Grey Council
White Council

Harry Dresden, whose complete name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden,[1] is a male human wizard with a talent for thaumaturgy and alchemy, working as a private investigator[Footnote 1] out of Chicago. He is the protagonist and first person narrator of The Dresden Files series.


Harry Dresden is Chicago's only professional wizard[10]. He is tall and lean, with dark hair, dark eyes, angular features, a hawkish nose and a sharp chin.[2]

As of Cold Days, Dresden is 37 years old.[11][12] His long and varied career consists mostly of fighting monsters, working with the police, destroying buildings, showing up in newspaper reports and riding zombie dinosaurs down Michigan Avenue.[13] He has challenged, allied with and been offered power by a vast array of supernatural players.[14] And, he has an ad in the phone book.[15]

In the seriesEdit

Harry Dresden's life is chronicled throughout the series, from his time as an inexperienced private investigator[16] to facing off against other sorcerers[17][18][19][20] and taking on numerous supernatural creatures such as werewolves,[21] vampires,[22][23][24][19][25] ghosts,[22][26] faeries,[27][28][29][30] and even demons.[23][29][31] His power and clout increases, while he becomes a Warden of the White Council,[18] the Warden of Demonreach[20] and the Winter Knight[25].

Additionally, Dresden appears or is mentioned in a number of side novels, vignettes, micro-fictions and other short stories, some of which are from the point-of-view of supporting characters.[32][33]


"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[34]
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[34]
"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[34]
"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[34]
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[34]


  1. Private investigator - wikipedia


See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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