Dresden Files Chatter

Talk about whatever books we haven’t got to here!

314 Comments

  1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
    the first three books are flawed,but from the fourth on it become better and ebtter. summer knight we see harry becoming so much more mature and kind,while still being a rascal from time to time,he wasnt raised well. but its fun,the actipon scenes are more well thought



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    1. illhousen says:

      Yeah, except no. The books do get better plot-wise and accumulate a lot of “awesome” moments fans like to bring up (undead T-Rex and the like), but they never cease to become problematic.

      Here is, for example, a review of Cold Days, actually written by a fan and thus far more indulgent than you’d find on this blog, yet still bringing up a lot of problems in the book: http://www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2012/12/review-cold-days-by-jim-butcher-book-14.html




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      1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
        you don’t think gets a little more mature or kind? not even a little?



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        1. illhousen says:

          Frankly, I don’t care enough about Harry to examine his character in detail. What I do care about is that the books keep slapping me in the face with loving rape descriptions. I don’t appreciate being slapped in the face with Butcher’s dick, thank you.




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      2. CrazyEd says:
        So while clicking through a few of this site’s other DF related articles, I found out that “Dresden Goggles” is part of their lexicon (which has some pretty great entries besides that one overall), as a shorthand for a male character who can’t look at a female character without considering her sexual attractiveness.

        And it got me thinking about things. Have there ever been any situations in the Dresden Files where Harry considering sexual attractiveness has been remotely appropriate? Surely there’s got to be at least one instance of him realizing how nice Susan looks dressed up for a date they’re going to go on in between all the paragraphs about how wrong it is to stare down Molly’s shirt to justify all the other paragraphs where Harry stares down Molly’s shirt. I can’t believe that, in the entirety of the Dresden Files, there isn’t at least one scene where a woman specifically tailors or emphasizes her appearance to intentionally appeal to Harry. It’s just not that kind of series.

        I wonder what this series would be like if the protagonist was a gawky teenage version of Harry. Maybe the age difference might give Murphy some degree of authority over him despite the handicap of being a woman with a cheerleader-like appearance in a world of Dresden-centered morality.




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        1. illhousen says:

          Well, the first on-screen meeting between Harry and Susan was almost fine. They were both at a bar, relaxing, casually flirting, Susan appreciated his attention, so it wasn’t wrong. Of course, then Butcher had to ruin it by stating that Susan not knowing how hot she is was what made her hot, so there is that.

          There is also a number of women who tried to seduce Harry over the course of the series, like that demon, and at least some of them were adults. While I take issue with the overall narrative of woman’s power coming from her sexuality and the sheer number of people wanting to ride Harry’s dick, him noticing women who actively try to seduce him being hot is not really an issue in itself.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            Yeah, part of the reason I was thinking about it was from my own experiences with having viewpoint characters considering the sexual attractiveness of female characters. There is a time and a place (and a type of viewpoint character) for it.

            Something I noticed reading Beautiful Creatures for myself is that, ironically, despite the authors seemingly believing that teenage boys hang out to do nothing more than talk about girls and cars, the main character doesn’t really spend much time considering the sexual attractiveness of the female half of the cast.

            I think the only character he actually puts the same amount of physical description into as Harry would is the evil slut-whore with a pierced belly button and a crop-top so thin that you can see her black bra underneath. Not even the girlfriend he supposedly finds the most beautiful creature (heh) on the planet gets the same detail in her physical description.

            But, then again, the protagonist of Beautiful Creatures is so clued into the social politics of high school girls that, even though the small amount of narration shown in Farla’s review, I got the sense that the protagonist sounded more like a typical high school girl YA protagonist than the sterotypically manly dudebro jock he was supposed to be, even before Farla pointed it out.

            Maybe its because, at the time I read that review, I was actually writing something from the perspective of a male viewpoint character who actually was meant to have a somewhat more typically feminine social perspective (it would not be out of character at all for him to instantly pick up on the same High School Girls Popularity Politics bullshit Ethan did).

            And, now that I think about it, they were more chivalrous than Harry. He was brought up to believe that basically the only excuse for not paying for your girlfriend while on a date was if she asked that he not pay for her. Oh no, Harry, how horrible is that!?

            He’d find Harry’s behaviour with Murphy at the start of Storm Front inexcuseably horrible despite being the kind of guy who holds doors open for… well, he was the kind of guy who holds doors open for everyone and not just women when I think of it.

            The only way that would’ve been okay with him is if Murphy was shown to be totally okay with it when Dresden did it because it was just part of some stupid friendly game they got into (which definitely was not the case). It’s okay to tease your best friend a little if she’s okay with being teased a little (and showing Murphy teasing Harry back a little wouldn’t hurt).

            And now I’m imagining Murphy holding a door open for Harry with all the pomp and flourish of a fedora-tipper. “Oh no, no, after you, my good sir!”




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  2. illhousen says:

    Alright then. So, Knights of the Sword. I’m just going to quote their bios from the RPG. They’re faithful enough and it’s easier than summarize the books myself.

    Firs we have Shiro.

    No, not this one.

    Shiro Yoshimo

    A little old Asian man with liver spots and a thick wooden cane, his spectacles giving him  owl-eyes, Shiro Yoshimo appeared harmless. However, he was one of the three Knights of the Cross, wielding the sword Fidelacchius; Shiro was strong with faith and divine power. In combat, his features would become hard as stone, as he moved with a dancer’s grace, speed, skill, and strength. While an amazing swordsman and duelist, Shiro hated fighting.

    As a boy, his family moved from Okinawa to California. A fan of Elvis, he was tricked into attending a revival meeting due to the King’s attendance and inadvertently became a Baptist. He tried to be a good one. He was a responsible man, true to his heart. He possessed great authority and command.

    Later, he became a Knight of the Cross. He redeemed Sanya in Venice from the clutches of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. Together, they traveled to Malta, where they met Michael (the Archangel, not the Knight). The Prince of the Host brought Esperacchius, the Sword of Hope, and bestowed it upon Sanya.

    Shiro served as the mentor of Sanya and Michael Carpenter. During his tenure as a
    Knight, he fought many duels, some with the mysterious Jade Court (page 85) of vampires. He was also one of the handful of Knights to ever face Nicodemus and survive.

    During the Death Masks case, Shiro met Harry Dresden and agreed to be Harry’s second in his duel with Duke Ortega of the Red Court. However, after Harry’s capture by the Denarians, he traded himself to Nicodemus for Harry—agreeing that for 24 hours he would make no attempt to escape, summon no aid, nor quietly commit suicide. Because of this, Shiro was tortured and mortally injured by Nicodemus to empower the plague curse.

    Unknown to all, Shiro was dying of terminal cancer and willingly took Harry’s place,
    becoming the target of Nicodemus’ Barabbas Curse and the aforementioned torture; he sent a letter to Harry two weeks in advance, telling him all of this. Shiro left his Sword, Fidelacchius, for Harry to hold in trust until he finds out who it belongs to.

    Shiro was distantly related to the Warden Yoshimo who appears in the Dead Beat case.

    Shiro was a lineal descendant of Sho Tai (the last king of Okinawa).

    (Alright, that’s all on inferior Shiro. Let’s move on to Sanya, no full name (either first  or surname) given.)

    Sanya

    You don’t often see a tall, young black man with a thick Russian accent, but that is Sanya. His dark, intense eyes seem to peer into you. He’s a mix of interesting semi-contradictions: he’s a black Russian, he’s a Communist Trotskyite, he’s an agnostic Knight of the Cross.

    (I would note that “black Russian” is not, in fact, a contradiction. While black people are an extreme minority in Russia, they do exist and were around for a pretty damn long time. Pushkin had some black ancestry, as I recall.)

    He’s also an ex-Denarian—considered to be a traitor by the Order of the Blackened
    Denarius—redeemed and then recruited by Shiro Yoshimo into the Knights.

    In his youth, Sanya was a freakish outsider in Russia: angry, poor, desperate, and black. He was a perfect recruit for the Denarians—who drew him in using Tessa’s second, Rosanna.

    As the mortal host of Magog, Sanya indulged in every vice one could possibly imagine. He obeyed Tessa’s commands dutifully. At the end of five years, Sanya was little more than a beast who walked upright.

    However, over time, Rosanna did him wrong. In Venice, Sanya overheard Rosanna’s report to Tessa and found out what his lover really thought of him. In that moment, he won free of the Denarians. He left the apartment, dropped his coin in a convenient canal, and was met by Shiro.

    The pair traveled to Malta, where they met Michael (the Archangel, not the Knight). The Prince of the Host brought Esperacchius, the Sword of Hope, and bestowed it upon Sanya. Since then, Sanya has been a stalwart Knight of the Cross, in service to the common good—if not the Almighty, whom he has trouble believing in completely.

    Sanya does the work because it must be done. He is the wielder of Esperacchius, but eschews old-school style armor in favor of a Kevlar vest. He’s good with a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

    Interestingly, he is a lineal descendent of Saladin.

    (What’s with the obsession over legacies, anyway? Jesus was a son of a bloody carpenter.)

    He has trouble understanding American humor—Molly Carpenter is able to get him to call up pharmacies looking for Prince Albert in a can.

    Though he can sense that Thomas Raith is a vampire, he doesn’t know what Sigrun Gard is.

    Rosanna still calls Sanya “animal” and “beast” and claims he loves fighting and bloodshed. Sanya admits that he does indeed love conflict, but he now chooses his fights more carefully.

    With Shiro Yoshimo’s death and Michael Carpenter’s recent injuries, Sanya is currently the only active Knight of the Cross.

     




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    1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
      The obssesion with legacy stems from that old superstition that kings become kings because God chose them to become so and that their descedants inherit that



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      1. illhousen says:

        Sure, but that was a lie told by royalty so the common people wouldn’t start asking why that random guy who happened to be born to the right parents should rule over them.

        The issue here is that a lot of kings were absolutely awful and deserved to be hang, so if God has chosen them, He has a really awful character judgement and shouldn’t be trusted.




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        1. Roarke says:

          Yeah but are you surprised that Butcher decided that divine right to rule should be canon? He’s big on privileges that don’t need to be earned.




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        2. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
          Well,apparently is a reality on the dresdenverse. My theory is that a descedent of a king,would have an instinct to be a protective person. since a king is supposed to be a protector,it’s a flawed idea. but that is God we’re talking about here,he’s know for doin g everything mysteriously



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          1. illhousen says:

            For that to work, the entire history of Dresdenverse would have to be different. Because, again, many kings weren’t all that protective or nice in any other way. They were utter bastards.




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    2. Act says:

      If I was trying to write the most awful racist caricatures I possibly could they would still not be this jaw-droppingly awful. Mr. Miyagi and the animalistic black man. Good lord.

      Also relevant: medievalpoc.tumblr.com

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      1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
        Sanya is not animalistic at all. he was manipulated by an fallen angel to behave that way,he was possessed. it was the monster possessing him not the man himself.
        Shiro has nothing to do with Myagi,they both knew martial arts and that’s prettu much it. Shiro is portayed as THE most awesome of the Knights once he shows up,nothing stereotypical bout him at all



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        1. Act says:

          The quote illhousen posted literally describes him as a violent animal… did you even read it?




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          1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
            it was taken from the rpg book,which was only semi canon. and like i said,it was the effect of the demon on sanya mind making him act that way,not sanya himself 



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            1. Act says:

              >Rosanna still calls Sanya “animal” and “beast” and claims he loves fighting and bloodshed.

              Like ¿? are we living in parallel universes or something?




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            2. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
              Rosanna is a villain,a villain being a racist doesnt make the author a racist



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            3. Act says:

              Yes. Yes, having your characters call a black guy a bloodthirsty animal makes an author racist.

              And while we’re here, having your women be sexy deceivers makes an author a miogynist.




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            4. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
              Even villains? c’mon,that’s like saying George Lucas loves fascism because of the Empire,or that who ever wrote batman books condones murder  because of the joker. do you think the guys from mad max support real life Immortan Joes?
              A Villain is supposed to be wrong,to be evil. Rosanna was clearly show to be a evil,terrible human being,and she  is the only one who a racist to sanya. how exactly does that make Butcher a racist?



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            5. Act says:

              When the text doesn’t portray them as wrong? Yes.

              Villains in American comics are a terrible example to try to prove your point with because it’s a pretty common discussion point that authors and the audience of those characters tend to idolize them even when (or precisely because) they’re awful. That Alan Moore interview about how disturbed he is by Rorscach fans comes to mind.




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            6. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
              Okay then,i respect your opinion if i can seem to agree,sorry for the trouble



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            7. SingaporeSling says:
              But the text does portray her as wrong. Sanya is a noble and powerful fighter for good even though–unlike Michael and Shiro-he doesn’t believe in divine power being there to bail him out, nor does he believe in an afterlife; while they think they’ll go to Heaven when they die, he has no such belief, and yet he risks death on a daily basis anyways. (The series doesn’t make an explicit point of this, but it’s worth noting that Michael at one point does tell a bad guy threatening to kill him before he can say goodbye to his family something like “No, if you kill me I’ll go to Heaven and then meet them again eventually anyways.” Sanya doesn’t have that, yet he fights with just as much courage.) He has a great sense of humor and a sardonic, wry way of looking at the world and taking the most absurd situations he gets into in stride. He’s not a beast or monster, and Rosanna thinking he is (or that he was better when Magog was influencing him to act like one) shows how screwed up she is.

               

              I should note that I’m an atheist myself, and I *love* the depiction of Sanya in terms of representation. Atheistic characters in fantasy are too often depicted as dimwits who can’t see the magic right in front of their faces, and they almost never get to be the equivalent of holy warriors–when they’re skilled, it’s very rarely because of their beliefs or their faith in secular concepts. Sanya, though, is as smart and skilled as anyone else, and it’s made clear that it’s his faith in doing the right thing and helping others that matters, not his devotion to some cosmic entity. And see also the above point about him not having a heaven to fall back on; I love seeing a character take noble, self-sacrificing acts even without the assurance of an afterlife because… well, atheists do that in the real world too, and representation is good. :-)




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            8. Act says:

              Okay, but my issue isn’t with the depiction of Sanya as an atheist, it’s the treatment of him as a black man.

              If you’re going to have your black character struggle with violence and be called an animal by those he opposes… I was going to say it needs to be part of a motif about how that portrayal of black people is Bad and Wrong, but I can’t even imagine how you’d do that. Give another character that arc and let the black guy have something other than ~overcoming base instinct~ for once.

              All this accomplishes is adding another drop in the ocean of “wild black man” appearances in fiction. It’s not like Butcher rolled a die for Sanya and it just so happened that he’d made a blood contract with Satan that the result was set it in stone so he had no choice but to choose the racist character archetype. This was a conscious decision made by an adult made who either genuinely believes black man are innately violent or is an incredible idiot with no concept of this ridiculusly common fiction trope, and with Butcher’s track record it sure looks like the former.




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            9. Act says:

              I really need to fix the damned edit button thing on terminal comments….

              there’s an extra “made” in one sentence and the phrase “adding another drop in the ocean” should link to this




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            10. SingaporeSling says:
              My concern there is, no matter what vice Sanya is given, it would fall into one or another stereotype.

              One of Sanya’s roles in Book 5 is to show Dresden that even folks who go really far into evil can come back, which means that he had to be a bad sinner at some point. The way it’s written, is sin was Wrath. But if his sin were changed to Lust, that’s also a stereotype (the Sexually Promiscuous Black Guy). If his sin was Sloth, that’s a stereotype (the Lazy Welfare Mooch). If his sin was Ignorance, that’s also a stereotype (the High School Dropout). Greed too (the Gangster/Drug Dealer). And so on. I’m not sure there’s any major sin or flaw which could be given to Sanya which wouldn’t result in some stereotype or another.

              But the solution can’t be either to remove Sanya’s sinful nature, since that would make him a much less compelling character (and also give him shades of the Magic Negro stereotype), or to make him white and thus not stereotypical when he has some flaw, since that would erase PoC. That leaves the option of building a more complex character, moving beyond the basic stereotypes to create a 3-dimensional human. And Butcher did that. Sanya has plenty of traits that don’t fit the “Angry Thug” mold; he only fits it if you just isolate his most negative aspects–but virtually any PoC character would be a stereotype if you focused only on their most negative aspects. So I don’t see how his character could really be improved or made more palateable beyond that.




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            11. SingaporeSling says:
              (Erk. And by ‘beyond that’ I mean ‘beyond expanding his character like Butcher did’ and not ‘beyond the negative stereotypes’. Sorry.)



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            12. Act says:

              You’ve actually hit on the real source of the problem:

              to make him white and thus not stereotypical when he has some flaw, since that would erase PoC.

              The solution is absolutely to give the problem of innate sinfulness to a white guy (or, fuck, an Asian guy — their tropes tend not to revolve around that kind of stuff). If there were other black people doing a variety of things, that wouldn’t matter, because it wouldn’t suddenly make the world be one without an entire continent.

              Butcher made the only black dude a horrible racist trope. “Only black dude” and “horrible racist trope” are both at fault.

              It’s like how a story about a queen being a bad ruler is sexist, but a queen being a bad ruler who is then supplanted by her daughter is neutral. When the only portrayal you give to a group is a bad one, it says something about your opinion of people in that group, whether or not you intend it to.




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            13. illhousen says:

              The actual solution is to make Michael black and Sanya white.

              Or, better yet, have more black characters in various roles (there’s no reason why Harry himself couldn’t be black, for example), so one of them being violent wouldn’t be setting a trend.

              That’s one of the big issues when it comes to tokenism: if you have only one character belonging to group X, said character becomes a representation of author’s beliefs about group X rather than just a character.




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            14. Act says:

              goddamn edit

              *Innate sinfulness = innate violence




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            15. illhousen says:

              The thread moves fast. The reply was to SingaporeSling‘s comment.




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            16. Roarke says:

              Seriously, with four Knights, only the black guy is not naturally a moral paragon? Only he had to be redeemed, and not even because he personally found the inner strength to overcome evil or what have you, but because he overheard his lover talking shit about him?

              Goddamn, what a hack backstory for a character I genuinely liked.




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      2. illhousen says:

        Yep. It’s also interesting to note that, in Russia, black people actually aren’t associated with poverty and aren’t portrayed as angry, since most black people come to Russia as exchange students or invited specialists (engineers and sportsmen, primary).




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    3. Act says:

      Jesus was a son of a bloody carpenter.

      Just pulling this out because the sheer irony of this always baffles me. That Jesus’ parents were poor nobodies was the whole damn point.




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      1. Roarke says:

        I mean, I understand where they were coming from, since he was also the Son of God. Somehow. For hundreds of years the dominant classes appropriated everything they could to reinforce the narrative that they deserved to stay in power. It really doesn’t surprise me that the average person in this day and age won’t understand that until told or researched, because it’s just a given at this point.




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      2. SingaporeSling says:
        I think the idea is that he has a direct lineage through King David and so on back to Abraham; similarly, the Knights in the series all are descended from kings (Michael from Charlemagne, Sanya from Saladin, Shiro from Sho Tai, Waldo presumably–as he’s Jewish–from the Biblical patriarchs).



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        1. Act says:

          But that’s the exact thing Jesus was there to put a stop to! The reason he’s always described as having verbal battles with Pharisees is because theoretically they represented Judaism as too hung up on tradition and aristocratic inherented prestige instead of kindness and generosity. Reinstating birthright as a shorthand for holiness would make Jesus turn over in his grave if he were still there.




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          1. Roarke says:

            Yeah, that’s the beautiful irony of it. Jesus began as a rebel who went on to become a symbol for the very thing he fought against.

             As you would say, it’s kindly blackly hilarious.




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        2. Socordya says:

          I think the idea is that he has a direct lineage through King David

          I think the part about Jesus being of David’s lineage was mostly to fulfill a particular prophecy from the ancient testament.




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    4. CrazyEd says:
      This has been something bothering me for awhile, so I’m surprised it’s never been actually brought up until now.

      In The Dresden Files, Kusanagi, one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan ,is not actually a sword pulled from the tail of a giant demonic serpent by one of the most powerful Shinto gods and gifted to the sun goddess to make ammends for a past crime as told in Japanese myth, but is a Christian relic of the Crucifixion wielded by a man tricked into being a baptist (how do you “inadvertently” become a Christian?) representing the Christian virtue of faith.

      And then it becomes a lightsaber because of a man’s faith in The Force.

