Dresden Files Ch18-19

Have you ever felt despair? Absolute hopelessness? Have you ever stood in the darkness and known, deep in your heart, in your spirit, that it was never, ever going to get better? That something had been lost, forever, and that it wasn’t coming back?
That’s what it felt like, walking out of the Varsity, walking out into the rain.

Yes, this is over the hair, not the actual people who are actually dead.

Although he said earlier he’s sure tracking spells are possible and he might even be able to remote incinerate it, Harry, like any magic geek, would rather die than try to work the spell out himself – even listening to someone else tell him a new spell is apparently a fate worse than heartsplosion.

He decides to emo about his dad, raising yet another plot hole.

He was a good man, a generous man, a hopeless loser. A stage magician at a time when technology was producing more magic than magic, he had never had much to give his family. He was on the road most of the time, playing run-down houses, trying to scratch out a living for my mother. He wasn’t there when I was born.
He wasn’t there when she died.
He showed up more than a day after I’d been born. He gave me the names of three magicians, then took me with him, on the road, entertaining children and retirees, performing in school gymnasiums and grocery stores. He was always generous, kind-more kind and more generous than we could afford, really. And he was always a little bit sad. He would show me pictures of my mother, and talk about her, every night. It got to where I almost felt that I knew her, myself.
As I got older, the feeling increased. I saw my father, I think, as she must have-as a dear, sweet, gentle man. A little naive, but honest and kind. Someone who cared for others, and who didn’t value material gain over all else. I can see why she would have loved him.

Today’s plot hole is how in the hell did someone like that raise a misogynist? Harry doesn’t even have the old-fashioned values that mark the most tolerable sort of sexism, and that’s the one thing compatible with his description of his dad.

Admittedly, he does say his dad then dies while he’s still a kid of unspecified age, but Harry’s treatment of women is bone-deep, and I just can’t buy he could’ve been taught all of it by someone later when his dad was a non-alpha widower.

Maybe we can bridge the gap by saying that Harry’s awful enough he could describe a guy catcalling every woman he saw as “a dear, sweet, gentle man”, but that’s just depressing.

Anyway, so, Harry’s feeling miserable and alone due to having his hair taken and refusing to talk to his friend because she’s some dumb woman, just like how he felt when his dad died. He also tells us yet again he’s totally fucked.

The killer was going to get a spell together to kill me the next time he had a storm to draw on, and from the way the air felt that could be anytime.

Remember, he’s said he could make a counterspell in 12 hours on his own and in 24 if he waits for the skull, but whatever, it’s practically guaranteed that at some point in the next week there’ll be a storm so he’s doomed.

If he didn’t kill me, Morgan would certainly have the White Council set to execute me at dawn on Monday.

Except Harry now has evidence!

He’s spent the last two chapters repeating that he’s so fucked because he doesn’t know who the guy is, but now he can be reasonably sure whoever has his hair is the killer. Even if Harry doesn’t know how to track it, he knows it’s possible. Morgan knows more than he does and the council collectively knows a hell of a lot more, he can just tell them to see who’s on the other end.

It’s not like it’s impossible to get this to work. All we need is for Harry to check the damn weather. He can even use his magic senses for it! Harry checks and estimates a spell will hit sometime between today and dawn, so best case scenario, while he’s explaining about how he didn’t do it and they need to track his hair, he gets his heart torn out in front of them and at least they’ll probably avenge his death.

There, now his fatalism is reasonable.

Instead of saying any of this, Harry sneaks back into Randall’s room and naps on the carpet, specifically the probably blood-soaked carpet next to her bed. Way to disprove the idea you’re some insane ex-boyfriend, Harry, going back to a crime scene to nap next to corpse juice is definitely normal behavior.

