Dresden Files Grave Peril Ch24

Last time, Harry decided that he’d so thoroughly fucked up everything about investigating the A-plot that he might as well work the vampire party B-plot.

Michael parked his truck on the street outside Bianca’s mansion. He put the keys in his leather belt pouch, and buttoned it with the silver cross button. Then he straightened the collar of his doublet, which showed through the neck of the mail, and reached behind the seat for the steel helmet that slipped on over his head. “Tell me again, Harry, why this is a good idea. Why are we going to a masquerade ball with a bunch of monsters?”

So, I know the advice is that it’s better to show than summarize. But sometimes showing just doesn’t work, and this is written in first person, so we don’t actually need Michael to drive Harry all the way to the mansion then sense the cameras are rolling again so he can finally ask why the fuck they’re doing any of this. Harry could just chat directly to the reader about his reasoning instead of making us try to decide which is more absurd, the idea Michael didn’t ask at all or the idea he did and forgot.

The explanation Harry gives Michael is “Everything points us this way,” I said. and jesus fucking christ this is the worst detective story ever. If “everything” is pointing in a direction YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO NOTICE THAT.

The way it SHOULD work is that something just happened that makes the rest of the pieces fall into place. Instead, Harry recaps stuff we’ve known for half the book: someone’s been messing with ghosts, Lydia is connected to it, Bianca is connected to Lydia and also doing a big vampire shindig.

Stallings told me that people have been going missing off the streets. They’ve probably been taken for food or something. Even if Bianca isn’t behind it, and I’m not saying she isn’t, chances are that anyone who could be is going to be at the party tonight.”

And why has Harry suddenly realized this? He doesn’t even pretend that this just didn’t occur to him until he found the nightmare has a patron. He says nothing, in fact, to suggest any of this is a sudden realization at all.

Which leaves us with one alternative.

Harry always knew this but didn’t care.

Harry knew the vampires were up to something with a big body count but he figured that since only the nightmare was directly threatening him, he didn’t want to poke a hornet’s nest by complaining about what was behind it. Now that he’s failed to beat the nightmare in each encounter, he’s forced to reconsider his plan. He did sear Bianca’s skin off that time, so hey, maybe he’ll be better able to murder the nightmare’s master than it.

Plus, if he goes to the vampire party and triggers vampire hospitality, then perhaps either the nightmare won’t go after him or when it does the vampires will have to destroy it. I’d certainly expect that from fae hospitality, but vampires being a bit more casual makes sense to me – making a monster designed to attack during the party would clearly be unacceptable, but someone aggroing a monster and then fleeing to the party is pretty different. Under normal circumstances, it could be a power play where the vampire host will be embarrassed by the death of a guest because it suggests they weren’t strong enough to control their territory, but I could see everyone involved deciding to just pretend the whole thing didn’t happen because they’re happy he’s dead too – and if not, I’m sure Bianca would be willing to accept the loss of face as a small price to pay for Harry’s death.

To try to give it some connection to last chapter, Harry goes on to explain that the spell means he bumped auras with the nightmare’s patron, so now if he touches somebody he can to an aura comparison and know who they are.

(Possible concern – are we sure the patron is its creator? The werewolf pileup made it clear that it’s possible to have multiple supernatural entities at the same time. Someone could be motivated to protect the nightmare without being the final boss.)

Michael goes on to remind us it’s nighttime and that the nightmare hasn’t appeared and this worries him.

“Maybe I scared it. I cut it up a little.”

You’re both stupid. The nightmare has shown no teleportation powers. It called Murphy and then showed up later. It physically dragged Charity about. It had to sit around waiting at Micky’s house and pass the time killing animals.

