Winter Court

Mab is a Faerie and the Queen of the Winter Court; she is the Queen of Air and Darkness. She is the twin sister of Titania,[2][3][4] and the mother of Maeve[5] and Sarissa, who are twin sisters themselves.[2][4] She first appears in Summer Knight.

Description[edit | edit source]

You may serve, wizard, or you may be served. As a meal.— Mab[6]

As the Winter Queen, Mab is one of the most powerful fae. She and Titania are between about 1,000 and 2,000 years old—older than the Battle of Hastings,[3] but younger than Nicodemus.[7]

Throughout the series, she has shown unusual interest in Harry Dresden.[8]

About 6' tall,(reference needed) with long white hair (usually described as flowing all the way down her back), she has green cat-slitted eyes, very pale skin, and lips the color of frozen mulberries.[8] She is ruthless, and, although capable of compassion, she shows it very rarely. Mab is, however always good to her word.[9] She was once mortal.[10]

Her main goal in life is to maintain the balance between the two Courts and the protection of reality against the Outsiders. Since her court is tasked with defending against Outsiders that are constantly trying to invade, she will do absolutely anything to achieve this.[11] She is also the creator of the Unseelie Accords.[12]

Mab is also mildly concerned with the spread of factually accurate information about Faeries among humans. A copy of Kinder- und Hausmärchen by the Brothers Grimm found in Arctis Tor is dedicated to her, possibly indicating that she was involved with its writing.[13] Accordingly, her distaste for Disney's treatment of the supernatural is deep and obvious.[14]

According to Titania, Mab believes in reason, logic and the supremacy of the mind, and behaves accordingly.[3]

Mab's Voice[edit | edit source]

Harry Dresden and Mab by David Vargo

In Small Favor, she does not speak for herself but used Grimalkin as her "voice" instead.[15][16] When she does speak, it is described as razor sharp and shakes the area where Dresden is, making his nose and ears bleed. Dresden reasons that the cause of this condition is because of her fury over the attack on Arctis Tor.[16]

In Changes, Mab still has need of a translator, using the Leanansidhe to speak for her. She said it's for his sake so he doesn't scream in agony bleeding from his ears. The Leanansidhe stated that "her voice is part of her power" and her rage is too great to be contained.[17]

In Cold Days, Mab states that the real reason she used Grimalkin as her "voice"[15] was due to her anger that Maeve was possessed by Nemesis.[10]

In the series[edit | edit source]

Summer Knight[edit | edit source]

Yes. Wise enough to be afraid. To understand, at least in part. How does it feel, to know what you know, child?— Mab[6]

In Summer Knight, under the name of Ms. Sommerset, she informs Harry Dresden that she has purchased his debt with his godmother, the Leanansidhe,[18] telling him that she will make the contract void, if he will perform three tasks for her; the first being an investigation of the death of the former Summer Knight, Ronald Reuel.[8] Thanks to Winter Knight, Lloyd Slate's betrayal, Mab offers Dresden the newly-opened position, in place of his two remaining favors, which he refuses.[19]

Dead Beat[edit | edit source]

In Dead Beat, Dresden tries to call up his godmother for information about the Erlking, and gets Mab instead. Lea is apparently "tied up" and Mab is now in possession of her knife. Mab states that she hasn't yet found a replacement Knight, and that Lloyd Slate is still alive and being tortured. She makes him the offer again. Again, he refuses.[20]

Proven Guilty[edit | edit source]

In Proven Guilty, both Lily and Maeve express concern that Mab is going insane.[21] Mab's stronghold of Arctis Tor is invaded[22] - presumably by the Black Council[23] - and Dresden ends up accidentally dumping Summer fire (given to him by Lily), into Winter's wellspring, to some unknown negative effect. Mab has a small cameo, in which she winks at him, as he leaves.[24]

Small Favor[edit | edit source]

In Small Favor, Mab shows up during the second attack on Harry Dresden by the Gruffs. Grimalkin substitutes for her voice and because of this, Dresden challenges her to prove that she is indeed, Mab. She does so by providing detail of their first meeting and then winking at him, as she did in Arctis Tor. She then shows Dresden how John Marcone was kidnapped and gives him his second task; rescue Marcone. She tells him that he has been chosen as her Emissary in this matter, though he can avoid involvement by taking up the Winter Knight's Mantle. Dresden again, refuses.[15]