      There’s appropriation, and then there’s… that. At least Excalibur and Durendal are part of later Christian mythology, and none of the swords originally had remotely appropriate forms to the time periods they were supposed to be from (a medieval sword for a migration period sword, an early modern sword for an early medieval sword, and a katana for a sword whose full name explicitly refers to a non-katana type of sword).

      How has this never once been brought up when talking about how, in the Dresden Files, Christian Myths Are The Realest?

      Funny enough, the actual real-life Kusanagi (if one believes the story that the one lost at sea during the Battle of Dan-no-ura was a replica) is supposedly held at Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya for its owner, who also happens to be descended from a king; even more closely than Shiro (who is probably either the son or grandson of a grandchild of Sho Tai’s, considering he died in 1901). Or, well, an emperor. The 124th emperor of Japan, to be precise.

      His son, Emperor Akihito of Japan. Who is also supposedly the descendant of the goddess the sword was originally gifted to in the first place. In fact, the three imperial regalia were given to Akihito’s ancestor by Amaterasu specifically to show that he was the divinely appointed ruler.




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  3. SingaporeSling says:
    The final Knight of the Cross, incidentally, is Waldo Butters–he’s Jewish, and he becomes a Knight at the very end of Book 15 in a truly epic scene. And we’re getting a story from his POV in November–really psyched about that.

    Anyways–as to the point in the other thread, we’ve met 4 Knights (Michael, Shiro, Sanya, and Waldo), and only one is Catholic. The others are a nominal Baptist, an agnostic, and a Jew. And none of the other three are shown to be inferior in strength or faith power to Michael. So I don’t think there’s any indication that Catholics have a leg up or something in the universe.

    As for Muslim characters, we’ve met one that I recall–Rashid the Gatekeeper, who at one point tells Harry “Allah and good fortune go with you”. He’s one of the more heroic people on the Senior Council; its his intervention that lets Dresden save himself from being turned over to the Red Court in book 4, for instance, and in Book 8 stops Molly from being executed (first by putting Dresden on her case, knowing he would actually arrest her instead of just summarily executing her, and second by refusing to participate in the trial until enough other Council members showed up to outweigh the one jerk who had all their proxy votes and wanted to kill Molly). And then in Book 14 we find out his full time job, when he’s not Counciling, is helping Queen Mab of the Unseelie stop Lovecraftian monsters from breaking into the universe and unmaking it. Which indicates he’s incredibly powerful too.




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    1. Act says:

      Real talk: Waldo Butters or Blick Winkel for the naming award?




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      1. Roarke says:

        I vote Blick Winkel. The South Park character inured me to the name Butters.




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        1. illhousen says:

          I don’t know. Blick is objectively more wtf-y, but the combination of the name Waldo and his job as a mortician make me imagine a truly bizarre scene.




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          1. Roarke says:

            Waldo Butters feels like Butcher just watched an episode of South Park while his son went through a Where’s Waldo book.

            Blick Winkel on the other hand, that’s a name whose creator has seen some shit.




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        2. Act says:

          See, it’s more entertaining to me because of the South Park character.

          On the other hand, Blick Winkel makes me think of Dick Blick, and art supplies are not nearly as entertaining. Usually.




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          1. Roarke says:

            Was never a big fan of South Park and I dropped it pretty early, so it’s pretty meaningless to me. I do believe Butcher introduces W. Butters as the same general character type.




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    2. SpoonyViking says:

      And none of the other three are shown to be inferior in strength or faith power to Michael. So I don’t think there’s any indication that Catholics have a leg up or something in the universe.

      Well, maybe not Catholics, but considering they’re still the Knights of the Cross, it seems to me that while all myths may be real, Christian myths are even more real than others.




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  4. illhousen says:

    So, after dropping the racism bomb, let’s move on to sexism, shall we?

    Molly Carpenter

    In the casefiles, we first meet Molly Carpenter as a precocious youngster during the events of Death Masks, hiding her gothy outfits from Mom, precociously talking about “fun-time handcuffs” and tying people up for “bleeping,” and surreptitiously encouraging Knight of the Cross Sanya to make prank phone calls. The next time we see her is in Proven Guilty, where she’s called Harry to bail her—or rather, her ex-boyfriend Nelson—out of jail. By the time of White Night, she’s Harry’s apprentice, learning not just how to do magic, but why to do magic.

    Molly is physically much like her mother Charity: tall, fair, and built. Her limbs are long and shapely, and—frankly—she’s pretty stacked. She moves with strength, grace, and beauty. While her natural hair color is blonde, she has a penchant for changing it every few months, often to colors not seen in nature. She also radically
    changes the style in which she wears it—long to spiky to medium to whatever. Most recently, her hair has been shoulder-length, the color of white gold—except for the tips, which are dyed in a blend of blue, red, and purple. She is greatly pierced (earrings, eyebrows, nose, tongue, labret, other bits) and tattooed (notable tats  include a slithering serpent that starts on the left side of her neck curling down to her navel, tribal markings at her neckline, and a set of whirls, loops, and spirals on her right hand and arm.)

    Molly is intelligent and brave, with an excellent sense of humor and a disturbing amount of curiosity. This curiosity, along with her sense of teenage invulnerability and the intense clashes of opinion with her mother, has often led her into trouble. Indeed, she has been arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and ecstasy (caught holding during a police raid on a party) and sentenced to community service (homeless shelters). While always precocious intellectually and sexually, Molly is notably still a virgin. Harry Dresden has forbade any sort of experimentation until she has a better handle on her magic—which is a good call considering some of the inciting events of the Proven Guilty case.

    (Marvel at the bolded text and picture the conversation in question. Who needs horror when we have DF?)

    She used magic—black magic—to influence the minds of her best friend and ex-boyfriend to instill fear in them when they were tempted to use drugs. This was more-or-less effective with Rosie Marcella, but ex-boyfriend Nelson suffered worse, because of Molly’s underlying feelings of anger and betrayal. While she did these spells for the good of the targets, the simple fact of playing with their minds put her in conflict with the Laws of Magic, and thus the White Council…not to mention making her a beacon for the phobophage fetches that terrorized SplatterCon!!!
    Even after the SplatterCon!!! situation was worked out (and Molly had been rescued from the heart of Winter—Arctis Tor—after being kidnapped by fetches), she still had to stand trial before the Merlin. That’s when she fell under the Doom of Damocles and became Harry Dresden’s apprentice.

    Magically, Molly is a Sensitive. She has a gift for subtle stuff, especially things that involve the mind and emotions (neuromancy and psychomancy). She can feel when people die and she picks up a lot of information when using her abilities. She is extremely good with subtle and delicate magical stuff, and extremely bad at handling the psychic stress and gross physical interaction of magical combat. Molly has learned to respect her limitations: she is an excellent support mage, but she probably won’t serve on the front lines with combat mages.

    (Note that Harry, of course, is a complete opposite and relies primary on brute force. He also mostly dismisses illusions on account of any wizard being capable to see through them with the Sight.)

    Molly is also exceptionally talented at raising Veils around herself.

    Her powers and control are growing, and it has been seen that she has the potential to be a great wizard…or a terrible dark magician…or an even greater inhuman monster.

    (The section is followed by a comment from Harry’s POV presented below)

    When she was young er, Molly had a serious crush on me—or at least on what she thought I was. I think that whole thing has been resolved quite nicely (i.e., not gonna happen). But now I wonder at the way she looks at Thomas… as well as Carlos, who’s
    looked back at her. Uh-oh.

    (It’s worth mentioning that the scene where Molly’s crush came to light involved her undressing in front of Harry and offering to have sex. He refused, but not before things got steamy for him.)

    (Also worth noting that in Cold Days (review linked in a comment above) we’re treated to lovely descriptions of how Harry wanted to rape her. He was under the influence of the Winter Knight mantle which made his character flaws more prominent and was slowly corrupting him, but, you know, writer choices and all that jazz.)




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    1. Roarke says:

      There’s something so uncomfortable going on here. The profile never lets you forget that she’s sexy and inexperienced. She’s curious and subordinate.

      I know Molly is introduced as an apprentice mage about midway through the series – book 8 or so. That should be solidly in the “gets better” territory according to fans. As we can see, it’s not better.

      (It’s worth mentioning that the scene where Molly’s crush came to light involved her undressing in front of Harry and offering to have sex. He refused, but not before things got steamy for him.)

      Women constantly throw themselves at Harry throughout the books. I can’t remember why, but ultimately it’s so he can look good turning them down while still ogling their tits and wallowing in self-pity about how it’s so hard being chivalrous.




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      1. illhousen says:

        Well, remember the discussion about lolis being the result of sexual attraction crosswiring with parental affection? That seems to be the case here.

        Molly is an object of protection, and she must be first and foremost protected from herself because she couldn’t be trusted to make the right decisions. Which totally justifies Harry getting invested in her sexual life (by forbidding all of it).

        Also, she really wants to bone him, so she’s always available, but he must be a better man and refuse even though he could have her at any time he wanted…




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        1. Roarke says:

          I don’t remember, but doesn’t he order her to shower, then undress and kneel, so he can throw a pitcher of ice water on her, and that’s how he rejects her?

          How abusive can you get?

          edit: No, so I think he orders her to kneel but she undresses on her own. He did know she was going to come on to him and prepared the water in advance, though.




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          1. K says:
            ^Yup.  Roarke got that right.

            Also, he threatened to melt her face off with a fireball to make her behave and obey him as a “training excercise” in White Night. But she still stayed loyal to him, naturally, and even said that “Harry never hurt me” to Lea when Lea’s training her in Ghost Story. We don’t know if Molly told her parents about the fireball incendent or not, but I doubt it. It wouldn’t surprise me if she kept it a secret to “prove her loyalty” to him or something.




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    2. K says:
      Don’t forget the part in White Night where a (now 19 year old, even though she should be 18, as she was only 17 in Proven Guilty, the book right before White Night-Butcher added another year to Molly’s age) Molly has an (loud, dramatic) orgasm while two men that are 20 or so years older than her (Waldo Butter and Dresden) watch and comment on it.



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      1. Roarke says:

        Don’t worry. The series gets better in its treatment of- oh wait, that’s one of the most recent books.




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        1. illhousen says:

          Don’t worry. The series gets better in its treatment of orgasm descriptions.




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          1. Roarke says:

            The series doesn’t have any such descriptions yet, so if the number ever climbs higher than zero, we’ll know you were wrong.




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    3. K says:
      I’d also like to note that Molly was 14 when Butcher introduced her in her Goth outfit and talking about bondage and “bleeping”. I’m also pretty sure Dresden watches her change from her Goth outfit into clothes her mother approves of. I can quote the whole thing, if anyone needs it.



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  5. illhousen says:

    Also, image of Michael because it’s hilarious:




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    1. illhousen says:

      Play Death bu Glamour for full effect. Because seriously, it’s less a battle and more a concert.




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      1. Roarke says:

        All boss music for any game should be replaced by either Death by Glamour, Battle Against a True Hero, or MEGALOVANIA. Shirou vs. Archer? BAaTH. Shirou vs. Kotomine? MEGALOVANIA. Shirou vs. Gold Archer? Death by Glamour.

        Edit: Wait, shit, we have Nasuverse and Undertale threads. How does this happen?




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        1. illhousen says:

          I appreciate the sentiment, though I think Gil is more of an Utena soundtrack type of guy.

          (Also, I like Spider Dance. It’s catchy.)

          (Also also, we probably shouldn’t drown all threads in Undertale discussion. Just some of them.)




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          1. Roarke says:

            Spider Dance can be Rin vs. Sakura. Rin gets eaten if she loses, after all.




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  6. K says:
    Making this a seperate post here, but Michael knew that Dresden had the shadow of a Fallen angel in his head when Proven Guilty was going on. Michael saw Dresden pick up the coin in Death Masks, and didn’t confront Dresden about it until Small Favor (after Proven Guilty and White Night, when Molly had already started training under Dresden). Michael basically left his daughter’s fate in the hands of a man he hadn’t spoken to in years and for all he knew could have been an entirely different person thanks to the Fallen’s shadow in Dresden’s head.

    This is the man that Michael let teach his daughter magic. Idk if he could have done anything politically about Molly’s situation (considering he arrived at her trial after saving the Council’s ass, you’d think he could have), but it’s not like he even tries. Doesn’t take Dresden aside and have a chat with him about Molly or anything, and Michael’s only reaction to (what he thinks is) Dresden telling him that Dresden fucked Molly was, “oh, well, that’s…fine” in Skin Game.




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    1. illhousen says:

      And while we’re on topic of Michael’s moral failures, I recall a scene in the book about necromancers where he, Harry and someone else captured a bad guy (Denarian, I think) and wanted to get some info out of him. The guy refused and say how they’d have to torture him to get it. Michael was all, no, we can’t torture you, that’d be a sin and we’re good people… We’re just going to leave you with Harry here, who has less reservations.

      Then they leave and Harry does torture the guy.

      And I was, like, oh fuck, he’s one of those paladins. Because, seriously, “a paladin leaving the room when the rest of the party wants to torture an enemy or engage in some other less than perfectly good activity” is such an old issue in D&D, and it’s generally regarded as a wrong way to do things since the paladin still allows evil to happen, they just aren’t there to witness it, which is simple cowardice.




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      1. K says:
        Death Masks, with Quintus Cassius/Snake Boy. And they didn’t just capture him, he surrendered. Gave up his coin and everything. Dresden, Sanya, and Michael KNOW Cassius is full of shit about wanting to be redeemed, and they DO need the information…but Cassius not being sincere about surrendering his coin and wanting to redeem himself and mocking the Knights about them not being able to do anything to him* is why Dresden beats the guy. With a baseball bat. Breaks a lot of the guy’s bones. Wrecks the phones and leaves Cassius a quarter (not enough) to make a phone call. And the Knights don’t only not do anything about Dresden doing this, THEY LAUGH. THEY LAUGH ABOUT IT. Michael half-heartedly scolds Harry about it, I THINK, but that’s it.

        Not only is this cowardly of BOTH of them, it’s OOC with what Butcher’s trying to portray these characters as. And shit like this doesn’t stop happening, btw; a lot of characters are on Dresden’s dick, metaphorically speaking, as is law, but other characters get this treatment too.

        Thomas Raith is the worst offender of this; Butcher has Murphy, someone who has her own issues with Mind Rape (which Butcher gave her in Grave Peril), check Thomas out in Cold Days and say, “What? He’s pretty”, for example, and people’s reactions to what Thomas can do to women is just…so insidious, to me. People just accept it, nobody ever uses the word “rape” or talks about consent, and nobody ever goes to Dresden and is just all like, “yeah, I know he’s friend (and eventually half-brother), but keep that creepy fucked away from me at all times”. And of course, everyone is just fine with Justine’s relationship with Thomas, and never does anything to stop it or even comments on how fucked up and pedophilic (Thomas met Justine when she was 16 and in or working at a sex club) and abusive it is. Given how often Dresden comments on how he’s jealous of what Thomas can do to women/all of the sex (read: rape) that Thomas is having (which includes young women, I’ll be kind and assume Justine was a special case and say that they have to be at least 18-or 17, as that’s the age of consent in Chicago), I can’t help but wonder if Thomas is just another part of Butcher’s Self-Interest Sue. Dresden’ll comment on how hot he finds an underage/young woman or a woman and stare at their boobs, but Thomas is the one that actually gets to fuck them. He still wangsts about how “wrong” it is and how “oh, woe is me, I am such a monster!”, but he’ll still DO it. And KEEP doing it. And even if he doesn’t do it, he still thinks about dragging them off and raping them somewhere. Thankfully we only have to actually read those (from Thomas, anyway; Dresden’s rape fantasies are in Cold Days) in Backup, Thomas’ short story, but still. This is a man that Butcher wants us to sympathize with. This is the man that Butcher has everyone like and he fine being around and comment on how pretty he is. This is the man that Dresden (and Michael!) let be around Molly.

        And guess what happens? Molly doesn’t die, and Thomas doesn’t FULLY feed on her, but it was enough. And Dresden yells at her and blames her for Thomas doing that to her. That was in Changes.

        (*= Which you’d really think they’d be able to do SOMETHING to him; escort him back to the Church to “protect” him from the Denarians he just betrayed, or something, maybe sic the White Council on Cassius since he’s a magic user and has at least PROBABLY broken the Laws. But nope! As we will see PERFECTLY in Skin Game the Knights/God is not only a dick, they’re DUMB, too.)




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        1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
          Quintus was a murderer,he spent more than once century as a terrorist. he was helping the other denarians release a biological weapon in this world that would kill up to millions and millions of innocents.
          Do you really think that isnt worth a good beating?



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          1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
             just to be sure i understand you K. are you saying saving millions is not a good enough reason to beat a guy who was already a murderer with a baseball bat?



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            1. illhousen says:

              The main issue is character consistency. Whether or not you think torture was the right choice, Michael definitely had problems with it. He felt bound by his honor and morals to accept the surrender and do no harm to the guy, but instead of actually going through it or reevaluating his stance, he simply walked out to not see what he knew was going to follow.

              That’s moral cowardice, plain and simple, regardless of what is and isn’t right. If he really felt it was the only choice, he should have done it himself or at the very least stayed to watch the deed.

              (I would also note here that, moral concerns aside, torture has a very shitty track record of actually getting useful info, especially when you can’t cross-reference the results, so more often than not it’s pointless in addition to being amoral. It would have made more sense for Harry to use mental magic there. Since he was already OK with torture and dishing out permanent injuries, it wouldn’t even be an escalation.)




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            2. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
              fine,i getting someone criticzing Michael for being a hypocrite. but it did sounded like K was advocating letting Quintus alone even if that meant a gigantc disaster. i was just questioning that



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            3. illhousen says:

              I don’t remember the circumstances enough to comment on whether it was truly necessary or if there were another way.

              As for Michael, sorry, it didn’t come across well, but it’s not so much the hipocricy that gets to me as inconsistency. He’s supposed to be a moral paragon doing the right thing despite the difficulty, and I don’t think we’re supposed to question that portrayal in that scene.

              It feels like Butcher doesn’t get that Michael is still responsible for what happened to that guy and that the narrative should reflect it.

              I’ve brought up D&D paladins for a reason: such things are very common with players who want to play as shining knights but don’t appreciate the inconveniences it creates, like inability to torture surrendered enemies at will, so they leave it to more morally questionable party members and pretend it doesn’t reflect on their own characters at all.

              Ultimately, it undermines the paladin archetype and contributes to its reputation as something you shouldn’t touch.




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  7. Patrick says:
    And while we’re on the subject of terrible things in TDF, let’s not forget about Thomas Raith, who is quite literally a rapist. Like, sure, he doesn’t like being a vampire, but he’s still with Justine, who he got addicted to his power/aura/etc. Most likely when she was underage, given that in Grave Peril Michael comments that she didn’t look old enough to drink. Underage and working at a sex club run by House Raith.

    Oh, and rather than getting her medication for her nonspecific mental illness, she prefers Thomas because she’s addicted to him. Oh, and at the end of Grave Peril Thomas pimps her out to Harry mere days after she and harry were both heavily implied to have been gang-raped by the Red Court.

    Oh, and then after Ghost Story Justine starts feeding other women to Thomas, acting as a ‘nutritionist’ and literally treating women as objects/food.




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    1. Act says:

      Oh, and then after Ghost Story Justine starts feeding other women to Thomas, acting as a ‘nutritionist’ and literally treating women as objects/food.

      A psychologist could write a freaking novel about Butcher using these books, I s2g.




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      1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
        its not like thomas and justine have much of a choice. he has to feed if he resist the urges the demon inside him His Hunger will take over and force him to do so. he has a demon inside him forcing to do it. at least justine is not forcing anyone to participate on the sex acts,they came willingly. thomas need to feed is similar to addiction to heroi,at least that’s how butcher describe it. you guys talk like thomas likes living this way. 
        And thomas didnt pimp justine to harry,he asked to do it. “pimp it out” implies he forced instead of justine actually wanting to do it



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        1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
          Just out of curisoty Patrick,in thoma’s place what you do to minimize damage to others?



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        2. illhousen says:

          its not like thomas and justine have much of a choice.

          Ah… no, they do? My memory about the whole affair is fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure Thomas managed to get by on ambient emotions by working as a hairdresser before snapping under influence of a skinwalker and abandoning that path in favor of straightforward coercion rape.

