescued.[186]

With the Blackstaff, Dresden creates a twenty foot thick wall of ice to stall the Jotnar while Cristos and McCoy turn the ground at their feet into a sink hole. One Jotun escapes and scatters everyone,[187] but Dresden is rescued by Murphy and the Alphas, who take him to Mab.[188] En route, Dresden forms a banner that draws the citizens of Chicago and several creatures of Winter to his side, forming a small army around him by the time he reaches Mab.[189][190] When a childcare center is threatened, he and Murphy defend it and kill a Jotun together, only for Murphy to be killed by Rudolph,[191] which enrages Dresden to the point where only the intervention of Sanya and Waldo Butters can stop him from murdering Rudolph.[192]

Dresden engages in the battle, protects Mab,[193] summons Titania,[194] and attempts to protect Marcone/close in on Titania, but only intervention from Odin and Lara Raith successfully changes the balance of power by dislodging the Eye of Balor from Ethniu's skull, recovered by Marcone. Although Marcone throws it for Ethniu to run after, he manages to supply Dresden with Ethniu's blood in the process.[195][196] Dresden begins the binding ritual, rejects Ethniu's memory of his family being killed as a fake, and completes the binding, consigning Ethniu to the depths of Demonreach.[90]

In the aftermath, Marcone cedes the Eye of Balor to Dresden, Dresden mourns Murphy, and takes Justine toward Demonreach to see Thomas. However, Dresden surmises that Justine is infected by Nemesis, and confirms this before fleeing to the safety of Demonreach.[11] He's then cast out of the White Council, and influences the Accorded Nations to provide humanitarian support to Chicago. He also makes the case that Marcone owes him for defending his demesne, forcing Marcone to hand over his castle to Dresden. At the castle, Mab insists that he must marry Lara Raith, and Dresden later presents Molly to her parents as the new Winter Lady.[12]

"Christmas Eve"[]

In "Christmas Eve", Harry Dresden is at the Carpenter's, building a red bike for his daughter. Mouse helps him, displayng a far greater mechanical expertise than him. He is interrupted by Michael Carpenter, Mab, Molly Carpenter, and Kringle, each bringing gifts of their own.[197]


In "Monsters", Dresden is the recipient of a phone call by Viti about the welfare of a number of children.[147]

"Job Placement"[]

In "Job Placement", he is the recipient of a favor owed by Irwin Pounder and Connie Barrowill.[198]

The Law[]

In The Law",

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"Little Things"[]

In "Little Things",

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"Who did you base Harry Dresden, the urban wizard who lives in Chicago, on?"

The Bruce Willis character in the Die Hard film series. I wanted a very different type of hero. I wanted my hero to be more like a blue-collar-type guy like him, not a Superman. He’s the kind of character I wanted to set up and now I get to dream up bad things that can happen to him.— Jim Butcher[199]

"Files are told in a very pulp-crime manner—the protagonist, Dresden, even has an archetypal trench coat—do you think this is a necessary counterbalance to the supernatural nature of the plot or do you just enjoy writing a character with such an endearing wiseguy attitude?"

Yes. The whole concept of the Dresden Files, for me, was about taking the archetypical, classic PI and blending him with the archetypical, classical wizard. I think the two archetypes are really much more similar than one would at first suspect. Both tend to operate alone. Both, in general, tend to face forces and powers far beyond their own. Both operate to protect and guide those weaker than themselves. Both draw their true strengths from having and seeking knowledge. Both spend their time confronting some of the darkest aspects of their worlds.

Dresden is intended to be as much Sherlock Holmes as Gandalf, as much Columbo as Merlin. That attitude of defiance of greater powers is a hallmark of both archetypes, and for Dresden to be what I wanted him to be, he has to be willing to confront those who clearly outclass him—whether they be towering, flame-wrapped demons or cynical agents of the F.B.I. His wiseguy attitude is a part of that.

Plus, it’s really fun to write.
— Jim Butcher[199]

"When you were first doing this in the class, how did you decide it was going to be Dresden? That he was going to be the character you were going to be with for the whole series?"

Well, remember the only reason I wrote my first book was to prove to my writing teacher how wrong she was about writing stuff. That said, the way I put it together is I scrapped all my favorite wizards and private eyes and made a Frankenstein out of their parts, and that’s where it came from. I said, okay I’m going to Gandalf’s temper, Merlin’s meddling, Sherlock’s chassis and three-quarters of his brain. I’ll take Travis McGee’s testicles just for the pure fortitude, and Spencer’s mouth, although I never really out-Spencer’ed Parker, or at least I haven’t so far. And that’s how I put him together. It was a very artificial process.— Jim Butcher[199]

"Where do you find the inspiration for Dresden to always manage to do the right thing and never do anything out of spite despite how bad things get for him?"