He wakes up and has an utterly ridiculous argument with himself:

“What the hell are you doing, Harry?” I demanded, out loud.
“Lying down to die,” I told myself, petulantly.
“Like hell,” my wiser part said. “Get off the floor and get to work.”
“Don’t wanna. Tired. Go away.”
“You’re not too tired to talk to yourself. So you’re not too tired to bail your ass out of the alligators, either. Open your eyes,” I told myself, firmly.
I hunched my shoulders, not wanting to obey, but against my better judgment, I did open my eyes.

Just why is this here even.

Anyway, Harry then happens to notice a film canister.

Just happens. He didn’t go back to the apartment looking for clues or anything, because Harry has had a great streak of lying around until someone gives him the answers and he doesn’t want to mess that up. He grudgingly thinks about this clue enough to remember that the film canister he found at the lake house looks the same (luckily he has it in his pocket, because he couldn’t just remember red canister with grey cap).

But it still wasn’t clear. I couldn’t be sure what was going on, but I had a possible link now, a link between the murder investigation and Monica Sells’s aborted inquiry into the disappearance of her husband, Victor.

A possible link. Because there’s no other connection between a newbie wizard who obviously hasn’t been trained by anyone being the killer and a missing husband you were explicitly told only recently got into magic and was learning it all from books.

Harry gets up and explains that by the way, napping at a crime scene looks bad if anyone catches you, because he thinks we’re as dumb as he is. But oh no, someone’s at the door!

I reject the crappy cliffhanger and we continue on. It turns out that it isn’t cops.

A man entered-slim, short, harried-looking. His hair, a listless shade of brown, was drawn back into a ponytail. He wore dark cotton pants, a dark jacket, and carried a pouch on a strap at his side. He shut the door, most of the way, and looked around with great agitation.

He crossed the room and stopped short when he saw the bloodstained bed. I saw him clench his hands into fists. He made a strange, cawing little sound, then hurried forward, to throw himself down on the floor by the bed and start pawing underneath it.

Harry then pulls his jacket around himself to look more respectable and puts his ID badge on to look kind of like a cop if you’re nervous, and says he knew the murderer would return.

“No!” he said, “Oh, God! You don’t understand. I’m a photographer. See? See?” He fumbled with the case at his side and produced a camera from it. “Taking pictures. For the papers. That’s what I’m doing here, just trying to get a good look around.”
“Save it,” I told him. “We both know you aren’t here to take pictures. You were looking for this.” And I pulled the film canister out of my pocket, held it up, and showed it to him.
His babbling stopped, and he stood stock-still, staring at me. Then at the canister. He licked his lips and started trying to say something.
“Who are you?” I asked. I kept my voice gruff, demanding. I tried to think of what Murphy would sound like, if I was downtown with her right now, waiting for her to ask me questions.
“Uh, Wise. Donny Wise.” He swallowed, staring at me. “Am I in some kind of trouble?”
I narrowed my eyes at him and sneered, “We’ll see about that. Do you have identification?”
“Sure, yeah.”
“Let me see it.” I speared him with a glance, and added, “Slowly.”

Now, as I said when he was tracking down Randall, it’s a given that private dicks will have to be dicks at points in their job. That said, this seems about 10% to get the guy to talk and 90% Harry getting off on terrorizing someone.

The guy realizes Harry’s just fucking with him.

I tilted my head back at an arrogant angle. “Okay. Maybe not. But I work with the cops. And I’ve got your film.”
He cursed again and started stuffing his camera back into his bag, clearly meaning to leave. “No. You got nothing. Nothing that connects any of this to me. I’m out of here.”
I watched him start past me, toward the door. “Don’t be so hasty, Mr. Wise. I really think you and I have things to discuss. Like a dropped film canister underneath the deck of a house in Lake Providence, last Wednesday night.”
He flicked a quick glance up at me. “I have nothing to say to you,” he mumbled, “whoever the hell you are.” He reached for the door and started to open it.
I gestured curtly to my staff in the corner, and hissed, in my best dramatic voice, ” Vento servitas,” jerking my hand at the doorway. My staff, driven by tightly controlled channels of air moving in response to my evocation, leapt across the room and slammed the door shut in front of Donny Wise’s nose. He went stiff as a board. He turned to face me, his eyes wide.
“My God. You’re one of them. Don’t kill me,” he said. “Oh, God. You’ve got the pictures. I don’t know anything. Nothing. I’m no danger to you.” He tried to keep his voice calm, but it was shaking. I saw him tilt his eyes at the glass sliding doors to the little patio, as though calculating his chances of making it there before I could stop him.
“Relax, Mr. Wise,” I told him. “I’m not here to hurt you.