          I don’t remember if there were any reasons why he couldn’t go back to the hairdresser thing, aside from his family disapproving, but fuck them figuratively.

          There is also nothing preventing him and Justine to, well, not have sex and her getting actual treatment instead of sex mojo.

          That aside, let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there isn’t indeed any choice for Thomas, that he doomed to rape people no matter what he does. In this case I would point out that it’s not something that just happened, it’s not that the world just works that way and you have to make the best of it. No, it was a deliberate choice on Butcher’s part to create such a situation where rape is justified and rapist is sympathetic.

          So then, the natural question to ask here is what purpose does it serve in the narrative? What Butcher achieves with it? Is he using the situation to say something about human nature? To examine some complex real-world phenomenon through a veil of metaphor? And if so, is this particular scenario truly necessary to deliver the message?

          As far as I can tell, the answer to that is sex fantasy. Thomas must have hot threesomes for the sake of true love. He has no choice but to work his mojo on various sexy women. He’s a victim here as much as they are, so you shouldn’t judge him or people who wank while pretending to be him.

          If there is any deeper meaning to it all, it escaped me.




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          1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
            i feel lke thomas’s story is not a metaphor or something. it’s just his story ‘y’know? the tragedy of him wanting to be a good person while having a demon forcing him to hurt others,running from an awful fate. finding hope ina brother and a girlfriend who loves him for who he is. that to me is a compelling character,it makes for a fun read. it makes me thing “damn,that’s a good book” right here. i understamnd that not everyone will like that story,but entertainment is subjective.
            I also wanted to ask you,in your viewpoint does feeding on someone automatically equals rape? cause if you ask me,if thomas seduces a person with just the fact he looks like a armani model,and feeds on the person during consensual sex. without the person being addicted to him that’s just sex,since the feeding leaves no permanent damage beyond the addiction,if thomas actually avoid said addiction. is it really rape?



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            1. Act says:

              This is neither here nor there, but I’d rec trying to capitalize/punctuate your comments or they’re going to keep getting caught in spam.




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            2. illhousen says:

              Well, the issue here is that it’s not the only possible tragedy of such type. There are plenty of stories about characters who have to fight their inner demons (figurative or literal) that don’t involve rape. Involving rape in a narrative must be justified because it’s a very touchy subject a lot of people feel very strongly about and because narratives do affect how people think and so author must be responsible for what they write.

              As for feeding on people. Assuming Thomas fully explained to his partner the effects of his powers (and said partner believed him) and avoided the addictive effect, it could be consensual. This is not the case here.




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            3. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
              broken keyboard,sorry

               




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            4. Patrick says:
              Ok but the feeding does leave permanent damage. Or at least, semi-permanent. IIRC in Blood Rites Bob mentions that being fed on by the white court leaves someone vulnerable to being fed on again, either by the White Court or other creatures with a similar MO. It creates a psychic wound that other supernatural predators can exploit.



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          2. Patrick says:
            You know what would make Thomas’s story much more interesting IMO? Have him actually fight against what he is and what his family is. Like, we know from Changes that the Sidhe can temporarily calm the vampire aspect of Red Court infectees, so I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that they could probably do the same for the White Court. And not only was Thomas’s mother in deep with the Sidhe, he mentions in BR that his dad has a ton of books with magical knowledge and whatnot.

            So have him find someone/something to make a bargain with. Trade his service for them removing the Hunger/binding it down permanently. And have him work to undermine the White Court somehow.

            Aaaaaalso, there’s the grossness of Lara, a victim of centuries of sexual abuse/rape at her father’s hands, going on to become a rapist herself. Like, yeah, it get it, it’s ‘in her nature’ but honestly fuck that. 

            And I could go on an entirely separate rant about the racism of the Red Court (calling the vampires that are native to the americas ‘red’? YIKES) but that’s for another time.




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            1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
              Jim only decided they werea native by Grave Peril,when he named them Red he was just looking for a color that fit the theme.



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            2. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
              Jim only decided they werea native by Grave Peril.
              when he named them Red he was just looking for a color that fit the theme.
              p.s
              i doubleposted to fix the issues with the commas



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            3. Patrick says:
              Ok but that decision doesn’t exist in a vaccuum. “redskin” has been a slur directed at Native Americans for hundreds of years. So Butcher should’ve picked a different name right off the bat. (heh, bat) I know that in this case, the red is supposed to be linked to blood, but he’s still connecting a group that’s native to the americas to the color red, and making them all villains.

              Just because he didn’t intend to be racist, doesn’t mean that the end result isn’t racist.




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    2. K says:
      And it’s also so frustrating because Justine made this big speech about how she wasn’t going to leave a child she rescued from the Fomor “to those monsters” and yelled about how “she (the kid) was not property” to the Fomor, and it could have been such a good character moment for Justine, it really could of. But she’s been bringing people to Thomas for him to feed on, for all we know without them having any knowledge of what he’s going to REALLY do to them, so they can’t really CONSENT to anything (though nobody can ever really consent to ANYTHING the White Court/House Raith does to them, because they can use their Mind Rape powers to make it so their victims LITERALLY CANNOT SAY NO TO THEM), so it just… falls flat. A lot of character moments are like that in this series, tbh; this person WOULD be a good person, but they let Dresden or Thomas (etc.) near them and/or their friends/family when they know that X character does and/says or IS all this horrible stuff… so it just falls flat, and we don’t buy that Good Character is actually Good, because they let shit that X and/or Y character does slide and keeps being friends with them despite that. This is especially glaring with Michael (*looks at Molly and Amanda Carpenter in Skin Game*), but Justine gets dragged into it too. And so does Murphy, etc. It just fails so bad. D:

      Also, don’t forget that thing at the end of Ghost Story where Thomas and Justine used a WOC (Mara) as a sex toy. And Butcher describes her in fetishizing language like “exotic” and “chocolate”, too.




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      1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
        is there anywhere saying the people who have threesomes with justine and thomas didnt chose to have the threesomes? they probbs dont know thomas is a incubus,but otherwise they are not being forced. aren’t they?



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        1. illhousen says:

          They’re functionally drugged, which is still rape. Unless they actually know about Thomas’ powers and consented to come under their effect (while not being under it already), that counts as rape as it renders their consent false.




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          1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
            but the supernatural aspect of the sex only starts when the sex starts. those people didnt chose the threesome because they were manipulated,they chose just cause they thorugh justine and thomas looked attractive. thomas is only using the power for feeding them once the sex starts,the hunger inside him doesnt really has a bearing on actually making people want to. 



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            1. illhousen says:

              Consensual sex can turn into rape in the process, it’s not binary. Thomas removes their ability to stop the act without their knowledge, which is rape.




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  8. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
    also,let me say i’m sorry for using all the wrong tenses. i’m still learning english



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    1. Patrick says:
      My first bit of advice is this: Put a space after a comma. That alone will do wonders for making your posts more comprehendable.



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  9. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
    there’s something i wanted to understand about this blog. So,most of your guys obvs at least dislike or even realy hate harry dresden and jim butcher. I don’t agree. But i can understand,because there are fictional characters that I hate as well. But I really would like to know,what’s your problem with harry descriptions of women? I’m reading the reviews,and every single  time he mentions in his inner monologue that anyone around him is attractive Farla just throws Harry into the fire,and everyone agree in the comments calls him a horrible person. and i’m like “??????????????”. What’s Dresden crime here? that he feels atracted to woman? Is that some kind of horrible thing to think? That the woman around you are pretty and you are attracted to them? Why is that so wrong? You guys do realize all the comments about their appeareances are restricted to harry’s mind right? he’s not voicing his thoughts,it all happens inside his inner monologue.
    Don’t you people also do that as well? When you see a person that you find attractive,don’t you have one single thought or two about that person hair,or eyes?Or maybe your favorite actors or singers or crushes,don’t any of you guys ever think about their voices,or how you like their hair,or eye color or dance moves. or how cute they looked on that one scene from your favorite movie,you guys don’t think about none of that, not ever? because if you do,why is so wrong for harry to do it?
    I really hope I’m no sounding agressive here,i’m just having a hard time understanding,no matter how hard try and i don’t see where your opinions are coming from



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    1. Roarke says:

      Someone more qualified is going to come along and answer this, I hope, but I’ll try and give you the short version:

      This is, ultimately, a feminist litcrit blog. It sometimes reviews popular works, like Dresden Files, and tries to gauge the treatment of women within that work, and why it may/may not be harmful to women as a reading audience. The reviewer, Farla, tries to determine how sexist the author may be, irrespective of his characters.

      The reason TDF/Butcher are getting such hate is because its treatment of women is pretty bad across the board. I mean, Farla has done a readthrough of the first two books; I advise you to read them if you want to understand. 




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      1. Nicolas milioni says:
        I’ve read all fifteen books on this last year.

        The need for more feminist literature,That I can understand. For what’s worth,Butcher wrote two short stories from the point of view of Murphy and Molly carpenter,Michaels daughter. Some people have called those stories feminist. I know I thought Murphy and Molly were just as awesome as Harry was in this series.

        But most of the things farla said about Harry were just about how Harry is a dick to everyone,and how hes so awful on a moral level. I didn’t see that much of criticism of the treatment of women in the text




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      2. SpoonyViking says:
        The reviewer, Farla, tries to determine how sexist the author may be, irrespective of his characters.

        Farla may come along to correct me, but rather, I’d say she tries to determine how sexist the story is, regardless of authorial intent – even if there’s often an overlap between both.




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        1. Roarke says:

          Yeah, true enough. Don’t judge Nasu by Fate and all that. I regret saying it that way, now, haha.




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          1. SpoonyViking says:
            Technically, Act reviwed “Fate”, so… :-P



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            1. Roarke says:

              I was speaking more in a general sense. And anyway Act probably reviews on the same principle.

              Though I think “Don’t judge Nasu by Fate Route” should basically be a tagline for this distinction between author sexism and story sexism.




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            2. illhousen says:

              We can still judge Takeuchi, though.

              Also, Nasu can totally be judged by Fate route. The verdict just isn’t “Nasu is horribly sexist” but rather “Nasu really loves money and is willing to compromise his integrity in pursuit of it.”

              I mean, as much as he comes across as a cool dude in his interviews, he still endorses Fate/Franchise and everything that comes with it. Do I need to post that Nero image again?




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            3. Roarke says:

              The point is that Nasu is less sexist than the Fate Route narrative (if you can call it one). His other vices are irrelevant.




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            4. SpoonyViking says:
              To give only a single example, Takeuchi may have drawn Saber being violated by Medea, but the words were all Nasu’s. I’m sad to say that Good Guy Nasu and Scumbag Takeuchi are closer to memes than reality.



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            5. SpoonyViking says:
              Ah, I thought you’d have replied with the old joke that Farla and Act are the same person. Sorry, I should have made the set-up clearer. :-)



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            6. Act says:

              For me, I think I tend to let Nasu off the hook for two reason:

              a) His recent interviews seem to indicate he’s grown as a person and does think about this stuff.

              b) He has a palpable contempt for his own fanbase that I find… relatable, I guess? Like I’d obviously prefer if he told them all to go fuck themselves and yeah it’s shitty of him not to, but at the same time Fate is the cash cow that lets him do more intellectual projects, and I can’t really blame him for wanting that freedom, even though he’s basically sold his soul to get it. It’s not the most noble thing to do, but it’s human, I guess.

              It’s one of the reasons Mahoutsukai no Yoru is so fascainting to me — with no concerns about fanbase, no Takeuchi, and no porn, he tells the story he originally wanted to tell. I think MnY probably says a lot about him as a writer as a person. What that is I won’t know until I learn Japanese, but I guess I’m ultimately reserving final Nasu-judgement until I see it.




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            7. illhousen says:

              Giiive iiin, Act. Creeeepy dolls, Act. Animaaated scenes and cooool speceffects, Act.

              And an utterly amazing, mystical fight scene at the end of the current translation, a perfect way to end the first Act, so you won’t even be disappointed too much there isn’t more.

              Plus, we’re back at KnK level of men-to-women ratio of quantity and importance. Specifically, three women to one man, plus a side male character so far had any kind of major focus.




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            8. SpoonyViking says:
              I’m not disputing anything you just said, but theoretically, wouldn’t “Kara no Kyoukai” have already displayed those traits?



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    2. Patrick says:
      Yes, I do have thoughts about how attractive people are. The thing is, Harry constantly comments on the attractiveness of every single woman he encounters. Even Molly, when she’s underage. And look, if you know someone is underage, it’s your fucking job to immediately stop any sort of sexual thoughts about that person. That’s what a decent human being should do. 

      It’s not a crime that harry thinks about how attractive women are, but it’s really god damn unpleasant when we have to read about his thoughts on. Every. Single. Woman. He meets. It’s like getting pelted in the face with tennis balls. Yeah, maybe they don’t hurt as much as, say, baseballs, but when you’re getting hit with them constantly, it still sucks.

      (That’s not the best metaphor I’ve come up with, but it’s late and I’m getting sick, so I can’t be bothered to think of a better one.)




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    3. illhousen says:

      The big issue here is that sexy descriptions are applied to all women, regardless of context or circumstances. We saw it most recently with Lydia, who was apparently a sleep-deprived starving child. Harry didn’t notice the dark bags under her eyes, sullen cheeks, trembling hands or, you know, the smell of someone for whom hygiene was the last thing on her mind for some time now. He noticed her perky nipples.

      We saw it in the previous book with Kim’s corpse when Harry commented on the shape of its bloodied breasts.

      We saw it in the first book when he was leaving Bianca and she was killing her subordinate before his very eyes, and all he could think about was how hot it is.

      All of this combined indicates that it isn’t a character trait (unless you want to argue that Harry is supposed to be the kind of person who would bang a corpse), but rather the law of narrative: it’s not that Harry finds some women attractive and thinks about it when the situation allows, no, it’s that women are sex objects and they must be sexy all the time, all of them. There aren’t any unattractive women that we’ve seen so far, there are no women who were rendered unattractive by the hardships they endured (unless they’re evil bitches defiled by Harry, like Bianca and Lea, though even then the period of unattractiveness is brief and they recover just in time to be sexy in the next scene), they’re all bangable at all times.

      And that indicates that they’re treated less like important characters in their own right and more like wish-fulfilling fantasy elements, here to excite the readers more to tell us their stories.

      Notably, the same can’t be said about any men.




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      1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
        Harry just thinks most women he meets are pretty,but yes he’s not perceptive and sometimes doesnt treat women well. i’m super-ok with you guys calling him out for treating women badly,i’m against you criticizing for his thoughts.
        i’ll argue he commenting on kim breasts was due to shock and disbelief she was dead. But Illhouse,you really think Butcher doesnt value his women characters? the women have character arcs,they have their own stories. But the ones who are heroes and the ones who are villains. in the fourt book,Murphy will destroy a plant like monster with a chainsaw,in the fifth one susan will give a beating to a demon,in th sixth one Lara raith will take control of an entire organization. if you look at the dresden files tv tropes pages,you’ll see the women do as much for the plot as the men the women helping save the day on this show,harry would be dead 5 or 6 times over without the help of murphy susan and later charity
        ,it’s just that harry likes to comment on what they look like because that’s on his mind. And he can be disrespecful at first  which of the issues he has for being abused and betrayed as a kind,but he grows as a character,he becomes  a better person. And again,Butcher IS aware harry dresden is flawed,if he wans’t why would he have other characters,mostly women. call harry out and even grill him sometimes? 



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        1. Act says:

          You need to ask yourself why these things are included in the story.

          There are a lot of things that must happen that there’s no need to put in a book — characters going to the bathroom, for instance, or making their beds. Generally when you include details like this it’s for a purpose.

          What purpose is there for Butcher to catalogue every lecherous thoguht Harry has? Why are those thoughts in the book? Butcher obviously considers the important — every single time a woman walks onscreen, we’re treated to a catalogue of how hot she is. But why?

          You need to remember that Harry is not a real person. Everything he does and thinks and says was created by someone else deliberately. The purpose of literary criticism is to ask why those choices are made.




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        2. illhousen says:

          Harry just thinks most women he meets are pretty

          And that’s kind of a problem. Modern culture puts a lot of value in women’s attractiveness, a lot more than it does for men, and judge them for falling short of impossible standards.

          Every woman in the books is described as sexy, which reinforces the message common in the media that in this world there is no place for women who aren’t conventionally attractive, and that the women who are must be so at all times, regardless of what they’re going through at the time, regardless of how many hardships they endure.

          Again, most recently we see it with Lydia, who is sleep-deprived starving kid who by all rights should look like death personified. But in order to appear on the page, she must look attractive, at least in Harry’s mind, otherwise she’s not worth any attention.

          That’s what the books are telling us by their narrative choice. And that’s terrible.




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  10. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
    But the women advance the plot on this series. Yes,buches made mistake as an author. But goddamnit,there are tons of examples of women saving the day in the dresden files,and the women who are villains also do awesome things. Murphy kills a monster with a chainsaw on book 4,susan beats a fallen angel on book 5,lara takes control a entire organization on book 6. Bianca and Lea were not just evil bitches,they were threatening and scary villains. if you dont want to take my word,just go to tv tropes and look at the character pages (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/TheDresdenFiles) will see most women are developed and well rounded characters with both flaws and qualities  and good and bad moments. and if you look at the list of  Awesome moments will see the women save the day,and help advance the plot. Butcher has awesome moments for all characters very much including women (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Awesome/TheDresdenFiles)



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    1. Act says:

      You’re moving the goalposts.

      It’s not a question of whether women “save the day” or kill monsters, it’s a question of how they’re treated by the narrative. And that is pretty much without exception as sex objects first, and then people if the book gets around to it.

      If, when you meet a woman on the street, the first thing you do is evaluate whether or not you’d fuck her — which is what Harry does — you have some serious issues with women, regardless of whether you’re willing to believe they can do things like beat people up (which, frankly, Harry doesn’t — his ongoing surprise at how Murphy is capable even though she’s tiny and female is ridiculously condescending).




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      1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
        but i thought i was talking about the narrative,i’d agree with your point if their descriptions was the only thing that the book mentions about the women. but again,butcher mentions them doing a lot more. maybe i’m misundertanding you guys?



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        1. Act says:

          I may be helpful to think of a book as having two narratives: the first is the plot, and what literally happens in the story. The second is the meaning, and the themes and overaching attitudes the story has.

          DF has a lot of plotting trope issues that I don’t know well enough to get into; Farla would be the better person to answer questions about women’s roles in the plot.

          I’m talking about the second kind of narrative, the book’s attitude. The problem with that is that the book treats women as objects first, and people second. It allows them to do cool things, but only after spending way (way way) too much time talking about their looks, which is really weird and creepy. And then when it does let them do things, it’s treated as a surprise or an exception that they’re powerful (even though, as you say, it keeps happening — this is an internal contradiction).

          The story certain has female character who do a lot of things, but it doesn’t treat them very well while they do things, which is the bigger issue. Personally, I’d rather it have no women at all than have to read weird porny descriptions of every women’s body when they walk onscreen.




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          1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
            guess,that is a each to their own matter then. i’m glad i understand you now



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        2. Patrick says:
          It’s not that the descriptions are the only thing, it’s that every time a new woman is introduced, she’s described based on how attractive she is to harry, how fuckable he finds her. That’s not just disrespectful, that’s downright stupid and gross. Yes, the women in the series do heroic stuff, but we still have to suffer through the constant sexualization.



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    2. illhousen says:

      Again, sexy corpses.

      When Harry comes across more creepy than the protagonist of I Am Not a Serial Killer, and the narrative doesn’t seem to notice it, that’s kind of a problem.




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      1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
        you are right about that. it happens three times on the first fifteen books. maybe butcher mean to say how tragic it is for someone to still be beautiful while theyre dead,but i does come out as creepy. i’ll not deny it



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        1. illhousen says:

          I’d say it’s tragic to be dead, regardless of gender or beauty.

          And it’s not the only kind of creepiness present in the books.

          As I said earlier, the issue is the insistence to focus on how sexy every woman is regardless of context. Because of that, we now how sexualized kid on her death door with Lydia, which means that either Harry is completely blind to women’s suffering or he’s into abused types.

          As you can see, that tendency warps the narrative and makes Harry a much worse person than he’s intended to be.




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          1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
            Ill totally with you on the sexy corpse thing,butcher totally dropped the ball here



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        1. illhousen says:

          It took me like three minutes to get what the first picture was attempting to depict.