Dresden shortly realizes that Mab is playing a game of some kind. Musing on the reason she had a surrogate voice, he notes that Mab told him Summer's hit men were after him because she had chosen him as her Emissary. However, for that to be true, she had to have done so hours before they met, before Marcone had even been kidnapped.[25] He discusses with Thomas Raith that she may be going insane, but that she still assisted him by hindering the gruffs with a blizzard.[26]

Mab has taken away Dresden's knowledge of fire magic, and stolen his blasting rod in order to prevent him from attracting the attention of Summer.[27]

After Jake the janitor leaves Dresden with a copy of The Two Towers, Mab again shows up, claiming that he has won the respect of The Watchman. When asked who that is, Mab states that of the four Archangels, she likes Uriel the most. She states that he is the most dangerous, and cautions Dresden against saying his Name. When she threatens to offer the Winter Knight's Mantle to Raith, Dresden claims that he does not belong to her and she forcibly corrects him, stating there is still one favor owed.[16]

Dresden asks why she sent the Hobs to kill The Archive, and why she recruited him to stop the Denarians. Mab tells him that Nicodemus Archleone was in violation of her Unseelie Accords, and that one of the other Denarians, Thorned Namshiel, was owed punishment for being part of the attack at Arctis Tor.[16]

"Wild Card"[edit | edit source]

In "Wild Card", Puck invokes payment for a debt she incurred with him involving a service he rendered a long time earlier in protection of the Outer Gates.[28]

Turn Coat[edit | edit source]

In Turn Coat, Harry Dresden remarks that although the White Council has Mab's permission to move through the woods, they are by no means safe. He is then shortly attacked by a number of giant spiders who do not believe him when he says that he is on speaking terms with Mab. They state that no mortal speaks to the Queen and lives.[29]

Changes[edit | edit source]

So many terrible things are done for love. For love will men mutilate themselves and murder rivals. For love will even a peaceful man go to war. For love, man will destroy himself, and that right willingly.— Mab[17]

In Changes, Harry Dresden worries what Mab would do if she had the knowledge that Margaret Angelica Dresden was his daughter. After he is left paralyzed, Dresden attempts to summon Mab and is instead transported to the Valley of the Stone Table, where the Leanansidhe acts as her translator. Apparently, Mab's true voice would cause Dresden to fall to his knees, screaming in agony and clawing at his bleeding ears. According to Lea, this is because Mab's voice is part of her power, and she is full of rage. Lea is not able to say what Mab is angry about. After giving his word that he will not suicide, Dresden offers to be her Winter Knight, under the conditions that she restores his body to full health; gives him enough time to bring his daughter to safety and provides the knowledge and strength to succeed; and that she won't ask him to harm those he loves.[17] He is made Winter Knight by killing Lloyd Slate and then completing a "ceremony" with Mab herself.[9]

Mab ensures the ceremony was broadcast to every creature in Faerie. After hearing about the ceremony, Sanya states that he saw Mab once, and that she was both beautiful and dangerous.[30]

Ghost Story[edit | edit source]

Death is a spectrum, not a line.— Mab[31]

In Ghost Story, the Leanansidhe states that she is training Molly Carpenter on behalf of Mab because Harry Dresden's oath of fealty demands that Mab assume his responsibilities.[32]. The Leanansidhe admits that she was forced to give Mab the athame she traded for at Bianca St. Claire's ball because of how treacherous the gift was. She also states that in all of Winter, she is second in power only to Mab and that Mab is her dearest enemy, who she has incurred an obligation toward.[33]

Bob tells Dresden that Mab is in Chicago, likely because she is involved and scheming with Uriel, and that her presence has kept winter around through to the end of spring.[34]

