Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Grave Peril ch. 19


Chapter Nineteen

Harry Dresden to the rescue! Murphy’s rescue, specifically. The Nightmare is going to go after either Michael or Murphy next, and Harry figures that Murphy has a far lesser chance of being able to protect herself what with her lack of magical swords.

I got on the phone to Murphy’s place.

So how come phones aren’t affected by oh fuck it I don’t care

Due to a contrived sequence of events Murphy hangs up on Harry after telling him that he just called her five minutes ago to say he was coming over (he didn’t, obviously). That’s actually pretty creepy!

Hell’s bells, it was pretending to be me.

Yes Harry, we got that.

Harry grans a bunch of miscellaneous wizard stuff (which he stuffs into a scooby-doo lunchbox for some reason) and races off to save Murphy. Given how she handled the werewolf in the last book I’m really hoping he’ll show up and she’ll have wrestled the Nightmare to death or something.

The district station Murphy worked in crouched down amongst taller buildings that surrounded it, solid and square and a bit battered, like a tough old sergeant amongst a forest of tall,

I swear to god Harry used this exact same metaphor last time.

The grizzled old sergeant behind the desk

Wait so the building is a grizzled sergeant, but it also has a grizzled sergeant inside of it? If we looked inside him would we find another, even more grizzled sergeant? Is this like some sort of infinite recursion, where if you keep going down far enough eventually you find Sam Vimes?


The recursion ends there, because Vimes doesn’t put up with that sort of bullshit

There’s a bit of Komedy banter with the sergeant and then Harry sprints off for Murphy’s office, where he finds himself pressing his fingers into Murphy’s head and presumably doing evil to her brain parts.

“Be thou silent, wizard,” it murmured, steel and razor blades in its words. “Else I will tear thee apart, as I already have this night.”

Aaaaaand the Nightmare has officially ceased to be creepy. Well done Butcher, it only took one sentence!

A little gibbering shriek of terror started somewhere down in my quivering belly

Why, does bullshit faux-shakespearean dialogue terrify you? I mean it should, but get your priorities together man.

The Nightmare reminds Harry that it has part of his power (forsooth) and uses Harry’s own wizarding to wizard at him. It then strolls casually out the door, leaving Murphy an apparently empty shell- Harry tries SOUL-GAZING with her and can’t see anything.

Another low breath rattled out, not quite making a sound-but I recognized the effort she was making for what it was.

Murphy was screaming.

See this could be so creepy if not for the Nightmare’s dialogue.

Harry sends one of Murphy’s underlings to fetch the book owned by the demon summoner they iced earlier and starts to set up a protective spell around Murphy. This involves Harry “gathering up his rage” again, which is what happens when he needs to do magic that the book has already established he shouldn’t be able to do (he got most of it stolen just a few pages ago, remember?)

The spell puts Murphy to sleep until dawn, when the Nightmare won’t be able to get at her. Murphy’s underlings are all “U BETTER NOT LET ANYTHING HAPPEN TO HER BRO” even though I’m quite sure Murphy is both more capable and mature than any of them.

[short post this time, I’m afraid. I’m working hard on finalizing a second draft of this thing and it’s cutting into blogging time]

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9 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Grave Peril ch. 19

  1. grayhavens

    Totally off topic, but could you do Blood Song (A Raven’s Shadow Novel Book 1) by Anthony Ryan? It’s light, breezy and guaranteed to make you laugh. The 2nd book is out, but the reviews on it are so bad, I doubt I’ll touch it.

  2. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

    So if he’s using rage to fuel his magic in this chapter what happens to the rage? Does he stop feeling angry? He does tire out and run low on power so if he’s using emotions wouldn’t he eventually become an emotionless husk? And if so how does he regain his powers? In a later book he learns how to use SOULFIRE and in order to recharge (it uses part of his soul as a power source every time he activates it) he needs to go out a do happy things, that uplift the soul.

    1. Signatus

      The main problem is that the magic system is very inconsistent. It’s like a mixture between D&D, the Force, Harry Potter and maybe books I haven’t read, which practically creates a huge deus ex machina that works accordingly to the plot needs. I can understand emotions fueling the transformation in a werewolf, as traditional lore imply the dual nature in constant conflict, as absurd as such nature is when taking in account the true ethology of wolves. I can even understand emotions making mages loose control of their power.
      I can’t understand emotions increasing the power, unless we imply emotions are magical in nature, in which case, every human being is either a mage, or every non mage human should be an emotionless biological machine (which is evidently not the case).

      Right now, Butcher is just tossing stuff into the book because he found them cool and it works for him, but in the end it makes the whole thing look disjointed.

      There is an RPG coming out which is created in Butcher’s universe. It would be interesting to see how the magic system was worked in it.

      1. April

        The RPG actually came out years ago. It’s based on the FATE system, and treats magic as Stunts. If you don’t know FATE, a Stunt is kind of like a Feat in 3.5/Pathfinder, except that it is more free-form and is powered by FATE points which players must acquire by allowing the GM to dick them over.

      2. Signatus

        I guess it must be the translated version of the game which is coming out now. My country has had this tendency to translate Butcher’s books like 6 years after they are out on the market. By the time the 13th book was coming out, the 6th was avaliable in my country/language. I don’t know if that tendency has changed, since I started using amazon for my book purchases.

        Anyways, thanks for the clarification and the explanation. 🙂

  3. Signatus

    Since this one I read it in my language, I’m unsure to what the Nightmare was speaking in. Perhaps Cervantian castillan which would be way more ridiculous than “ye olde time” shakespearean english.

    Anyways, did Butcher start making Murphy a damsel in distress in this book? I thought the destruction of the character didn’t happen, at least, until Ghost Story. To be honest, Murphy doesn’t really become a damsel in distress like Kahlan in Wizard’s First Rule, a completely useless female character that’s there solely to become the hero’s trophy. But there is a point where she starts loosing her personality. She keeps kicking asses, fighting, shooting and driving huge motorbikes like the boss, but you can see that increasingly annoying dependence in Harry, to the point she actually breaks when she believes him dead. Its like, the moment they become friends, she becomes pathologically attatched to him. That makes her badassness look fake, because in the end, it is obvious Butcher just wanted to make her the hero’s trophy.

  4. Pingback: Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Grave Peril ch. 17-18 | Doing In The Wizard

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