          Comics! They’re like the new Aristocrats.




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  11. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
    And you guys dont just threw harry into the fire when he treats a women badly. you guys treat him like dirt for almot everything,even he just trying to save his life. Farla just called him and Michael an asshole for hurting an ghost,did you guys missed they were defending themselves and children from the ghost? that was trying to kill them? And what about Fool Moon,when the Loup Garou was rampaging through the police station will guys kept slandering him for not commenting on the cops who died. even though he was fighting for his life and trying to stop the wolf from killing everyone. What was dresden supposed to do? was he supposed to look for a non-painful way to fight the spectre and risk being mauled by it? should him have said a prayer for the officers  while the wolf kills even more people?
    And when he was talking to demon Chaunzagaroth,you guys treated like dirt yet again for reacting when the demon mentioned his mom. Why is it wrong for the guy who lost his mom to miss her and want to know more about her?



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    1. illhousen says:

      The issue with the ghost was that Harry and Michael didn’t defend themselves or children from it. They stodd and bantered while it was immobile instead of quickly and painlessly finishing it off, then banter, which was entirely within their power to do.

      The werewolf and cops was actually a good example of the limits of first person narration. Basically, there was a long paragraph describing how the cop valiabtly fought and died against the werewolf during which Harry appeared to do nothing because if he did, we, the readers, wouldn’t be able to follow the cop and his death. The result of it is that Harry comes across as someone who would just stand and watch as people die, not doing anything himself.

      It’s been awhile since I’ve read the demon summoning scene, so won’t comment here.

      In general, though, if you want to bring up issues that were covered in the readthrough already, you should bring them up either in the most recent readthrough post or, better yet, in the relevant old posts (there is no policy against it, and people there generally check new comments regardless of where they were made). That way Farla would be able to answer you herself and we won’t flood this post.




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      1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
        Kay,next time i disagree with something ill go to the readthrough



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        1. Roarke says:

          If you don’t like how we treat Dresden, I really advise you to stay away from the Book 1 comments section. Trust me on this.




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          1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina says:
            I’ll keep that in mind,I Don’t have many disagreements about Storm Front with Farla actually,it’s a flawed book.



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  12. Gust says:

    I feel we’re lacking the original spirit of these readthroughs, which is the great fanfic. Or excerpts from the book with the pronouns swapped, whatever.

     

    “All right,” I said. “If you want my protection, I want a few things from you first.” He pushed back his asphalt-colored hair with one hand and gave me a look of pure calculation. Then he simply crossed his legs, so that the cut of his short shorts left one pale leg bare to mid-thigh. A subtle motion of his back thrust out his young, supple pecs, so that their nipples pressed visibly against the fabric. “Of course, Mr. Dresden. I’m sure we can do business.” The look he gave me was direct, sensual, and willing. Nipple erection on command – now that’s method acting. Oh, he was pretty enough, I suppose. Any adolescent would have been drooling and hurling himself at him, but I’d seen acts a lot better. I rolled my eyes. “That’s not what I meant.”

    Marcone’s sex-tiger look faltered.

     

    I feel greasier just editing his work. Eugh.

    1+




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    1. Roarke says:

      s/kitten/tiger and you’re done.




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    2. illhousen says:

      I think you should post it in the relevant chapter. This thread is supposed to be for future books.

      Otherwise, excellent. We’ve discussed how Marcone being a femme fatale is weirdly appropriate due to Harry’s issues with muggles.




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  13. Gust says:

    I read these books 4 years ago and I can only remember the events of the books because of the weird shit Harry ogled in each one. No wonder I jumped ship the instant I stumbled across a less sexist urban fantasy series. The last one I read was the one with the zombie T-rex. Harry stopped the plot thing he was going to do to stare at a sexy librarian. That’s the last I remember before I deleted the file off the ereader.

    But I can see why this series has fans, and defenders who won’t stop spamming the recent comments section. There’s a lot of interesting stuff buried under the ridiculous sexism and racism. Put a less insufferable character in Harry’s place and fix the treatment of the female characters and I’d probably be interested. In the previous comments, people discussed how Tera, Vincent, and Murphy would be great protagonists. Certainly less conventional heroes than Harry. Maybe set Harry up as a decoy protagonist and murder him to introduce the first villain.

    Has anyone tried Codex Alera? Even when I was a fan of the Dresden Files, I couldn’t get into it.




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    1. Hell Rider says:
      I don’t see why you’d need to kill him off when simply shifting away from his POV (ala Rin in FSN) would work just fine. Having Harry appear as a character from someone else’s POV would certainly make him more tolerable for a lot of readers since we wouldn’t be hearing his thoughts nearly as much.



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    2. SpoonyViking says:
      Personally, I feel the stories – especially their plotting – would still be quite weak.



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  14. Roarke says:

    Not sure if this is the place to put this, but it seems like the email for [email protected] doesn’t work? at least, my email was bounced, and it’s the same one I use to bother Act and illhousen.

     




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  15. K says:
    Anybody wanna talk about Cold Case?



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    1. illhousen says:

      I don’t think anyone here has read it yet. We generally ignore short stories since there are still actual novels to deal with, and this one is set after Cold Days…

      Feel free to rant about it, though, the summary on the wiki sounds pretty awful.




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      1. K says:
        I probably will, later, I’m just not sure when.

         

        Any idea when you guys are gonna get back to reviewing Grave Peril? What’s the review schedule for that series look like, and is there anywhere I can go to check on something like that here?




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        1. Act says:

          January is the annual PokeFic Review Month, so nothing else will be done until Feb. Beyond that, we sort of wing it.




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        2. illhousen says:

          January is for Pokereviews, then Farla would presumably go back to playing Pokemon SM. DF would presumably start after that, so expect it by spring.




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          1. K says:
            To Act and illhousen: Thank you so much for the information! :D I’ll keep it in mind, and I hope you can get back to the DF books soon. Thank you! :D



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    2. Nicolas Gravina says:
      I Do! I’ts the first short story widely disliked by the fandom at large. I can see why,Molly suffers a lot and discovers she has to stay a virgin forever. That can be a turn of to some folks. But i like when the main characters go through horrible sshit for two reasons. One, I find dark stuff enjoyable in fiction. It’s Just me. Two,seeing Molls being screwed over  will make the moment when she’s happy again all the more sweeter to me as a reader



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      1. Act says:

        discovers she has to stay a virgin forever.

        My god Butcher has so many issues.




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        1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina Abdu says:
          Not at all. What happened to Molly is quite tame Compared to others fantasy writers do when it comes to dark stuff . Molly virginity is merely an example of the trope ” power at a price” since her virginity is directly related to her gainimg new powers



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          1. Roarke says:

            That doesn’t mean Butcher doesn’t have issues. It just means there’s a really low bar for fantasy writers to be tame.




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            1. Act says:

              I’d gladly take torture porn over this weirdass Freudian creepiness. At least the first one is honest.

              (And seriously, between the obesseion with rape, fetisization of virginity, and objectification, the dude is like an SVU villain. Every time I think he can’t get worse, it somehow does.)




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            2. illhousen says:

              You know, DF is actually pretty weird on that front. Like, I don’t know, maybe I consume animu too much and so am used to openly fetish-y stuff and maybe miss subtler weirdness on that fron due to the culture gap or something, but DF feels to me really fucked up when it comes to sex. Like, the books are both fascinated with it and repulsed by it, which leads to all kinds of creepy shit that I mostly encountered in Left Behind rather than fantasy.

              Like, the whole deal with Harry excerting control over Molly’s sex life? I’m pretty sure that there is the same psychological undercurrent as that pilot guy from LB had.




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            3. Roarke says:

              Yeah. There’s also this aspect, to me, where torture porn is like the Kirei/Gilgamesh to Butcher’s Shinji. Torture porn fantasy is written as fantasy, but things like trying to control a young woman’s sex life and judging her for those choices is uncomfortably real.




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            4. CrazyEd says:
              I know exactly how you feel about your perceptions being tainted by way too many mango animus. But, actually, there’s a perfect comparison here. Harem anime.

              Ask youself: How come, in pretty much every harem anime, the protagonist never has sex with his harem, no matter how big of a horny teenager he happens to be? The simplest answer, of course, is because editors and ratings.

              But its actually more than that. Think about the target audience of a harem anime. That demographic is rarely assumed to have much, if any sexual, experiences. So how are they going to insert onto that character if he’s having nightly threesomes?

              Of course, it’s one thing for a character to get flustered and slam a door behind him when he accidentally walks in on a girl changing. That’s perfectly reasonable. He saw the girl in a state she probably didn’t want to be seen in on accident. It makes sense that he’d be embarassed, especially if he saw that she was as well.

              But think about that same character’s typical reaction to being propositioned for sex by that same girl. Unlike the last example, she is totally a willing participant in the lewdness of the scene. And yet, he probably tries to remove himself from the situation as quickly as possible. Even if he spent the first half of the episode thinking about how much he wanted to have sex with that girl, he acts like a dog that just caught its tail at best.

              So why is this, you (probably aren’t) ask(ing)? And what does this have to do with The Dresden Files (I’m going to ask for you)? Simple! Much like the marketing department’s typical conception of the typical harem anime consumer, the typical fantasy novel consumer (that is, your standard white twenty something male) is generally imagined as someone who would have a far harder time inserting into a protagonist who had sex than a protagonist who was merely surrounded by it.

              That’s probably why, even though Harry has had multiple sexual partners and even spent awhile working on the set of a porn studio for awhile, he still acts like someone who has never seen a breast in real life. What that says about the author, who (given that I’m pretty sure he has a kid) almost certainly has had sex before, I couldn’t tell you.

              As a general rule, nine times out of ten, if you ever see something problematic about the anime industry, its probably more to do with the industry itself than the authors. F/SN versus KnK.




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              1. Act says:

                @CrazyEd

                While this is definitely one aspect of it, I think it’s also important to note that the virginity of the love interest(s) is hugely fetishized in this type of story, and it’s not particular to anime. That the girl is also sexually inexperienced and this makes her somehow a better prize is a massive reason why these relationships don’t consummate. This is a subgroup of dudebro that is obsessed with both maidenhood and the idea that the object of their affection is for them and only them — the moment they act on any desire they transfer over to Fallen Women and aren’t viewed as ‘good enough’ love interests anymore. This is also why the setup is a huge amount of harem fiction is “tons of women fawning over the protag + One True Love,” where the OTL girl is somehow ‘outside’ the purview of the rest of the harem. Sexual women are for scoring points; you only truly have feelings for the purest of the pure.

                As a general rule, nine times out of ten, if you ever see something problematic about the anime industry, its probably more to do with the industry itself than the authors.

                Ehhhh, I’d put this more at like, 2 times out of 10. It’s a problem with the *culture*, which creates both the industry and the writers. I don’t believe most writers do it because they’re like FUCK YEAH PATRIARCHY — I don’t think it’s nearly that calculated — but I do think the bulk of them hold a lot of the underlying beliefs about women and relationships themselves. Even Nasu, who seems like an alright dude, has some weird hangups, notably the All Violence Against Women Is Sexual thing.

                This changes the higher up in the publishing hierarchy you go, I think, as we see from Creepy Marketing Guy whose job it is to make sure everything is pandering as much as possible, but I think the causality is more along the lines of “authors who believe and write these things will sell so we’ll pick them” than “let’s have authors write these things regardless of what they believe because it will sell.” I think Nasu’s obvious disdain for his audience is a huge anomaly.




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            5. K says:
              Purity culture. Purity culture and sexism and rape culture and all the gross double standards that women face because of all of those things.



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            6. Act says:

              Yeah, in my experience, fantasy’s problem isn’t really creepyness so much as it is a lack of any female characters. Butcher’s issues are definitely a more puritanical ilk you see is straight-up issuefic more than any subgenre of fantasy.




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          2. illhousen says:

            Yeah, see, the “but there is an in-universe” reason argument is essentially worthless since ultimately it’s author’s choice to create that reason in the first place. Butcher isn’t, like, recording some real events where an actual person happens to find out they must stay a virgin forever, he deliberately creates such a story so that staying a virgin forever is the natural course of events. Which is not the best authorial choice in general and especially in the context of DF usual treatment of female characters.

            Also, compare the price Harry pays for his various power ups with Molly’s case. The theme is the same for both of them, but how it’s handled differs a lot.




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        2. CrazyEd says:
          If only Harry Dresden was one of those magic systems where only virgins can do magic. Not only would it explain so much about Harry, but it’d save us from Butcher writing about him (or any of his characters) interacting with sex. It’s got its own problems, but I’d probably take those over the problems the series actually has with sex.

          Of course, you can’t have an alpha male who doesn’t get laid all the time, so I guess that was never going to happen. Or worse, it could’ve only counted female virginity. Yeah, thinking about it, that’s probably what would’ve happened, huh?




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      2. SingaporeSling says:
        I haven’t really seen much dislike of the story from the fandom, and I in fact really liked it. It was an amazing change of pace. Most of the Dresden Files stories challenge the hero by putting him up against an opponent of comparable or greater strength, and the hero’s struggle to beat that opponent is the conflict. In Cold Case, Molly is unquestionably the strongest person around. There’s nothing the Unalaska cult can really do to her. So at first the story seems like kind of a misfire–sure, it’s great to see Molly and Carlos again, but there’s not much tension–but then we see where the real conflicts are at the end. Her realization that she can’t be with Carlos, or anyone, even as the Winter Mantle makes her desperate for contact… and her understanding of what her new job actually entails, gathering children to train and fight and die protecting reality from Lovecraftian monstrosities. And her discovery that, as smart and clever and skilled as she is, as many brilliant teachers as she’s had, there’s still no way around it; the Winter Mantle will force her to maim or kill anyone she tries to take as a lover, and if she doesn’t collect the children then Lovecraftian monsters break through the Gates and unmake reality. But then–in the midst of what to most people would likely be total despair–she demonstrates that she still has enough humanity to do what she can to help people. She holds on collecting the children until they can spend one last evening with their families, giving them time to say goodbye. And she gets Mab to stay with the crippled Carlos until medics can arrive to heal him. They seem like such small gestures, but at the same time they’re proof that–though Molly now has a truly soul-crushing task to do and can’t even take a partner to share the burden–she’ll do it with as much empathy and humanity as she can muster. She won’t be like Mab, who acts with ruthless efficiency and genuinely doesn’t care how much Carlos suffers for the sake of Molly’s lesson. And she will, in fact, stand up to Mab, and do what she can to see that the fey leaders treat others with more empathy and compassion.

        It’s a story that isn’t about strength in the ‘how many vampires can you punch at once’ sense. It’s about strength of character and empathy, and one character’s struggle to hold onto that even as she joins the ranks of the fey and enters a world which demands her to act inhumanely (literally). And in the end she starts to win. The story does end with Molly feeling crushing sadness, but also with the knowledge that she *is* bringing empathy to the fey, and there *is* a light at the end of this tunnel.

        (See also “Day One”, the Waldo Butters short story, which is also more about Butters mustering up courage and character he hadn’t showed before than about Butters just out-musceling some bad guy.)




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        1. CrazyEd says:
          So it’s not so much “Molly has to remain a virgin because power comes at a price” and more a matter of “Molly has to remain a virgin to avoid murdering anyone who enters her bed because she’s now a literally inhuman monster fighting against the impulse to commit callous harm and pain to all those around her”?



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          1. SingaporeSling says:
            There’s a thing in fairy myths about the triple goddess: the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. In Dresdenverse, these map to the three fairy queens of each court-the Lady, the Queen, and the Mother. Molly is the Lady, which means she has the Maiden status, and the Maiden by definition must remain a virgin. That’s the Law of Winter, which as Molly explains in that story isn’t a law code like humans have (where you can break it but then you get punished) but are more like laws of physics; fairies are physically incapable of violating them. Molly *cannot* have sex. If she tries, her Mantle of Winter takes over to make sure it doesn’t happen, specifically by maiming or killing whoever is trying to have sex with her. 

            Molly isn’t fighting violent impulses. In the story she never gets mad at Carlos; she kisses him with the intention of having sex, blacks out, and when she wakes up she’s standing in a pool of blood looking at his mangled form. Her body is taken over by the Mantle; she herself doesn’t even get angry at him. (Though she’s furious at Mab when she realizes Mab could have warned her.) 

             




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            1. CrazyEd says:
              Oh.

              Well then.

              I see.

              Fucking hell, man. If you really had to, couldn’t you have just made it so that the winter mantle makes her asexual or something until she becomes the winter lady? Or, like… anything? Even what I said would be better than… that.

              (And in writing this, I realized… is Molly even actually a virgin? She sure does have a lot of incredibly sexual stories for someone who has never had sex.)




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            2. SingaporeSling says:
              That’s actually addressed.

              The job of the Winter fey is to battle Lovecraftian monsters trying to break into reality. This has a high attrition rate, so Mab needs lots of soldiers. As such, she makes sure all her winter fey are very lustful. (How she does this is not explained, but her magic is incredibly powerful so presumably she can alter the various fey species until they’re what she wants). She makes them love having sex and making lots of babies, so there are always lots of fey who can fight in the war against Lovecraftian things.

              Molly can’t have sex and so presumably won’t be having kids. However, Mab states it would be unjust for the fey under the queens’ command to be subject to something the queens themselves refuse to subject themselves too–a good commander should always be willing to endure whatever her soldiers have to endure. As such, the fey queens are also lustful just like their soldiers are. This is bad news for Molly, since she’s lustful but can’t actually have sex. Mab says in the story she’ll help Molly learn some meditation techniques to deal with this.

              And in another novel (I forget which, sorry), Molly tells Harry she’s covered ‘most of the bases’ but hasn’t actually had sex yet. 




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            3. Act says:

              This is bad news for Molly, since she’s lustful but can’t actually have sex

              Butcher is a piece of shit.




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            4. CrazyEd says:
              Oh god please stop before you make it even worse because I’m sure by now that there’s still something even worse you haven’t told me.



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            5. SingaporeSling says:
              Butcher’s not syaing he’s actually want this to happen to someone. He’s trying to tell an interesting story. 

              Molly being in this predicament gives her a chance for conflict and tension even though many enemies aren’t a physical threat to her anymore; now the tension will be about her character. We know she was flirtatious before and is lustful now; will she have the strength of character to resist temptation? Will she give in and try to find some way to ‘cheat’ the mantle even though it might maim or kill her companion? Will she try to find a way to shift the Mantle to someone else for a while so she can act without restriction, and if so, what happens if that other person fucks up somehow? If she keeps trying and failing to beat the Mantle, will she let that Mantle crush her love for humankind out of her and stop caring about the potential fates of her bedroom partners?

              Will she try to use the Mantle offensively, that is, by trying to seduce an enemy she can’t otherwise defeat (whether because he’s too strong or because of fey law stuff) so the Mantle does it for her? Will she think that’s wrong (since the Mantle fights with cruel, brutal efficiency, showing no mercy whatsoever) and so not do it? Will she decide it might be ethical but she doesn’t feel comfortable doing it, and so push herself to find another way to beat the enemy?

              And, most important, can she somehow reform the fey and fix the problem? Mab explicitly tells Molly in this story that if Molly can find another way to defend the Gates, without the child soldiers and lust mantle and everything, Mab will take her up on it in a heartbeat. Molly has no other solution at the time and so gives in. But Molly isn’t Mab; she still loves living beings and wants desperately to protect them. Will this drive her to find some way of fixing things, strengthening the Gates or beating back the Lovecraftian monsters permanently, so the fey don’t need to make so many children and send them off to war? Or will she gives into despair instead?

              This opens up a lot of potentially awesome stories for Molly. I for one and definitely looking forward to see what she does next.




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            6. Act says:

              Butcher’s not syaing he’s actually want this to happen to someone.

              Yeah, except women being violently punished for having sex is a real thing that happens, and at absolute best Butcher is saying he thinks it’s just fascinating and would love to get into it more. Fuck him. And fuck y’all for being okay with this disgusting fetishization of virginity.




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            7. SingaporeSling says:
              He’s not saying anything like that. He’s saying that Molly being in this position makes for a really entertaining story. And so far he’s not wrong.

              If I read about a character who is unjustly imprisoned and must escape from jail, that doesn’t mean I support innocent people being thrown in jail, or that the writer supports it (even though it does happen, in some places with alarming frequency). It means the writer thought it would be exciting to read about and I concur. 