There’s no reason for this. Harry could’ve just led with the fact the photographer is likely going to be another victim. As it is, Harry comes off as lying this whole time, because there’s only one reason to only say you’re not going to kill someone at the point the guy is about to drive through glass doors to escape you, and it’s because escaping would get in the way of your plan to murder them.

I’m after the man who killed Linda. Help me. Tell me what you know. I’ll take care of the rest.”
He let out a harsh little laugh, and eased a half step toward the glass windows. “And get myself killed? Like Linda, like those other people? No way.”

The book wants to say this is the usual thing where the guy is worried that Harry isn’t a badass enough dude to do this, but in context, I think the more reasonable reading is that he’s sure the only think keeping him alive is that Harry wants to know if there’s any other loose ends before murdering him. That’s what he means when he says talking will get him killed just like the rest.

But no, it’s time for the no really Harry is heroic.

“I want these people stopped just as badly as you do.”
“Why?” he demanded. I saw a little contempt in his eyes, now. “What was she to you? Were you sleeping with her, too?”
I shook my head. “No. No, she’s just one more dead person who shouldn’t be.”
“You’re not a cop. Why risk your ass to do this? Why go up against these people? Haven’t you seen what they can do?”
I shrugged. “Who else is going to?”

It’s like he’s reading off a teleprompter, and also like he’s just lost a contract negotiation, has no professional pride, and is just ticking off the minutes until the job’s over. He’s supposed to mouth some words about how he’s doing this because it’s right, so fine, he’ll mouth some words before the plot gets bored and moves on.

Having completely fucked up the conversation, he decides now is a good moment to start asking about the film. The guy’s counteroffer is that Harry should give him the film first.

I shook my head. “I might need what’s on here.”
“What’s there isn’t any good to you if you don’t know what you’re looking at,” he pointed out.

I like the “pointed out”, as is this isn’t nonsense. Harry promptly goes on to say if he was telling me the truth, the film wouldn’t do me any good. The trail had led me here, to him. If I didn’t dig up a lead to somewhere else, I was dead.

This is how shitty of a detective Harry is. He can’t even figure out what good actual evidence is. His detective work is solely someone standing in front of him telling him things.

So Harry gives him the film, because what good is a photographic record of people Randall wanted pictures of shortly before she was murdered for knowing too much?

The photographer explains he takes photos of naked chicks to sell to magazines of naked chicks. And that’s how Randall knew him, and she asked him to take a bunch of pictures and then give her the film, and that’s all he knows. “I don’t know Randall hired me” is apparently way more than Harry could work out on his own, so he doesn’t spend a second thinking that wait, he gave up the pictures to identify these people in return for this?

They were having some kind of party. All candles and stuff. It was storming like hell, a lot of thunder and lightning, so I couldn’t really hear them.

Harry continues not reacting.

“They were having sex,” I said.
“No,” he snapped. “They was playing canasta. Yeah, sex. The real thing, not fake stuff on a set. The real thing don’t look as good. Linda, some other woman, three men. I shot my roll and got out.”
I grinned, but he didn’t seem to have noticed the double entendre. You just don’t get quality lowlife often enough anymore.

Harry.

Harry, the man does photo shoots with prostitutes to sell to porn mags. He noticed, he just doesn’t give a fuck because unlike you, he’s actually getting laid. More, he’s probably heard that exact joke only a million times during his filming of prostitutes for porn, and the only reason he made the mistake of phrasing it that way is he mistakenly thought you would be slightly more mature than that.

