Dresden Files
White Council

The White Council of Wizardry,[1][2] sometimes called the White Council of Wizards,[3] but more commonly known as the White Council, is a large worldwide organization of human wizards, and is seen as their governing body.


It is controlled by the Senior Council. The goal of the White Council is to protect mankind from the abuses of magic as outlined in the Laws of Magic,[4] thus it exists in order to limit the power of wizards. These days, it’s mostly about keeping wizards out of black magic—but in the past, it was also to keep wizards out of politics. That’s mainly because if the Council threw its weight in anywhere, it was all but guaranteeing a civil war among its own members.[5]

A number of formal roles exist within the Council, some of which are more secretive than others. These roles were assigned as the Council grew, in order to fulfill a particular need.[6]


The White Council has existed in one form or another since pre-Roman times.[7] The Council began as an advisory body to the Roman Senate until the Fall of Rome, when the Original Merlin founded it during the chaos,[8] in order to prevent a situation where multiple wizard kings would fight each other constantly.[6]

Its headquarters have been moved several times. Among its place of location have been Alexandria, Carthage, Rome, the Vatican in the early days of the Christian Church, Constantinople and Madrid. Since the end of the Middle Ages, for a little under five hundred years, the White Council's headquarters have been the Hidden Halls of Edinburgh; the complex is located beneath the city, with its main part occupying the space under Castle Edinburgh.[7]

The second or third Merlin engineered the tradition of costumes on Halloween, the reason being that, with people wearing masks, any hungry immortals might think twice before attacking innocents, as they could never be sure that their prey was not another immortal in disguise seeking to kill them on the one night they are vulnerable.[9]

The Venatori have been longtime allies of the White Council, while the Thule Society has been a longtime foe.[2]

Over its long existence, the White Council has been involved in numerous conflicts. In the 15th century, the Wardens were fighting the Lapland witches.[10] For decades, the Council was at war with the necromancer Heinrich Kemmler,[11][2] who engineered World War I and later reappeared in World War II animating mass graves and rampaging through Eastern Europe.[11] The White Council killed him seven times,[12] first killing him at the start of the 19th century, and then for a final time in 1961, in a battle that involved the Merlin, the whole Senior Council, the brute squad out of Archangel, the Wardens, and every wizard and ally the wizards could get their hands on.[11] In 1945, after the end of WWII, the White Council was busy mitigating the bad mojo from all the artifacts the Nazis stockpiled.[13] Another major war the Council was part of was the War between the White Council and the Red Court of vampires, which occurred between Grave Peril and Changes, started when Harry Dresden killed Bianca St. Claire[14] and ending with the complete extermination of the entire Red Court at Chichén Itzá.[15]


Senior Council[]

The Senior Council is the ruling body of the White Council. In theory the Senior Council is comprised of seven of the oldest wizards in the White Council. When a member dies, the next several eldest members of the White Council are put forth as candidates and one is selected to join.[1]

In practice this tenet is not always held to. Gregori Cristos was selected as replacement to the deceased Aleron LaFortier even though it is implied he is far from the appropriate age to be normally considered. This selection implies that political skill and personal connections among the White Council might also be an important and unwritten requirement. When Ebenezar McCoy joined the Senior Council, there were several, if not dozens, of older wizards in contention, but he was appointed anyway because all of them either had reasons they couldn't accept the position or outright declined it.[16]


The Merlin is the leader of the Senior Council.[17] When members of the Senior Council are absent without declaring a proxy, the Merlin is endowed with their votes.[18] The position is named after the wizard who founded the Council.[7]

The current Merlin is Arthur Langtry.


The Gatekeeper is a position in the White Council. The Gatekeeper's job is to scan warriors returning through the Outer Gates for infection with Nemesis or other influences. In this position, he works closely with the Faerie. The details of the position are not widely known in the Council; most wizards consider the Outer Gates to be a metaphor.[19]

The current Gatekeeper is Rashid.


The Blackstaff is an unofficial position in the White Council.

Neither a ranking in the Senior Council, nor an official position within the White Council, the Blackstaff is the sole person who can violate at his own judgement any of the Laws of Magic without retribution. The Blackstaff is also the keeper and wielder of a special staff, the Blackstaff, after which the position is named.

The position is currently held by Ebenezar McCoy, who has held it since before his appointment to the Senior Council.[16] One such example of this is how McCoy used his magic to bring a decommissioned U.S.S.R. Communications satellite down on Duke Ortega's castle in Honduras, killing not only Red Court vampires, but also mortal villagers.[20]

The Wardens[]

The Council's police force for wizards and practitioners. And, during The War, they have also become a military branch.