The summoning spell at Harry’s house was trying to pull it in from somewhere else, therefore, it isn’t there. While theoretically it could’ve been lurking nearby (given we’re talking magic, we don’t know if range matters, so we can’t take the difficulty in summoning to mean it was far away) there’s the fact that before Harry’s spur of the moment binding, it was still free to harass anyone it felt like. And given that binding was spur of the moment, it’s really unlikely it could predict it and know last night that Harry would be the only target it could get tonight. Personally, I’d guess it was going to attack the hospital or Michael’s house. And there’s no sign it knows where its victims are, given so far it’s attacked two people in their homes and one person nearby. So, it started out a good distance away from Harry, then probably assumed Harry would still be at his house (and as it never actually got over any thresholds, he might actually be totally safe so long as he just stays inside at night…)

The nightmare, therefore, is either on route to Harry’s house, at Harry’s house, or walking in expanding circles around Harry’s house hoping to find him.

But forget that poor reasoning! Michael has a much stupider thing to say.

There are going to be dozens of things in there that have no right to exist in this world. It will be like walking into a roomful of wolves.”

Guess they don’t teach how analogies work at paladin school.

We then get a fresh reference to the hospitality rules!

The bad guys have to play by the rules tonight. We’ve been given the protection of the old laws of hospitality. If Bianca doesn’t respect that, it’s going to kill her reputation in front of her guests and the Vampire Court.”

…it doesn’t actually tell us anything. You can’t just keep saying “old laws” if you never tell anyone what the fuck the old laws are. Especially when you’re constantly sneering about idiot mundanes and how all our stories are wrong and also dumb.

We still don’t know how gameable these rules are. We don’t even know if everyone under the roof is covered by the rules – normally it’s assumed so, because inviting two enemies under the same roof only for one to die is not very hospitable, but we’re dealing with vampires. Bianca’s promise could easily be that none of her vampires will cause trouble but any independent diplomatic agents answer to their own people and not her, like say, a fairy who also got an invitation. There’s also the fact that because again, vampires, doing stuff against the rules may be fine so long as you’re not caught. If dealing with fairies is all about impossibly complex unknown rules, dealing with vampires is all about trying to fend them off and stick to the lighted areas because they’re monsters that like to pretend they’re classy and subtle so they won’t do stuff where there’s witnesses.

Worse, the only thing that does seem to be nailed down is that this isn’t magically enforced, because Harry just says it’ll make Bianca look bad, not curse her or something. Combined with what I just said about vampires being all about surface politeness and plausibly deniable murder…really doesn’t seem like rules will do much to protect you.

Michael promises to help and Harry clarifies that actually in this case “help” will be to not pick fights as the vampires drain people and then offer you some still-steaming steak tartare. It’s their turf.

But Michael counters by pointing out that he’s a paladin and the DM will take all his precious levels if he prioritizes long-term goals.

“I am what I am, Harry.”
I threw my arms up in the air, and banged my hands on the roof of the truck. “There are people who could get killed if we mess this up. It isn’t only our own lives we’re talking about, here.”
“I know,” he said. “My family are some of them. But that doesn’t change anything.”
“Michael,” I said. “I’m not asking you to smile and chat and get cozy. Just keep quiet and stay out of the way. Don’t shove a crucifix down anyone’s throat. That’s all I’m asking.”
“I won’t stand by, Harry,” he said. “I can’t.”

Michael then finishes up saying, “I don’t think you can, either.” which I can only interpret as another self-serving bit of acting to convince the DM that hanging out with Harry doesn’t count as consorting with evil creatures. Harry can, has, and will, Michael.

My loathing for the both of them aside, this is a real dilemma for anyone who isn’t contractually mandated to care or a predatory piece of shit. I’m very much on the side of the ends having the capability to justify the means, but that just makes it all the more vital to always carefully weigh the two. It is super easy to react to every situation with, “Oh, that looks risky, I’ll hold back to do more good later!” which is why such an impulse can never, ever be trusted.

It’s easier when you’re not godmoding your way through a book – a pair of ordinary humans entering it would be in a situation where most things they tried would get them killed without helping anyone, in which case “stay alive, do good later” is being contrasted with “die pointlessly”. But when you can set off skin-searing lightbombs, Harry is pretty much guaranteed to have the ability to save others. The question then becomes, what is the most good Harry can do?

