Dresden Files
Knights of the Cross

Dr. Waldo Butters is a medical examiner[Footnote 1] in Chicago. He first appears in Death Masks.[1]


I’m a five-foot-three, thirty-seven-year-old, single, Jewish medical examiner who needs to pick up his lederhosen from the dry cleaners so that he can play in a one-man polka band at Oktoberfest tomorrow.
Do your worst.
— Butters[1]

Waldo Butters is first introduced to Harry Dresden by Karrin Murphy on a case pertaining to a dead body that's been beheaded, mutilated, and the victim of a savage plague curse inflicted upon him by the Knights of the Blackened Denarius.[1]

He is described as a small man (about 5'3, 120 pounds) with a wild shock of black hair, which gives him a persistent look of surprise. As a medical examiner, he is typically dressed in blue scrubs, with fluffy bunny slippers.[2] He wears Tom Cruise sunglasses.[3]

Waldo Butters

Butters' one-man polka band

Butters is Jewish, and, by Dead Beat, is 37. He likes to listen to polka music, generally so loud that it can be heard down the hall.[1] Practicing for a polka contest, he has a suit fitted with a big bass drum on his back and smaller ones on the side.[3]

He drives an old Plymouth Road Runner with the licence plates: "MeepMeep".[4] When he is asked why the "four-eyed guy kept getting watch", Daniel gives him the radio-handle "Eyes", which stuck.[5][6] Around this time he has started dating Andi Macklin. He ultimately becomes a Knight of the Cross.[7]

Waldo Butters 1

Waldo Butters

Waldo Butters is "cursed with a sense of honesty, a measure of integrity, and enough moral courage to make him act on it",[3] so much so that he occasionally stands up to Dresden, who sees that he's a man of principle, who went right to the wall for the truth.[8] He seems perfectly content to hide, being ill-equipped to defend himself against the threats of necromancers, earning him a reputation of cowardice. However, he has hidden nerve and brains and, when needed, helps Dresden in unexpected ways.[9] He acts as a physical therapist and friend to Dresden,[3][10] and gives Dresden a guitar to practice on for physical therapy, prompting the other to comment that "for a mortician, he's a pretty good healer."[10]

Harry Dresden taught him how to make a Circle of Power with chalk and a drop of his own blood to protect himself from supernatural threats.[11] Though he has no magical talent, Bob deems Butters very smart and really good with magical theory. From Dresden's notes, Butters designed a magical instrument that allows mortals to see and hear ghosts.[6]

In the series[]

Grave Peril[]

Butters was responsible for examining the corpses remaining after the destruction of Bianca's estate. His assessment that they were 'human-like, but definitely not human' resulted in his being institutionalized, and his eventual demotion.[2]

Death Masks[]

In Death Masks, in his first appearance, Butters examines a headless body and shows it to Karrin Murphy and Harry Dresden helping with a supernatural investigation at the Forensic Institute. The corpse died of multiple plagues and has a tattoo in the shape of a symbolic open eye under his arm.[1] Bob identifies the eye symbol as the Eye of Thoth.[12] Later, he calls Dresden to tell him that the germs disappeared from the plague ridden corpse and the samples.[13]

Dead Beat[]

Polka will never die!— Butters[14]

Butters has great threats by captain brushpen-d4dyt7v

Butters has Great Threats—by Captain Brushpen

In Dead Beat, Butters comes up with a theory about why wizards live so long, why they affect electronics, and aspects of Harry Dresden's anatomy that make him special. He believes that with wizards, at least with Dresden, the damage they sustain to bone and cells completely heal with time. With regular humans, the damage is cumulative, with Wizards, it's not cumulative. That means, according to Butters, that Dresden's wizard ability to heal will eventually heal his badly burned hand.[3]

While Dresden was there, two necromancers, Grevane and Quintus Cassius, come to his office with zombies planning to abduct him. This was while Harry Dresden was there on a case. Dresden helps Butters escape. Then Butters demands that Dresden explain things, and Dresden finally relents, telling him about the world of magic.[1]

Throughout Dead Beat, Dresden protects Butters from the necromancers hiding him behind his Wards at his apartment. One day, Grevane leads an army of zombies in an assault on Dresden's appartment. While Dresden and Thomas Raith plot an escape, Dresden boosts up Butter's courage by giving him a rally cry: "Polka will never die!". Then, some zombies get Butters through a window. Dresden trades the info on the jump drive for Butters.[15]