From my Father probably. My dad was a very unique individual. Very quiet. At his eulogy I wrote 'My dad was a great man. He wasn’t a great man that shook the world, he was a great man who managed to calm it down.' He was the sorta guy you always turned to when things went bad. And I think he was probably a lot of the influence that I had for Harry Dresden.— Jim Butcher[199]

How Jim came up with the name "Harry Dresden"

Harry Dresden, the name itself, I had just watched a videotape of one of my favorite movies at the time, which was Cast a Deadly Spell, and the tape would stop, and I would rewind it and try to play past it and it wouldn’t go past, but at this part in that movie where the main character, Fred Ward’s character, H. Philip Lovecraft shows up at the gangster bar, and the gangster’s henchman comes walking up to him and says, '(sneering voice) Harry wants to see you.' And Fred Ward goes, 'Oh. Harry wants to see me.' 'Harry wants to see you now.' And what I got to hear about six times as I tried to fast forward past the stuck part of the tape was 'Harry wants to see me. Harry wants to see me. Harry wants to see' like that. And then I said, 'Okay, the heck with that, I’m going to try and find something on normal television, which I hate, because there’s commercials. And, so I’m skipping through channels, it’s like eleven thirty on a Friday night in Kansas City, and I actually find a channel that’s showing reruns of Babylon 5. So it’s like, 'Okay, acceptable.' And I’m watching the episode of Amazon 5 (sic), with this 'Dresden wants to see…' stuck in my head, and then Boxleitner is on there playing his character with (deep voice) the gravelly Boxleitner voice, and he’s there talking about various military attacks that have happened throughout history, and one of the attacks that he mentions is (deep voice) 'Dresden.' 'Harry wants to' Dresden, it’s just stuck in my head. 'Harry wants' Dresden, okay fine, Harry Dresden, character name, get out of my head. And that’s where the name came from.— Jim Butcher[199]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Fool Moon, ch. 11
  2. Storm Front, ch. 1
  3. Grave Peril, ch. 26
  4. 4.0 4.1 Summer Knight, ch. 4
  5. 5.0 5.1 Blood Rites, ch. 34
  6. 6.0 6.1 Death Masks, ch. 15
  7. Skin Game, ch. 9
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Zoo Day"
  9. White Night, ch. 43
  10. Peace Talks, ch. 13
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Battle Ground, ch. 35
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Battle Ground, ch. 36
  13. 13.0 13.1 Peace Talks, ch. 1
  14. 14.0 14.1 Grave Peril, ch. 16
  15. 15.0 15.1 Storm Front ch. 7
  16. Fool Moon, ch. 7
  17. 17.0 17.1 Dead Beat, ch. 38
  18. Timeline on JimButcherOnline
  19. Jim Butcher on Twitter
  20. Dead Beat, ch. 41
  21. Storm Front, ch. 18
  22. 22.0 22.1 Proven Guilty, ch. 41
  23. Small Favor, ch. 1
  24. Ghost Story, ch. 2
  25. Death Masks, ch. 19
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Restoration of Faith"
  27. Turn Coat, ch. 47
  28. Grave Peril, ch. 2
  29. Grave Peril, ch. 23
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Turn Coat, ch. 36
  31. 31.0 31.1 Changes, ch. 32
  32. Skin Game, ch. 46
  33. Grave Peril, ch. 17
  34. Ghost Story, ch. 48
  35. Changes, ch. 22
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 "Ghoul Goblin"
  37. Fool Moon, ch. 21
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Changes, ch. 12
  39. Grave Peril, ch. 19
  40. Turn Coat, ch. 32
  41. Ghost Story, ch. 20
  42. 42.0 42.1 "Welcome to the Jungle"
  43. White Night, ch. 40
  44. 44.0 44.1 Blood Rites, ch. 17
  45. 45.0 45.1 Fool Moon, ch. 17
  46. Storm Front, ch. 19
  47. Turn Coat, ch. 25
  48. 48.0 48.1 Turn Coat, ch. 45
  49. Small Favor, ch. 13
  50. Skin Game, ch. 48
  51. 51.0 51.1 "It's My Birthday, Too"
  52. Proven Guilty, ch. 21
  53. Small Favor, ch. 25
  54. Turn Coat, ch. 22
  55. Small Favor, ch. 24
  56. White Night, ch. 1