The Council at Large[]

A Wizard has to have a certain level of power and ability to become a member of the Council. Notably, they have to be versatile in multiple forms of magic.[21]

Other details[]

The Old School of Wizardry originated from the Old World—Western Europe—and maintains an attitude of: "maintain secrecy and don't attract attention".[16]

Mind Magic Defense Training: Every wizard receives training in defence against mental assaults, though scant at best. Following the Laws of Magic, the Wardens kill whoever they catch practicing mind magic. They believe that there is no such thing as an expert in mind magic, or psychomancy. The Defense Training is devised by amateurs.[22] After Samuel Peabody had mind-controlled most of the Senior Council and many of the Wardens and other Council members, the White Council institutes better defense training.[23]



Robes of Senior Council members are dark robes with purple stoles.

Formal robes were flowing black with stoles of satin and silk in one of the various colors and pattern of trim that denoted status.[24]

Color or Trim Pattern Status Meaning
Purple stole Senior Council
Blue stole Member 
Red stole Member with a Century of Service
Braided silver cord Master Alchemists
Gold stitched Caduceus Master Healers
Copper chevron  Doctorate in Scholarly Discipline
Seal of Solomon Master Exorcist


In the series[]

Summer Knight[]

In Summer Knight, the White Council is holding a conclave in Chicago about The War. The Merlin and others on the Council are about to bring allegations against Harry Dresden accusing him of intentionally starting the War with the Red Court and placing the responsibility of the subsequent deaths on Dresden. Ebenezar McCoy gathers his friends—Joseph Listens-to-Wind and Martha Liberty—on the Senior Council to stand up for Dresden. One of his friends is Simon Pietrovich was recently killed when his fortress, Archangel, was attacked by the Reds. Martha Liberty and Listens-to-Wind are now one vote short to block The Merlin.[1]

During the Conclave, Ebenezar McCoy got around the Merlin and was voted into the Senior Council, replacing Simon Pietrovich.[16] Duke Paolo Ortega wrote, wanting Dresden extradited for trial by the Red Court as a criminal. The Merlin, along with Aleron LaFortier and Ancient Mai, tried to hang the full weight of The War on Dresden's shoulders and tried to strip Dresden of his status as a Council wizard. If successful, they could ship him to Ortega. Ebenezar got the vote restricted to the Senior Council, which was split, three to three. It came down to Rashid, the Gatekeeper, who voted to have Dresden pass a test by fulfulling the Winter Queen's request and thereby securing safe passage through the Ways through the Nevernever for the White Council in The War.[26]

Blood Rites[]

In Blood Rites,

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Dead Beat[]

In Dead BeatHarry Dresden decides to wait to call the Council about the Heirs of Kemmler because: 1: Marvra is holding something over Murphy if Dresden Calls for help, 2: The Council doesn't like Dresden and probably wouldn't come, and 3: they're busy with The War.[27] Corpsetaker nearly kills Dresden with some powerful Psychomancy because of the rudimentary mind defense training the Council still uses even after a century.[22] Dresden Calls the Council for help because he's way out of his league with the necromancers and Captain Anastasia Luccio answers the phone herself.[28] Luccio brings some Wardens to a meeting at McAnally's Pub: Donald Morgan, Carlos Ramirez, and two trainees in brown robes, Yuki Yoshimo and Kowalski. Luccio enlists Dresden into the Wardens because the The War is going badly—They've just lost about three-quarters of their Wardens. She and Morgan inform Dresden about the latest battles.

"War Cry"[]

In "War Cry", the Merlin and the Gatekeeper help evacuating the wounded in Palermo to a hospital in Congo.[29]

Proven Guilty[]

In Proven Guilty, there is a small trial held to condemn and execute a warlock. The Merlin chose Chicago to send a message to Harry Dresden to toe the line.[30] At the end, there was another warlock trial for Molly Carpenter. She was eventually freed and made Dresden's apprentice under the Doom of Damocles.[31] The Council holds a trial for Molly Carpenter charging her with being a Warlock. She is nearly executed just because the Merlin doesn't like Dresden, until her father, Michael Carpenter enters with several Senior Council members he just saved in a battle in the War.[32]

Small Favor[]

In Small Favor,

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Turn Coat[]

In Turn Coat, the White Council is in turmoil due to the assassination of Senior Councillor Aleron LaFortier, seemingly at the hands of Donald Morgan. The close association between Morgan and the Merlin threatens to destabilise the Merlin's authority and therefore the whole Council, especially among members who saw LaFortier as their only senior voice.[33] With the Council gathered to pass judgement, the real culprit is exposed as Samuel Peabody, who is revealed to have been tampering with the minds of many Council members. The ensuing violence claims the life of around 40-50 wizards and causes political upheaval: Gregori Cristos is appointed to the empty seat on the Senior Council, partly to appease the faction of the White Council who had been displeased with a perceived focus on Europe and North America to the detriment of other members. While the Merlin manages to resolve the situation neatly through politics and deceit, the events result in increased paranoia within the Council, and Dresden and Ebenezar McCoy theorize that it was all instigated by Black Council infiltrators.[34]