Butters aids Dresden in cool techy ways, like finding The Word of Kemmler using a GPS box. And, in unexpected brave ways like saving Dresden's life when Cassius was torturing him and about to kill him at the Field Museum of Natural History. Butters assists Harry Dresden by acting as the drummer for the necro-summoning of Sue the dinosaur at the Field Museum.[16]

While Dresden and Carlos Ramirez were fighting the Heirs of Kemmler with Sue, he uses his medical skills to patch up a near fatal wound in Anastasia Luccio's new body. At the end, Butters gave Dresden a guitar for Christmas to practice on for physical therapy.[10]

"Wild Card"[]

In "Wild Card", Butters examines the bodies of two dead girls and determines that there is absolutely no reason for them to be dead. Calling in Harry Dresden, Karrin Murphy and Molly Carpenter, he gets Carpenter to confirm the fact by magical means.[17]

The Warrior[]

In The Warrior, Butters is called to patch up Harry Dresden who had been injured in a fight with Father Douglas.[18]

Turn Coat[]

In Turn Coat, Butters bandages up Donald Morgan's badly wounded leg.[19] Dresden brings Butters over to William Borden's for Game night—they're short one after Kirby's death by Shagnasty. There he meets the Alphas, which all seem happy to include him. He knows a lot about gaming so he brings a lot of skill with him.[20]


In Changes, Molly Carpenter calls him over to Saint Mary of the Angels when Harry Dresden breaks his back. He ends up trying to revive Dresden with a defibrillator after his heart stops. A hit man, Stevie D then plants two rounds into his back.[21] Butters survives because prior to coming over, he put on a Kevlar vest under his scrubs because of Dresden's track record with trouble. He was also carrying garlic, salt and a piece of chalk for making circles.[22]

Ghost Story[]

Waldo Butters 2

Waldo Butters

In Ghost Story, as Eyes, he acted as lookout for the Chicago Alliance and Paranet meeting at Karrin Murphy's home. He's been put on watch a lot.[23] Butters ordered Bob to save Harry Dresden's ghost from the lemurs and returned Dresden's essence back to him.[6] Butters updates Harry Dresden on Molly and Murphy.[4] He takes Dresden to the Chicago Alliance Headquarters, where he jokes around with the Sven and the Einherjaren.[8] He and Fitz took Dresden from his grave where he was hiding from the sun using Bob's Skull as a safe vessel. They need Dresden to rescue Father Forthill from Aristedes.[24] Butters and Daniel Carpenter pretend to be Wardens while Dresden locates Forthill. Eventually, Fitz takes over the gang and Forthill is rescued.[25] Later, Corpsetaker took Butter's body, veiled his spirit then taunted Dresden with her cruelty. When Corpsetaker jumps into Molly, she leaves Butters' body untenanted, his spirit unmoving beside it.[26] Uriel shows Dresden that Butters' body was kept alive by Andi Macklin and Marci doing CPR. Mortimer Lindquist does a delicately complex spell that restores Butters' spirit to his body. EMTs take him and Molly away.[27]


In Bombshells, he acts as long-distance lookout and security system hacker to Andi Macklin, Justine and Molly Carpenter when they infiltrate the Svartalf stronghold after Thomas Raith.[28]

Cold Days[]

In Cold Days, he has entered a romantic relationship with Andi Macklin.[29]

He fixes Harry Dresden's injuries after his fight with Lacuna.[30]

Skin Game[]

Nice try? Mister, where I come from there is no try!— Butters.[31]

In Skin Game, Butters has become a "Batman" of sorts; he has created a number of gadgets inspired from Harry Dresden's past attempts at making new magical instruments. He has also done various good deeds, such as rescuing some children. At the end of the book, Butters grabs the broken hilt of Fidelacchius, and the hilt grows a blade made entirely of light.[31] Butters has made plans to remain a Knight of the Cross and train with the Carpenters.[32]

"Day One"[]

In "Day One", he's assigned his first mission, fighting a malevolent baku causing sickness in people by feeding them nightmares.[33]

Peace Talks[]

In Peace Talks, Butters patches up Harry Dresden after his encounter with Cornerhounds, and Dresden learns that Butters is currently in an open relationship with Andi and Marci.[34] Later, while sparring with Sanya, they both discover with Dresden that Fidelacchius does not harm mortals, even assuming that an angel is bound to each sword.[35]

Battle Ground[]

