Last time, Freezer Feline juuuuuuuuuuuust so happened to aim his laser scope next to Harry’s head while telling Denton that Harry is definitely out there somewhere and to get looking.
If I ran, I would be seen and pursued, and likely torn apart. If I remained where I was hidden, I would be found and then torn apart, or shot, or tranquillized and given to Johnny Marcone. A poor set of choices, but I wasn’t going to get any better ones by sitting on my ass.
Actually, “THEY’RE THE WEREWOLVES YOU IDIOT DIDN’T YOU PAY ANY ATTENTION TO MY ESSAY WHY EVEN BRIBE PEOPLE FOR IT IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO READ THE DAMN THING!” continues to be both the best option and one wholly achievable while sitting on your ass.
Harry begins sneaking backward, and by sneaking, I mean immediately alerting Denton to his retreat.
“Over there,” Denton said after a moment. “I think I heard it over that way.”
“Could be a raccoon. Squirrel. Or a cat,” Wilson suggested.
“Don’t be naive,” came Marcone’s voice, laced with scorn. “It’s him. “
Okay so new theory.
Marcone does know they’re spellwolves. He’s just overconfident because they’re acting like such total idiots. “Loudly announce I’m coming for a person! Suddenly, noise? lol raccoon prolly.
The others start toward him, so Harry decides fuck it and just runs blindly.
I pointed the semiautomatic above me, afraid to fire back at them for fear of hitting Tera or one of the Alphas by mistake, and pulled the trigger twice. The gunshots must have surprised them, because Denton and the others scattered for cover behind the nearest trees.
So suddenly merely shooting a gun doesn’t instantly give out your position and get you shot!
Harry then tries to think at least to the short-term future.
Running would only put me up against a stone wall. I doubted I’d be able to climb it, with a bum foot and a wounded shoulder. And I could only play the rabbit in the woods for so long before I was found.
Dammit,I thought. I’m no rabbit.
Exactly. You’re a monkey. Did you know dogs have to be specially trained to be think to look up and wolves won’t do it at all? That we had to specially breed dogs just to get them to not always get confused and wander off because their quarry’s trail ended at a tree? And pine trees are easier to climb than sheer walls designed to not be climbed. Get up one. Use the fact you’re still human and they’re thinking like brain-damaged wolfy things.
It was about time the hunters became the hunted around here. I moved ahead, silent and intent now, and scanned around me, searching for the sort of place I would need. I found it almost at once, an inward-curving hollow at the base of a large tree, and slid into it, nestling into the wood’s embrace. I put my head down, hiding the paleness of my face and the gleam of the whites of my eyes. And Listened.
Okay but that is literally what rabbits do. Even being a squirrel would be a step up here.
Also I think maybe that’s wizard listening, which became a thing right when the author decided to write it.
Harry’s wizard ears tell him they’re all still bipedal, thank my lucky stars. If they’d gone to wolf form they might have had me-of course, on two legs, they still had hands free to hold guns of their own. There are pros and cons to everything, I suppose.
“Once again, the author has contrived to hobble my enemies. But they’re still only hobbled and not hogtied, so really, I’m the underdog here.”
The real plot hole is when you realize that one of them could transform and find out Harry for the others to shoot.
(Harry also does not consider how their continued self-control in not transforming works with his belief they’ve completely lost control and don’t count as human.)
They then walk right by him and Harry jumps up and pounces one and gets the gun aimed at his head, and it’s Denton because that’s the absolute most convenient option for him. And somehow, and I’d like to remind everyone it’s pitch dark in the woods here and Harry can’t see anyone else and they know this, Harry’s plan of ordering him to order the rest of them out doesn’t lead to them just going wolf, circling around, and eating him.
“Dent?” Wilson called. “Are you okay?”
“Just do it,” Denton answered. “It will all be clear in a minute.”
Worst FBI ever.
“Maybe you should put the safety on,” Denton said. “Because if you kill me, you’ll never get out of here alive.”
I hate it when the bad guys have a point
Again, we’re to believe Denton is all that’s holding this group together and all of them are getting steadily nuttier. We’re also told they react to blood by going nuts and having sex. There are very good odds that blowing his brains out ends with the others lapping up gore and/or having a fight to decide who’s in charge.
It would have been one hell of a marksman who could get at me with Denton’s broad, solid form in front of me, and the shadows veiling me, but I didn’t take chances. I crouched down behind him some, leaving nothing but the corner of my head and one eye showing. At least that way, I thought, if they shot me, I’d never feel it.
I like this, though. Getting shot is scary, taking excessive precautions against it reasonable.
Anyway, he orders them to give up the belts and guns and then leave.
