Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 19

The_Dresden_Files_2007_Intertitle

Chapter 19

Harry Dresden is in trouble!

Gunfire erupted, not in a rattling series of individual detonations, but in a roar of furious thunder. Bullets shot through the wall, somewhere near me, and smashed out a couple of windows in the special investigations office.

You’re gonna need, like, five mops to take care of that.

Harry decides that now would be the right time for some wizarding:

I gripped the blasting rod and started sucking in all the power I could reach, scooping up my recent terror, reaching down into the giggling madness, scraping up all the courage I had left, and pouring it into the kettle with everything else. The power came rushing into me, purity of emotion, complex energies of will, and raw hardheadedness, all combining into a field, an aura of tingling, invisible energy

This is like the fourth completely different kind of magic we’ve seen Harry doing, which just reinforces my earlier assertion that magic in these books is whatever Jim Butcher needs it to be during any particular scene. In fact I don’t remember the magic system being so inconsistent in the first book, which along with the markedly worse prose and weird characterization makes me suspect parts of this book might actually have been written first.

I was pumped. I was charged. I was more than human, and God help anyone who got in my way, because he would need it

Why didn’t you just do this the first time? Does getting injured make Harry more powerful or something?

Power lanced out through the rod in a flood of scarlet light that charred a six-foot circle of wall into powder and ash and sent it flying. I stepped through it, wishing for my duster, for a second, just for the cool effect it would have.

I always wonder if I’m supposed to be interpreting scenes like these as evidence that harry is a pathetic man-child.

Harry steps into the corridor to see some cops get torn to shreds. MacFinn comes for him, but this time he’s mysteriously powerful enough to fire off a one-liner (“I don’t think so, Bub”) and charge up his blasting rod.

Power gathered at my fist, red and brilliant, and the length of my blasting rod turned an incandescent white.

If your blasting rod turns incandescent white you should see a doctor.

Before Harry can open a can of whoop-ass on MacFinn Murphy appears to save the day with her wicked-awesome silver bullets. But then MacFinn charges off after her! Oh no! It’s okay though a mortally-wounded Carmicheal deflects him and gets his head caved in. Damn I liked Carmicheal 😦

Murphy slithered out from between the beast’s paws on her shoulder blades and buttocks, her cute little cheerleader’s face set in a berserker’s fury

God, Harry. Just

stop talking

forever

Murphy manages to escape (go Murphy go!) and Harry concentrates all of his power on the tip of his rod to send a hot, surging blast at MacFinn. His ejaculation (of magic) sends MacFinn flying out through the wall of the police station and all the way clear through the conveniently condemned building across the street. Harry doesn’t specify whether MacFinn leaves a series of Loony-Tunes style silhouettes in the walls as he passes through but I think we can all assume that he definitely does.

A slender young black man stood up from the floor of the cell the loup-garou had smashed through and gawked at the hole in the wall, then followed the destruction back down the hallway to where I stood. ” Damn, “

Where would America be without the comedy black guy to react to things?

MacFinn is still alive so Harry grabs the Snoopy doll from earlier to do some alarmingly Kvothe-like magic.

“Magic,” I clarified grimly. “Make a symbolic link between a little thing,” I nodded at the Snoopy doll, “and a big thing. Make it happen on the smaller scale and it happens on the larger scale, too.”

I was really hoping I’d never have to read another detailed sequence of wizards linking things to other things again.

I had to keep the rage and anger I felt away from the working of my magic. I couldn’t afford to flood my spirit with grief, fury, and thoughts of vengeance for the dead men, for their deaths, for the pain that would be visited on their families.

Wait, a minute ago pouring all of your emotions into your magic made you a badass, why is it not a good idea now? Do they have to be positive emotions? If so why is “giggling madness” a positive emotion but fury isn’t?

Anyway Harry chants some made-up nonsense (it’s explain in the first book that the actual words themselves don’t matter) and binds the Snoopy dolls eyes, ears, mouth and claws.

It wasn’t until later that I would realize that I was babbling a chant of ” Ubriacha, ubrius, ubrium, ” to the Peanuts theme music

Okay that’s kind of amusing.

All the cops are too shell-shocked to notice Harry leaving, including Murphy who’s weeping over Carmicheal’s corpse 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦

I feel sad now

During this sequence we get some of Butcher’s attempts at purple prose:

I felt burned on the inside, as though the fire I had hurled at the creature had scoured away all the gentle feelings that had been there and left a fallow ground behind where only red emotions could flourish

I would laugh but I’m fairly certain I’ve written worse.

Harry gets outside and Susan and Tera help him stumble back to the car after the shell-shock from the police station fight settles in. I’ll say this for these books, as much as Harry comes across like a power fantasy I do like that he’s allowed to have moments of emotional vulnerability. That’s also something Kvothe had going for him, and Richard did too until he got the Sword of Truth and got hopped up on magic steroids.

 

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11 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 19

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 20 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. Reveen

    I gripped the blasting rod and started sucking in all the power I could reach, scooping up my recent terror, reaching down into the giggling madness, scraping up all the courage I had left, and pouring it into the kettle with everything else. The power came rushing into me, purity of emotion, complex energies of will, and raw hardheadedness, all combining into a field, an aura of tingling, invisible energy

    Reply
  3. braak

    I would like it if the kinds of emotions that Harry used had some kind of impact on the magic that he did, like if he fueled his fire-explode with “gibbering madness”, then the fire all came out as a cascade of fireballs in the shape of laughing faces or something, or if the walls ended up covered with leering grins made from ash.

    Reply
  4. Austin H. Williams

    I always wonder if I’m supposed to be interpreting scenes like these as evidence that harry is a pathetic man-child.

    Whether we’re supposed to or not, it’s not stopping any of us.

    Reply
  5. Signatus

    I hadn’t realized, I admit, how terrible this thing could be. For goodness sake, stop-looking-at-her-ass!
    It is illogical, it makes no sense! It’s not even an evolutionary advantage of any sort! When you’re fighting for your life, and your friend is in mortal danger of being devoured by a supernatural predator, the last thing you’ll be thinking is how cute her face is. Really, Jim, how many times have you seen your wife about to be ran over by a car and thought; “her beautiful, cherry lips look so cute when they open in a scream of terror!”

    I like Murphy. And things happen. They might not make much of a sense, but things deffinitely happen instead of slogging between tedious and supremely boring. Thats a good excuse as to why I enjoy this things.

    Reply
  6. Emily

    I’m almost tempted to read this book for the blasting rod.

    “I would laugh but I’m fairly certain I’ve written worse.”

    Not that I’ve seen! You should send me those things though ^_^

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 17-18 | Doing In The Wizard

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