Normally he’d be able to make a case that he’s the magical savior of Chicago, but another issue comes up – what’s Harry’s current life expectancy? Let’s say he’s right and he’s safe from harm all party. He then has to leave, and unless the vampires let him stay until dawn, a terrible idea in general that in Harry’s specific case could result in him going “oh hey, guest-right ceasefire is up, guess I’ll explode the roof now :D”, he’s going to leave while it’s still night. The nightmare attacks him and either finishes him off or Sexy Godmom yanks him out of harm and into being a dog. If he decides to stay longer, the vampires probably eat him. If he somehow avoids the nightmare tonight, there’s still the next night, and the next. While it would seem Harry should be able to win by just staying up all night, the fact this is unmentioned suggests it won’t work – maybe it can just batter down the wards over time.

So, even allowing for the selfish-but-valid impulse of not wanting to die, and the fact that Harry clearly prioritizes the survival of people he knows over random missing persons, the argument they should keep their heads down because they need to survive this to do good later isn’t very good. Blowing the place up and getting killed may be the better choice of action.

But Michael doesn’t see any need to actually discus things, Instead, he suggests praying together. When Harry boggles at him, because Harry forgets his friend whose only character trait is religion is religious, Michael says he’ll do the praying. That’s not how joining in prayer works, Michael.

I don’t have anything against God. Far from it. But I don’t understand Him. And I don’t trust a lot of the people that go around claiming that they’re working in His best interests. Faeries and vampires and whatnot – those I can fathom. Even demons. Sometimes, even the Fallen. I can understand why they do what they do. But I don’t understand God. I don’t understand how he could see the way people treat one another, and not chalk up the whole human race as a bad idea.
I guess he’s just bigger about it than I would be.

Okay, so apparently demons are not fallen angels, which does work with them having no moral sense but then raises the other question of okay wtf are fallen angels. I wonder if this is another D&Dism since demons and devils are different things there, with devils being what the angels sent to hell to fight demons became.

It’s – you know, I often rely on “interesting”, but in this case, I’ll go with “odd”, because it’s a very boring choice – odd that Harry’s disagreement with God apparently contains no real issue. His big point of contention is just why God doesn’t hate us more and maybe wipe us away completely. Most theological arguments are about why there is suffering and if God can be said to be good if he is all powerful yet allows evil, in part because there’s more to think about but largely because most of us aren’t unfeeling monsters.

In a way, I guess it makes sense with who Harry is. Harry generally does unto others. Despite his constant pity parties, Harry always has some other option. He may be bested, mostly by chance, but he is never helpless. So to him, the world is made up of various people pushing and shoving for power. Some people screw up and lose. Some people are nice and choose to largely avoid it. But everyone has the capability and most are using it, which fits exactly with his behavior towards Lydia, or even his general description of women tricking him into being “chivalrous” by using their sad eyes to make his brain short-circuit long enough to get what they want.

I think the only time he’s shown to fully, definitely understand people can be powerless was in the first book when he saw the kid near the end. Given this Harry is orders of magnitude crueler than that Harry, he may simply no longer feel that way. And even if he still does…well, there were plenty of other victims in that book, and Harry was able to rationalize how them having any agency at all meant they had power. He’s obviously pretty talented at making the world fit a convenient worldview, and he’s also demonstrated throughout this book that he’s great at forgetting stuff he doesn’t want to deal with, so he may just ignore the few people he can’t pretend are equally deserving of being washed away in another flood.

Michael then does one of those lameass “hey god, we’re doing a thing, help us to do the thing however it turns out you want it done” prayers. Dammit, Michael! Use some actual prayers. You might as well be some bullshit nondenominational Christian with your stupid blank white churches with nothing interesting in it at this point.