A part of me, probably the smarter part, groaned at my course of action and started cataloguing the number of federal and state criminal codes I was breaking into tiny pieces by taking a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation hostage and threatening to kill him and attempting to take hostage three more. I stopped counting broken laws at ten
1) How does Harry know this?
2) Are there really that many getting tripped all at once? This seems relatively straightforward.
“To hell with you,” Benn snarled. The silver-haired young woman dropped her gun, and ripped off her shirt, revealing a torso that was impressive in a number of senses
Now, we know they don’t need to be naked due to how the transformation works, and we know she could reach her belt fine through it, so why is she stripping here? Because. Also, she’s a “young woman” when before she sounded like she was reasonably mature, because ew, fapping to someone approaching thirty?
Denton tells her not to.
“Go ahead, bitch,” growled Harris. His big ears created little half-moon shadows of blackness on the sides of his head. “Denton buys it and we all get promoted. Hell, the wizard will probably shoot you, while he’s at it.” Benn whirled toward Harris, lifting her hands as though she would strangle him, fingers clenching like talons.
While women are, of course, extra crazy and violent, they are also strangely impotent and always disrespected even by those of lower rank. Shades of Sapphire of Alternia here, I think.
The evil big-eared ginger insists Harry’s too much of a wimp, and Denton’s all shut the fuck up and do it.
Harry is shocked that the man he’s aiming a gun at is in favor of other people not antagonizing him and begins to speculate on what secret plan is going on. Harry decides it must have something to do with Marcone’s awesome laser scope and so I kept an eye out for bright red dots. but you can’t tell if a laser dot is on your forehead, you know? Or anywhere ahead of you either. That’s another dumb movie trope and Harry won’t shut up about it not being movie stuff.
Denton chills out more and more even as they drop their weapons, and this is obviously super suspicious and not actually kind of normal for someone getting a handle on the situation, and because Harry is always right Denton follows it up by saying, “Harris, Wilson. Step back to the trees and bring out what we left there.”
And Harry’s just uh wait don’t do that. Denton explains patiently that he can’t shoot anyone else without moving the gun away from Denton first at which point he’ll try to wrestle for it, and Harry has apparently forgotten how hostages work so he doesn’t just shoot Denton and then start firing on the others.
Harry instead starts trying to talk to Denton about why he’s doing this.
“Too many years of seeing men like Marcone laugh at the law. Of seeing people hurt by him, death, misery brought on by him and people like him. I was tired of just watching. I decided to stop him. And men like him.”
“By killing them,” I said.
“I was given the power. I used it.”
“What gives you the right to mandate their deaths?”
“What gives them the right,” Denton asked, “to kill? Should I stand by and let them slaughter, Dresden, if I can stop it? I have the power, and the responsibility to use it.”
I felt a little shiver run through me, as the words struck close to home. “And the other people? The innocents who have died?”
Denton hesitated. His reply was quiet. “It was unfortunate. An accident. It was never my intention.”
God damn Harry is shit at this.
The problem is the collateral damage. If Harry would just fucking lead with that, say he understands the whole killing untouchable criminals thing but that this isn’t the way to do it, maybe he’d have some chance, instead of this nonsense about how it’s inherently wrong for people whose job is to stop criminals to stop criminals. And if he could say something other than telling them to just stop, like maybe that he could help do this in a way that doesn’t involve eating people and then humping the remains, they might actually be willing to do along with that! Doesn’t even have to be true, just sound true long enough to get things under control.
I mean, you’d probably have to help them kill Marcone to cement this, but come on Harry, he’s a mob boss, you supposedly care an awful lot about how people should never get to unilaterally decide who dies and do you seriously think that isn’t the very description of a mob boss?
He explains his great “send Harry to lycanthropes and hope they just happen to murder him” plan was because he’d heard magic police existed and employed Harry. I guess he doesn’t think much of the magic police’s actual intelligence.
Even the new attempt to explain the plot doesn’t make sense:
That’s why you messed up MacFinn’s circle, isn’t it? You needed a patsy and you turned MacFinn loose knowing that the Council would suspect him. The Streetwolves for the cops, and MacFinn for the Council.”
So they were trying to frame MacFinn for the council, and they thought Harry worked for the council, therefore they sent him after the other group they were framing instead.
Denton snarled. “Necessary sacrifices. There was work to be done, Dresden.”
“Oh yeah? As one of the aforementioned sacrifices, I don’t find myself agreeing with you,” I said.
So okay, this is going to be most people’s reaction.