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            8. Act says:

              If I read about a character who is unjustly imprisoned and must escape from jai

              Except that very premise is predicated on the fact that the situation is not okay and everyone knows it’s not okay. This one is predicated on sexuality being a thing women need to overcome so they don’t hurt the poor men, and once they do everything is fixed. “Women should accept that having sex is evil for them” and “We shouldn’t falsely imprison people” are not the same calibur of message.




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            9. CrazyEd says:
              Not to put words in Act’s mouth, but I think their entire point is that they’re not entertained by the idea of a female character whose virginity is so important that it causes her to murder anything that threatens its continued existence. Cause, y’know.

              I would disagree that this is a case of a woman being violently punished for her sexuality (since she’s the one doing the violent punishing and the man is the one doing the physical suffering), but it’s definitely a case of female sexuality being depicted as a negative thing, which is bad in its own right. So… you know, still pretty messed up. It’s just a different kind of messed up.




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            10. SingaporeSling says:
              It’s not endorsing ‘punishing women for sex’ in the real world. It’s setting up a conflict for Molly, a fictional character, that will result in her having interesting adventures.

              Just because the worldbuilding of a piece of media reuslts in something bad happening to a character doesn’t mean the creator or the work is endorsing that bad thing happening in the real world. Frankenstein’s monster killing Frankenstein’s friends and family, for instance, doesn’t mean that Mary Shelley believed that scientific curiosity should result in the death of everyone you love. It was just a way to put Frankenstein through his paces and let the readers go on an entertaining adventure with him.




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            11. CrazyEd says:
              One of the people who runs this site needs to make a copypasta for how authors have a responsibility to not perpetuate terrible things and use in-universe explanations to justify it, and put that in the body of this post, so that anyone scrolling down to the comments needs to pass by that to read them. Act, do you have that site permission?



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            12. Act says:

              It was just a way to put Frankenstein through his paces and let the readers go on an entertaining adventure with him.

              LOL, you may be on the wrong blog. The idea of ‘playing god’ going horribly wrong is a major message of Frankenstein.

              Specifically pertaining to friends/family: Mary Shelley was the daughter of  famous feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, the latter of whom died in childbirth with Shelley. Shelley spent her whole life in the shadow of the mother she’d never met, and the themes of familial destruction, quiet women wasting away, being misunderstood, and even abortion are absolutely huge in the book. It was absolutely not just about “an entertaining adventure,” and was very much about the destruction of family by a child.




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            13. SingaporeSling says:
              If someone doesn’t think the story would interest them, obviously there’s nothing wrong with that. My objection is to the idea that the story means Butcher is somehow trying to convey a misogynistic idea of how he thinks things should work or do work in the real world, rather than him just trying to entertain people with spins on old myths and fantasy elements (e.g., “hey, you know how in lots of myths there’s fairies who seem to really want to make babies with humans? Well, this is why!”)



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            14. Act says:

              @CrazyEd, it’s actually surprising we haven’t had a big post about that. The closest I got was my review of Mahou Tsukai no Yome.

              And while we’re on that digression: the first volume of Flying Witch was ADORABLE.




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            15. Act says:

              Butcher is somehow trying to convey a misogynistic

              Whether or not he’s trying to convey that is ultimately irrelevant; that absolutely is the message. The best case scenario here is he’s a terrible writer doing all this accidentally, which is about the faintest praise you can give someone.

              (That said, while in the past I’ve actually said I doubt Butcher is doing all this on purpose in the sense that he’s not actively looking to write fiction that screws women, I’m not so sure anymore. The worse it gets, the more plausible it feels that he’d be the kind of person to wrap up a story and think, “Checkmate feminists!”)




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            16. SingaporeSling says:
              But that isn’t how books work. An author has no ‘responsibility’ to do anything besides entertain the reader. Some authors try to do other things, yes; Atlas Shrugged, for instance, isn’t supposed to entertain so much as it is to indoctrinate people into a particular way of thinking. But setting aside propaganda like that, the purpose of books like Dresden Files (or pretty much all urban fantasy, really), is to give the reader something to enjoy for a few hours. 

              An author is not obligated to sanitize his or her writing just because the worldbuilding requires ‘terrible things’ to work. A lot of interesting fantasy requires terrible things at one point or another, and the literary canon would be much poorer without it. Harry Potter doesn’t work without brutal prejudice against Muggleborns and House Elfs. Lord of the Rings doesn’t work without the ‘Always Chaotic Evil’ orcs. Conan doesn’t work without rough barbarian warriors being inherently superior to weak, snivelling city folks. And yes, Dresden Files doesn’t work without sex being, in many cases, dangerous or something that needs to be restricted for a greater good. 

              If we tried to change literature so that the world building couldn’t feature anything problematic, for fear of… I dunno, convincing readers that it’s okay? Normalizing it? Whatever the case, if we changed literature like that, I’m not sure there’d be anything left except the most anodyne pap. 




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              1. Act says:

                An author has no ‘responsibility’ to do anything besides entertain the reader.

                I would argue that every human has a responsibility to be kind and help other humans, and authors are not excluded.

                the worldbuilding requires ‘terrible things’ to work.

                You know Butcher made this all up, right? This is not a historical record of a real universe. All of the ‘worldbuilding’ was made by his conscious choices, and none of it was ‘required.’ No one was holding a gun to his head saying, “You make that fucker a misogynistic asshole or you’re dead!” He made these choices. What we’re asking is why. And if the deepest you’re willing to get into it is “for funsies,” well, like I said, you’ve come to to wrong place. (It’s also empirically untrue — Butcher himself has said he wrote DF to stick it to a woman who had the gall to think she knew more about writing than he did.)

                Harry Potter doesn’t work without brutal prejudice against Muggleborns and House Elfs.

                It also doesn’t work *with* it, so you’re not proving the point you think you are here.

                if we changed literature like that, I’m not sure there’d be anything left except the most anodyne pap.

                I’m always baffled by the singular lack of imagination y’all have. (Also the absurdity of pulling that when you’re on a media crit blog with, no joke, more than a hundred of books, vidoe games, etc., tagged as ‘recommendations.’)




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            17. CrazyEd says:
              rather than him just trying to entertain people

              That’s kind of the problem. He’s trying to entertain people with misogyny he doesn’t even realize is misogynist. No one is expecting the same level of thought put into Frankenstein. I don’t read books with the same critical eye that Farla does, but even I was infuriated with Harry’s behaviour throughout Storm Front (in general, not just with women), and I couldn’t even finish Fool Moon. And that’s not even getting into all the shit that goes down in Blood Rites… Really, the White Court in general, but mostly the part about how the White King rapes his daughters into obediance (but not his sons because ew gross, homosexuality is so icky that he took over the porn industry just to normalize that lesbians are great but gay men need to go away), and how the primary antagonist causing Harry problems throughout the book is an airhead bimbo slut-whore porn star who changed her legal name to her stage name because she’s a stupid porn star.

              Well, this is why!

              And that reason is disgusting and horrible. If that’s why, then I don’t want to know why.




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            18. CrazyEd says:
              It’s really something that needs to be written at some point. That’d make it handy to link whenever it comes up elsewhere, at the very least.

              I’m not sure how you’re relating that back to Flying Witch, but I told y’all. I may watch so much terrible crap to marvel at how bad it is that I have trouble naming legitimately good things that I legitimately liked (and I’m so used to describing terrible shows that my descriptions of good shows tend to make them sound just as bad- I find myself using the “it’s not as bad as it sounds, and not just because it sounds horrible” line from this blog’s review of Empowered a lot), but when I do legitimately like something, it’s something like Flying Witch. Cute girls doing cute things is what I spend most of my day on, when I’m not ranting about samurai and youkai.

              But as an aside to that, I’d still be interested in knowing what you think about the anime. Like I said, it’s an incredibly faithful adaptation and has some very cute animation, but it also has some of the most pervasive (if also low key and tasteful) fanservice in anime. I don’t think its enough to make you hate the show, though. But, then again, I barely know you so I could very easily be wrong.

              But still, I’m interested! I couldn’t really bring myself to be bothered by it because Makoto and Nao’s designs both hit my preferences design-wise (though that’s true about their manga designs as well), but if she’s not yours, I could see why it might negatively impact your enjoyment of the show. I won’t lie and say I hate any and all fanservice in my anime, but I do hate when its lazy or offensive (don’t get me started on why MonMusu is bad even if you’re watching it solely for the centaur tits), and Flying Witch’s is neither.




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              1. Act says:

                I’m not sure how you’re relating that back to Flying Witch

                It wasn’t really relevant outside of them both being manga and it reminded me.

                I don’t watch a lot of TV, so the odds of me watch the anime are unfortunately rather low. Perhaps bother Farla about it? She usually does anime reviews ’round here.

                That said, I’m definitely going to go find a scanlation and keep going with the manga. It was very sweet and yes, remarkably good character design! (Though I think the winner of that award for me may always be Teppu.)




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            19. CrazyEd says:
              Hoh boy, where to begin…

              An author has no ‘responsibility’ to do anything besides entertain a reader.

              But, like Act said, a person does have a responsibility to at least attempt to not promote poisonous social concepts. I’d be shocked if the reviewers of this site didn’t think Conan was problematic as hell, even if they enjoyed them for their merit as adventure stories. I enjoy Conan stories (though I’m more of an Edgar Rice Burroughs man myself), and even I knew they were problematic as hell, years before I ever looked at them under a magnifying glass to wonder if they had a poor treatment of women (or not-white people, for that matter). Because I didn’t need to. It’s pretty obvious they’ve got some pretty 1920s Texan treatment of women.

              something to enjoy for a few hours

              And the terrible way the books treat women negatively impact Act’s enjoyment of the series.

              An author is not required to sanitize his or her writing just because the worldbuilding requires ‘terrible things’ to work.

              It’d be nice if, at the very least, we got the feeling like the audience was supposed to think the concept was a terrible one.

              As for fiction “requiring” terrible things (skipping over the “required” part, as Act has it pretty well covered already)… As an RPG GM, my “literary body” is most similar to serial fiction. A lot of times, I or one of my players will realize that when X, Y, and Z are put together, the result has some unfortunate implications that are too late to change. And that sucks. But it just means I remember, next time, don’t put X, Y, and Z together and that I thank God that I didn’t put it in a published book.

              And, even then, you can have terrible things without their inclusion, itself, being terrible. Just having characters and the narrative pointing out how a terrible thing is wrong can make its inclusion far more acceptable. You can’t have a story about a young black person battling racism without including some racism in the story. It’d make absolutely no sense if you portrayed a world with perfect racial harmony in a story about battling racism (and you need look no further than this blog’s review of Beautiful Creatures for what a book completely devoid of the mention of racism, slavery, or even black people set in the south and about battling small town prejudice against a backdrop of the Civil War looks like. It’s not pretty.) Claiming racism and sexism don’t exist (unless you’re writing in another world or a future where humanity has truthfully eliminated sexism or something) is just as harmful as saying they’re okay. 

              Harry Potter doesn’t work without brutal prejudice

              Actually, you could probably have the major theme about the acceptance of death without any of the fantasy-racism and it’d still work just as fine. Voldemort could’ve become a monster in his attempted escape from death without also becoming Wizard-Hitler.

              sex being, in many cases, dangerous

              For women. It’s not even like sex is a major theme in the series. You could just as easily have had Harry been a sexless weirdo who’d do anything Susan asked him for a peck on the cheek without changing anything (though it’d probably just make the series paint all women as evil whores tempting Harry’s spiritual nobility).

              And I think we’d all rather a series without a “stacked” fourteen year old girl telling a grown-ass man about her bondage fetish.




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            20. CrazyEd says:
              Fair enough. I regularly end up six cars down my train of thought, so that when I say “oh, that reminds me”, what I say next has absolutely nothing to do with what came before immediately before it.

              Maybe just try an episode of it, or hell, look up some clips online? Makoto’s got big boobs in tight sweaters in basically every scene she has modest boobs in regularly fitted sweaters in the manga. You’re bound to see what I’m talking about pretty quickly, is what I mean. You definitely don’t need to watch the whole series (and, if you’re going on with the manga, you’re really not missing anything but specifically what an anime brings that a manga can’t do).

              But speaking of Teppu, I did want to ask how you felt about the incredibly square jawed design of the Strongest Woman (whose name I forget) who fights in the first MMA match the protagonist goes to see. Even with the diverse bodytypes and really ultra-toned bodies most of the characters are sporting, her design always felt a bit Comedy-Ugly to me. Maybe it’s just because of the terribly unfashionable haircut, though.




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              1. Act says:

                Assuming you’re talking about Karin and I’m not mixixng the characters up: I actually really loved that she was weird-looking with that weirdass haircut. It’s so unusual for female characters to be unattractive without it being some lesson about how evil ugly people are, and her looks are never really mentioned in the dialogue. Also for Karin in particular, she’s tropishly ugly in a way that is usually okay for men but not women — small-eyed, square-jawed, etc. It was just really refreshing to have a manga where the mentor is an unattractive woman and that’s okay, the rival was an androgynous girl and that’s okay, the female protagonist was tall and built and that’s okay, etc. etc. They look like real people at the mercy of genetics, and because of that I think it actually makes the story more *about* them in a way, because they don’t serve any purpose but their own.

                I find the design goofy and unappealling, but this is one of the few instances where that’s exactly why I love it.




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            21. Farla says:

              But that isn’t how books work. An author has no ‘responsibility’ to do anything besides entertain the reader.

              This is an interesting thing to think about, actually! I’m assuming you’re starting with the assumption that media never influences anyone, while I’d say it totally does but agree pinning down how much influence it has is difficult, but sticking to just the first viewpoint…

              If including sexism (or x-ism) reduces the entertainment value for some without giving a corosponding boost in entertainment value for others, then the author has clearly failed at their goal. They are, in fact, failing as an entertainer.

              I say in the opening of the first series that I really hated it because I’d listened to the first one on tape. And I’d quite liked the chatty narrator – except he’d say something and it was like having a guy standing talking to you suddenly lean in and say, “If a girl gets drunk with a guy, of course he’s going to fuck her. What else would walking her home mean? She’s just crying ‘rape, rape!’ afterward because she’s got buyer’s remorse.” And this really impacts my enjoyment.

              And for those who don’t have a visceral unhappy response to that sort of thing, they too are still being ill-served, because things like sexism are a matter of a repeating pattern rather than doing something new and entertaining. Why doesn’t Harry have to stay pure and avoid all sex to be a wizard? There’s far, far more mythological basis for sex reducing a man’s energy or even his very lifespan than there is the idea “maiden” = “virgin”, but men not being able to have sex because reasons is incredibly rare, while women not being able to have sex because reasons is dirt common and boring because of it. Assuming people having to be virgins because magic is super entertaining, why the hell isn’t it Harry? That would, again, point to this not being a purely neutral entertainment choice. That it’s not a matter of an author thinking through all options to find the best one for the story but thoughtlessly copying things other people have done before.

              The issue is not that it’s ~*~problematic~*~ in some nebulous way for bringing up an issue. It being actively and intensely sexist is a large part of why it’s bad writing.




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            22. K says:
              “I would disagree that this is a case of a woman being violently punished for her sexuality (since she’s the one doing the violent punishing and the man is the one doing the physical suffering)”

              Except that Molly had no CHOICE in becoming the Winter Lady. She didn’t choose to do it, or even know it was an option; Butcher pulled some canon-breaking shit out of his ass about how the Mantle of the Winter Lady “goes to the nearest reflection of itself”, regardless of if that person actually has any Fey blood or not, when before you HAD to have Fey blood. Apparently, SOMEHOW, despite Molly not owing her anything (and in fact Lea kinda owing MOLLY through Lea being Dresden’s godmother), Molly training under Lea (as Lea was training Molly in Dresden’s stead while he was gone after Changes) was enough to make her qualify as a “vessel of Winter” or some shit.

              So, once again, Molly gets hurt and screwed over and has her agency (and as we find out in Skin Game and even MORESO in Cold Case, her very humanity) taken away from her, all because Dresden’s a shit teacher. Because he could of thought of something like this, he just, y’know. Didn’t.

              (It’s also pretty fucked that we got ten or more books about how Dresden had to CHOOSE to become the Winter Knight, that Mab couldn’t MAKE him do it, but Molly and apparently all of the other Queens of Winter and Summer get no such luck.)

              So Molly had NO IDEA what she was getting into as the Winter Lady, what that Mantle would entail, or probably even really know all that much about the Fey in general compared to Dresden, considering how much she trusts “Auntie” Lea. But she got shoved into being the Winter Lady anyway, because… because fuck her, I guess.

              Also the whole “kill or brutally maim your partner” thing only activates in P-in-V dick proximity, so oral and fingering or sex toys would presumably be fine. But this is never (not once!) brought up as an option, for Molly or for any of the other Ladies. Neither is masturbation or a fucking vibrator either, tbh.

              Also yeah, Molly and all the other Ladies could presumably just fuck other women to sate their lust, but this story was published I think around the same time that Butcher confirmed that Molly is bisexual, and now just with the whole WAY that Butcher is potentially presenting wlw relationships with the Lady Mantle… It’s like he’s presenting it as a second option only that of course wouldn’t be as good or as important or as powerful (because of course P-in-V sex is ~powerful~, because otherwise why would it take the Winter Lady Mantle to stop it?) as (cis, straight, of course) P-in-V sex. Which probably loops back to that shit from Blood Rites where sex was powerful because it was “the process of creating another human being” or some shit.

              Also this all pretty much loops back around to that shit from Blood Rites where sex was powerful because it was “the process of creating another human being” or some shit.

              Like, when an Olaf comic has better plotting and worldbuilding than you, you need to rethink your life choices.

              Also the whole point of that “no P-in-V sex, ever” is not so much about the Winter Lady being a ~virgin uwu~ (because Maeve sure as shit wasn’t one, based on her relationship with Jenny Greenteeth- which is just yet another example of Butcher fetishizing bisexual women) as it is about making sure the Winter Lady doesn’t have kids. Because apparently the if the Winter Lady becomes a “mother” (which OF COURSE means actually giving birth to their own biological children-what do you MEAN adoption is a thing and is just as valid as having your own children?! Clearly as far as Butcher is concerned, it isn’t!), she’ll no longer be the Winter Lady, she’ll be the Winter QUEEN. The Queen Who Is, Mab’s position right now, the one that can “make Winter Law be pretty much anything she wants it to be” and the one position that is second in power only to Mother Winter, who is more of an old grandmotherly type, and who also presumbley has had biological children.

               Yeah. Those-those are the main forces and the main sources of power and influence and what protects all of reality in Butcher’s world. It really is telling.




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            23. CrazyEd says:
              I think we’re both thinking of the same character, yeah. How many ugly square-headed women with bowl cuts could one (super short) manga have? Now, trying to get through this without putting my foot in my mouth…

              I think there are a few jokes and lines of dialogue about how she’s a stereotypical burly and unattractive woman in a combat sport, and how no one wants to end up looking like her (since most of the characters do tend more towards extreme tone than bulky square muscle mass), but that’s about it.

              Honestly, now that I think about it, she’s actually kind of like a slightly less over-the-top Might Guy in a sports bra, isn’t she? It’s not like he has a particularly appealing design either. But I never really thought about it since the narrative plays on his unappealing design a lot for comedy so it’s never in question like it is with Karin. And, even with the different body types and realistic builds for girls involved in combat sports, most of the female characters in Teppu are at least moderately attractive (and several, like the Brazilian girl, are pretty much totally conventionally attractive from what I remember) with the notable exception of her.

              The main character might be 5’11” of zero body fat, but she’s got a pretty typical anime girl face (scary sharp eyes notwithstanding), and the rival character might have short spiky anime boy hair and Dose Eyebrows, but Kill La Kill (and to a lesser extent Chaika the Coffin Princess) has made that look pretty popular. Even though I think that the rival has a lot of cute panels (despite being unaffected by the Satsuki Brows), there are some pieces of art where I wondered “why is the main character squaring off against a male fighter” before taking a second look and realizing it was the rival character, but her design still isn’t overall unappealing like Karin’s. I think it was just her really broad shoulders and masculine clothing in that specific image.

              Incidentally, for some reason, the site isn’t giving me a reply button on any of Act’s posts. I can reply directly to anyone but them. What’s up with that?




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            24. K says:
              Also forgot to add this, but if the whole point of the Winter Lady Mantle is that Molly not become a mother/have kids, then the Lady Mantle could have totally just acted as a form of 100% perfect magic birth control. But Butcher of course didn’t do that.