As it turns out, Mab (with the help of Demonreach) fished Dresden's body out of Lake Michigan, and was in Chicago, on Demonreach in order to keep his body alive. As she has done so for about six months, she appears incredibly drained. According to Demonreach, Mab provided Dresden's body with breath, it provided nourishment and the parasite maintained the flow of blood. Mab tries to tell Demonreach that Dresden is hers to shape as she pleases, however Dresden sees through this and announces that he will conduct his business as Knight in his own way and that she cannot change him.[31]

Cold Days[edit | edit source]

I was mortal once, you know.— Mab[10]

In Cold Days, Mab puts Harry Dresden through seventy-seven days of tortuous "physical therapy" in which she tries to kill him in increasingly inventive ways while Sarissa, his assigned physical therapist takes a more standard approach.[35] Mab returns Dresden’s mother’s amulet which she recovered and had professionally re-jewelled after he was shot. She also assigns Cat Sith as his orderly.[36]

Mab holds a birthday party for Dresden in Arctis Tor with various dignitaries in attendance. One of the rules of the party is that nobody may speak to the Queen without her express permission.[13] The setting of the party is a 1:8 scale ice sculpture version of Dresden’s old apartment.[37] When Mab herself arrives at the party, almost the entire room bows in reverence to her. The only guests who remain standing are Dresden, Maeve, Kringle, Eldest Gruff and the Erlking.[38] After one of Maeve’s lackeys breaks Mab’s other rule (no bloodshed) she allows Dresden to destroy the violator. She and Dresden dance, after which she issues him with his first order: to kill Maeve.[5]

Mab locks down the entire of Faerie from access to or from the mortal world, with the exception of one Way between Chicago and the heart of Arctis Tor. This is done until the sunrise following Dresden’s party and is presumably to give him a head start on killing Maeve.[39]

When Dresden runs into Maeve, she and Lily are convinced that it is Mab who is crazy and must be killed, claiming she is infected with the same darkness responsible for Aurora and that she intends to blow up Demonreach and destroy the world.[40]

Mother Summer explains that Mab exists and has power in order to protect reality. Her forces are far greater than the White Council’s estimates and outnumber Summer’s by a significant factor. However, these forces exist to protect the Outer Gates, which fall under the domain of Winter and to prevent Outsiders from invading and destroying reality. Summer exists to protect the mortal world from this vast power that Mab has.[11]

Dresden eventually realizes that Mab asked him to kill Maeve because she cannot bring herself to do it. Even though she recognizes that Maeve must be destroyed, she still loves her daughter.[41] In a desperate moment of inspiration, Dresden summons Mab to the hilltop on Demonreach during his confrontation with Maeve.[42] Mab demands that Lily cease attacking Demonreach, requests permission to enter the island from Dresden and then thanks the island’s guardian for its patience and assistance. While Mab is reprimanding her, Maeve shoots Lily, killing her and causing the mantle to pass to Sarissa. Maeve rejoices that Mab had not foreseen such an action and that the vessel Mab intended for the Winter Lady is no longer available. However, Maeve is not aware that there is another vessel in attendance. Mab frees Karrin Murphy’s shackles, allowing her to draw a concealed pistol. Murphy then kills Maeve, forcing the Mantle to transfer into the nearest available vessel – Molly Carpenter.[43]

Dresden pulls Mab aside afterward, and holds that pistol to her head. Noting that it is Halloween and she can be killed, he demands answers. Mab explains that she was preparing Carpenter for something else, likely to be the Summer Lady, but that she also does not put all her hopes in one basket and that the girl was also a backup plan for Maeve. Mab takes the pistol from Dresden and calls him her servant. He responds by instructing Demonreach to lock her up if she kills him. Mab is concerned by this possibility but is also impressed, stating “Finally, a Knight worth the trouble.” She informs Dresden that spotting the Nemesis is no easy task, and Dresden realizes that Lily had not actually been able to sense its presence. Dresden also concludes that during the period a few years ago (see Changes), where Mab was so angry that she could not speak, it was because she found out that Maeve had been tainted. Mab explains that The Leanansidhe had become infected, via the athame she received at Bianca St. Claire's ball and passed the infection on to Maeve before it could be set right. Mab was able to cure the infection in the Leanansidhe, and remain unaffected herself, but she could not help Maeve. She asks Dresden if she can bury both the bodies on the island, to which he agrees. When he presses her as to whether it was hard to kill Maeve, Mab responds saying that she was mortal once. Kringle later informs Dresden that Mab will return Molly to her apartment following some brief and gentle instruction, anticipating no problems with Molly’s new position. He also tells Dresden to be wary of challenging Mab’s pride. He has seen her break such a challenger to pieces before, claiming there is “terrible pride in that creature.”[10]