But is this a book about ordinary people muddling through or one about heroes? It’s not noir, but even there, the beaten down detective had a nobility in that he was doing a job without real reward, one he kept at as his teeth were punched in and his client changed their mind and everyone told him to stop poking around, because it was RIGHT to solve the crime. A protagonist who’s mostly in this for the sake of saving their own skin, on the other hand, shouldn’t have pretensions this makes him a good person.
Harry then complains more about how dare the FBI not follow the law and that makes him exactly like Marcone, because two different things being exactly the same thing is evidently Harry’s mindset this book, but why? We know he doesn’t personally give a fuck. He ended last book deciding he was gonna judge jury executioner someone (or someones), and the closest he got to moral uncertainty was when he explained he wasn’t certain of his victory.
He then goes right from this to babbling about how the belts are drugs.
Benn watched us, her eyes bright, her body muscled and firm in the moonlight, her breasts rather pretty and distracting as she breathed.
For god’s sake Harry do you ever not think with your dick. You even just fucked your girlfriend.
After Harry finishes explaining that do you remember how she took her top off for no reason? BOOBIES!!! he goes on to add that also her breathing is ragged and she keeps looking at her belt because she wants her wolf fix. Harry goes on to assume the other people are similarly messed up from how they used to be.
He opened his eyes again. “Necessary sacrifices.”
“Dammit,” I said. “Don’t you see that this won’t do you any good? Even if you do get away with wiping out everyone here tonight, Murphy is going to piece together what happened.”
Denton glanced at me and said, like a mantra, “Necessary sacrifices.”
And so we see, Denton has more claim to being a hero.
When he says Harry’s death is necessary, he’s not asking anything of him he doesn’t ask of his friends and he doesn’t ask of himself. He regrets the innocents they killed accidentally, but he’d have done it if he needed to, if it meant saving more in the end.
Benn’s characterization here has been one-note HOT CRAZED SLUT, but something to consider is, despite how that archetype usually runs, she hasn’t been indiscriminate, and when they did their whole blood-fuck crazy thing, there was no conflict between the two male wolves over who was going to have sex with her. And Denton, for his part, only gets his moments of consideration/concern when dealing with her. In other words, they were probably together before the belts. They love each other. And he looks at her and he knows where this is going, and he says, yes, if this is the price to pay then I’ll pay it.
Really, the biggest plot hole in what they’ve been doing has been that no matter what he does, this isn’t going to hold much longer. But maybe he just wanted to throw people off long enough – maybe there’s a few other people he wants to kill after Marcone. Perhaps his insistence he can keep the rest under control isn’t just pure overconfidence, it’s that they went into this assuming they’d get killed eventually, and he believes he can control them that long.
On the other hand…if he is just after Marcone, and it does seem like this whole werewolf thing got way too complicated to be worth it to do again, the other option is that he actually does just plan to burn the belts afterward, and given he was able to hold everyone’s belts without using, it’s possible he could actually do it. Not sure why he doesn’t tell Harry this but possibly he doesn’t give a fuck about explaining it to some holier than thou asshole.
Anyway, what we’re supposed to be caring about is that he means he’s got Murphy as another necessary sacrifice but, whatever. She had negative pull, then she shot the hell out of an otherwise unstoppable monster in front of every officer in the building, and you think killing her is going to do anything to get them off her trail?
“Kill me, Mr. Dresden,” Denton said quietly, “and Harris will cut the Lieutenant’s throat. Benn will go for her gun, as will Wilson. Likely, they will kill you. And then they will kill these wolves you brought with you, your allies. But even if you get all of us first, Murphy will be dead, and you will be holding the weapon that killed four agents of the FBI.”
But it’s not actually registered to him or anything, and you’re standing in the middle of a mobster’s lawn. I just…how do you expect that to work? You should’ve just stopped while you were ahead.
Denton decides the tables are sufficiently turned and that now Harry needs to drop his gun, and Harry, being a fucking idiot, decides that the guy chanting necessary sacrifice and willing to include his own friends in it wouldn’t possibly kill a fellow cop. As Denton gives the order, Harry realizes his error and decides to make a new one by trying to shoot at them, at which point Denton beats the shit out of him and takes his gun. He then explains Harry should’ve just fucking shot him. I know, Denton, I know.
“Beautiful moon tonight,” he said. “Sort of reminds me of a story. How did it go … ?”
I tried to tell him where he could stick the moon and his story, but it came out a strangled gasp. I still couldn’t move. It hurt too much.
Denton thumbed back the trigger, sighted down the barrel at my left eye, and said, “Ah, yes. ‘And I’ll huff. And I’ll puff. And I’ll blow your house down.’ Good-bye, wizard.”
Death by nursery tale. Hell’s bells.
Butcher you fucking hack accept that the full moon is from movies.