Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 26


[Note: Sorry for the delay on this post, I’m right in the middle of exams at the moment]

Chapter 26

Harry Dresden is doing…. something! I forget. Werewolves? Yeah let’s go with that.

Hey look it’s Susan!

She hurried over to me, and then I felt Susan’s warmth against me as she slid one of my arms over her shoulder and pressed up against my side.

Now isn’t the time Harry.

She was wearing jeans that showed off her long legs, and a dark red jacket that complemented her dark skin. Her hair was tied back into a ponytail, and it made her neck look slender and vulnerable.

Really not the time Harry

Susan felt soft and warm beyond belief, and smelled clean and delightfully feminine


Susan and Tera bundle Harry into an escape van and then he falls asleep for a bit so we can have a short time skip.

I didn’t wake up until the smell of fried grease and charred meat made me look up at the drive-thru window of a fast-food burger joint

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten drive-through burgers that were “charred”. Mostly they’re just sort of floppy.

Then again, maybe they’re taking him to a Burger King for some delicious 100 % flame grilled beef!


I snagged a golden paper crown from one of the bags and idly joined it into a circle and put it on my head. Susan blinked at me, then let out a brief laugh.

“I am,” I intoned, with an imperious narrowing of my eyes, “the burger king.”

Oh I…. guess she actually did. Huh. That’s the trouble with writing these jokes as I think of them.

While they’re enjoying their Burger King Fries and Whoppers™ Tera explains that her blood was at the scene of the Lobo killing that the book opened with because she assumed that the wereagents would go for Marcone and was trying to ambush them. They turned out to be too strong so she skedaddled out of there. Also the goth kids are like her apprentices or whatever, but they’re not interesting so who cares.

“Maybe later,” I said and finished off the french fries. “Where are we going?”

“To a safe place, to arm and prepare ourselves.”

“Myself,” I contradicted her. “To prepare myself. I’m not taking you with me.”

“You are incorrect,” Tera said. “I am going with you.”


For fuck’s sake Harry have you not learned anything? And why the hell wouldn’t you want her as backup, she’s gotten way more shit done than you. SHE SAVED YOUR LIFE SEVERAL TIMES.

“Who are you?” I asked her finally.

“One who has lost too many of her family already,” she said. And then she settled back on the seat and withdrew from the conversation, falling silent.

“One who has lost too many …” I grumbled, frustrated, mocking her beneath my breath. I turned back to the front of the van and hunched my shoulders over my burger. “Put some clothes on, you weird, yellow-eyed, table-dancing, werewolf-training, cryptic, stare-me-right-in-the-eyes-and-don’t-even-blink wench.”

Wow, I really hope Butcher wasn’t expecting us to side with Harry in this scene.

Anyway they get to a big house owned by one of the goth kid’s parents and blah blah unfunny banter Harry talks to a goth kid with the Stan Lee-approved name of Billy Borden.

Oh, good grief. The Mickey Mouse Club of werewolves wanted to throw in on my side. Werewolfkateer role call: Billy. Georgia. Tommy. Cindy. Sheesh.

I’m not entirely sure what Harry is even talking about anymore.

Billy tells Harry that there’s been a massive upswing in paranormal violence, with a forty percent rise in violent crime and a three hundred percent increase in abductions and disappearances over the last three years.

 I knew that Murphy and some of the other cops said that the streets were getting worse

THREE HUNDRED PERCENT INCREASE IN ABDUCTIONS. That’s not “the streets are getting worse”, it’s “get, like, all the cops in here right now”.

And I knew myself, on some deep level, that the world was getting darker.

What’s that? I think it’s the sound of a myth arc being awkwardly shoehorned into the book!

Hell, it was one of the reasons I did idiotic things like I was doing tonight.

Why didn’t you mention this before

I mean, if criminals were trying, they couldn’t increase their production by three hundred percent

…. Their production of what? Missing people? Are the criminals collecting them?

Anyway the goth kids have been assembled to counter the rising tide of whatever, so they want to help take out the wereagents. Harry decides to dissuade them because he continues to have this irrational objection to never let anyone help him.