“What are you going to do with the film, Donny?”
He shrugged. “Trash it, probably.” I saw his eyes flick from side to side, and I knew that he was lying to me. He’d keep the film, find out who was in the pictures, and if he thought he could get away with it, he’d try to weasel whatever profit he could out of it. He seemed the type, and I trusted my instincts.
“Allow me,” I said, and snapped my fingers. ” Fuego.”
The canister’s grey lid flew off in a little whoosh of flame, and Donny Wise yelped, drawing his hand back sharply. The red canister burst into flame on its way to the ground and landed there in a crumpled, smoking lump.

Now, all Harry had to do was light the canister on fire and the film might’ve been retrievable. But no, actual evidence is for chumps.

My brain lurched into gear, now that there was something to work with, some other possibility for tomorrow morning than me dying in a variety of gruesome ways.
Linda Randall had been planning on blackmailing someone, I took a staggering mental leap and figured it was Victor, or someone out at his house during the party. But why? I didn’t have any pictures now, only the information I’d gotten from Donny Wise. I couldn’t afford to wait around. I had to pursue the lead he’d given me if I was to get to the bottom of this, and find out who had killed Linda.

I think at this point we can officially say this is not a mystery book. I’m not sure what it is, but definitely not that.

Harry casts around for any further idea and remembers that, what with the hating of women, he can work out a way it was a woman’s sneaky treachery that did this:

How had I managed to get into all of this trouble in only a few days? And how in the world had I managed to stumble across what appeared to be a complex and treacherous little plot by chance, out at the house in Lake Providence, on a separate investigation entirely?
Simple answer-it hadn’t been an accident. It had all been by design. I had been directed there. Someone had wanted me out at the lake house, had wanted me to get involved and to find out what was going on out there. Someone who was nervous as hell around wizards, who refused to give out her name, who had carefully dropped phrases that would make me believe her ignorance, who had to rush out quickly from her appointment and who was willing to let five hundred dollars go, just to get me off the phone a few seconds faster. Someone had drawn me out and forced me into the open, where I had attracted all sorts of hostile attention.

I remember the “IT’S ALL HER FAULT PEOPLE KEPT TRYING TO KILL ME DUE TO ME DOING STUFF SHE HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING I’D DO” featuring prominently in Sapphire of Alternia too.

As Harry said at the time, anyone with even a grasp on rumors knows not to tell a wizard their name. That no one else has cared is bad worldbuilding, not proof his client is terrible. And Harry proceeded to loudly shout he was investigating the police’s heartsplosion case, antagonize the mob, and sear the face off a vampire. Clearly it was his other client who he blew off that got him in all this trouble, because vaginas spew evil.

51 Comments

  1. illhousen says:
    “Yes, this is over the hair, not the actual people who are actually dead.”

    Harry: I am baaaaaald!

    “He was on the road most of the time, playing run-down houses, trying to scratch out a living for my mother.”

    Wait, why the hell did he need to “scratch a living” for her? She is supposed to be this awesome wizard who was scaring the White Men Council with her power and – I assume, though there is a support for it – feminine wiles.

    Surely she could spare some time to get a money-making operation going.

    “Today’s plot hole is how in the hell did someone like that raise a misogynist?”

    Well, you can say that his dad was always busy, so Harry mostly grew up by himself until his mentor came along.

    “Instead of saying any of this, Harry sneaks back into Randall’s room and
    naps on the carpet, specifically the probably blood-soaked carpet next
    to her bed.”

    What.

    No, let me try this again.

    What.

    I mean, is there any particular reason for this decision? Aside from the general dread of receding hairline?

    “Just why is this here even.”

    Believe it or not, it’s a plot point.

    “I think at this point we can officially say this is not a mystery book. I’m not sure what it is, but definitely not that.”

    The mystery is why people read it.

    “I remember the “IT’S ALL HER FAULT PEOPLE KEPT TRYING TO KILL ME DUE TO
    ME DOING STUFF SHE HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING I’D DO” featuring prominently
    in Sapphire of Alternia too.”

