Harry goes back to his wizard-bachelor pad after all that excitement last time.
I entered my apartment, tossed my blasting rod, which I had recovered from the abandoned department store, into the corner next to my wizard’s staff and my sword cane
So he owns both a leather duster and a sword cane. All we need is the fedora now and we’ll be at critical douchebag alert (the covers show him wearing a stupid looking cowboy hat thing, but I don’t think that’s actually mentioned in the text itself).
We get an unnecessarily detailed description of Harry’s apartment (it’s wizardy) and Mister, Harry’s huge grey cat, shows up. Mister is the best character in the series, in case you couldn’t tell.
Despite my struggles, Mister had been an understanding soul, and I eventually came to realize that I was a part of his little family, and by his gracious consent was allowed to remain in his apartment. Cats. Go figure.
This is the perfect excuse to post more pictures of my cat, brb.
Mister shared in my meal, and split a can of Coke with me
My dog drinks diet coke as if it’s heroin if you leave a glass of it unattended, but I’ve never known a cat to be interested in fizzy drinks. What does your cat drink? Let’s talk about cats. Doing In The Wizard cat-chat 2014.
Let the wizardry commence.
Harry goes down a trap door to his wizard lab where we meet the worst character in the entire series, Bob. Bob is a lecherous talking skull who makes stupid sex jokes. No, really. I’ll give you a sample of his dialogue here and then mention him as little as possible from here on out because he makes me want to stab things that are shaped like Jim Butcher.
“Sleepyhead. Oh, that’s rich, Harry. With a sense of humor like that, you could make a living as a garbage man anywhere in the country.”
“What are we doing, now?” Bob sniggered. “More weight-loss potions?”
” There wolf,” Bob replied solemnly, his voice seething with a hokey accent. ” There castle.” [no, I have no idea what this one is about either]
Some stupid bullshit about breast enhancement spells
Bob eventually mentions that there’s more than one kind of werewolf, but before he can say anything else we get one of those scenes where characters tell each other things they already know for purposes of exposition.
“All right,” Bob said. “How much do you know?”
“Exactly nothing about werewolves. My teacher never covered that with me.”
Bob barked out a harsh little laugh. “Old Justin had a lousy sense of just about everything. He got what was coming to him, Harry, and don’t let anyone on the White Council tell you any different.”
I stopped for a moment. A sudden rush of mixed feelings, anger and fear and mostly regret, washed through me. I closed my eyes. I could still see him, my teacher, dying in flames born of my will and anger. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Hell, the Council even suspended the sentence on you. You were vindicated. Say, I wonder what ever happened to Elaine. Now there was a sweet piece of-“
Hey you know that thing that happened to you in your past? I will now explain it to you as though you don’t remember it for no god damn reason whatsoever.
Butcher seems to have no problem with just sticking background details, such as what happened in the first book, into Harry’s narration so I don’t get why this wasn’t handled similarly.
Harry starts making potions to give him energy and hide himself from werewolves and we learn that potions have eight parts and blah blah don’t care.
“Lot of werewolfery going on then?”
“Are you kidding?” Bob said. “It was werewolf central. We had every kind of werewolf you could think of. Hexenwolves, werewolves, lycanthropes, and loup-garou to boot.
“Hexenwolf” would be an awesome name for a power metal band. I imagine their stuff would sound like this song about werewolves that I totally don’t have saved in my Spotify playlist.
Bob goes into more detail about the werewolf types, saying that the difference is generally in how much of your humanity you retain and how the transformation takes place.
“There’s another version of a werewolf-when someoneelseuses magic to change you into a wolf.”
I glanced up at him. “Transmogrification? That’s illegal, Bob. It’s one of the Laws of Magic. If you transform someone into an animal, it destroys their personality. Youcan’t transform someone else without wiping out their mind. It’s practically murder.”
I will now explain this extremely basic fact to you even though it’s been previously established that you’re more knowledgeable about magic than I am and presumably already know all about it.
Our friends the Hexenwolves are people who use magical pelts or belts to transform themselves. This is an actual History Thing, as numerous people have claimed to possess such objects over the years.
The Hexenwolf method leaves your personality intact between transformations and the wolf form retains all human reasoning power, but you lose all inhibitions while you’re in wolf mode. By the power of deductive reasoning I declare that the wuffle who attacked Harry back in the store wasn’t a hexenwolf since it managed to non-lethally attack him, which would presumably be impossible without human inhibitions.
(Check me out, I’d be a totally rad wizard-detective)
Bob also explains that getting bitten by a werewolf doesn’t turn you into one and that’s just a Hollywood thing. Oh do you see how clever this Urban Fantasy genre is, what with its taking common myths and folklore and sort of making them slightly different, kind of.
“Loup-garou,” Bob said. “Or that was the name Etienne the Enchanter used for them, before he got burned at the stake. The loup-garou are the major monsters, Harry.
Someone has cursed them to become a wolflike demon, and usually at the full moon. That someone’s got to be really powerful, too, like a major heavyweight sorcerer or a demon lord or one of the Faerie Queens. When the full moon comes, they transform into a monster, go on a killing spree, and slaughter everything they come across until the moon sets or the sun rises.”
