Last time: murder, guns!
This time: talking!
I stuck my hands in my duster’s pockets, careful of the bloodstained shard of glass wrapped in my handkerchief, and turned my face into the wind, closing my eyes.
See? You aren’t dead. Dead people don’t breathe like that. You aren’t Spike, all torn to pieces on the floor. You don’t have any bullet holes in you, either. You’re alive, and Murphy’s all right, and you don’t have to look at that eyeless face anymore.
This strikes me as a particularly un-visceral way to describe someone’s reaction to nearly being involved in a fatal shooting. In fact “I turned my face to the wind, closing my eyes” probably would have sufficed on its own. At least it’s refreshing that Harry is allowed to feel sickened by the sight of the dead body instead of being MANLY STOIC MAN.
I wanted to scream, to run, to wave my arms and kick something until I felt better.
I can assure you this isn’t conjuring up the images of mental trauma that it’s supposed to be.
Murphy arrives and admits that Denton did in fact have a point in that she wasn’t supposed to be at the crime scene. I like Murphy, because she seems like an intelligent person except when the plot decrees that she isn’t.
She unlocked the doors and got in the car. I got in the passenger side, then reached out and plucked the keys from her hand as she began to start the engine
Because I suppose just asking her not to start driving yet would have been too hard.
She quirked her head at me, narrowing her eyes.
There’s that eye-narrowing thing that characters in bad fiction are always doing. I want everyone reading this to keep a track of how many times they either do this or see someone else doing it over the course of a month. The number will be close to zero.
Harry wants to discuss their strained working relationship lately, with a quick recap of what happened in the first book:
The funny thing was that the problems between Murphy and me came from the same source as the problems with Kim Delaney earlier tonight. Murphy had needed to know something to pursue an investigation. I could have given her the information-but it would have put her in danger to do so. I’d refused to say anything, and when I’d pursued the trail by myself all the way to its end, there had been some burning buildings and a corpse or two. There wasn’t enough evidence to bring any charges against me, and the killer we’d been after had been dealt with. But Murphy hadn’t ever really forgiven me for cutting her out of the loop.
Harry has this very smug arbiter-of-truth thing going on wherein he decides what people should and shouldn’t know based on what he thinks is good for them. In the case of Kim Delaney that’s arguably justified since he is her teacher in wizarding, and therefore has both a responsibility to try and ensure her safety and the authority to decide that she’s not ready to tackle wizarding subjects that might be dangerous. But Murphy isn’t his student. She is in fact a highly qualified and experienced police officers and Harry is her adviser on wizarding matters. I kind of feel like, given that dynamic, the responsible action would have been to say “I’m going to give you this info but as your wizarding consultant I urge you not to act on it or else you might get wizard-murdered”, and then recognize that as someone working an inherently dangerous job Murphy kind of has the right the decide for herself whether she’s going to risk her safety or not.
(Also if I remember correctly there was some sort of complicating factor involving the White Council getting on Harry’s case that he wouldn’t tell her about for some reason)
“I am not your daughter, Dresden,” she said, in a very soft, calm voice. “I am not some porcelain doll on a shelf. I’m a police officer. I catch the bad guys and I put their asses away, and if it comes down to it, I take a bullet so that some poor housewife or CPA doesn’t have to.” She got her gun out of its shoulder holster, checked the ammo and the safety, and replaced it. “I don’t need your protection.”
My thoughts exactly, Murph. Can I call you Murph?
That dig at Harry for treating Murphy like his daughter is extremely on the money, considering Harry has a bad tendency to do exactly that with almost every woman he meets. It’s odd that Butcher is obviously self-aware enough to notice this, but then has Harry continue to do it anyway.
Murphy wasn’t a wizard. She had almost no knowledge of the world of the supernatural, the world that the great religion of Science had been failing to banish since the Renaissance.
Before I go on a very long winded digression, let me just say that I’m going to be charitable and assume this is 100% Harry Dresden speaking and 0% Jim Butcher.
With that out of the way:
Any time anyone starts prattling about the “religion of science” it always pegs them as someone who doesn’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. Usually they’re just throwing out a lazy and unimaginative Sick Burn because the scientific method and the people who use it- which are lumped together into the monolithic entity referred to as “science”- disproves or is perceived to have disproved or to be trying to disprove some pet theory of the speaker, whether that theory is religious or paranormal or pseudo-scientific in nature.