Ghost Story[]

In Ghost Story, with the Red Court eradicated, they have been very busy chasing down supernatural threats all over. They consider Molly Carpenter to be a criminal now that Harry Dresden is dead—the Wardens are hunting her to pass sentence on her—though Carlos Ramirez hasn't been trying that hard to find her.[35]

Cold Days[]

In Cold Days, they are busy fighting the Fomor. The word is that they are operating around the coasts of Europe, especially the Mediterranean. Lara Raith's operation shares some information with them and they too. but they are not an alliance. Carlos Ramirez had been hurt real bad the previous year, he's not back in action yet. Warden Bill Meyers in Texas is giving the Fomor hell. The Wardens in Baltimore[Footnote 1] and San Diego[Footnote 2] are holding their own.[36]

Peace Talks[]

In Peace Talks, a delegation of Senior Council members and Wardens represents the White Council in the gathering of supernatural nations in Chicago.[37] There is tension between Harry Dresden and the other Wardens, who mistrust him and are unsure of his allegiance.[38] Gregori Cristos is asked by Lara Raith to intervene in order to ease tensions between the White Court and Svartalfheim, but is unsuccessful. After the Fomor attack the event, the Senior Council agree to contribute some Wardens to the newly-organised defense efforts, and are also asked to offer magical assistance, specifically looking into ways of hurting Ethniu.[39]

In parallel, a meeting of the White Council is convened, where members will vote on whether Harry Dresden should remain in the Council or be expelled. The fact that most of Dresden's supporters, as well as Dresden himself, will be unable to attend due to being at the peace summit raises suspicions that the vote is deliberately timed and part of an agenda, perhaps by the Black Council.[40]

Battle Ground[]

In Battle Ground, Harry Dresden is voted off the White Council and expelled following the Battle of Chicago.[41] Wardens Bill Meyers and Yuki Yoshimo were killed by Drakul and were likely turned into Black Court Vampires. Warden Chandler's current whereabouts are completely unknown.[42] Senior Council Members Joseph Listens-to-Wind and Ebenezar McCoy were critically wounded and in surgery due to their wounds suffered during the battle,[43] and Gregori Cristos is likely killed by Ethniu.[44] Dresden's disgust with the Council's ineffectiveness is in full force here, with it being implied that he is planning on properly strengthening the Paranet into becoming a replacement organization for the White Council when it (seems to, at least) inevitably collapses.(reference needed) Mab also implies that the primary instigator for the Council's involvement in the battle was that they also wanted access to the Eye of Balor.[45]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Summer Knight, ch. 4
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "A Fistful of Warlocks"
  3. Ghost Story, ch. 2
  4. Turn Coat, ch. 2
  5. Jim Butcher forum post about the limitations of wizards
  6. 6.0 6.1 Question about Blackstaff and Gatekeeper rolesJim Butcher 2018 Okemos, MI Q&A
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Turn Coat, ch. 14
  8. Cold Days, ch. 16
  9. Cold Days, ch. 11
  10. The Law, ch. 10
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Dead Beat, ch. 3
  12. Ghost Story, ch. 17
  13. Curses
  14. Grave Peril, ch. 38
  15. Changes, ch. 49
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Summer Knight, ch. 5
  17. Proven Guilty, ch. 47
  18. Proven Guilty, ch. 44
  19. Cold Days, ch. 34
  20. Blood Rites, ch. 35
  21. Jim Butcher 2018 Reddit AMA
  22. 22.0 22.1 Dead Beat, ch. 17
  23. Turn Coat, ch. 49
  24. Turn Coat, ch. 47
  25. Blood Rites, ch. 34
  26. Summer Knight, ch. 6
  27. Dead Beat, ch. 6
  28. Dead Beat, ch. 27
  29. "War Cry"
  30. Proven Guilty, ch. 1
  31. Proven Guilty, ch. 45-47
  32. Proven Guilty, ch. 46
  33. Turn Coat, ch. 15
  34. Turn Coat, ch. 47-49
  35. Ghost Story, ch. 10
  36. Cold Days, ch. 19
  37. Peace Talks, ch. 19
  38. Peace Talks, ch. 15
  39. Peace Talks, ch. 30
  40. Peace Talks, ch. 3
  41. Battle Ground, ch. 36
  42. Battle Ground, ch. 13
  43. Battle Ground, ch. 35
  44. Battle Ground, ch. 32
  45. Battle Ground, ch. 24

See also[]

External links[]