"Cold Case"[edit | edit source]

In Cold Case, Mab sends the new Winter Lady, Molly Carpenter to collect a tribute from the Miksani as the previous Lady, Maeve had been negligent in her duties. Mab sees this task as a teachable moment for Carpenter, both allowing her to prove her ability to the Winter Court and to learn a thing or two about the nature of her new Mantle. When Carpenter inadvertently triggers her mantle’s defenses on Carlos Ramirez, Mab explains what happened, contacts the White Council to dispatch healers, and waits with him until they show. As Carpenter leaves to complete her task, Mab explains the nature of the tribute the Miksani owe. They give their children to be used as soldiers defending the Outer Gates in Mab’s war against the Outsiders. She claims she has sent millions of Winter’s children into battle because it must be done.[44]

Skin Game[edit | edit source]

In Skin Game, Mab collects Harry Dresden from Demonreach after ignoring and vetting his requests for over a year. She has left him with the parasite in his head getting worse so that when he is most vulnerable, she can show up and demand a task of him which he cannot refuse. That task is to cooperate with Nicodemus Archleone. In exchange, Mab will provide assistance to prevent the parasite from killing him.[45] Archleone, or more accurately, Anduriel is owed a favor from Mab after lending her an associate in the past. In return, Mab is loaning Archleone the services of her Winter Knight to burgle Hades.[46]

Dresden confronts her about this privately and refuses to obey. Mab tells him that the parasite in his head will kill everyone he knows if she does not prevent it, before clarifying the terms of her agreement with Archleone. She informs him that the deal is only to help the Denarian until he completes his objective. She expects Archleone to betray Dresden however demands superior treachery from her Knight. Once the task is completed, Dresden is completely free, and encouraged to "skin them alive."[47]

After finding the vault and meeting Hades, Dresden realizes that Mab and Hades allowed Archleone to find out about the items being held in the vault as a way of releasing five powerful weapons into the world for her war with the Outsiders.[48] Mab helps Dresden set up his plan against Archleone, escorting him to McAnally's Pub to meet with Kringle. She greets McAnally, wishing his "patrons be prosperous and honest" and calling him a flatterer when he wishes her "scales always return to balance." Kringle tells Dresden that "Mab moves in…nasty, unexpected, devious patient and mysterious ways" and that she would not set Dresden up for a fight he couldn't win.[12]

Dresden visits Marcone at the Brighter Future Society where Mab is also present, dressed as her aspect of Judgement. Dresden lays out his knowledge of Mab, Marcone and Hades' deal to set up Archleone as payback for his multiple infringements against the Unseelie Accords, and kidnapping of Marcone and The Archive. Mab’s plan was not to kill Archleone, but to wound him, strangle his power and let him suffer. Dresden threatens to throw down with Marcone in order to assure protection for his co-conspirators. As this action would violate Mab’s guest rights with Marcone, she is shocked, though Marcone graciously accepts Dresden’s weregild, drawing a very slight nod from the Queen.[49]

Peace Talks[edit | edit source]

In Peace Talks, Mab informs Harry Dresden that Lara Raith is owed three favors by the Winter Court, and that he's responsible for paying two of them.[50]

"Christmas Eve"[edit | edit source]