In Battle Ground, Butters comes to Dresden's rescue after he'd escaped a collapsing parking lot that a Jotun had destroyed.[36] Butters then guards Dresden as he and Murphy pass deeper into Chicago to link up with Mab[37] and helps to evacuate a childcare center that came under attack.[38] When Karrin Murphy is killed by Rudolph, Butters tries to snap Dresden out of his rage[39] and eventually used the Sword of Faith against him, burning Dresden and bringing him back to his senses — though it cannot harm mortals, it temporarily broke Dresden's connection to the Winter Knight's Mantle.[40] He and Sanya then hide Rudolph to protect him,[41] and Butters later accompanies Dresden to destroy a bridge to force the Fomor into a channel to be killed, destroying the bridge himself with Fidelacchius.[42]

Butters saves Dresden's life when the offensive force of volunteers has to drop flat so that the defensive force can lay down cover fire; Butters tackled Dresden to keep him out of harm's way.[43] He then accompanies Dresden to link up with Mab again, although Dresden advises Butters not to accept any gifts or give any promises to the Faerie Queen. When she's injured in battle, he forgets that she's immortal until Dresden reminds him, so he yanks a length of steel out of her neck to restore her, which indebts Mab to him.[44] He rides Mab's unicorn with Dresden to reach the back of the battle, where he then distracts Ethniu long enough for Dresden to summon Titania.[45] In the aftermath Butters sees to Dresden's gunshot wound, cauterized by Titania. When Titania falls, Butters stands before Ethniu challenging her with a voice of an angel.

Butters withstands a bolt of lightning and stands defiant of the Titan, declaring that he isn't alone, even as Baron Marcone and the Summer Lady arrive with an army.[46] He enters the fray after Ethniu, using Fidelacchius to bolster his allies. He nearly goes to reinforce Molly Carpenter, but Dresden instructs him to stay his course toward Ethniu. Even after many of their allies fell, Butters continues[47] until he reaches Ethniu herself, who jabs him with the butt end of Odin's stolen spear to take him out of the fight,[48] although he survives the battle.[49] He attends a funeral for the fallen in a neck brace and backboard, giving a speech.[50]

"The Good People"[]

In "The Good People", Butters gets covered with gifts by a group of goblins as a sign of respect for his actions in the Battle of Chicago.[51]


According to Jim Butcher, Butter's tagline throughout the series makes the acronym "PWN(E)D," and he was shocked that the fan who asked the question had noticed.[52]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Dead Beat, ch. 5
  2. 2.0 2.1 Death Masks, ch. 5
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Dead Beat, ch. 4
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ghost Story, ch. 17
  5. Ghost Story, ch. 9
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Ghost Story, ch. 16
  7. Skin Game
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ghost Story, ch. 18
  9. Dead Beat
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Dead Beat, ch. 43
  11. Dead Beat, ch. 36
  12. Dead Beat, ch. 8
  13. Death Masks, ch. 14
  14. Dead Beat, ch. 22
  15. Dead Beat, ch. 22 and 23
  16. Dead Beat, ch. 36 and 37
  17. "Wild Card"
  18. The Warrior
  19. Turn Coat, ch. 1
  20. Turn Coat, ch. 49
  21. Changes, ch. 31
  22. Changes, ch. 32
  23. Ghost Story, ch. 9, 11 and 17
  24. Ghost Story, ch. 34
  25. Ghost Story, ch. 37–39
  26. Ghost Story, ch. 48
  27. Ghost Story, ch. 50
  28. "Bombshells"
  29. Cold Days, ch. 10
  30. Cold Days, ch. 27
  31. 31.0 31.1 Skin Game, ch. 50
  32. Skin Game, ch. 51
  33. "Day One"
  34. Peace Talks, ch. 13
  35. Peace Talks, ch. 18
  36. Battle Ground, ch. 16
  37. Battle Ground, ch. 17
  38. Battle Ground, ch. 20
  39. Battle Ground, ch. 22
  40. Battle Ground, ch. 23
  41. Battle Ground, ch. 24
  42. Battle Ground, ch. 25
  43. Battle Ground, ch. 26
  44. Battle Ground, ch. 27-28
  45. Battle Ground, ch. 29
  46. Battle Ground, ch. 31
  47. Battle Ground, ch. 32
  48. Battle Ground, ch. 33
  49. Battle Ground, ch. 35
  50. Battle Ground, ch. 36
  51. "The Good People"
  52. https://youtu.be/MDJDn-ggqOo