“More likely, if they go through you, they’re going to go through us, too. It would be smarter to pile on everything we’ve got in one place. With you.”

This is a perfectly sensible argument

He didn’t know what he would be going out to face.

Harry you said at the start you had never encountered werewolves before.

Eventually Harry concedes that he needs the help, but insists that he’s going to be the one in charge despite the fact that he really hasn’t done all that well in a lot of his confrontations so far. Also Billy and another one of the goth kids are in love but I don’t care.

I believed that there was a God, or something close enough to it to warrant the name-if there were demons, there had to be angels, right?

Well no, actually.

If there was a Devil, somewhere, there had to be a God

Unless the Devil is God and he’s just trolling everyone. See look, I can say faux-intellectual stuff about religion as well.

But He and I had never really seen things in quite the same terms.

I’m curious about what exactly Harry is talking about here, but he doesn’t explain further. I guess this is just the sort of thing an urban noirish hero is expected to say.

All the same, I flashed a look up at the ceiling. I didn’t say or think any words, but if God was listening, I hoped he got the message nonetheless. I didn’t want any of these children getting themselves killed.

Hey remember Kim? Because Harry seems to have forgotten all about her.

Exciting bonus reading:


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32 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 26

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 27-28 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. E Centimetres

    Most urban fantasy books are tedious and horribly written. Fact. However, if you continually conflate the premise of a book with the quality of writing, you make yourself redundant as a reviewer. These posts might as well all say “urban fantasy is shit” and leave it at that. Otherwise you’re just taking books which are (reportedly) bad because they don’t strive to the condition of literary fiction and listing ways in which they are not literary fiction.

    1. Austin H. Williams

      These posts might as well all say “urban fantasy is shit” and leave it at that.

      Oh, come now! You don’t give our gracious host enough credit. We all know that UF is shit*, here we get to see why!

      *Caveat: Not all UF is shit.

      1. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

        Also the complaints are about how these books are terrible in a very general way, they have nothing to do with being genre instead of literary fiction works, other than that they mindless follow genre conventions which is a symptom of laziness on Butcher’s part rather than an immutable fact of being Urban Fantasy.

  3. braak

    I guess this is actually an okay time to put this up: http://threatquality.com/2011/01/24/noir-and-supernatural-detective-fiction/, with the caveat that you have to forgive me for the fact that I used to like the Dresden books more. They reminded me a lot of Spenser for Hire, which I read when I was a kid, and I think I had some kind of vulnerability to them.

    Though purusuant to that, I think it’s kind of funny when Dresden does stuff like say, “I’m the one who’s in charge of this mission,” like that dumb motherfucker knows anything about running missions. At least Spenser had been in the war. Harry Dresden is just some dumb asshole.

    1. Austin H. Williams

      Great essay, Braak!

      And this says gets at what I was trying to point out above much better, too:

      Of course, Harry’s is actually the more ridiculous position; for a character to say, “I don’t know if I believe in an absolute omniscient, omnipotent force for good – this evidence is unsatisfactory – but I know that I can do good where I see it, and so I will,” is a far more morally-responsible position than Harry’s “I believe that there is an omniscient, omnipotent force for good in the world, I just don’t always want to do what He tells me.” In Philip Marlowe’s world, in which there are no right answers, this is defiant individualism; in a world in which Good and Evil are actual, real, verifiable forces, it’s nothing more than petulance.


      1. Nerem

        I really feel the Shin Megami Tensei did this concept a lot better. There is Yahweh and Lucifer, but neither are strictly good or evil, but instead Law and Chaos, which both have upsides and downsides. Law is safe and peaceful but doesn’t tolerant freedom or individuality, while Chaos prizes freedom and individualiuty but is neither safe nor peaceful.

        And in the end, the Neutral alignment is what the hero chooses.