    I am morbidly curious now. Details? Or a link to the post with details if there is one?

    1. Roarke says:
      Wait, why the hell did he need to “scratch a living” for her? She is supposed to be this awesome wizard who was scaring the White Men Council with her power and – I assume, though there is a support for it – feminine wiles.

      Illhousen, this is the Dresdenverse. Men provide. If they can’t provide a lot, that makes them hopeless losers, but it doesn’t give the women the right to make money by themselves. Also wizards are perpetually broke, even or especially the female ones.

      Well, you can say that his dad was always busy, so Harry mostly grew up by himself until his mentor came along.

      That’s refuted by his dad being around enough to talk about Harry’s mom so much that Harry felt like he knew her personally. What I’m really guessing is that his dad was a genuinely nice dude with an idiot son. He died while the son was still impressionable, and the son got picked up by a black wizard who tried to turn the son towards evil by tempting him with a woman, causing the son to get the wrong idea that women exist because 1. Seduction and 2. Evil.

      1
      1. Farla says:
        I guess if his dad died when he was ten or so, then the evil wizard would’ve been his only role model by the time hormones kicked in.

        With a little work, you could say the two influences are why Harry’s torn between consideration and hatred, averaging out to condescension.

        1. Roarke says:
          Yeah. You get a lot of that, actually, in careers where a naturally-gentle person has to be “toughened up,” like the military, law enforcement, and contract negotiation. They end up in this weird place where they unconsciously soften the jerkassery, but the jerkassery itself is very intentional. It’s an interesting contradiction.
    2. Farla says:
      She is supposed to be this awesome wizard

      Hasn’t been mentioned yet, so I’m not even sure if it was canon at this point.

      The horror of Sapphire of Alternia begins here.

  2. Eilonwy_has_an_aardvark says:
    So if you can do things to people with hair and blood, let’s say a female wizard agreed to have sex with Dresden, thus getting a sample of his semen. Could she use it to make his dick fall off and, if so, why hasn’t one overcome her distaste for his personality and done this public service?
    1. Roarke says:
      I don’t think you’d be able to get his dick to fall off, but it would probably neuter him (the image of someone’s balls imploding is just horrifying). And the reason this hasn’t happened is because Jesus Christ, there would be retribution! The White Council would immediately call an urgent witch hunt to protect the danglies, Morgan of the Naked Sword, please save us, goddamn! They’d pass an Eighth Law saying “No Witches, Ever.”
      1. Eilonwy_has_an_aardvark says:
        Damn! I knew there had to be a serious downside somewhere. So you’d need a self-taught female wizard who didn’t know about the White Council.

        I guess I’ll have to make do with enjoying the beatings.

        1. Roarke says:
          Yeah. Like, don’t get me wrong, everyone would laugh at Dresden (and have Morgan administer a mercy kill). But the remaining male wizards would make damn sure he was the only casualty. Counterspells would be developed overnight. There is no limit to the urgency of “women can literally bust our balls from 100 miles away.”
      2. EdH says:
        No, the reason it hasn’t been done is because Dresden ‘has no luck with women’. And overcoming distaste to deal with him requires a lot of courage. Like, fight Cthulhu and survive levels of courage.
        1. Roarke says:
          I could see the right female wizard doing that. At the very least seducing Dresden seems laughably easy.
          1. EdH says:
            Oh, without a doubt the right person could do it, and if they did so it would be an easy task. However, just like many tasks, it’s about the willpower; I fear the jerkness and sliminess means the right one is rare. To use a war example, Romans found elephants easy to fight after a while, but it required incredible discipline (and they’d rather not at all, hence banning most states from using or breeding them for war).
    2. illhousen says:
      Actually, causing dicks to wither is a very traditional form of witchcraft. By which I mean, men wrote books about how witches can totally do it.

      Given how DF is your typical fantasy kitchen sink, it’s probably possible to do.