Harry tries to tell me to be impressed by his Simple words (because it still counts as triggering the faith buff) and fuck that shit. Michael, you’re probably gonna die, at least do the Lord’s Prayer or something! Butcher shouldn’t even need to look that up, fucking everyone knows that, and I won’t even complain if you merge Catholic and Protestant versions because they’ve both got their good points, and it even has the bit about God’s will being done which is pretty much what Michael’s saying here only in a flowery portentous way. (Much better would be to go with some saint’s prayer – especially after fucking up, since the point of the saints is them being more human and so more sympathetic to the fact humans fuck up. And given there are a bajillion saints and people arguing over who is and isn’t, it’d be fine to make one up and say it was the secret saint of those who knew magic was real. I mean, Michael’s already part of a secret order carting around a secret relic, why not give his order a patron saint nobody knows about too?)

Anyway, they finally head in.

The gate had an honest-to-goodness guard house, with a pair of guards.

Why is this a shock? Harry’s last meeting with Bianca was high security and that was just him turning up out of the blue. This is an enormously important affair. Plus, he just said yet again that the host’s protections are going to be a big deal, which means Bianca can’t stop at just the level of security to keep herself safe.

Harry then sees some other guests arrive.

a man glided out of the limo.

He was tall, pale as a statue. Sable hair fell in tousled curls to his shoulders. He was dressed in a pair of opalescent butterfly wings that rose from his shoulders, fastened to him by some mysterious mechanism. He wore white leather gloves, their gauntlet cuffs decorated in winding silver designs, and similar designs were set around his calves, down to his sandals. At his side hung a sword, delicately made, the handle wrought as though out of glass. The only other thing he had on was a loincloth of some soft, white cloth. He had the body for it. Muscle, but not too much of it, good set of shoulders, and the pale skin wasn’t darkened anywhere by hair. Hell’s bells, I noticed how good he looked.
The man smiled, bright enough for a toothpaste commercial, and then reached a hand back down to the car. A pair of gorgeous legs in pink high heels slid out of the car, followed by a slender and scrumptious girl barely covered in flower petals. She had a short, tight skirt made out of them, and more petals cupped her breasts like delicate hands. Other than that, and the baby’s breath woven into the tumbled mass of her black hair, she wore nothing. And she wore it well. In the heels, she might have been five-seven, and she had a face that made me think that she was both lovely and sweet. Her cheeks were flushed in a delicate pink blush, vibrant and alive, her lips parted, and she had a look to her eyes that told me she was on something.

Now, this is Thomas, who I’ve osmosed is a big part of the argument for bi Harry, to which I reply, eh. Yeah, that sounds pretty interested – but it’s nothing compared to the next paragraph. When a supernaturally hot guy gets less of a reaction than a human hot girl…

Which is not to say this proves Harry isn’t bi. Just that I see no evidence here his tastes swing toward men of delicate swords and soft loincloths. The man is described as possessing attributes. The girl is a series of body parts.

Also, let’s take a look at the final line of her description.

Her cheeks were flushed in a delicate pink blush, vibrant and alive, her lips parted, and she had a look to her eyes that told me she was on something.

The very next line?

“Harry,” Michael said. “You’re drooling.”

It might be uncharitable to wonder if there’s any connection between the two. Certainly, what he notices first is what he’s most likely interested in. But Harry’s often described women as attractive and making him lose control, and somehow he never really acts interested until they’re properly broken.

Michael goes on to tut at Harry that the girl isn’t even nineteen by his estimate, and oh Michael, as if slobbering over someone “not quite nineteen” is some sort of low for Harry.

Now, Harry mentioned a bit earlier his costume’s something that’ll get everyone’s attention, though we haven’t been told what it is. Thomas checks it out and finds it a funny joke as well as guessing it means Harry’s Harry.

Harry, who is in the phone book, throws his weight around every chance he gets, and who took the time out from being stalked by a superghost to pick a costume to get the vampire’s attention, is now pissed: That got my hackles up. It always bugs me when someone knows me and I don’t know them. Yeah, it’s definitely his fault you don’t pay attention to anybody else.

Thomas introduces himself as Thomas. Harry appears to believe his politeness is some sort of supernatural chill and not a recognition that if he was offended, ignoring it is the best fuck you to Harry and his desperate attempt to start a fight anyway.

of the White Court.”
“White Court,” I said.
“Three vampire Courts,” Michael supplied. “Black, Red, and White.”
“I knew that.”