              Hell, if the Lady had to wait until some ceremony or some such to become a “mother”/the Queen, I might have taken that too! Like something where the Lady officially gets to become the Queen, probably with the verbal agreement of the Queen and maybe the Mother. But like without any immediate sex involved until later or something, cause like. Don’t want to make it weird (well, any weirder than it already is because of Butcher).

              Like… if it’s presented as the Lady deciding for herself that yeah, she’s ready for this and wants to do this, and that what is essentially her mother and grandmother (but also Queen and Mother) are there to guide her in her life and in ruling their kingdom… that could be kinda cool? If you divorce it enough from Butcher’s shit and make it all about how it’s the Lady’s CHOICE and no one can force her to do it, (and she can also masturbate and have all the sex she wants before said ceremony where she officially decides to be a mother AND you actually include just fucking ADOPTION SOMEONE as a viable option instead of it HAVING to be one of the Lady’s biological children)… that’d at least be so much better than what Butcher gave us. From a consent and agency standpoint ALONE if nothing else.




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            25. illhousen says:

              But that isn’t how books work.

              That is, in fact, how books work.

              All books inherently contain a message in them. Who are the bad guys, who are the good guys, how the conflict is framed, what actions are rewarded by the narrative and what result in disasters – all of that form the politique of the work.

              All stories say something about how the world works or how it should work. The only difference between books written solely for entertaining and the ones that actually have a solid thematic foundation is that the message in the former is often a contradictory gibberish because the authors of such works didn’t know what they wanted to say to begin with.

              And I would argue that it is in fact the responsibility of authors to be aware of what they’re saying in their works and act accordingly.




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            26. illhousen says:

              It’s really something that needs to be written at some point.

              Here is a good summary of that argument: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxV8gAGmbtk




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            27. CrazyEd says:
              But it’s not about her not having kids or being a mother. It’s about the winter maiden being a maiden. I wonder what would’ve happened if Molly had lost her virginity before Maeve got killed. Would she just have been passed over by the mantle?



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            28. CrazyEd says:
              While it accurately covers the topic, I feel that the language might be a bit too academic for the kind of people who would need that video to explain why what happened to Molly when she acquired the mantle is problematic and why an extra-diagetic explanation doesn’t make it okay.

              Incidentally, the anime he was describing (kind of) exists. It’s actually a manga, and it’s not orcs, it’s goblins. It’s called Goblin Slayer and it is horrible in every sense of the word. Oh, and I’m not entirely sure if the goblins have an intra-diagetic reason to exist for nothing more than rape and slaughter.

              So I guess Women Being Dismembered By Orcs is a less problematic series than Goblin Slayer. So yeah. There’s that.




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            29. CrazyEd says:
              That’s a lot of words and its going to take me a bit to form a complete response to all of it, but I never said that Molly never suffered for having the winter mantle forced upon her, she just wasn’t being punished (by the mantle, not Butcher, at least) for sexuality. The people she tried to have sex with were. Her sexuality is dangerous to other people but not to herself.

              And why does it not surprise me that Molly is bisexual? Jesus Christ, Butcher, do you have a single fetish that Molly doesn’t embody?




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            30. K says:
              “But it’s not about her not having kids or being a mother.”

              Except that Mab explicitly says that it is. I’d kinda argue that Butcher’s just using “maiden” to mean “virgin”, here, because he’s just that type of guy, but here’s what Mab explicitly says:

              Molly: “What happened?”

              Mab: “What will happen every time you attempt to be with a man.”

              Molly: “What?”

              Mab: “Three Queens of Summer; three Queens of Winter. Maiden, mother, and crone. You are the maiden, Lady Molly. And for you to become otherwise, to become a mother, would destroy the Mantle of power you wear. The Mantle protected itself-as it must.”

              So yeah, at least in this case, being a “maiden” in Butcher’s world means not having PIV sex (the only ~true~ type of sex, clearly) and not getting pregnant. Hell, the Winter Lady Mantle explicitly only took over when Carlos’ dick touched Molly’s vagina and he was about to put it in her! So yeah, it’s definitely all about Molly having kids.

              As for if someone has to be a virgin or not to be the Winter Lady- I don’t know, but this is Butcher, so probably. I also think Butcher isn’t counting a women having sex with another woman as a real thing that actually matters enough to “destroy” said woman’s virginty. Ditto with masturbation or sex toys- not because he’s just oh so sex positive, mind you, but because they don’t fit into his narrow little world view of what does and does not actually count as sex and therefore have real, lasting power and meaning. I think he’s only counting cis, het PIV sex here.

              There’s probably be some shit with Dresden involved if Molly wasn’t a virgin when she got shoved in the Winter Lady Mantle, considering Dresden’s the Winter Knight now and also would have been the only person that Molly ever actually would have had sex with beforehand.




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            31. CrazyEd says:
              SIGH.

              And I just realized that this rule definitely couldn’t have applie to Maeve. She seemed pretty intent on fucking Harry and not just because she thought it’d be funny to let the winter mantle go axe-murder on him.

              SIIIIGH.

              I tried to make it less terrible. I really did. But nope. We can’t have nice things.




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            32. K says:
              Don’t try to make this shit better, dude. There is no making it better. Just accept it for the gross, fucked up shit it is and call it out as such. It makes dealing with it a whole lot easier.



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            33. K says:
              And I think the “no sex with a man or your Mantle takes over and miss you maim/kill them” thing COULD have still applied to Maeve, it’s just that Maeve was already infected by Nemesis at that point and so thus could have maybe ignored that rule. Or maybe she totally was just trying to seduce Dresden for kicks and Butcher’s just trying to make her look more evil in hindsight or something. (Because how dare a women actually decide who she wants to have sex with and how she wants to do it. And like yeah, Maeve is shit and was doing it to be a gross, abusive parent/teacher/Queen to whatever kid she got from that bargain, but that’s still one of the main undertones of that scene. Or hell, maybe that was one of Maeve’s ways of trying to one up her mother, by having a kid with Dresden, this becoming the Winter Queen Who Is, and controlling Dresden through said kid. Not saying it would have stuck, since Mother Winter’s Unravelling can undo any magic ever, but like… it wouldn’t surprise me. Especially since it involves a hot young chick orbiting Dresden’s dick and trying to seduce him with her evil Women In a Position of Power powers, and it gives Dresden a chance to be a Good Protective Father™ too to boot!)



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            34. CrazyEd says:
              it gives Dresden a chance to be a Good Protective Father

              Yeah, because he didn’t royally mess up the last time he got that chance…

              Though you raise a good point about Maeve being able to ignore some fae rules, I’m still going to put money on it only being a rule now that a non-fallen woman has the mantle. Maeve came pre-ruined, but Molly is still a purehearted maiden deserving of personhood, unlike Maeve.




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            35. K says:
              As like a meta rule from Butcher? Yeah, that sounds like him. The same way he only really thought about/gave magic users having sex any consequences (and only really consequences that affected Molly/more “delicate” read “feminine” types of magic) until the sexy jailbait Goth teen rebel became his apprentice and of course wanted on his dick. It’s fucking VILE, man.



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            36. CrazyEd says:
              You forgot stacked. How could you forget stacked?



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            37. K says:
              I said sexy and jailbait. That’s pretty much what that equals in Butcher’s mind.



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            38. illhousen says:

              Also, forgot to comment on it:

              Butcher himself has said he wrote DF to stick it to a woman who had the gall to think she knew more about writing than he did.

              Don’t forget that he also wrote Kim’s fridging as a way to get back at his ex-girlfriend.

              I actually kinda wonder now if other female characters weren’t “inspired” by women Butcher knew IRL.




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            39. CrazyEd says:
              To be fair, that woman told Butcher to to take a break from his typical swords and sorcery schlock to write an urban fantasy novel like those Anita Blake books he liked, and Butcher wrote Storm Front specifically to prove to her any book he wrote following her writing advice would be a horrible and formulaiac piece of crappy genre fiction.

              And then he wrote Storm Front. Well, I guess he sure showed her!




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            40. illhousen says:

              He did write some fantasy afterwards, though, and it wasn’t any better.

              Plus, the story with Kim is a separate issue. It’s from the second book where he wrote a minor character here to die (and be sexy and naked in her death) who was based on his ex-girlfriend and appears to be a revenge fantasy.




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            41. CrazyEd says:
              Well, my point was that, even though Butcher was right and the woman he showed up was wrong, it’s not a case where you’d want to be right. He wrote Storm Front to prove to her that anything he wrote according to her suggestions would be terrible. And he was right. Storm Front is terrible. So that… sure… shows her, I guess?

              Killing his ex-girlfriend in effigy (for being a stupid bitch who refused to listen to Jim Harry when he knew what was best for her, even) is a completely different bag of worms.




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            42. SpoonyViking says:

              A child who was despised and abandoned by their only parental figure from birth. That’s what makes the story a tragedy in the Classical sense: if “the monster” had been shown love, he, too, would only display love for others.

              So, yeah, not a fun adventure story, but really more of a morality regarding parental / filial love, and how easily love can be turned to hate. Plus the whole “playing God is wrong” theme, of course.




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            43. CrazyEd says:
              Oh, incidentally, Act: While we’re on the topic of sports manga about girls, do you have any others you like? I’ll admit that most of the female-oriented sports manga I like are mostly just about cute girls doing cute sports, but I still think there’s a place for that kind of story. There are actually a surprising number of them that aren’t just vehicles for fanservice (and even some of the ones that are vehicles for fanservice are legit sports manga as well).

              I actually think I tend to prefer sports manga with female protagonists to male ones when I think about it. I loved Bamboo Blade (where the male club members being regulated to background characters became a bit of a running gag) and I’m currently reading a manga called Ashinagu, a manga about a high school naginata team which doesn’t really seem like it will handle the topic of female-focused sports (but its scan is currently only up to chapter 4) in the same level of depth as Teppu, but it’s still a manga about a sport in which basically only women ever practice and the only naginata-focused manga I’ve ever heard of.

              I’m not sure how much of a “sports” series it is, but while I couldn’t stand Accel World (it’s set in the future of SAO and is actually worse than SAO), I loved the spin-off set in an all-girls school. It was really easygoing and cute (I loved how their most bitter rivals were… the equivalent VR Fighting Game Club of the all-boys school across the river that their school shared a wireless network with). The relationship between the club president and vice-president is really interesting (though I’m not sure why the president lounges around in a bikini all the time). They’re like an old married couple and I think its at least heavily implied that they’re dating. The protagonist might as well be their adopted daughter at this point. And, speaking of her, the protagonist of the spin-off is actually a far better protagonist than the protagonist of Accel World (who is worse than Kirito).

              The main character of Accel World’s only goal is to see the dream of his love interest (who is almost certainly the daughter of Kirito and Asuna) come true (bbecause you can’t have a girl be the protagonist of a light novel series). And I literally don’t even remember what her goal is. The main character of the Accel World spin-off manga is to defeat her in combat to prove that she’s the strongest. She’s like your typical shounen battle manga protagonist in the short girl who always wears bike shorts and MMA gloves just in case she has to get in a scrap or do some parkour.




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  16. K says:
    Anybody want to take a whack at going over Charity Carpenter and her marriage to Michael now that we’ve gotten started with Grave Peril? Adding what we find out about her and her past with magic (and her parents) in Proven Guilty, I feel like… Michael and Charity’s marriage is Not Good, especially when you add in who knows what and Michael’s reaction to A Thing in Skin Game.



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    1. CrazyEd says:
      I think you’re going to have to be a teensy tiny bit more specific, there. As far as what I can say, it’s odd, but… I can’t really see them as a bad couple. Sure, her introduction scene was… not a great sign… but my actual problem is way worse than that. I honestly can’t really imagine what Charity and Michael are like as a couple. Like, what do they do when alone (besides making loads and loads of kids because they’re The Christians)?

      I don’t really have a problem with Charity giving up her magic (since its tied to her negative experiences with magic and not just because she got married and became a mom so now the man of the house has to be involved in the plot or anything like that), but after the ice breaker of saving her from a dragon, what did Michael say to her when they were dating?

      It was definitely a bad idea to introduce Charity with a sitcom worthy Scary Wife scene, though. I think Butcher tries way too hard with Charity. It’s like he’s trying so hard to have a kickass female character but he can’t quite figure out how to manage it without just going through the motions and letting her beat stuff up sometimes (but only to protect her kids), so we get a cliche “epic level warrior terrified of his pregnant housewife” scene.

      Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if we got some scenes of Charity being all sweet and nice and homemaker-y and whatnot first, so that there was some baseline to compare her anger to. I’m not sure how I’d suggest fixing their relationship without overhauling Michael entirely, though. Dude really gets the short end of the cross in the personality department.

      The last time I made a mother bear-type character, they were a terrifying fighter long before they had children completely irrespective of her husband (who was a totally normal, if athletic, dude) and for some time after, and they only went into mostly-retirement due to a career-ending injury. Sure, if you threatened her kids, she’d end you, but that wasn’t the only motivation she ever had to fight. As a teenager, she’d literally wrestle black bears for the fun of it.

      After marriage, she became a housewife, mostly because she enjoyed cooking (including a lot of dishes that are hard to find the time for if you work a nine to five job) and being a housewife gave her the most free time to go off hunting demons (which isn’t a very viable career choice). She never had to threaten or intimidate her husband to get her way, because he was a generally laid back dude who meshed well with her more assertive personality.  He wasn’t a total doormat, and they sometimes fought, but they brought just enough push and give to the relationship to balance out.




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    2. Nicolas Gravina says:
      If you Mean when Michael Was under the impression harry and molly were banging in skin game and was totes chill about it. You gotta keep in mind,Michael really,really,really belives in Harry Dresden goodness. More than Harry deserves even* . To him,is no big deal,Harry wasn’t in a position of power of molly,she was not underage. There’s would be no abusive elements to a relationship  even if it’s a real. I don’t see nothing wrong with wage gaps on relationships because I dated a 24 year old lady when i was 17 (i’m 22 now) and it was amazing



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      1. CrazyEd says:
        Hoh, boy, where to begin…

        • What goodness? Harry is a selfish jerk. Even if Michael is the kind of guy who sees the best in people (and he’s mostly the judgemental sort), there’s really not that much good in Harry. And since we are privy to Harry’s internal monologue, we know that Michael’s trust is misplaced, which just highlights him as a bad judge of character.
        • Harry is Molly’s teacher. How is that not a position of power? Even if he wasn’t, though, its still pretty obvious that his daughter has a crush on Harry. Harry wouldn’t need to abuse his position of power over Molly to fuck her. He’d just have to relent and accept her advances.
        • A 24 year old dating a 17 year old is really leery, but a 14 year old wanting to fuck a man who is pushing 40 is a waaaaaaaaay different scenario. Harry is about 35 in the first book, if I remember correctly, and ages about a year in each book (especially the earlier ones). Molly is 14 in her first book. Even if Molly was 20 when she was first introduced, it’d still be an ultra skeevy relationship, even if it was technically legal.

        And that’s not saying anything about how Michael is pretty much entirely ignoring how Charity feels about Harry and magic. She seems like a pretty protective parent, so why the hell is she letting Harry Dresden, of all people, teach her daughter something she’d rather not let in the house in the first place?

        Especially when her first major experience with magic was violating one of those soul-corrupting laws. You’d think Molly’s parents wouldn’t want her anywhere near magic, even before you take all the Christianity into account.




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        1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina Abdu says:
          Harry is 22 in storm front actually. He and Molly are 21 and 31 in skin game.

          Harry moral fiber is explored in later books he grows as a person. Lemme put it that away. There’s alchemy in this universe. Bob most likely knows how to make gold and jewels. Harry could be rich easy in a heartbeat He could live his last life without caring what happens to others. He could’ve said no when they asked him to help against Victor sells,he could’ve run away from sells. Or from the werewolves. Or the Nightmare or everything he faced. There always the choice to run and hide. He only did once.

          Nah,he’s not selfish. I don’t think he’s altruistic like Superman or Batman or other concerns book super heroes

           But he can’t stomach seeing monsters eating people either.




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          1. K says:
            Dresden’s almost in his forties in Skin Game, 26 or so in Storm Front, and Dresden’s known Molly (and I quote, as he himself has said multiple times) “since she was in a training bra”. There whole relationship is fucking pedophilia and child grooming, and is FULL of abuse and unhealthy power dynamics. Fuck the fuck off with stunning for this shit, dude, for fuck’s sake, please.



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            1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina Abdu says:
              It’s only pedophilia if he tried anything when she was a child. Jusf because you knew someone as a  child and get together with them as a adult it’s not pedophilia. You have to be very   careful about those accusations even against ficcional people. I they never get together. The point is kinda moot isn’t it?

              I don’t even ship it. I think Molly works better single. I just don’t like you acussing someone of being a abuser when he’s do clearly not




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            2. Act says:

              “since she was in a training bra”

              HOW DOES THIS KEEP GETTING WORSE




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            3. CrazyEd says:
              But the thing is, Molly becomes an adult long after the start of this. By the time of Skin Game, she’s gone through nearly a decade of Harry’s tutelage (and varying levels of emotional abuse) in magic. Even if they waited until she was an adult, it’d still totally be a case of grooming.

              It’s amazing that Molly turned out as well as she did despite everything, really, considering that she was introduced being arrested for holding ecstacy while rebelling against her loving and stable family home life because she likes to dye her hair and that’s what goth kids do.




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          2. CrazyEd says:
            Look, man, even if Harry was 22 in Molly’s first book, in that same book, Molly is 14. 14 and 22 is a total no-go. At best, that’s “family friend giving her big-brotherly-advice about the boy she has a crush on in English class”. If your best example of Harry being a good person is “he doesn’t enlist the aid of a magical spirit of rape to destabilize the price of gold for personal gain”, you’ve hit a hurdle so low you need industrial mining equipment to find it.

            It’s interesting you mention those three examples of when he could’ve just walked away, considering the point in each case where he decided to not run away was also the point where it became a life-threatening danger to him personally that he could no longer run away from.

            Harry tries his damndest to run away from Victor Sells, and only the threat of Sells using thaumaturgy to murder him is enough to even convince Harry to do the job that Murphy employed him to do.

            I really wonder how much Harry’s lack of finances is due to having a job with zero demand to it and how much of it is because he’s a self-employed person with zero work ethic or self-motivation. Hell, in… Storm Front, I think, he tells a story of a job where he wandered around a supposedly haunted home for five minutes, went “nope, no ghosts here”, and did absolutely nothing to assure the owner of the fact that he did anything more than drive down to take an easy hour’s paycheck. It’s not like the owner of the house called him because he was sick of people casually dismissing his claims out of hand or anything, right?




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  17. K says:
    Stepping out of nested comments to continue the whole Winter Lady Mantle thing here. Hopefully this’ll be less crowded.



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    1. Act says:

      That passage you quoted actually reminded me of Hunger Games’ constant reassurance that sex = PIV = procreation. The instant PIV sex was imminent, it caused the dude to explode or whatever, because there is no room in Butcher’s world for any kind of nonreproductive sex. For people who aren’t fucking idiots, the fact that she was intimate with a guy =/= BABBY, and even PIV =/= baby, but in Butcher’s universe the second a dick gets to close, BAM! CONCEPTION and you’re a fallen woman and you might as well have murdered that man yourself you dirty dirty whore.

      He strikes me as a man who’s never bought a condom because not getting pregnant is the woman’s job.

      Also one day I’ll make the comment nesting less shitty, I swear.




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      1. illhousen says:

        The whole thing with the procreation sex reminds me of the Speaker for the Dead, in which our heroes decide to not save hundreds of baby female aliens because they’re sterile and so would have no purpose in the society but to disrupt it.

         I mean, it’s not the same or anything, but I feel the same underlying attitudes are in play here.




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      2. Roarke says:

        I mean, Butcher clearly does understand non-reproductive sex, given that in about 5 or so books from Grave Peril, Murphy is going to hook up with some (half?) demon hitman for a nice island vacation and Dresden will never get over it. It’s all a way for him to try to kick the Murphy romance in gear by giving Dresden a competitor. This happens before any of the bullshit with Molly.

         




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        1. CrazyEd says:
          One alpha male can’t have another alpha male marking all up on his territory. This is basic alpha male math.



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          1. illhousen says:

            Interestingly, I don’t recall him making much trouble for Kinkaid over it, he was more focused on snubbing Murphy over it. Which is… yeah.