      The reason why nobody did it, aside from the possibility of retribution, is because it won’t stop Harry’s sexism, it would just turn it violent.

    3. guestest ever says:
      You can just shoot or stab or strangle him if you’re gonna get that close. Then you wouldn’t need to actually have sex with him either. There’s no reason to let him live, dickless or dickful.
      1. actonthat says:
        Unrelated: Omg John Cleese’s character in Jade Empire I need to lul with someone.
        1. illhousen says:
          Yep, that was a fun quest.
          1. actonthat says:
            I have to say, this game is almost a decade old, and it’s still really great on the progressiveness front. I have a lot of respect for Bioware. They don’t always get everything right, but you can always tell they’re trying very hard, and that’s a billion times more than you can say for other major companies.
            1. guestest ever says:
              Told you Jade Empire is best thing Bioware ever done. And not *just* because of John Cleese. Wait till endgame.
              Also BW sucks and blows simultaneously despite that being physically impossible, they’ve been worthless from ME2 and onwards once their heads got stuck so far up their own asses after all the fellation they got from “gaming journalism”.

              Also even more unrelated; where’s all the FSN posts? We were hoping to get screenfuls of nope.gifs after you got blasted with the UBW twist, not some sort of calm and reasonable diatribe written weeks after the shock has worn off. Or at least I did, which is as good as we.

              Reply
              1. actonthat says:
                I haven’t played through enough of their catalogue to say it’s the best (I’m like the only person who hasn’t played Mass Effect, I swear), but I’m definitely enjoying it. Sidequestssssss.

                I have been so, so busy, but the post for this weekend is done, so no worries. Hopefully things will cool off at work and I’ll be back on track now.

              2. guestest ever says:
                “I have been so, so busy, but the post for this weekend is done, so no worries.”
                But how many gifs are there in it?
              3. actonthat says:
                At least two, if I remember correctly.

                I just saved like 20 Bob’s Burgers gifs to my album, so I have a whole new arsenal.

              4. guestest ever says:
                Cool beans.
              5. Roarke says:
                <- Didn't play Mass Effect. If I did, I'd probably consider Dragon Age superior.
                Also: gasp, new FSN post! REJOICE!
              6. actonthat says:
                All I really know about the series is that the third one made the fanbase flip a shit, so I’ve always figured that, too. Also I like fantasy better than SciFi.
              7. Roarke says:
                What I know is that Mass Effect is basically like Fallout 3: it’s a shooter with RPG elements, which is not the same thing (in my grumpy old man opinion) as a proper RPG. It’s perfect for modern gamers and I’m betting the writing is adequate, but I have different standards (not elitist, just different).
              8. Roarke says:
                The other thing that will be missing weeks later is tears. Three times, we were promised.
              9. actonthat says:
                I was basically a teary mess through the entirety of 2/14 and 2/15, so just read it with that assumption from now on.
              10. Roarke says:
                Archer’s backstory is a lot worse when it’s coming from the man himself, huh? You’d think Rin’s dreams would prepare you for it, but…
            2. illhousen says:
              Glad you enjoyed it. Hope the rest of recommendation thread works for you as well.
              Reply
              1. actonthat says:
                You people are nicer to me than you are to Farla.

                …I think.

              2. illhousen says:
                That’s probably because your “specialization” in reviews is mystery fiction, VNs and RPGs, so people recommend their favorites in those categories to you. Whereas Farla is associated with general hatred as awful YA fiction, so that’s what people recommend her.

                Though I did mention The Cuckoo’s Calling, which appears to be pretty problematic if the reviews I read are to be believed.

                And Saya no Uta which is Saya no Uta.

                I am sure people here can dig up something awful if you want.

              3. Roarke says:
                I’m literally writing gay fanfiction on like every other post. Assertion refuted.
              4. illhousen says:
                But you stop right before sexy times, you tease.

                It’s very much not nice.

                You still have time to fix it, however.