Harry Dresden and Mab on Christmas Eve

In "Christmas Eve", Mab pays a visit to Harry Dresden, who is intent to build a red bike for his daughter. Fulfilling one of her obligation to her vassals, she brings a present for her, a ring giving the bearer power over Winter.[14]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Mab
Mortal brute. Whatever your past, whatever your future, know this: I am Mab, and I keep my bargains. Question my given word again, ape, and I will finish freezing the water in your eyes.
Mab
So many scars… Your scars are beautiful things. Within and without.
Mab
I am Mab. The stars will rain from the sky before Mab fulfills not her word.
— Quotes by Mab herself.[6][15][17][9][10]
Dresden
Spenser never mentions that the Faerie Queen has a great ass.
Dresden
Think of every fairy-tale villainess you've ever heard of. Think of the wicked witches, the evil queens, the mad enchantresses. Think of the alluring sirens, the hungry ogresses, the savage she-beasts. Think of them and remember that somewhere, sometime, they've all been real.
Mab gave them lessons.
Dresden
What we did wasn't sex, regardless of what it appeared to be. You can't have sex with a thunderstorm, an earthquake, a furious winter gale. You can't make love to a mountain, a lake of ice, a freezing wind.
Dresden
For a few moments, I saw the breadth and depth of Mab's power—and for a fleeting instant, the barest, tiniest glimpse of her purpose, as well, as our entwined bodies thrashed toward completion. I was screaming. I had been for a while.
— Quotes by Harry about Mab.[6][15][9]
[Sanya stood looking steadily at me.]
[I coughed. I waited.]
Sanya
So, Mab.
[I grunted vaguely in reply.]
Sanya
You hit that."
[I did not look at him. My face felt red.]
Sanya
You—
[—he scrunched up his nose, digging in his memory—]
Sanya
—tapped that ass. Presumably, it was phat.
Dresden
Sanya!
Sanya
I saw her once. Mab. Beautiful beyond words.
Dresden
Yeah.
Sanya
And dangerous.
Dresden
Yes.
Sanya
And you are now her champion.
Dresden
Everybody's gotta be something, right?
Sanya
Joking about it. Good. You will need that sense of humor.
— Sanya and Dresden after Dresden became the Winter Knight.[30]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Summer Knight, ch. 4
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jim Butcher, /r/books subreddit, in response to Lokiorin. https://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/25q3em/i_am_jim_butcher_author_of_the_dresden_files_the/chjmuk3/
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Cold Days, ch. 30
  4. 4.0 4.1 http://wordof.jim-butcher.com/index.php/word-of-jim-woj-compilation/woj-on-the-fae/
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cold Days, ch. 7
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Summer Knight, ch. 3
  7. Jim Butcher, /r/books subreddit, in response to onetwo_three. https://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/3lye65/i_am_jim_butcher_author_of_the_dresden_files_and/cvadxu3/
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Summer Knight, ch. 2
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Changes, ch. 31 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "DF12ch31" defined multiple times with different content
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Cold Days, ch. 53
  11. 11.0 11.1 Cold Days, ch. 33
  12. 12.0 12.1 Skin Game, ch. 44
  13. 13.0 13.1 Cold Days, ch. 3
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Christmas Eve"
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Small Favor, ch. 6
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Small Favor, ch. 46
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Changes, ch. 30
  18. Summer Knight, ch. 24
  19. Summer Knight, ch. 34
  20. Dead Beat, ch. 21
  21. Proven Guilty, ch. 20
  22. Proven Guilty, ch. 36
  23. Proven Guilty, ch. 47
  24. Proven Guilty, ch. 39
  25. Small Favor, ch. 7
  26. Small Favor, ch. 8
  27. Small Favor, ch. 44
  28. Wild Card
  29. Turn Coat, ch 13.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Changes ch. 33
  31. 31.0 31.1 Ghost Story, ch. 51
  32. Ghost Story
  33. Ghost Story, ch. 30
  34. Ghost Story, ch. 35
  35. Cold Days, ch. 1
  36. Cold Days, ch. 2
  37. Cold Days, ch. 4
  38. Cold Days
  39. Cold Days, ch. 9
  40. Cold Days, ch. 25
  41. Cold Days, ch. 39
  42. Cold Days, ch. 51
  43. Cold Days, ch. 52
  44. "Cold Case"
  45. Skin Game, ch. 2
  46. Skin Game, ch. 3
  47. Skin Game, ch. 4
  48. Skin Game, ch. 41
  49. Skin Game, ch. 51
  50. Peace Talks, ch. 6

See also[edit | edit source]

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