  57. Changes, ch. 43
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 Changes, ch. 46
  59. 59.0 59.1 Battle Ground, ch. 2
  60. Fool Moon, ch. 5
  61. Ghost Story, ch. 31
  62. Changes, ch. 35
  63. Fool Moon, ch. 32
  64. Fool Moon, ch. 28
  65. Summer Knight, ch. 19
  66. "War Cry"
  67. 67.0 67.1 "Heorot"
  68. Cold Days, ch. 48
  69. Storm Front, ch. 26
  70. 70.0 70.1 Grave Peril, ch. 30
  71. Small Favor, ch. 45
  72. White Night, ch. 40
  73. Cold Days, ch. 46
  74. 74.0 74.1 Grave Peril, ch. 21
  75. Storm Front, ch. 16
  76. White Night, ch. 40
  77. 77.0 77.1 "I Was a Teenage Bigfoot"
  78. 78.0 78.1 Storm Front, ch. 14
  79. Fool Moon, ch. 19
  80. Storm Front, ch. 25
  81. Proven Guilty, ch. 37
  82. Summer Knight, ch. 32
  83. Small Favor, ch. 4
  84. Cold Days, ch. 12
  85. 85.0 85.1 Fool Moon, ch. 33
  86. Cold Days, ch. 13
  87. Fool Moon, ch. 15
  88. 88.0 88.1 Storm Front, ch. 13
  89. 89.0 89.1 Storm Front graphic novel
  90. 90.0 90.1 Battle Ground, ch. 34
  91. 91.0 91.1 Changes, ch. 19
  92. Changes, ch. 47
  93. Blood Rites, ch. 27
  94. 94.0 94.1 Ghost Story, ch 51.
  95. Cold Days, ch. 55
  96. Storm Front, ch. 24
  97. 97.0 97.1 Grave Peril, ch. 1
  98. 98.0 98.1 Cold Days, ch. 53
  99. Skin Game, ch. 45
  100. Fool Moon, ch. 27
  101. 101.0 101.1 Blood Rites, ch. 1
  102. Blood Rites, ch. 2
  103. Turn Coat, ch. 26
  104. Skin Game, ch. 45
  105. Blood Rites, ch. 20
  106. Changes, ch. 15-16
  107. Turn Coat, ch. 23
  108. Grave Peril, ch. 4 and 15
  109. Death Masks, ch. 26
  110. Proven Guilty, ch. 15
  111. Changes, ch. 29
  112. Death Masks, ch. 4
  113. Changes, ch. 23
  114. Small Favor, ch. 46
  115. Grave Peril, ch. 9
  116. Summer Knight, ch. 2
  117. Cold Days, ch. 15
  118. Skin Game, ch. 36
  119. 119.0 119.1 Dead Beat, ch. 30
  120. Dead Beat, ch. 6
  121. Proven Guilty, ch. 1
  122. White Night, ch. 22
  123. Proven Guilty, ch. 5
  124. Cold Days, ch. 34
  125. Changes, ch. 49
  126. Cold Days, ch. 50
  127. Small Favor, ch. 5
  128. Cold Days, ch. 11
  129. Summer Knight, ch. 33
  130. Cold Days, ch. 13
  131. Cold Days, ch. 26
  132. Cold Days, ch. 16
  133. Turn Coat, ch. 08
  134. 134.0 134.1 Fool Moon, ch. 20
  135. Storm Front, ch. 27
  136. "B is for Bigfoot"
  137. Small Favor, ch. 10
  138. Summer Knight, ch. 7 & 8
  139. "Publicity and Advertising"
  140. "War Cry"
  141. "Something Borrowed"
  142. 142.0 142.1 "Last Call"
  143. "Down Town"
  144. White Night, ch. 43
  145. Small Favor, ch. 46
  146. "Wild Card"
  147. 147.0 147.1 "Mike"
  148. "Day Off"
  149. 149.0 149.1 Bombshells
  150. The Warrior
  151. "Curses"
  152. "Dog Men"
  153. Turn Coat, ch. 37
  154. "Journal"
  155. "Bigfoot on Campus"
  156. "Love Hurts"
  157. Changes, ch. 2
  158. Changes, ch. 41
  159. "Goodbye"
  160. Cold Days, ch. 1
  161. Cold Days, ch. 3
  162. Cold Days, ch. 12 & 14
  163. Cold Days, ch. 49-52
  164. Cold Days, ch. 52
  165. Skin Game, ch. 16
  166. Skin Game, ch. 51
  167. Skin Game, ch. 41
  168. "Jury Duty"
  169. "Day One"
  170. "Everything the Light Touches"
  171. Peace Talks, ch. 3
  172. Peace Talks, ch. 5
  173. Peace Talks, ch. 6-8
  174. Peace Talks, ch. 12
  175. Peace Talks, ch. 15
  176. Peace Talks, ch. 28
  177. Peace Talks, ch. 29
  178. Peace Talks, ch. 16
  179. Peace Talks, ch. 31-32
  180. Peace Talks, ch. 34
  181. Peace Talks, ch. 35-36
  182. Battle Ground, ch. 3
  183. Battle Ground, ch. 6
  184. Battle Ground, ch. 11
  185. Battle Ground, ch. 13
  186. Battle Ground, ch. 14
  187. Battle Ground, ch. 15
  188. Battle Ground, ch. 16
  189. Battle Ground, ch. 17
  190. Battle Ground, ch. 18
  191. Battle Ground, ch. 21
  192. Battle Ground, ch. 22-23
  193. Battle Ground, ch. 28
  194. Battle Ground, ch. 29
  195. Battle Ground, ch. 31
  196. Battle Ground, ch. 33
  197. "Christmas Eve"
  198. "Job Placement"
  199. 199.0 199.1 199.2 199.3 199.4 http://www.jimbutcheronline.com/bb/index.php/topic,21772.msg947687.html#msg947687