  4. zephyrean

    > (unsurprisingly)

    That’s actually *surprising*. Rothfuss’s books are pretentious, Butcher’s are unapologetic schlock. Rothfuss labors for years and years on his alleged masterpiece of a trilogy, Butcher cranks out formulaic serialized trash on schedule. Kvothe is a member of an intellectual elite, spiritual and artistic and better-than-you, Dresden is a dumb all-American douchebag. Rothfuss designs his magic system to hold up to scrutiny of the (admittedly undemanding) “post-nerds”, Butcher pulls everything out of his ass with one hand and types with the other. I mean,
    “Technology tends to foul up around wizards-flip on a light switch, and it’ll be the time the bulb burns out. Drive past a streetlight, and it’ll pick just then to flicker and die.” (ch.2)
    No, seriously. This would have been anathema to any “oldskool” nerd, the sort who remembers lineages of Numenorean kings, hell, it wouldn’t fly on Cracked. Jim Butcher is just *that* dumb and the car is so much an inseparable part of his daily life that he doesn’t realize it’s a piece of technology. Rothfuss pretends to have done the research (skimmed wikipedia) and it works well enough to fool the self-proclaimed “Science whiz” post-nerds whose only (questionable) technical expertise is with computers, Butcher doesn’t try and is probably unaware he’s supposed to.
    What do these two hacks even have in common, aside from badness – but there’s a lot of bad fantasy – to earn one such high praise from the other?
    …I’m guessing misogyny.

    1. Austin H. Williams

      I think you kind of hit it on the head here though (unless you’re being ironic in this post and it’s just going over my head): Rothfuss makes his work to be some grandiose, meticulously planned, epic and powerful fantasy, but in truth, it has little more substance than Butcher’s.

      Both characters are boring flat-out wish fulfillments. Both characters operate as sort of lone-wolf magicians in worlds where their powers are considered both shocking and incomprehensible but should be common knowledge. They triumph largely because of the help of others, but the authors are hesitant to let any other characters steal the spotlight. Despite this, both series are populated with far more intriguing characters.

      It’s unsurprising, to me, because once you peel back the (thin) layers, both the Dresden novels and the Kingkiller Chronicles are operating on the same low level, appealing to the same demographic, along with that demographic’s expectations, felt needs and assumptions. “Like calls to like.”

      1. Fibinachi

        well, Harry Dresden and Kvothe is basically the same character, isn’t it / aren’t they?

        Not just superficially – “magic, talent, swooning ladies, always looking at the hot ladies” – but actually.

        Harry Dresden spends most of Dresden Files angsting about his ability to tap into a “Dark side” (dark magic, hellfire, blood magic, so on) of himself for easy victory over his foe at the moment. He also consistently taps this dark side, but is excused by reasons of plot / character / the moment / deus ex machina / someone else taking the bullet.

        Kvothe spends most of the books angsting about his dark side (evil sympathy magic, evil fairy magic, evil sword magic, evil sociopathic drug, rape), and about his refusal to give into it in order to easily amass power / wealth / fame / female companionship / trump his foe at the moment. He also consistently taps into that dark side, but is excused by reasons of plot / deus ex machina / it just not meaning anything (What exactly were the repercussions of him slaughtering bandits, poisioning the fake ruth or calling down lightning from the sky to fry people, again?)

        Harry Dresden always goes on about how magic is this, how magic is that, how he can’t explain it but he knows it and it’s just that kind of thing and it’s just a part of him and he used to love it and it can do great things and it’s life and wonder and joy and you wouldn’t understand and he can’t quite tell you.

        Kvothe always goes on about how music is this and music is that and how he can’t explain it but he knows it and it’s just that kind of thing and it’s just a part of him and he uses it and he loves it and it’s important to him and it can do great things but you wouldn’t understand and he can’t quite tell you.

        Harry Copperfield Dresden is constantly aggravatingly obnoxious towards anyone for no good reason at all beyond just being aggravatingly obnoxious (the Murphy door thing, the constant condescension with the ladies, the fucking puns).

        Kvothe is constantly aggravatingly obnoxious towards anyone for no good reason at all (playing music just to prove he’s so much better than everyone else, considering everyone a inbred superstitious yokel, always better than all of the rest of the world). And the fucking puns.

        Harry Dresden is a Special Kind Of Person Born To A Special Kind Of Fate, because he’s a magician raised by someone else to harness a great grand power and this Sets Him Apart from Birth,and you just don’t know what it’s like, you normal person you!.

