Dresden Files
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Necromancy[Footnote 1] is a magical craft dealing with death. A practitioner of necromancy is called a necromancer. Necromancy is forbidden by the White Council's Fifth Law of Magic.


Harry Dresden
Tell me what The Word of Kemmler is.
[The lights pulsed scarlet]
Evil Bob
Knowledge. Truth. Power.
Harry Dresden
Uh, a little more specific?
Evil Bob
The master wrote down his teachings, wizard, so that those who came after him could learn from him. Could learn about the true power of magic.
Harry Dresden
You mean, so that they could learn about necromancy.
[Bob’s voice took on the edge of a sneer]
Evil Bob
What you call magic is nothing but a mound of parlor tricks, beside the power to master life and death itself.
Harry Dresden
That’s an opinion, I guess.
Evil Bob
More than that. It is a truth. A truth that reveals itself to those who seek it out.
— Evil Bob and Dresden on necromancy.[1]

Necromancy is the practice of using magic in dealing with dead things. Necromancers can animate and control corpses, control ghosts, and access the knowledge stored in dead brains.[2] Older corpses are more powerful, particularly human corpses.[3] Fossils can also be used, resulting in an exceptionally powerful zombie; a single Tyrannosaurus rex zombie annihilated Grevane's army of Native American zombies.[4]

Magic is essentially a force of life, and necromancy makes a mockery of life by twisting it and destroying it.[5] Although necromancy is forbidden by the Fifth Law of Magic, the Law only forbids wizards from reanimating people, not necessarily animals.[6] The powers generally fall under a certain control of what could be called the soul.[2]

While necromancers can use their power to reanimate the dead, there are also a myriad of other uses that fall under the field. Some necromancers are able to switch bodies. It is unknown if this method could prolong life by invading a younger form. This ability was used by the necromancer Capiorcorpus, aka Corpsetaker.[7] Another use is the ability to draw information from the minds of corpses.[2]

Necromancy may also have some effect against Black Court vampires. This is not a known fact but by a statement that Harry Dresden had made to the Vampire Mavra: "I know how to turn Necromancy against the Black Court."[8]

In the series[]

Dead Beat[]

In Dead Beat, necromancy is featured prominently. A group of necromancers, the Heirs of Kemmler, who try to acquire the Word of Kemmler, which contains knowledge of the Darkhallow, as well as how to wield power over the Black Court.[8]

Harry Dresden exploits a loophole in the Laws of Magic, by reanimating the bones of Sue, a Tyrannosaurus rex in Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, commenting that resurrection of older creatures is not a matter of complexity, but raw power, of which he has plenty.[6]


Known necromancers[]


  1. Dead Beat, ch. 3
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Dead Beat, ch. 6
  3. Dead Beat, ch. 32
  4. Dead Beat, ch. 42
  5. Dead Beat, ch. 7
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dead Beat, ch. 38
  7. Dead Beat, ch. 17
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dead Beat, ch. 43

See also[]