The interesting thing is that Harry Dresden lives in a world in which the supernatural does in fact exist. But he also presumably lives in a world where, like in our own, the scientific method has failed to detect it, or else the vampires and werewolves and shit would be common knowledge. This makes his statement extremely odd, because “science” can’t be attempting to “banish” that which it is unaware of; and surely if scientists have utterly failed to detect the supernatural (keep in mind that the supernatural is deliberately hiding itself in this setting) then they are completely justified in asserting that it’s not real, even though they happen to be factually wrong about that.
In fact, it occurs to me that the only way Harry’s jab would make any sense is if he lives in a world where the existence of the supernatural is actually secretly known to the scientific establishment and they’re just being meany heads by engaging in a deliberate attempt to cover it up because reasons. It further occurs to me that this is the exact same worldview held by most paranoid cranks in real life.
Make of that what you will.
She had nothing to use against some of the things she encountered, no weapon but the knowledge that I was able to give her-and last spring I had taken that weapon away from her, left her defenseless and unprepared. It must have been hell for Murphy, to daily place herself at odds with things that didn’t make any sense, things that made forensics teams just shake their heads.
This is a moment of genuine introspection by Harry, but it’s a bit weird that he’s only getting around to it now, months after the fact. As we’ll see, he has an odd habit of engaging in sudden reversals of opinion between books.
That’s what Special Investigations did. They were the team specially appointed by the mayor of Chicago to investigate all the “unusual crimes” that happened in the city.
I’m extremely curious to know what the mayor thinks is actually causing these crimes, unless he’s part of the evil science conspiracy as well.
Murphy says she’ll forgive Harry if he promises not to keep secrets this time.
“Murphy,” I said, “I can’t promise that. How can you ask me to-“
For fuck’s sake Harry, stop being such an ass-waffle and just say yes.
He eventually does, but Murphy has to use a secret cop maneuver to grab the keys off him first.
“because if we don’t, I’m going to be out of a job. And you’ll probably end up in jail.”
The gist of this is that because of the events of the first book someone thinks Murphy was in cahoots with a local gangster, and it’s partially Harry’s fault (just like everything else). Now
city hall is breathing down her neck Internal Affairs is on her and they think Harry is involved somehow. They can’t prove anything, which is why Murphy didn’t raise a fuss about Benn almost shooting her- she doesn’t want anyone else on her case.
I nodded, frowning. The headlights were still behind us. “Just a crazy thought: Have you considered telling them the truth? That we might be dealing with a werewolf here?”
Murphy sneered. “Not a chance. They hire conservatives for jobs at the bureau.
Which is why you could just have Harry roll up and do some wizarding in front of them. Boom! Problem solved, the funds and support roll in. Again: Harry couldn’t possibly have a problem with people knowing he’s a wizard since he advertises openly in the phone book.
Murphy exposits a bit about the killings and says that two of the murders have been linked to Marcone (about whom more shortly). During this conversation a car starts following them but Harry doesn’t say anything because I guess not telling people important information is just his hobby.
Murphs drops Harry off at Wizard Pub and the car that was following them pulls into the parking lot. It cruises around a bit and then pulls out.
The driver, a striking woman with shaggy, dark brown hair, peppered with grey, did not turn to look at me as she went past.
Harry gets in his wacky car and starts to drive home, feeling guilty about Murphy.
I have what might be considered a very out-of-date and chauvinist attitude about women
Fuck me, here we go.
I like to treat women like ladies. I like to open doors for them, pay for the meal when I’m on a date, bring flowers, draw out their seat for them-all that sort of thing. I guess I could call it an attitude of chivalry, if I thought more of myself.
“I like to treat women like ladies” may be the most meaningless and yet simultaneously rife with hidden implications phrase I’ve ever heard.
Harry goes a lot more into his “chivalry” in the first book. It includes insisting on opening doors for Murphy even though she repeatedly asks him not to and gets upset when he does it. What an asshole.
Anyway, Harry decides that since Murphy is a “lady in need” he needs to heroically save her from trouble, even though he got her there in the first place.
I’m a wizard.
That means I have power, and power and responsibility go hand in hand
Did you seriously just write that
So, Harry picked up a bloody shard of glass at the crime scene (I’m sure the FBI will be thrilled about that), and he wants to use it to track the killer with wizarding. For some reason he didn’t tell Murphy about this earlier, and he’s now worried that Murphy will think he’s leaving her out of the loop again. In this situation, does Harry
a) Call Murphy up and explain the situation and that he can’t have that report on werewuffles for her like he said, and ask if she wants to ride shotgun
b) Be an enormous ass-muffin and just not tell her for absolutely no god damn reason whatsoever
Of course, he goes with option b because we need a contrived setup for drama.
I took out a few wizardly implements: my blasting rod
If the first book was any indication we’re going to be hearing a lot about Harry’s blasting rod over the coming chapters.