              5. Roarke says:
                HA! Point well made. Act’s assertion stands.
                And no, I won’t fix it.
              6. illhousen says:
                You say it now.~

                I bet before the start of DF readthrough you didn’t think you would write slash at all.

              7. Roarke says:
                Actually I did expect that I would, but for ArcherxShirou, or maybe KotominexShirou if I refrained until HF. But this book forced the issue like a large man with a naked sword.
              8. actonthat says:
                I laughed out loud in my cubicle, though fortunately I doubt these people could think I’m weirder.
              9. Roarke says:
                Illhousen and I are a riot, yeah. Still not sure which one is the… *puts glasses on* straight man.

                YEAAAAAAHHHHH

              10. illhousen says:
                I am, obviously.

                Though in my dimension a straight line has a few more corners compared to this one.

              11. Roarke says:
                I mean if I hadn’t just made a stupid CSI joke, I would dispute that.

                And I have no idea what you mean for the second part.

              12. illhousen says:
                Well, to put it simply, beyond the doors of perception under the living mirror of heaven wherein gibbering horrors from the darkness behind your eyelids dwell dead but dreaming dreams bleeding into realities beyond what mortals living on a blissful island of ignorance can imagine the concept of ‘straight’ is meaningless for parallel lines can cross multiple times.

                More seriously, it was an inside joke. I once was talking about my favorite kind of comedy and noted that it doesn’t contain a typical contrast between a straight man and a joker because everyone in a work in question was technically a straight man archetype.

                They just happened to live in a world where you can say stuff like “I am the Conspiracy” and “It’s little things like that that help to avoid people being crushed by talking monoliths” with a straight face, and it would make perfect sense in the context.

                I expressed it by saying that in that world a straight line has a few more corners than usual, which is why “straight men”… don’t come across as that.

              13. Roarke says:
                Yeah, I’m also a fan of works where basically everyone plays it deadpan or whatever.
    4. Farla says:
      With how often Harry falls unconscious in random places, you really don’t need to resort to magic to have a chance to maim him.
  3. GeniusLemur says:
    You know, I just noticed something.
    The traditional hard-boiled detective is often working on a case without pay, out of a sense of justice, curiosity, anger, or sheer contrariness.
    Here, until well into the book (about a third of the way, wasn’t it?) we have a pseudo-noir detective who is getting paid for two cases and can’t be bothered to work on either one.
    1. Farla says:
      Well, he’s motivated by a naked sword.
  4. GeniusLemur says:
    “I hunched my shoulders, not wanting to obey, but against my better judgment, I did open my eyes.”
    You know you’ve got first-rate hero material when he treats opening his eyes as a terrible burden.
    1. Roarke says:
      I think Butcher mixed up the act of figuratively opening your eyes and dispelling your delusions, and the literal act of physically opening your eyes. One is really meaningful and whatnot. The other isn’t.

      I wonder if there’s a case to be made for Dresden having some sort of depression. edit: Like not at this moment, but in the book as a whole.

      1. Farla says:
        With a few tweaks, that could work pretty well.
  5. SoxyOutfoxing says:
    Well, I think we’ve learnt why Harry hasn’t shaved his head even though it’s the logical thing to do; it would devastate him emotionally to the point where he couldn’t even function to the pathetic extent he currently does.

    “Have you ever felt despair? Absolute hopelessness? Have you ever stood in the darkness and known, deep in your heart, in your spirit, that it was never, ever going to get better? That something had been lost, forever, and that it wasn’t coming back?”

    It’s really sad when hair goes away, everyone. Like, really sad. I don’t know how Harry gets haircuts.

    1. illhousen says:
      What’s sad is that it can be easily fixed by saying that you need to use your hair to brew potions and enchant objects because you need to give up a part of yourself to channel magic into objects and hair is a dead tissue, so it won’t mess up thaumaturgial properties like blood or skin would.

      Then it would be understandable for Harry to not shave his head completely. It would still be a smart move to keep hair short, though.

      1. Farla says:
        He could always pluck off a manly chest hair if he needed potion material.

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