        Kvothe is a Special Kind of Person Born To A Special Kind Of Fate, because he’s an Edema Ruh (spelling?), and that sets him apart from everyone else by birth, and you just don’t know what it’s like, you normal person you!.

        Harry Dresden constantly pines after his One Special Lady Love (I believe.. Susan? There is one throughout the entire series), but also gets a TON of attention from all the other lovely ladies in his world. Kvothe constantly pines after his special lovely lady love…. and constantly gets a lot of attention from all the lovey hawt ladies in his world – they both get to be lovingly romantic towards a special someone and near or actually sexual with several other someones.

        Harry Kvothe is propelled unto magnitudes of power by convenience and luck and happenstance, and claims credit for it, and uses this new power to angst about his new responsibilities and how being him is so hard, you guys (becomes winter knight, becomes greatest mage, becomes uni student, becomes savior of town) Dresden Flamehair succeeds by way of fiat, accident or other people’s hard work, and despite a being total asshole, still gets to have friends, lovers and family who adore him and sacrifice for him and never call him on his tremendous bullshit. Kvothe Copperfield still gets to angst about being so lonely and misunderstood and how his magical music dark side just means he can’t let down his guard to trust anyone and let them in, like, for real, despite having all those friends.

        Harry Kvothe Flamehair Copperfield Dresden always succeeds because he is just so super manly and has so much awesome willpower, you guys, and he’s so stubborn and fantastic. He can’t be corrupted by seductive fairy magic or enchanted by demons or tricked by spells because he’s just SO SUPER FOCUSED ON HIS EPIC QUEST and or when the time calls for it SO CONFLICTED BY HIS DISTRESSING EMOTIONAL INNER TURMOIL.

        Both treat the women in their lives haphazardly at best and cruelly at worst, considering them walking ovaries before considering them people, always going on about their inability to hurt or harm or think evil things about them and how they just would never ever rape a woman because, my god, only bad people do that, and they’re not bad people, they’re just conflicted, yeah!

        Both keep going on about how they live in a dark monstrous world that is getting darker by the day, and more and more cruel, despite there being little actual evidence to this and a lot of other people working very hard to be nicer and do more. Both keep making references to things they “Know now” and “As I thought” which is then reveled later on to give a false sensation of suspense. Both are wonderfully masterful at anything they really try, except when they’re not for comedic effect but then they still somehow end up winning because of some bullshit.

        Both live in a world with actual literal sex vampires.

        Both get so gratingly arrogant when they get corrected by anyone for the slightest thing despite having no reason to be so gratingly arrogant. Both have no concept of the word gratitude. Both are remarkably sociopathic in outlook.

        So yeah.

        Basically the same character.

        1. ronanwills Post author

          Rothfuss has actually said he might have preferred to do the Kvothe books like the Dresden books, as a series of ten or more short novels instead of three gigantic bricks.

          In a way that explains why the books seem to be split into a sequence of discrete story arcs, but on the other hand if that format had been used we’d just have ten books where nothing happens instead of three.

      2. Signatus

        That was just brilliant, Fibinachi.
        The only difference is, while Rothfuss is incapable of creating compelling, interesting secondary characters, when you take out Harry from the books, the secondary characters like Murphy, Molly, the Fairy Queen, are actually interesting enough. To be honest, one of the reasons I keep reading the books is because I find Murphy and Molly to be very awesome.

  5. Fibinachi

    That book review is interesting and I value the opinion of another human bei–

    As a series, The Dresden Files even beats out Pratchett’s Discworld. There. I said it.


    Is this the emotion they call rage? I… my…. Huh. That’s a curious thing. I didn’t know other people’s opinions could actually cause damage to a soul. Interesting.

    1. Signatus

      So… yeah… um…. look, no, just no. For goodness sake, I do like Dresden Files and I’m buying the next one which is coming out this month, but it is, in no possible way, comparable to the absolute genius that is Terry Pratchet. He’s just brilliant in a way Butcher will never be.

      And he has a friggin sword made out of a meteorite. Beat that, Jim!

