Dresden Files
White Council

Harry Dresden, Carlos Ramirez, Bill Meyers and Yuki Yoshimo by Stjepan Sejic

The Wardens, collectively also known as the Order of the Grey Cloak, are the law enforcement and military branch of the White Council.


Harry Dresden
Wardens are the White Council’s version of cops. They enforce the Laws of Magic, bring criminals in for a trial, and then they chop off their heads. Sometimes they get enthusiastic and just skip to the chopping.
Waldo Butters
Well. That doesn’t sound so bad.
Harry Dresden
In theory, but they’re so paranoid that next to them, Joe McCarthy looks like a friendly puppy. They don’t ask many questions, and they don’t hesitate to make up their minds. If they think you’ve broken a law, you might as well have.
— Harry Dresden explaining the Wardens to Waldo Butters[1]

The Wardens are the White Council's version of police and military,[1] numbering roughly two hundred strong prior to Dead Beat, when they fell to below sixty as a result of Red Court engagements,[2] now numbering over three hundred as of Turn Coat.[3] They can be identified by their swords, used to execute those found in violation of the Laws of Magic, and their grey cloaks which gives them the name Order of the Grey Cloak.[4] As the swords are no longer being created, new recruits must use some other means of executing violators. The swords are attuned to a single wielder, and cannot be redistributed to another user.[5]

Their responsibilities include protecting both the Senior Council[2][6] and other White Council members from attacks,[7] dealing with the Vampire[8] and Faerie Courts,[9] apprehending warlocks,[10] and serving as judge, jury, and executioner when in the field against violators of the Seven Laws of magic.[11] Many warlocks are killed resisting arrest,[12] or apprehended after their crimes have earned them a death sentences.[13] Hearings before the Senior Council are rare.[14]

Blood does not stain their cloaks.[13][15]

In Proven GuiltyAnastasia Luccio is still the technical commander of the Wardens, and Donald Morgan is the field commander.[16]

Though taxing the will and the body of the practitioner, fire is the Wardens' weapon of choice in combat situations, as it illuminates darkness, to the advantage of the wielder, and has a purifying effect when fighting dark magic.[17]


The Wardens are divided into three ranks:

  1. Wardens, without other honorific, are the rank and file of the Wardens.[18] Owing to their low number due to the losses from the War against the Red Court, they seem to be semi-autonomous when dealing with local situations.[19] Each Warden in the USA is based in a single city, travelling around the immediate area in order to perform his duties.[20] It is not known how they function elsewhere except for the White Council headquarters, where they maintain a constant presence.[21]
  2. Regional commanders are the next highest rank. They control several cities and are supposed to overlook and advise the Wardens in their area. Harry Dresden, the Regional Commander of the Midwest, prefers them to handle problems on their own.[19] One of them assists the Captain as his second in command, and is the de-facto leader when the Captain is unavailable.[5]
  3. The Captain, sometimes called a commander,[22] is the leader of all Wardens[23] and wields a ceremonial staff as their badge of office.[24]


The Warden swords were created by Anastasia Luccio, and can channel magic in the same ways as a wizard's staff. They are attuned to a specific wizard, so they can never be used against him, and to strengthen his magic.[5] A powerful wizard wielding such a sword can infuse it with enough power to shear through very strong obstructions much in the same way a Knights of the Cross can use his Sword to carve through sturdy materials like metal. A practitioner can also use his blade to unravel active spells.[25] With an infusion of his will, a Warden can use his sword to disrupt warded materials, magical shields and defenses.[26]

Since Luccio's body swap, she no longer has the needed magical power to make them, so no more swords are being made for new Wardens.[5]

In the series[]

Death Masks[]

In Death Masks, Paolo Ortega killed half a dozen Wardens in south America since The War began. [27]

Dead Beat[]

In Dead Beat, the Wardens have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of vampires, ghouls and demons in recent years. They also fought two wars against the necromancer Kemmler, the worst dark wizard of the last millenium, and killed him seven times in total.[28] Harry Dresden informed Butters about them, not believing they would come to help him because they don't like him.[1]

The Wardens have been devastated in the recent War against the Red Court. Most of their experienced Wardens have been killed in major battles. This has created a huge need for more Wardens. In Luccio's words:

…the Wardens are all but shattered. We need every battle-capable wizard we can recruit, train, or conscript.

She even drafts Harry Dresden, resisting all the way.[2]

Proven Guilty[]

In Proven Guilty, Anastasia Luccio is confident that she can eventually replace the losses to the Wardens with her bootcamp.[13]

White Night[]

In White Night, the Wardens now have more battle hardened warriors than at any time in their history, but the vast majority of those Wardens are young and inexperienced.[29][5]

Turn Coat[]

In Turn Coat,  Samuel Peabody had infiltrated the minds of the Wardens under fifty at headquarters. He had programmed them is a go-to-sleep-spell activated by Peabody shouting The End is Nigh, which he used during his escape attempt. Several of the young Wardens had been loaded with a lot more psychic commands that were intended to turn them in into the supernatural equivalent of a suicide bomber.[30]

According to Rashid, if both Morgan and Luccio had been arrested, the Wardens themselves might have started a civil war.[30]

Since the ceasefire the Wardens have grown greatly,[3] probably due to the recent population growth; with a greater number of wizards being born and a larger pool of recruits for the Wardens.[31]

Ghost Story[]

In Ghost Story, the Red Court is vanquished, and the Wardens went from fighting vampires to fighting a faceless enemy. They don't have enough members to take care of all the threats.[32] The Wardens have been very busy chasing down supernatural threats all over. Now that Harry Dresden is dead, they consider Molly Carpenter to be a criminal-they're hunting her to pass sentence on her. At least Carlos Ramirez hasn't been trying that hard to find her.[33]

Known Wardens[]


According to Jim Butcher, "it's important to know that 'Wardens' wasn't always plural".[34] This was later explained in more detail in Cold Days, when the spirit of Demonreach called Harry Dresden Wardens repeatedly, and when Dresden replied he was one, but not the only, Demonreach said "Now there are many. First there was one," referencing Merlin, the original, who built the island prison of Demonreach, and was its original Warden.[35]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dead Beat, ch. 6
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Dead Beat, ch. 31
  3. 3.0 3.1 Turn Coat, ch. 33
  4. "Curses"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 White Night, ch. 22
  6. Turn Coat, ch. 2
  7. Storm Front, ch. 27
  8. Storm Front, ch. 2
  9. Summer Knight, ch. 5-6
  10. Proven Guilty, ch. 41
  11. Proven Guilty, ch. 42
  12. "Zoo Day"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Proven Guilty, ch. 1
  14. Proven Guilty, ch. 43
  15. Proven Guilty, ch. 45
  16. Proven Guilty, ch. 2
  17. Turn Coat, ch. 42
  18. Dead Beat, ch. 30-31
  19. 19.0 19.1 Turn Coat, ch. 7
  20. Small Favor, ch. 3
  21. Turn Coat, ch. 13-14
  22. Dead Beat, ch. 39
  23. Dead Beat, ch. 27
  24. Turn Coat, ch. 47
  25. Dead Beat, ch. 40
  26. White Night, ch. 38
  27. Death Masks, ch. 4
  28. 28.0 28.1 Dead Beat, ch. 3
  29. White Night, ch. 4
  30. 30.0 30.1 Turn Coat, ch. 49
  31. Proven Guilty, ch. 5
  32. Ghost Story, ch. 09
  33. Ghost Story, ch. 10
  34. WoJ on Harry’s “mortal” “allies” - Word of Jim, 2009 Independence book signing
  35. Cold Days, ch. 16