You absolutely did not. I can’t remember if this came up any other time, and it doesn’t matter. The simple fact is, you knew nothing about Bianca so even if you knew they had colored courts you wouldn’t know anything but the names themselves.

Apparently the black court is going extinct, which pleases Thomas because vampires don’t get along.

We all trouped up the front stairs, affording me an uncomfortably proximate view of Justine’s legs along the way, lean and lovely and made for doing things that had nothing to do with locomotion.

See what I mean? She’s pretty much attached to someone equally naked and even hotter, and Harry only has eyes for (a part of) her. Also, while “made for” can be okay in moderation, when you keep referring to the legs themselves as a separate entity and have no concern for the fact the girl herself is drugged and a vampire’s supper, yeah, bit objectifying on the whole.

Thomas then asks if Harry knows about how this works and Harry snappishly says that no, he doesn’t know jack shit about what vampire etiquette involves, as if he has no awareness that only keeping to such etiquette keeps the guest protections active. Thomas, who I guess also feeds on impotent dickishness, helpfully lays out the evening’s program of being presented to the crowd and then getting gifts from the host.

Harry is baffled by why a vampire of the white court who had just expressed delight at the near death of the black court might be helping someone opposed to the red court, because Harry is a fucking idiot.

“Why, Mister Dresden. Why should I not help you?”
“You’re a vampire.”
“So I am,” he said. “But, I’m afraid, I’m not a terribly good one.” He gave me a sunny smile and said, “Of course, I could also be lying.”

Worse, so’s the book, given it thinks it makes a lick of sense to act as if his actions are some great mystery, where they only make sense if he’s good but as a vampire he must be evil, what could be going on????????????

Anyway Harry finally shakes his hand and verifies Chatty isn’t related to the nightmare, so, time to go a smoozing. He steps up to be introduced to the crowd and the narration finally explains his outfit is the shittiest movie vampire costume Harry could make. I mean, he put real effort into it. The tux is tattered outdated garbage, his necklace is painted plastic – you know, for when mere colored plastic doesn’t look bad enough – , he painted his entire face with shitty white clown makeup, and then he stuck plastic fangs in his mouth and some fake blood. These are Harry’s priorities.

“I think,” Michael said, “that you’ve just insulted everyone here.”

We’re supposed to be impressed by what a SICK BURN it is that Harry’s a shitty version of them, but I’m pretty sure a human looking shitty compared to actual vampires is not really that cutting.

From the courtyard below came several distinctive sounds: A few hisses. The rasp of steel as several someones drew knives. Or maybe swords. The nervous click-clack of someone with a semiautomatic working the slide.

Alternatively, Harry’s a fucking idiot and this is just the reaction everyone has to seeing he’s arrived. Surely if anyone was going to view guest right as more of a suggestion it’d be vampires.

56 Comments

  1. Roarke says:

    Surely if anyone was going to view guest right as more of a suggestion it’d be vampires.

    In many myths about vampires, they are supposed to be the subversion of guest right – the monster that must be invited into your home. The stories involving them take advantage of people’s fear of strangers. There would be room, in my opinion, to make going to a vampire party a seriously freaking Big Deal for the characters. But wait, I guess that’s just movie vampires.

    We’re supposed to be impressed by what a SICK BURN it is that Harry’s a shitty version of them, but I’m pretty sure a human looking shitty compared to actual vampires is not really that cutting.

    If anything, this legitimately should be amusing to them if they intend to kill him. Instead, it’s crossing into Nice Socks territory because it has no reason to be effective whatsoever. Like, it’s this kind of bad writing that kneecaps immersion. For the sake of the intended reader reaction, the vampires get to be props. Why does a writer reduce the villains to props?

    Now, this is Thomas, who I’ve osmosed is a big part of the argument for bi Harry, to which I reply, eh. 