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            1. CrazyEd says:
              Well, yeah. Try as hard as he might, Hary is kinda the second dog in the face of Kinkaid’s overwhelming alpha-ness. What would Harry even do in response to learning that Kinkaid and Murphy totally banged and furthermore, from the way its posed, that they spent the better part of a week long Hawaiian vacation totally banging? He’s forced to just tuck his tail in between his legs, slink off to the corner, and take it like the beta.



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            2. Roarke says:

              This does go back to all the times Farla pointed out that Harry only acts ALPHA MALE towards people he already has an established power imbalance with.




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            3. CrazyEd says:
              Of course, in fitting with the general tone of the series, it’s a several centuries old half-demon who is currently in the guise of a super tryhard cooldude scaryguy mercenary with a manly ponytail.



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            4. Act says:

              But how else would Harry proof he is EVEN MORE ALPHA THAN A BUFF DEMON ALPHA????




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            5. CrazyEd says:
              By banging Murphy even more totally than Kinkaid did. Keeping score in alpha male pissing contests is, like, the second most important role of women after giving birth to more alpha males.



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            6. K says:
              True and accurate. iirc, Dresden DID get into a pissing contest with Kincaid over it (and win, of course) when they see each other again in Small Favor, but only because Dresden was trying to start shit with Kincaid while they were in the middle of negotiating a sort of treaty/meeting with somebody else (Nicodemus), and Kincaid was there with the Archive/Ivy as part of a neutral party to said negotiations, so if anything went screwy and somebody broke the peace (like say, Dresden), even just by picking a fight with the guy that was basically supposed to be there as the referee (Kincaid), then Kincaid could get blamed for it as him not doing his job properly and keeping the peace, and it’d be his fault.

              I don’t remember if Dresden actually put that much thought into it while he was waving his dick around in Kincaid’s face and argueing over who peed on Murphy more or who’s got the right to keep peeing on her or whatever, but that was the situation.

              And Kincaid’s (at least supposed to be- what we’re TOLD of a character’s characterization sometimes goes out the window compared to what we’re actually SHOWN, mostly depending on what Butcher wants to show us or do at that time) an impersonal professional that doesn’t let his personal feelings get in the way of his job. And Dresden knows this. (Again, because he tells us this in his narration).




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            7. CrazyEd says:
              That second paragraph, though.



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            8. K says:
              I mean, Kincaid’s official awesome badass hardcore assassin nickname is “the Hound of Hell”, or just “the Hellhound”. I had to.



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            9. CrazyEd says:
              Oh god damn it, that just makes the pissing match metaphor so much worse. No wonder Harry lost the match. He’s never been more than a shitty beltwolf for a few minutes. He’s no match for a hellhound.



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  18. CrazyEd says:
    So, there’s only so much I can talk about how problematic the Dresden Files is in one day. How about something a bit lighter? How can we use the elements of the series to make a better series?

    I for one, think there’s a lot to be said about a series focused on Susan’s career at the shady tabloid in the style of Kolchak, the Night Stalker. Harry already tries about as hard to keep her away from supernatural mysteries as the cops do to Kolchak.




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    1. illhousen says:

      There were discussions to that effect, and we basically concluded that pretty much anyone could be a better protagonist than Harry.

      Morgan can be a proper noir cop: old and cynical and worn down and fed up with the flawed system but sworn to protect it. Streamline his character a bit so he’s more proactive, and you’d get yourself a winner.

      Murphy would make for a fine protagonist as well. A cop who knows that supernatural exists but dismissed by her higher ups, forced to deliver justice via extralegal means and hating it. Harry would be downgraded to one of her shitty untrustworthy contacts in the occult world.

      Susan works well enough as a reporter who just wants to find the truth of the world around her and works for a tabloid because bigger newspapers just dismiss her stories about wizards and werewolves and all that despite all her evidence.

      (Speaking of, I once played such a character in Unknown Armies: a reporter obsessed with exposing the supernatural to the world and having an uncanny luck to find the true stories among the usual garbage. The only issue was that his boss was a Sleeper using him to investigate potential breaches of the masquerade, so… it didn’t end well.)

      Kim works as a newcomer to the occult community. She doesn’t have much characterization, but the basic concept of someone without much power or talent in magic but with enough determination and conviction to do what she thinks is right anyway is pretty appealing.

      And while Victor van Onewizardindustrialrevolution (an old and proud family name, you understand) is a shitty person, the basic concept behind him works pretty well: a self-taught sorcerer who has no idea what the fuck he’s doing and who’s also tripping balls all the time yet is capable of making perpetual motion scorpions, potions that can be produced in industrial qualities and a crazy spell that incorporates working technology in its design and can kill people from afar. Probably doesn’t work as a viewpoint character, but as a partner he would do great.

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      1. Roarke says:

        Victor von Onewizardindustrialrevolution (very old, established family) would be pretty sick as a modern-day apothecary. You’d leave him the list of potions you need and he’s like yeah, there’s a big front coming in Thursday, come pick them up Friday morning.

        It’d be this affair where, since he’s the only one specifically talented enough at both storm magic and alchemy to mass-produce inert potions, he’s the only guy around that can actually make a viable business out of it.

        Harry, being self-destructive enough to make huge personal investments in spells (that’s still my headcanon because why wouldn’t it be), gets by making charms in this better world where he doesn’t get to be a detective. He still has money problems because of how he wipes himself out for months every time someone asks for a +5 air freshener of pine-scented goodness. No matter how much he charges, he’s always out before he can make another.

        Marcone needs to still be around in some capacity, though.




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        1. illhousen says:

          I don’t know, I feel that Harry works as a representative of the Council. Big ego backed by some authority, so the protagonists have to deal with him when they want to get something done or need some information about the larger world or when they deal with big factions, and he always causes troubles and needlessly keeps secrets and all his usual shit, except we find out later that he’s here because nobody in the Council likes or trusts him, but he has that one big patron, so they can’t just leave him to the wolves and so gave him a cushy job in magical backwaters*. So he basically has… ah… does English has a term for when someone with a bit of official authority makes trouble for people just because they can and it makes them feel important? It’s called vachter syndrome in Russian. Harry has that.

          *Let’s say that Chicago is not in any way special here. It becomes special as magic returns (because I like that narrative) and people like Victor become more common and do major workings here.

          As for Marcone, it depends on whether you want to play his sympathetically or not. He works well enough as a crime boss who knows about magic and seeks to exploit it, the issue is that the books treat him way too sympathetically and kinda brush away all the awful things he must do on regular basis.

          If you want him to be a more likeable person, you may go with the idea that the occult underground has something akin to Prohibition going on, so there is some substance that’s not particularly harmful but is banned by the Council on some ground, and Marcone profits off it in some fashion.

          Or maybe the Council just hoards everything remotely magical, so small-time practitioners are fucked, and Marcone is the guy you go to when you need a patch of salamander skin and stuff like that.

          He can still be morally gray, of course, what with running a criminal enterprise, but such setup allows him to be a mostly positive force in the world.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            Maybe Marcone isn’t actually involved in any sort of mundane organized crime? He doesn’t go around exorting businesses or running illegal betting operations. Instead, he’s the occult underground’s equivalent of organized crime. Nothing he does is technically on the cops’s radar, because nothing he does is illegal by any laws other than the White Council’s.

            The cops might think he’s involved in something shady, because he has all this money but seemingly no legitimate source of income, but then when they raid his house all they find is a basement full of herbal supplements and salt lines.




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            1. illhousen says:

              That works for a sympathetic portrayal. White Council is pretty shitty as governments go, so it’s easy to make someone who breaks their laws look good even if Marcone still does some shady stuff on occasion.

              If you want him to be dangerous to protagonists, though, a criminal expanding into the occult as in canon works well enough.




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              Well, he still does organized magical crime, so he’s still dangerous to the protagonist. You just can’t go to the cops with details of his crimes to get him arrested. You’ve gotta handle him yourself, because neither the mundane or magical governments are going to arrest him.



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          2. Roarke says:

            I’d prefer to see less Harry and more Morgan as the White Council representative for Chicago. In fact, I think keeping Morgan and Harry’s relationship and the Naked Sword of Damocles works out really well for character dynamics.

            The protagonists always start out asking Morgan for information or minor aid, but he’s a Warden and typically running his own investigation in parallel. Once he knows enough he always tries to solve the case himself, and for some reason that won’t be good enough in the important cases. Maybe because he’s the naked steel first, questions never type.

            So the protagonists turn to Harry, who has the same knowledge base and resources but is not Lawful Neutral. Harry is shifty as hell, and his catchphrase is practically “Morgan is going to kill me for this,” but he always helps anyway because AU!Harry is a decent person. He always escapes the Doom because it’s obvious his under-the-table aid still helped.




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            1. CrazyEd says:
              I think I see the point of using Harry instead of Morgan, though. If you want to keep things a bit lower tier, Harry would work as a perfect barrier to accessing the wider world of magic. Just look at his actions in the series itself. Morgan would probably insist they join the White Council and learn all about the world in which they are expected to conduct themselves. What a jerk!



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            2. illhousen says:

              That depends, actually. In canon, the Council has power requirements for membership, so most potential protagonists would be barred from it by virtue of not being full-fledged wizards. Like, the only one who qualifies is Victor, and he would probably just scream about eye-eating bats or something once he meets the Council.

              In an AU, it’s possible to create other requirements. If we want to emphasize the elitist nature of the Council, it’s easy to say that they’re composed of really old magical families and very rarely accept an outsider in their little club.

              So while Morgan may argue that, hey, it would be nice to accept, say, Kim (or Susan if she picked up some magic) into the Council or accept other potential protagonists as his associates or something because it would make everything easier for everyone, but the Council would veto the idea, and so Morgan would be bound by his oaths to treat them as outsiders. Being Morgan, he does take it seriously and treat them as civilians caught in matters they shouldn’t deal with.




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            3. Roarke says:

              I don’t see Morgan trying to induct non-wizards into the White Council. They’re a group of elitist jerks, and he’s not really an exception to that. More likely, he’d be trying to enforce secrecy on them.

              In fact, a reversal of roles for Morgan’s scenes might be funny. Rather than Murphy going to Morgan for help, he kicks down her door whenever she gets close to solving the case, saying “Hey, you know that weird effigy carved out of bone and obsidian you just locked away as evidence? I need you to hand that over like, now.” Then Murphy gets him telling her why it’s so important, not like a muggle would understand, and she takes those notes to Harry and strongarms him into analyzing them.




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            4. CrazyEd says:
              Well, membership or not, he’d still probably want to force them into learning about all this shit so they can uphold the masquerade. I’m surprised Harry doesn’t try to keep people from deciding to become wizards in the first place.



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            5. Roarke says:

              Letting people know more about your masquerade so they can uphold it too is not how masquerades typically work. It’s very much a “the less you know, the better” situation.




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            6. illhousen says:

              And if they die in the process, that’s one less problem to worry about.




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            7. CrazyEd says:
              The less you know is part of the masquerade, the more you’re likely to talk about without fear of breaking it. How are you supposed to avoid breaking the laws of magic if you don’t even know what they are? The white council has shown that it doesn’t care if you accept its authority before punishing you for violating its rules.



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      2. CrazyEd says:
        You know, why not just cut Harry out entirely? Murphy and Susan would have a great chemistry together. Murphy’s the cop who is vaguely aware of the supernatural. Susan’s the tabloid reporter who wants to blow the lid off all the shit Murphy is trying to keep the public from freaking out over. It’d make for a perfect rivalry.

        And, because it came to mind when I said “cut Harry out”, Susan would probably even fill Harry’s shoes as Murphy’s romantic interest better than Harry does. She’d probably be a lot less sexist towards her, at the very least.




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        1. Roarke says:

          I think there needs to be at least one White Council, bona fide wizard in the picture, if only to establish the presence of a self-interested, uncaring central government that lets pretty much anything happen that doesn’t directly threaten its interests.

          I’d prefer Morgan in that role than Harry, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them both. As long as they’re not the protagonists and hogging screentime, they’d be pretty funny.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            Oh, sure. Morgan can show up sometimes to be dark and mysterious and tell them to stop poking at things. Or Muphy could know he’s got something to do with it since he keeps showing up at her crime scenes and seems to be some kind of cop as well, but she can’t find him in the CPD or FBI Chicago field office or anything. She might think he’s the perpetrator at first, but since all her cases are so unrelated, there’s no way he can be involved in all of them.

            Alternatively, Harry can be there, just because the idea of Harry-as-written being forced to be in the same room as a woman dating Murphy and not him would be perfect. I’m not sure what role he’d be in, though. Something antagonistic, of couse, but beyond that I’ve got nothing.




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            1. Roarke says:

              Morgan and Harry do just fine as two characters who both 1) represent the established institution that is supposed to handle these crises and 2) demonstrate, through their foibles, why that institution is ineffectual.

              Basically, they’d fit the role of the corrupt/incompetent police that normal cops do in normal noir. 




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              I meant, like, what he’d be involved in directly besides just showing how much the white council sucks, impeding the progress of the protagonists, and getting his girlfriend stolen by a far more interesting character.



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            3. illhousen says:

              Exposition, mostly. Both Harry and Morgan have access to information the protagonists lack: strengths and weaknesses of various supernatural creatures, the limits of magic and whether something is possible to accomplish with it, agendas of various factions, forces at play, laws of fae, specific spells, etc.

              The protagonists need to know this stuff to prevail, so they have little choice but to interact with Harry and Morgan and try to fish something out of them.

              Naturally, in such a scenario Morgan and Harry would be minor characters, alongside Mortimer in canon, but for that role they’re suited well enough.




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            4. CrazyEd says:
              Yeah, but Harry kind of sucks at exposition as well. He needs Bob for that.



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            5. Roarke says:

              So remove Bob and make Harry good at exposition. It’s an improvement all around.

              Another thing Harry would be good for (but easily replacable by Morgan) is intimidation/violence. Assuming you keep Murphy as a mundie, there is a breaking point where the threat level of the antagonist (or the antagonist’s enforcers) is no longer believably manageable by a cop and a reporter.

              As long as the focus doesn’t shift too heavily towards the violence or other epic magic going on, it actually benefits everyone to include it. Bonus points if Harry/Morgan are so out-of-date in terms of tactics that the only plans they can come up with are “charge from the front and overwhelm them” so Murphy has to painstakingly teach them how to fight in the 21st century.




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            6. illhousen says:

              That’s the point, though. Unreliable contacts you go to anyway because there is no better option is a staple of the genre.




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            7. illhousen says:

              “charge from the front and overwhelm them”

              I think you meant “group up and hit it til it dies!”

              Morgan explaining a standard Council tactic of gathering various small-time practitioners and sending them in waves against the threat would be amusing as well.




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            8. CrazyEd says:
              Yeah, but after a certain point, if you’re going to change Harry so much it defeats the point of still calling him Harry, and you’ve basically just made a new character. It’s no fun to try to wonder how you’d fix a series if it ends up at “throw everything out and start over”. That’s why I failed to answer my friend when they asked me how I’d fix Stephen Universe.



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            9. Roarke says:

              I mean, I understand where you’re coming from, but “trying to fix a series” and “keeping what is bad about the series” are fundamentally contradictory goals.

              I would rather preserve the other things about Harry that make him bad and remove his rapist skull.




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            10. Roarke says:

              Damn, why did I not make that joke.




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            11. CrazyEd says:
              Well, it’s one thing to remove a single piece of the main character’s equipment. It’s another thing to change everything about a character but his name and appearance.



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            12. Roarke says:

              I mean, that’s what I’m saying that I’m not doing. Remove Bob and let Harry know the things he was just going to learn from Bob anyway.

              He doesn’t need much more work than that. He can still be lazy and self-important, etc. I don’t see where you’re getting the idea that this is groundshaking change. 




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            13. illhousen says:

              I think what we truly need is DF Abridged.

              Molly: So, ah, I have a question for you.

              Harry: Yeah?

              Molly: How do you deal with murderous urges?

              Harry: Eh? What are you talking about?

              Molly: Well, you did kill a person with magic, right? I was told that by that guy polishing his sword. Like, really intensely polishing.

              Harry: Oh, you mean Morgan. Yeah, sure, I killed lots of people with magic. Got off by a technicality and because I don’t speak with other wizards at all.

              Molly: Yeah, right… So, as you know, Harry, I altered the minds of a few people…

              Harry: Nothing wrong with it. I think any growing girl does that.

              Molly: Right, gonna ignore that. So, anyway, now I have that urge to just, you know, cast a spell and fix everyone around me. Especially you. Mostly you, actually. So, I figured that’s a consequence of breaking the Laws of magic?

              Harry: Actually, I’m not so sure in this particular case… I mean, Murphy said the same thing about me, except she was talking about guns rather than magic… Could be a woman thing… But yes, generally speaking, the urge to use dark magic is a natural consequence of using dark magic.

              Molly: So, since you killed a person – I mean, people – with magic, you get murder urges, right? So how do you deal with them? …Wait, hold on, do you just kill people when you get an urge?

              Harry: No, no, I usually kill people by accident, actually. It’s hard to take a person’s life, you know. They tend to move around and dodge and occasionally resist. Anyway, to answer your question, it’s simple. I don’t do emotions anymore.

              Molly: What?

              Harry: Yep, went all cold turkey.

              Molly: How do you even? Why?

              Harry: Well, you know how you can channel emotions into your spells?

              Molly: Yeah?

              Harry: So, whenever I feel anything, I just cast a spell, and it goes away.

              Molly: Isn’t it dangerous?

              Harry: Well, I do now have a very furious broom in my home, but it’s mostly preoccupied with chasing ol’ Mister Scratch around, so no, not really.

              Molly: I mean, doesn’t it leave you empty and dead inside? How can you live without feeling love or joy or…

              Harry: Or the sweat gratification of being more powerful than everyone around me! God, kid, I didn’t even think about it! You’re right. Thank you, really.

              Molly: Right…

              Harry: So, now that’s resolved, do you have any other questions? I’m your mentor, after all, I’m here to ask Bob to answer them.

              Molly: Yeah, about that… Now that I know how to deal with the urge to fix everyone – sorta – I… kinda don’t want to be your apprentice.

              Harry: Eh?

              Molly: It’s not your fault, really. It’s just, you know, I’m still trying to find myself, who I want to be, what place magic should have in my life, and you’re the most horrible person I’ve ever met – which is saying something given the crowd I used to hang up with – and I really don’t want to be like you.

              Harry: That cuts deep, kid. I see… you convinced me to try emotions again just so you could hurt them. I respect that.

              Molly: See? That’s sort of a problem I was talking about…




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            14. Roarke says:

              Oh my GOD Fluffles would be Marcone! Marcone is already even cat-themed!

              Harry: Don Fluffles. We meet again. One of your little rats ran away with someone of mine. Don’t you have enough hairballs?

              Fluffles: Mrow?

              Harry: Don’t play dumb with me, Fluffles. I know Gimpy over there has a nice handful. Hand it over or get ready to cash in on even more fire insurance. How did you even escape last time?

              Fluffles: Mrowrrrrngrrhnr.

              Harry: Clever son of a bitch, I never would have thought of that.




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            15. illhousen says:

              Well, if we go that route, would that make Michael Johnny Black?

              Michael: And pray that we may be delivered from  wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

              Lydia: Eh?

              Charity: *sigh*

              Michael: What?

              Charity: It’s nothing, dear.

              Michael: You sighed! It’s not nothing!

              Charity: Look, I get it. You’re a big bad Knight of the Sword…

              Michael: Cross.

              Charity: Right. Anyway, a traveling paladin purging evil. Classy. But, well, it’s a big book. They’re not all going to be winners.

              Michael: Oh yeah? Well, what would you pick, then?

              Charity: Oh, I don’t know, how about, “Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the innocent being?”

              Michael: Holy shit, that’s in the Bible?

              Charity: Have… have you actually read the Bible? Also, of course it is. Proverbs 20:30 What do you think I tell Molly each time I deal with her?




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            16. Roarke says:

              Johnny Black was the dude that hated Schmidt, of Piece of Schmidt Games. His leader in SAO:A is Jerry, and I don’t actually remember the canon name.

              But yes, good.




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        2. illhousen says:

          Because it’s not noir without shitty contacts.

          Harry actually works fine as this shady basement-dwelling wizard who knows stuff but good luck getting it out of him. The main issue with him as a character is that he’s the protagonist and we’re forced to experience the story through his eyes, which is unpleasant.

