Dresden Files

Malcolm Dresden is a human male, the husband to Margaret LeFay and the father of Harry Dresden. He is first mentioned in Storm Front.


Malcolm Dresden worked as a stage magician who would put on old-fashioned shows, traveling around the country performing for kids and old folks. He died of a brain aneurysm while still young.[1]

According to Harry Dresden, he was a good and generous man, more than he could afford to be, never having much to give to his family.[1]

Ebenezar McCoy described him as: "A man. A mortal, without powers, without influence, without resources. But a man with a good soul like few I have ever seen". [2]

Malcolm had promised his son he'd be his assistant, but died before fulfilling the promise.[1] However he managed to teach Dresden one of Houdini's first rules: the means to escape is always within reach.[3] According to the Leanansidhe, Dresden favors him.[4]

He was acquainted with David Copperfield[Footnote 1] from the SAM when both were at a similar point in their careers.[5]


He met Margaret LeFay, married her and they had a son, Harry Dresden. Struggling to support his family, he was often traveling, and was not present at Dresden's birth or LeFay's death. He arrived more than a day after Dresden was born. He named his son Harry Blackstone Copperfield after the three stage magicians[1]: Harry Houdini,[Footnote 2] Harry Blackstone, Sr.,[Footnote 3] and David Copperfield.[Footnote 1][6]

He then took his son with him on his travels across the country. Malcolm died in his sleep one night; his six-year-old son, Harry, found him cold and smiling. The cause of death was stated to be a brain aneurysm.[1]

In the series[]

Storm Front[]

In Storm Front, Malcolm is remembered by a depressed Harry Dresden walking the streets of Chicago.[1]

Fool Moon[]

In Fool Moon, the demon Chaunzaggoroth hints that perhaps Malcolm's death was not natural, as Harry Dresden believes.[6]

Blood Rites[]

In Blood Rites, Harry Dresden mentiones that his memories of Malcolm had almost vanished.[7]

Dead Beat[]

Malcolm Dresden makes an appearance in Dead Beat during a dream of Harry Dresden's. The dream comes after beginning to read the book of the Erlking Dresden procured from Bock Ordered Books and defended from the necromancer Cowl. In the dream, the two of them allude to Through the Looking Glass,[Footnote 4] the sequel to Alice in Wonderland.[Footnote 5] The dream begins with Dresden awakening next to a campfire to see his father seated on the other side. Malcolm Dresden speaks to him and lets him know that he is real and not simply an illusion in his mind; it can be presumed that they can communicate due to the proximity of Halloween and the turmoil stirring up the veil between the Nevernever and the real world. Malcolm also alludes that he is only able to speak to Dresden now because "others have crossed the line." Malcolm speaks with love and affection for his son, assuring him that he is not alone. He also explains that Dresden has more to lose now than he ever has because he has a brother, and friends whom he loves.[8]

In the dream, Dresden sees the tops of trees being taken down and hears a "creature" in the forest. His father explains that it is a "Jabberwocky"[Footnote 6] but affirms that Dresden really knows what it is. Malcolm also assures Dresden that he is a good man and has what it takes to keep control over his life. He then states that it is time for him to go and ruffles Dresden's hair which makes his son say to himself, "for that brief second I was a child again, [...] utterly certain of my father's strength." After that, Malcolm says, "Sleep. I'll keep the fire lit until morning," after which Dresden enters a peaceful sleep for the rest of the evening.[8]

Malcolm later makes an appearance at Dresden's grave where they discuss Quintus Cassius's death curse. Malcolm reminds a dejected Dresden that "everyone dies alone. That's what it is. It's a door. It's one person wide. When you go through it, you do it alone. But it doesn't mean you've got to be alone before you go through the door. And believe me, you aren't alone on the other side."[9]


In "Journal", Donald Morgan suspects that Dresden Sr. was murdered, rather than dying of natural causes.[10]

Ghost Story[]

In Ghost Story, the Leanansidhe mentions that she thinks Harry Dresden has his father's eyes.[4]

"Christmas Eve"[]

In "Christmas Eve", upon receiving a cup of coffee such as those given him by his father, Harry Dresden remembers fondly the Christmas mornings they shared together.[11]

Peace Talks[]

In Peace Talks, Dresden reminisced about his time with his father as he, Lara Raith and Freydis Gard tried to sneak past the guards and get Thomas Raith out without being caught by using his disguise potion. He remembered the time when Malcolm Dresden picked up two hitchhikers, gave them meals and new pair of shoes despite their lack of funding even picked up a sick kitten next to his gig in Ohio, nursed it to health and found a good home for the creature. Dresden recalled his father taught him that the best way to trick the audience during his shows was to give them something to notice.[12]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Storm Front, ch. 18
  2. Blood Rites, ch. 35
  3. Fool Moon, ch. 22
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ghost Story, ch. 30
  5. Jim Butcher forum response
  6. 6.0 6.1 Fool Moon, ch. 11
  7. Blood Rites, ch. 6
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dead Beat, ch. 11
  9. Dead Beat, ch. 43
  10. "Journal"
  11. "Christmas Eve"
  12. Peace Talks, ch. 28

See also[]

External links[]

Harry Houdini

Harry Blackstone

David Copperfield