  6. Reveen

    I imagine this story was a bit more interesting, or atleast more fun if it was Murphy teaming up with Tera to save some Goth werewolf kids from the wereagents. You don’t even need Harry to provide the plot drip feed via gumshoeing, Murphy’s a COP.

    Harry needs a character to be fridged just to have a stake in the story and he moves the plot along by walking into ass-wuppings.

    1. Emily

      I’d find the series to be much better if Harry was fridged instead. It’d actually be interesting to see more awesome characters like Murphy be motivated by Harry’s fridging, while reflecting on what an unlikable and frankly dickish character Harry is.

      1. Fibinachi

        That’s the most consistently awesome / awful thing about the Dresden Files – the books all get so much better the moments Harry Dresden isn’t in directly in them (Say, he’s unconscious and other people fill out the blanks of what happened).

        It’s weird, almost. Murphy is a cool character. And there’s other neat characters, like actual arch angels and travelling swordsmen and wizards and assassins and fairy beings of infinite power, and for those few seconds were Dresden isn’t making some bad pun, the books are almost readable.

        But of course… of course… it’s about the wizards staff.

  7. Elspeth Grey

    I enjoy how Rothfuss only mentions fantasy books in his fanboy explosion. Yes, it makes sense to compare like to like, but when you’re making grand statements about writing and series construction MAYBE you should look beyond one corner of the bookshop.

    1. Andrea Harris (@SpinsterAndCat)

      I come from a time when fantasy authors took their cues from classic literature and history (mostly because there wasn’t a whole lot of contemporary fantasy, except for actual myths and folktales). Most new fantasy authors these day seem to just feed off of fantasy that was published the year before or whatever, and the genre has suffered as a result.

      1. Elspeth Grey

        I think a lot of “niche” genres are now populated by creators who only ever really bothered with the genre itself, and you see a lot of weak work or things turning into parodies of themselves as a result.

    2. lampwick

      My favorite blurb along those lines was on one of the Wheel of Time books, something like, “Robert Jordan has colonized the country that Tolkien first explored.” I mean, are you serious??? Do you understand all the implications of the word “colonized”? And then I thought that maybe they did understand the implications, and that this was a very, very bitter comment.

    1. Andrea Harris (@SpinsterAndCat)

      “Redditor GelidLord thanked Butcher for getting Catholicism right in his books”

      Yes, because as we all know the Catholic church is a persecuted minority religion and information about their practices are difficult to find.

      (For some reason that just irritated me, though I do happen to know people fuck up Catholic stuff in fiction all the time — including practicing Catholics, I’ll bet. On the other hand, the photo of him holding a sword and a fluffy poodle dog is mildly amusing and somewhat self-aware.)

  8. Alice

    “If there was a Devil, somewhere, there had to be a God”

    How is that a GOOD thing? Unless you think God is this fluffy nice guy, as opposed to the mass murdering bigot he is in the bible. Hell, I’d side with the Devil over God any day. If God exists, I’d rebel against him too. I sometimes wonder if people who praise God have ever read about all the shitty, evil things he’s said to have done, or if they have and just don’t care. Personally, I’d rather sell my soul to a devil than pray to a god that commands rapists to BUY their victims.

    1. Austin H. Williams

      Ostensibly, from the context of the book at least, the Devil and demons are sort of the ultimate source for all the mayhem and evil that Dresden has to combat (and, incidentally also commits, but we’ll leave that alone momentarily).

      I can certainly see why if one is constantly confronted by this Great Big Evil®’s minions that one might also hope that there is indeed an opposite of the Great Big Evil® who might ultimately help you triumph over the bad stuff.

      (Then again, it’s also fairly self-defeating to think this way, and then in the next sentence go, ‘Yeah, but I don’t really like the Big Good Guy® that I’m hoping will help out in a few, either.)

      1. braak

        The really absurd part is that there ARE guys like that, guys with magic anti-demon swords who are nothing but forces for absolute good, and Dresden is all, “Well, I’m not sure I’m down with absolute good, either,” which has got to be the dumbest idea I’ve ever run into.

        Like, moral ambiguity only makes sense in a world in whihc “good” is not a discrete, verifiable quantity.

  9. Pingback: Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 24-25 | Doing In The Wizard

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