    It looks like Harry’s into older men. He wants men with some ponderous dignity. And that sword is clearly not up to snuff. His winning smile isn’t anything near fatherly, and he hasn’t offered Harry any money or threats. Gonna pass on this ship.

    Her cheeks were flushed in a delicate pink blush, vibrant and alive, her lips parted, and she had a look to her eyes that told me she was on something.

    It’s a good thing Harry has already decided he won’t do anything about the victims, or he might have to feel guilty about this normal human girl on the arm of a vampire. Also this is the second teenage girl connected to drugs after her immediate obligatory ogling. This is clearly a “Shoot first, ask questions never” kind of thing.

    Most theological arguments are about why there is suffering and if God can be said to be good if he is all powerful yet allows evil

    Hahahaha. Not the comic, the arguments. Though the comic is also delightful. It expresses both the dilemma and the reactions to it very well.

    because it’s a very boring choice – odd that Harry’s disagreement with God apparently contains no real issue.

    I think you discussed at some point that Butcher (or maybe it was another author) is incapable of writing non-religious good guys, and Harry’s attitude seems to be as close as Butcher gets. God is clearly good and there’s no need to question that, but people still suck.




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    1. illhousen says:

      Gonna pass on this ship.

      I mean, Harry’s still gonna (soul)fuck him, but it would be, like, a casual thing, you know? I mean, they’re both here, it’s a party, so, may as well. Doesn’t have to mean anything.




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      1. Roarke says:

        Hey, slow down there. Are you implying that Harry may not be a high-fidelity piece of equipment? That he’ll soulfuck multiple people on both sides of the fence? Get out of here with that.




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        1. illhousen says:

          Oh, come on, don’t be a prude. It seems Harry had broken up with Marcone, and Michael has problems with his… equioment. A man has needs.




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          1. Roarke says:

            And that long-distance relationship with Morgan really hasn’t worked out. Morgan must have moved on to other, more proactive warlocks who really put their necks on his blade.




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            1. illhousen says:

              Well, for Morgan it really was all about stabbing. Which was fine at the beginning, sure, I mean, have you seen his sword? But it’s obviously not a good foundation for a long-term relationship.




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            2. Roarke says:

              I still think he ruined Harry for all future relationships.




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        2. CrazyEd says:
          I don’t think Harry cares what side of the fence people he soulfucks are on, so long as he’s the one on the top side of the fence.

          No wonder Harry uses gibberish Latin spells, he’s actually a Roman.




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          1. Roarke says:

            Not at all. Harry’s a bottom deep down. Morgan was his best ship of all, and Harry spent all of their interactions until the last terrified of him. Then Harry tried to replace him with Marcone, until he realized that Marcone used too much carrot and not enough stick in their interactions.




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            1. illhousen says:

              I don’t know. Given the progression of his love interests (Morgan -> Marcone -> Michael), I think a case can be made that Harry’s experimenting with power dynamics a bit (and also has a thing for names starting with “M,” apparently). He still likes his men swordy and authoritative, but not necessary in a “let’s stab. Right here, right now” way.




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            2. Roarke says:

              Ah, but Michael isn’t authoritative with Harry. He is, at best, nagging. He’s good for Harry in other ways and useful to have around, but he only fits The Type on the surface.

              Marcone got the dynamic a little better – highly dangerous but ultimately wanted Harry under him rather than dead, which made him safe enough to push back against. That relationship there broke down when Marcone got too invested in recruiting Harry to credibly threaten or coerce him. That made Harry lose interest.

              See, I don’t follow the progression of love interests as something that is getting better or developing as Harry’s experimenting, because the first two clearly ended when the man in question was no longer a threat to Harry’s life. So as soon as Harry is in a strong position, he leaves. Maybe Harry is flirting with Michael to try to get him in a ‘burn the witch’ kind of mood, but there needs to be more antagonism.




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            3. illhousen says:

              Hm, I see your point, and that does explain Harry’s behavior here: he hopes that Michael would get mad at him for leaving innocent people in the hands of monsters.

