Dresden Files
Red Court

The Red King is a Red Court vampire and Red Court's leader. He is first mentioned in Grave Peril, and first appears in Changes.


The Red King is the Red Court's king.[1] In Chichén Itzá, his seat, he is known as "Great Lord Kukulcan".[2] Harry Dresden once estimated him at 4,000 years old.[3]

The pressure from his eyes was like an empty darkness that struck like a physical blow and easily lost in a void. His presence was too large for his body, a kind of psychic body heat that loomed large.[4]

The Red King was an addict, controlled by his bloodlust. Controlling one's bloodlust is the mark of power within the Red Court; his failure to do so would signal to the rest of the Court that he should be overthrown.[4]

Arianna Ortega is his daughter, he turned her, the thirteen Lords of Outer Night and the great part of the Red Court's nobility.[5]

He was five-two maybe five-three, well-muscled, and not imposing. His hair was black and long, hanging to the top of his shoulder blades. He wore a dressy kind of skirt-kilt, naked from the waist up and from the knee down.[4]

Harry Dresden's observations of the Red King's bloodlust leads him to understand why the Red Court performed so inconsistently during The War: brilliant one minute and making insane mistakes the next. Dresden deduced that Duchess Arianna Ortega must have caught on to the Red King's weakness and built a power base to depose him. As long as the Red King stayed in power, the White Council would never face a unified Court.[4]

In the series[]

Grave Peril[]

In Grave Peril, the Red King sends Paolo Ortega to Bianca St. Claire's ball as observer in the Red Court's effort to manipulate Harry Dresden into action that they could use for starting hostilities with the White Council. Ortega plans to carry the word of Dresden's "treacherous attack" (Bianca St. Claire's words) and his breaking of the Laws of hospitality back to the Red King and that will mean War between White Council and the Red Court[1]

Proven Guilty[]

In Proven Guilty, at Venatori Headquarters in Oregon, Donald Morgan nearly killed the Red King in the battle when the White Council come to aid Venatori against the Red Court attack.[6]


In Changes, when Arianna Ortega kidnaps Harry Dresden's daughter, Maggie,[7] with the intention of sacrificing her in a Bloodline curse.[8] Believing Dresden to be the target, the Red King is determined to try to remove him from the equation. To this end, he sends the Eebs to offer Dresden three possible offers to both get him off the case and to undo Arianna.[9] When Dresden (having made a deal with Queen Mab to gain the powers to face the Red King[10]) arrives, the Red King improvises, being aware that Dresden's claim is as legitimate as Arianna's. He is able to force a compromise; letting Arianna collect her claim first would make him guilty of interfering in the collection of a blood debt. Dresden's claim would be addressed first, the duel would occur as soon as possible, and the ritual sacrifice would be delayed to ensure a fair fight.[4] He even stacks the deck in Dresden's favor by arranging for the battle to be fought only magically.[11]

The Red King makes the mistake of trying to doublecross Dresden by ordering a Jaguar Warrior to go to the main temple in Castillo to kill Maggie on the altar.[12] Dresden blasts the Red King but misses. The Red King and the Lords slam Dresden and his team with their power, the pressure freezing them in place. Dresden released Bob who blocked that power enabling the wizard to move enough to cover Murphy. She draws Fidelacchius and cuts the will of the Red King and the Lords with a swipe of the blade through the air. A huge battle breaks out in the stadium. The sheer number of foes made things desperate when the Grey Council arrived.[13]

The Grey Council's arrival allows Dresden to make it to the main temple atop the pyramid in time to stop Maggie from being killed by the Jaguar Warrior, but the Red King and four Lords of Outer Night arrive immediately after Dresden and freeze him with his will again.[14] The Red King throws Maggie on the altar and all Dresden can do is. Just before the knife comes down There is brilliant flash of white light out of no-where and the Red King's arm is cut off still holding the knife—Susan Rodriguez had cut the Red King's arm off with Amoracchius under a veil courtesy of the Leanansidhe's cloak. Four more Lords enter the Temple and Dresden was locked down tight. Susan Rodriguez is unable to act because the Red King didn't know what the light from the sword was, only that it hurt him and he was afraid. To act would remove that small advantage. During this stand off, his arm began to return to the Red King climbing up his leg to rejoin itself to the upper arm. [15]

Martin enters the temple, attacks Susan, removing her robe which unveils her with Martin's blade was at her throat. Martin had been the Red King's operative for one-hundred-and-fifty years and just handed him the destruction of the Fellowship of Saint Giles. Dresden used the old mind-to-mind spell that he once used with Elaine Mallory to tell Susan that that if one of them dies on the altar, it kills their line not his. Martin reveals that Ebenezar McCoy is Dresden's grandfather and the man who killed Paolo Ortega. And, that he is the one who told them about Maggie. Susan loses it and kills Martin turning her fully into a vampire. While Martin was dying he soulgazed Dresden revealing that this was his real plan to destroy the Red Court.[15]

Martin's gambit to have Susan Rodriguez become the youngest Red Court Vampire distracted the Red King and Lords of Outer Night enough for Dresden and the Leanansidhe, disguised as a Lord, to launch an assault on the Lords, breaking Dresden's prison and allowing him to attack the Red King. When Dresden drove his ice-spear-tipped fingers into his eyes, the Red King screams in terror and agony, which summoned his forces to the temple through his will. Dresden tells Susan that she being the youngest, her death on the Alter could kill them all. At her plea, Dresden then kills Susan, and as a result the Bloodline curse the Red King had built up to use on Ebenezar McCoy's and Harry Dresden's family tree is turned upon its maker (the Red King).[15] The curse tears out his heart along with every other vampire's in the Red Court.[16]

Ghost Story[]

In Ghost Story, Dresden thinks over the choices he made to take him down and his culpability in the resulting circumstances.[17]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Grave Peril, ch. 38
  2. Changes, ch. 42
  3. Turn Coat, ch. 35
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Changes, ch. 43
  5. Changes, ch. 44
  6. Proven Guilty, ch. 44
  7. Changes, ch. 2
  8. Changes, ch. 21
  9. Changes, ch. 26
  10. Changes, ch. 30
  11. Changes, ch. 44-45
  12. Changes, ch. 45
  13. Changes, ch. 46
  14. Changes, ch. 47
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Changes, ch. 48
  16. Changes, ch. 49
  17. Ghost Story, ch. 24

See also[]

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