          If you get out of his head, cut off narrative support for his actions and reduce him to an informant who has, like, one-two scenes per book, with maybe a minor subplot here and there, he actually works OK.




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    2. K says:
      YA teen adventure series for Molly that’s all about her escaping her abusive mother/family and learning to be a witch on her own from Susan and Kim and Murphy instead, with absolutely no Dresden involved ever and no gross, abusive, pedophilia-filled, child grooming “romance” teacher/student relationship between the two of them, or with anyone, ever. Instead she’s a badass witch raised on Granny Weatherwax’s and Terry Pratchett’s brand of stubbornness and opinion of elves/the Fey and right and wrong rather than Butcher’s. And she’s actually safe and powerful in her own right and never has her agency or humanity taken away from her and also has a cute girlfriend whom she can love and be happy with and have plenty of happy, healthy sexytimes with without worrying about magic bullshit ruining everything.



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      1. Roarke says:

        RIP, Pratchett. It still hurts. It probably always will. See you at the end of the desert.




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        1. K says:
          *nods solemnly GNU, Sir Terry Pratchett.



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      2. K says:
        The Alphas (all eleven of them, plus Terra West) could also be involved in this, because they also deserve better. Especially Terra West. Harley MacFinn either needs to be redone entirely or needs to fuck right the hell off. Oh, and none of the female wolves/werewolves (no, not even the villains!) get called “bitch” or any variation thereof. Ever.



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        1. illhousen says:

          Honestly, there is a lot of characters in DF who could work with a few minor tweaks here in there. The series’ main problem really lies in framing and viewpoint character more than anything.




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      3. illhousen says:

        On related note, wasn’t Butcher planning to write a YA novel as a co-author with someone? About Harry’s daughter? How bad would it be, do you figure?




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        1. Roarke says:

          Depends on how much of it he actually writes, I suppose. It’s a really obvious cash-grab, though, so even if Butcher just leaves it to them, the co-author is probably not going to be that high-quality themselves.

          Low hopes, I reckon. Also isn’t Dresden Files already YA?




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          1. illhousen says:

            No, DF is marketed at adults, I think. Or it was before the YA bloom, anyway.

            I mean, content-wise you could classify it as YA (aside from the protagonist not being a teenager, but classifying books by the age of their protagonists is stupid anyway), but marketing-wise I don’t think it is, and the label is mostly marketing in nature.




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            1. Roarke says:

              I see. Yeah, thinking about it, Harry getting older probably is a giveaway that it’s not YA and was never intended to be YA. I was just misled by the incredible immaturity of it. I’m also probably being unfair to the YA genre by assuming an immature work must be YA. Shouldn’t stereotype it like that.




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              Eeeeeh, maybe to the concept of YA novels, I think the reviews on this blog show that it’s pretty hard to be unfair to what YA novels actually are, especially when the contemporary fantasy genre is involved.



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      4. CrazyEd says:
        Why would her family be abusive?



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        1. K says:
          Look below. Had to start a new thread, sorry. Lots to type.



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  19. K says:
    On why Molly’s family would be abusive: Short answer: because they were in canon, or at least Charity was. Michael was more neglectful. Long answer:

    [Part 1]

    [TW FOR MENTIONS OF RAPE, CHILD GROOMING, ABUSE, PARENTAL ABUSE, AND CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE]

    Charity is verbally and emotionally abusive to Molly in Proven Guilty (because she just loves her so much and is just trying to protect her-yet never tells Molly WHY she treated her like that, or apologizes), immediately berating Molly for her clothing (and makeup, piercing, etc.) choices and telling her that Molly “clearly lacks the discipline and intelligence to manage” her own life. And yeah, Molly snipes back and hasn’t exactly been making the best decisions lately, but calling your 17 year old kid stupid and berating them isn’t helpful. Charity was also incredibly controlling of what Molly wore, where she went, who she hung out with, what she read (probably what music she listened to and where Molly went online or what she watched on TV, etc.). And this kind of thing has apparently been going on for so long and had gotten so bad that Molly thought dropping out of school and running away from home and living with her drug using/addicted friends (something she was uncomfortable with) for a year was better than living at home.

    We know from Bombshells that Charity taught her children that “makeup is for church or women with loose morals”. We also know from Death Masks that whenever Charity talks about Susan and Dresden’s relationship, she uses words like “fornication” and “sin” and “infantile depravity” and “moral bankruptcy”, and that’s pretty much as much as Charity will say on the subject of Susan and Dresden’s relationship. Which is also what she’s going to be saying/said to Molly when Molly got into relationships of her own, because there’s absolutely no reason that Charity wouldn’t. Especially not after that makeup comment.

    And based on Molly phrasing letting Dresden have sex with her (and thus taking her virginty) after she senses one of his violent rape urges directed at her (as a form of punishment, no less) as him “accepting a gift” from her, I’d argue that yeah no, Charity hasn’t stopped teaching her children any of this, and maybe hasn’t even stopped treating them horribly.

    Dresden also abused Molly throughout her entire apprenticeship and in fact tossed Molly back in to said abusive home (again, without Molly knowing anything about her mother’s reasons behind WHY Charity actually treated her like that or Charity actually apologizing) and told Molly to “be respectful” of the person/family that treated her like that at the end of Proven Guilty.

    And this is on top of all the other stuff Catholicism teaches you (especially women) that fucks you up and gives you unhealthy views about your own sexuality and virginty (etc.).

     




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    1. K says:
      Hell, Forthill tells Charity that the Church can only help people set aside their magic (not actually teach them how to use it for good or anything), and that trying to make Molly give up her magic by having the Church help/make Molly do that would be like putting Molly in “little more than a prison”. Charity still thinks that Molly should do it anyway and set her magic aside.



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      1. CrazyEd says:
        putting Molly in “little more than a prison”

        Well, it doesn’t seem that way for Charity, who also put aside her magic and allowed it to wither to either basically nothing or literally nothing, and seems not only perfectly fine by it but not at all regretful she did so.




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        1. K says:
          Except they’ve already found out that Molly has magic and used it to invade her friends mind’s (broke a Law) and that Molly not only wants to take responsibility for that and go to the Council with it, but also use her powers for good. And like… do I really have to remind anyone how strict and controlling and guilt tripping the Catholic Church can be? And this is coming from the “all of the things we say about any magic stuff being evil is real in this universe, therefore any way we decide it should be handled (no matter how ultimately damaging and abusive) is right and totally justifiable” side of things. And that if Molly is raised to THINK that her magical powers are evil, then they WILL be evil and also hurt her more because she’s being told that. Molly ran away for a year and was still willing to do so again if it meant keeping her magic, and Charity still thinks this. She still thinks taking her daughter’s choices away from her and forcing her into “a prison” that she knows Molly will not only hate but also possibly not even listen to (unless they REALLY pile on the guilt, as the Catholic Church is so good at) is the better option, here. Oh, and keep in mind that I’m pretty sure Molly’s time running away from home was probably when she found out she was bi. Like… it wouldn’t surprise me. So Molly’d be dealing with the Church’s opinion on that and how the Church thinks it reflects on her and what it should mean to her based on what the Church thinks of it on top of all of that.

          Charity eventually caves, but Molly and Forthill have to convince her. And like… this is after they rescue Molly from getting kidnapped by the fetches. It took her daughter not only running away from home for a year, but also getting put in mortal danger and having the threat of death hanging over her head for Charity to let her daughter make her own choices. Like that’s just… that’s really shitty, to me.

          Oh, and also you know Charity’s past with magic? She only told someone about that under the threat of Molly dying if she didn’t, and it wasn’t Molly, who probably would have greatly benefited from knowing just exactly WHY her mother was abusing and controlling her like Charity did and maybe actually give it some actual consequences, or even MICHAEL, whom she’s married to and could not only benefit from knowing why his wife is acting like this but maybe give said wife some love and support… and also give the horrible way Charity’s been treating her daughter and how Charity continues to treat her daughter in the future (however that may be) some actual fucking consequences that Charity can’t just once again quietly justify to herself for her own reasons that she doesn’t explain to anyone else and thus can’t be called out on if she’s handling it wrong. It was Dresden, who isn’t someone that can personally intervene emotionally in any of this, really, when it comes to how Charity treats her children or Charity and Michael’s marriage, and thus actually give Charity’s bad decision making and bad parenting any consequences.

          I mean sure, I guess Dresden could try and give Molly some emotional support or something, but unless Dresden can actually tell her about her mother’s magic, I really doubt it would actually help anything, and Dresden’s got such hero worship of Michael that Dresden would probably just want to immediately back off and not “seperate Molly from her family any more than she already is” (regardless of how abusive and unhealthy said family is) instead of worrying about Molly’s safety and well-being more. Hell, look at how Dresden just tossed Molly back in with them and told Molly to shut up and “be respectful” to them at the end of the book!




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            Okay so, obviously because reading these replies immediately after waking up is the best way to respond to them…

            except they’ve already found out that Molly has magic and used it to invade her friend’s mind

            I’m not sure what this is “except” to (sorry, care to elaborate?), but to me, this seems like the perfect reason why they should nip Molly’s magic in the bud before it becomes even more of a problem, especially since breaking a law actually is objectively evil in this world and it warps her soul to make her more likely to do so again.

            Molly wants to take responsibility for it

            Alright, that’s good! That actually shows some good decision-making skills! Even though she didn’t mean to do it, the fact of the matter is, she did do it. A person isn’t less dead if you accidentally shoot them, and all. So it’s a good sign that she wants to take responsibility for it.

            and go to the Council with it

            And that’s really, really, really bad! Regardless of how abusive Harry or Molly’s parent’s response is to her magic, the response of the Council would still be to try to murder her. To me, that’s a lot worse.They’re 100% not the people you go to when you want to take responsibility for your actions. They don’t even take responsibility for their own.

            And even from the perspective of non-lethal emotional abuse: Charity might call her daughter a slut for wearing makeup when she’s not going to Church (which is wrong), but the Council will tell her that her soul is forever tainted and twisted and will lead her down the road to even more tainting and twisting and there’s nothing she can do to fix that because her sin is forever (and they’re factually correct). Her parents are still the lesser of two evils here.

            use her powers for good

            That is literally what got her into this mess in the first place. She broke the law of magic trying to use her powers for good.

            And that if Molly is raised to THINK that her magic powers will be evil, then they WILL be evil

            Where are you getting this bit from? Breaking the laws is objectively evil no matter what the reason is (and, in Molly’s specific case, mind control is even specifically one of the harder things to justify). Harry doesn’t regret killing Justin in a totally valid case of self-defence, he regrets using magic to do so.

            forcing her into “a prison” […] is the better option, here

            I doubt you’re going to like hearing this, but… considering everything that’s happened to Molly because of her continued use of magic, between how she lived after Harry’s death and becoming the Winter Lady… I mean, well… wouldn’t it be? I can’t imagine how much unimaginable torture the No Magic Prison must be to have it be a worse prison than the Winter Mantle. At least with Prison #1, she gets to remain human. She even has the option of willingly accepting it, regardless how much guilt was involved, unlike Prison #2, which is a neverending prison of uncontrollable bloodlust (and uncontrollable regular lust, which triggers her bloodlust).

            It took her daughter not only running away from home for a year, but getting put in mortal danger and having the threat of death hanging over her head for Charity to let her daughter make her own choices.

            While dropping out at the age of 14 and living on the street with drug users rarely says good things about a teenager’s decision-making ability, the mortal danger and death hanging over her head are down the route that the daughter wants to be allowed to choose (a route that, when Charity walked down at the same age, ended in almost getting sacrificed to a dragon), which says far worse things about said teenager’s decision-making abilities.

            Like, yeah, teenagers need to be allowed to make their own choices and learn the consequences of their actions but… not to that extent. But for as much as Harry likes to monologue about how great magic is and how it’d be terrible if he lost it, magic actually does seem like something that makes your life objectively worse in this universe and that you’re far better off having never experienced it.

            Thinking about the euphoric feeling Harry describes manipulating magic with actually reminds me that Molly’s introduced having just been arrested for possession of ecstacy. That might feel good too, but it still causes horrible brain lesions in long term users. Molly’s use of magic caused a soul lesion.

            Actually, now that I think about it, does Grave Peril point out how ironic it is that Molly’s attempts to gain the right to choose how her life goes from her parents ended in her violating one of the laws of magic to remove that right to choose from her friends when they made a decision that was harmful to them? Was that intentional or did it fly right over the author’s head?

            or even MICHAEL

            Well, he was there, so I’m pretty sure he at least knows? He’s the one who stopped the cult leader from sacrificing her to a dragon.




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        2. K says:
          Also Charity’s very clearly got a lot of pent up guilt and shame about her past with magic that she’s just buried and internalized over the years instead of actually dealing with it in a more healthy manner, so like… I wouldn’t say she’s “perfectly fine” because of how she handed it. Hell, look at what Michael tells Dresden about his own magic in Grave Peril, despite seeing all the good (and I know it’s Dresden, so that word should be in quotations, but roll with me here) that Dresden does with it.

          And then there’s the fact that Charity’s rich, neglectful parents tossed her thought she was “a drug addict… emotionally unstable” and tossed her into “schools, and hospitals disguised as schools” after Charity’s magical powers manifested just before she turned sixteen because they “expected me to be normal, respectable” and that Charity “eventually left [the schools/hospitals that her parents forced her into], just left them” and eventually struck out on her own and fell into a cult herself is just. I can’t even.

          (I don’t want to even get into what that’s telling people with abusive parents they’re going to be like as parents, but. It’s pretty fucked. Same thing could be said with how Dresden acts and how he was abused too, yet goes on to abuse the people around him, especially those under his care. Hell, this isn’t the only instance of this shit message showing up, either- look at the White Court.)




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            I don’t know what it’s like for all kinds of abuse across the board (especially the non-physical kinds), but isn’t it true that someone who was hit as a child is, themselves, more likely to hit their kids?

            To me, it seems like its actually pretty important to tell someone (if this is in fact the case) that the normalization of childhood trauma might lead them to inflicting that same trauma upon their own children without even realizing it and to be mindful of that fact.




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    2. K says:
      I could do a Part 2 to detail Michael’s reaction(s) to all this too, if you like.



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      1. CrazyEd says:
        So while I was scrolling the discussion post for a previous comment thread I wanted to add something to, I forgot what I wanted to say, and found this instead.

        I would very much like to read that Part 2, actually.




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    3. K says:
      I’d also like to note that said beratement and insults are basically the first thing that Charity says to her daughter, and this is the first time Molly’s been back home after running away from home for (I think) a year.



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    4. CrazyEd says:
      Jesus Christ, Charity gets way worse between Grave Perils and Proven Guilty (which, admittedly, I haven’t read because my local library doesn’t have it).

      And here I was getting a bit nervous over how controlling that mother bear I mentioned higher up in the thread was being when she was very adamant about her children not walking around in sleep-clothes all day during summer vacation (she’s the kind of person who gets up with the sun and her idea of a relaxing day is scheduled full of activity) and pretty much forcing her daughter to socialise with a new neighbour girl who was about her age, because she very clearly saw that her daughter (who was the one who fought her the hardest on getting dressed even if she’s not going outside that day) was on the path of becoming a shut-in NEET if she didn’t do anything. I gave myself one point over Butcher for that first comparison, but I think I deserve about a thousand for this one.

      Though, that makes me think, I wonder how Charity and Michael would react to finding out Molly is apparently canonically bisexual. Given how controlling (and Catholic) Charity is, I think I’ve earned at least another fifty points for how my mother bear would take finding out one or both of her daughters is gay (mine wanted grandkids, but there’s still a son for that, and she wasn’t picky about which of the three give them to her, so she’d be totally fine with it).

      And hell, because I’ve run out of good will, another point for letting her eldest daughter dye her hair cobalt blue for her twelfth birthday.




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  20. Act says:

    TIL that last year when NK Jemisin won best novel for Fifth Season and dudebros lost their shit, one of the people she beat was Butcher and this makes my soul happy.




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    1. Roarke says:

      What novel did Butcher come out with last year that could even be in the running?

      And yeah I’ve read all of Dresden Files, even the mythical books that “got better,” and none of it has anything on Jemisin. I am still slavering for Book 3.




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      1. illhousen says:

        Yeah, it would be nice to get to Summer Knight. That’s the book most fans agree “got better,” so it would be interesting to look at from a critical perspective.




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        1. Roarke says:

          Summer Knight is probably when Butcher was shackled to an actual editor, but that still doesn’t change the fact that like, the first interaction with Maeve is her and her groupie overtly trying to seduce him and him dumping ice water down his pants to calm down.




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          1. Act says:

            dumping ice water down his pants to calm down.

            I’m still not 100% convinced this series isn’t a biting satire.




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            1. Roarke says:

              You can only say that because you haven’t read them. We’re not in SNAFU territory here.

              The next time ice-water-as-sexual-retardant comes into play in the series, it’s a mid-thirties Harry dumping a pitcher onto a naked 19 year-old woman he told to kneel in front of him.




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              I think I figured out how post-editor Butcher managed to get this into a book after the series got better.

              The editor probably looked at it, thought “well, he’s not fucking the girl almost half his age, so that’s good!” without thinking about the implications of precisely how he’s rejecting her advances.




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            3. K says:
              “The next time ice-water-as-sexual-retardant comes into play in the series, it’s a mid-thirties Harry dumping a pitcher onto a naked 19 year-old woman he told to kneel in front of him.”

              *17 year old




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            4. Roarke says:

              *pinches bridge of nose*

              Thanks.




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          2. CrazyEd says:
            Now that I think about it, Summer Knight is probably the first DF book where the Introductory Femme Fatale is actually a halfway competent attempt at the archetype, isn’t it? Maeve is one of the few characters in the entire series that Harry just can’t laugh off. Harry doesn’t just bully her into submission like the ones in the first and third books, at least.

            And she beats him up a lot in Winter Knight. Which is good. Harry deserves it. Especially in Winter Knight. That’s the book where he gets Rapist Superpowers.

            … Of course… she’s also the one who gave him those rapist superpowers, so… there’s that. Hm.




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            1. Roarke says:

              Tehnically Mab gave him the rapist superpowers. Maeve and the other Summer/Winter Ladies have virgin superpowers, which take over their minds and try to kill all nearby men if they ever get close to intercourse.

               




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            2. Act says:

               try to kill all nearby men if they ever get close to intercourse

              I also the power to attack strange men who try to have sex with me, but I don’t think it’s related to virginity.




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            3. Roarke says:

              Does your power also make you extremely, almost indiscriminately lustful, just because?




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            4. Act says:

              I have standards.




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            5. Roarke says:

              Good for you. You’re 100% better off than female fae nobility.




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            6. Roarke says:

              As a cat person I am immune to such a barrage.

              The situation that the fae Ladies are in is legitimately sad and further evidence of non-satire-creepiness on Butcher’s part, though.




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            7. CrazyEd says:
              Ugh, sorry, my bad. I meant Mab in that post. The Winter Queen. Sorry, Mab and Maeve are just two different versions of the same name so I got confused. Maeve is just a walking pair of tits for Harry to slutshame.

              But I still maintain that the virgin superpowers are Molly only. Mab was already a fallen women when introduced so who cares if she’s a whore, but Molly is Butcher’s pure and innocent maidenly stacked goth waifu, so she can’t have sex.

              Good for you. You’re 100% better off than female fae nobility.
               50% better. Act only said she had standards, not that she wasn’t extremely lustful. You have to be careful with these fae-types. They’ll always try to get you with the exact wordings of things, and then when you least expect it, bam, they replace your newborn with a changeling.




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      2. illhousen says:

        BTW, Thomas is first introduced in book 3, right? That shall be amusing, considering the sudden and very, very sloppy plot twist about him.




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        1. Roarke says:

          I keep thinking that it can’t be, because of the Nightmare, but I guess the Nightmare will be resolved quickly and the last 10 chapters or so will be Bianca’s party?




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          1. illhousen says:

            I think it’s the reverse? Like, Bianca’s party is resolved in two chapters or so, and then it’s all Harry on Harry action?




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            1. Roarke says:

              I’m pretty sure Harry goes nuclear at the party and some other wild shit, no? And then loses Susan or something, and other bad shit happens? Basically b0ok-ending shit. 




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  21. I’m going to follow you on Pinterest. You think about this from far more than one angle.



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