Sounds like that’s our prime suspect, then.
The last major loup-garou rampage happened around Gevaudan, France, back in the sixteenth century.
This is also a History Thing, although it happened in the 18th century in real life and it was likely just regular wolves or wolf-dog hybrids and a bit of mass hysteria (people were way into that back in the day).
Bob explains that you can only kill a loup-garou with silver bullets, and they have to be inherited from a family member because otherwise Harry could just buy some and kill the murderer reasons.
It would take another hour or two to cook the potions, and then to shove the magic into them
I can’t say I’ve ever encountered a fantasy novel in which the act of doing magic involves “shoving” it into something before.
Hexenwolves. Werewolves. Lycanthropes. Loup-garou.
What will they think of next?
You know you don’t actually have to end every chapter with a pithy little joke.
It’s wizarding time!
But first it’s cop time!
The police headquarters downtown consists of a sprawling collection of buildings that have sprung up over the years as the need for law enforcement has increased. They don’t match, and they come from a wildly varying selection of styles and designs
It has bars over the windows and the doors and sits hunkered amidst buildings much taller than it, like a faithful old bulldog amidst a crowd of unruly children, struggling to maintain peace and order.
A bulldog…. looking after children? This metaphor really doesn’t work.
Since these books engage in every single cop show cliche ever we learn that the desk sergeant is an “old warhorse” because of course he is. Presumably next up we’ll be visiting Sergeant McHiggsboson, who’s yelling that city hall is breathing down his neck about this Lobo thing.
The police had always known me as something of a nut, the crazy guy who claimed to be a wizard
Just show them some fucking magic this plot point is completely ridiculous.
It was to be expected, maybe, since rumor had associated my name with Johnny Marcone’s
We’ll be coming back to this later in a side-plot. A stupid side-plot.
Just then a woman appears. DRESDEN SCAN ACTIVATE
I was muttering to myself and deep in my own sleep-deprived thoughts when I bumped into a tall, lovely woman, dark of hair and eye, full of mouth, long of leg.
There’s no way Harry hasn’t been maced like a thousand times.
The woman is a sexy journalist who tries to get information on cases out of Harry, using sex.
“Susan Rodriguez, I never knew you were a lawyer as well as a journalist.”
I will now awkwardly state your name and profession just because.
Susan works for a supernatural rag called the Arcane and is investigating the department’s scapegoating Murphy in connection with an attempt to convince people of the existence of magic in order to boost readership. Because in a world stuffed to the gills with wizards and werewolves and shit, somehow the existence of magic is still a secret.
You can’t photograph anything really supernatural,” I pointed out. “The energies around things like that will mess up cameras.
Oh, right. “The energies”. Sure.
It seemed I was making a habit of excluding people from certain brands of information.
For really contrived reasons don’t forget that.
It usually ran headlines about Elvis and JFK singing duets in Atlantic City, or on similar topics, but once in a while Susan managed to slip in something about the real world of the supernatural, the one that people had forgotten about in favor of Science.
Why the fuck do you keep capitalizing science?
Oh and Harry and Susan bone occasionally, this is very important.
Harry heads to Murphy’s office, but agent Asshole from the previous night comes out and tells him there’s someone from Internal Affairs harassing her and his presence will only make the situation worse.
“You really don’t believe, do you?” I asked him. “You don’t believe that I’m a real wizard. You don’t believe in the supernatural.”
Show him some fucking magic
YOU’RE CARRYING TWO MAGICAL ARTIFACTS RIGHT NOW
HOW IS THIS DIFFICULT
Note that Harry is castigating this guy for not believing in the supernatural despite the fact that as far as we know he has never actually encountered it. Or in other words Harry just expects people to take his word for it that all of this stuff is true, which makes his earlier sneering at science (sorry, Science) for being a “religion” massively hypocritical since he’s more or less setting himself up as a prophet for the supernatural and magical.
Denton volunteers to give the werewuffle report to Murphy, but before that Harry asks what he knows about the Lobo killings and he gets all shifty and cagey. On his way out a younger FBI agent accosts Harry and asks to hire his services.
“There’s a gang in Chicago,” Harris began.
“No kidding?” I asked, affecting puzzlement.
It was lost on the kid. “Yeah. They call themselves the Streetwolves. They’ve got a really rough reputation, even for this town.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that no gang that referred to themselves as “the streetwolves” would ever get a rough reputation.
“I see, kid, I see,” I told him and rubbed at my eye. “Denton couldn’t go there and look around, so he sent you down here to get me to do it.”
So Harry figured it out? Well, he is a pretty sneaky guy.
(1000 internet points if you know what this is a reference to)
“That was stupid, Harry,” I told myself. “You shouldn’t be getting yourself into anything more complicated than you already have.”
I will now talk to myself in order to exposit oh never mind.
“Cheer up, Harry,” I told myself. “You’re just going to go poke around a biker gang’s lair. Ask them if they happen to have killed some people lately. What could possibly go wrong?”
Seriously? We’re going to do this every chapter?