              Too bad that Michael is a nominal paladin who doesn’t break his code as long as he looks away in time.




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            4. Roarke says:

              Yeah, that is another flaw. You would expect more from a paladin. Heck, I think Harry wants from Michael what he gets from Murphy, that is, an asskicking every time he withholds information that could lead to justice.




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            5. Farla says:

              He still likes his men swordy and authoritative, but not necessary in a “let’s stab. Right here, right now” way.

              I completely disagree. Morgan left him, while Harry got bored of Marcone quick and is just platonically jealous of Michael and his glorious harpy of a wife.

              I was pondering if Harry’s bisexually into the patriarchy, since he seems to want his men MEN WITH HUGE SWORDS and his women brokenly submissive waifs, but then, I think this bit here is the final key.

              Harry is physically attracted to women – he sees some female legs poke out of the car and he’s totally into it, but he’s also really into getting dominated. Unfortunately for him and everyone else, he’s a misogynist, so when a woman is dominant in any way, he tries to put her in her place. He then acts pleased but never initiates anything sexual with those women. His one functional relationship is with a woman who’s assertive but within patriarchy-approved areas – female reporters are allowed to badger men with their sexuality in return for dinner and info, and the only other woman he displays consistent interest in is the one who who bosses him around.

              He’s definitely into Morgan – his descriptions are so lavish – and he finds Frigid Tiger’s soul super fuckable before the guy melted on him, but he doesn’t single out physical features as attractive the way he does every woman he meets, so I’d say he’s not actually into guys, he just doesn’t care what someone looks like if they’ll be so kind as to put a sword to his throat and tell him he’s been bad.

              This is also why he’s so weird around both Terra and Sexy Godmom. His misogyny is fighting his libido.




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            6. Roarke says:

              I think you’ve nailed it. Man, the description you’ve given could make for a seriously interesting character, in my opinion. If you could take all of Harry’s ALPHA MALE power plays and contrast them with an extremely meek private life, you might show he’s actually confusedly trying to express what he wants in a partner. It would make for a great story in another book if you toned down the horrible misogyny. 




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    2. CrazyEd says:
       Instead, it’s crossing into Nice Socks territory because it has no reason to be effective whatsoever. Like, it’s this kind of bad writing that kneecaps immersion.

      Remember when vampires didn’t always hiss like cats the moment they got the slightest bit upset? Those were the days. The days before movies.

       Harry’s attitude seems to be as close as Butcher gets

      Except Harry is a devout follower of the Church of Vague Faith in Things. His pentacle is literally powered by his faith in the goodness of man or some lameass Care Bear shit like that, remember?




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      1. Roarke says:

        No, it’s worse than that. Harry’s pentacle is the symbol of White Magic, and he has faith that his magic is purer and stronger than any other kind. He literally just has faith in the idea that he’s better than everyone else.




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        1. illhousen says:

          “Strong rule the weak is the only law that cannot be broken.”

          Obviously, Harry’s only course of action now is to dress in black latex and learn earth magic.




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        2. Nicolas says:
          what? sorry,i don’t get get it? Harry’s pentacle is a symbol of order,of magic used for good,controlled magic as opposite to chaotic magic. it has nothing to do harry as a person,it’s about the belief that magic,and power of any kind should be used for good.



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      2. Farla says:

        Remember when vampires didn’t always hiss like cats the moment they got the slightest bit upset?

        In all honestly, this would be interesting to work out. Cats don’t really hiss because they’re “mad”, they hiss as a threat – in fact specifically they hiss pretending to be a snake. You generally don’t make warning sounds as a prelude to certain murder but to make the other person back off/stop doing that.

        So their response to seeing Harry in a dumb costume is…fear? And trying to threaten/bluff Harry into not being in a dumb cosstume. Maybe bad fashion is physically painful to vampires.




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        1. illhousen says:

          Can always go with obsessive behavior (like the compulsion to count stuff before thm): vampires are almost physically compelled to go, “Well, actually…” every time they see an improper representation. For this reason, the law of the Red Court forbids them from engaging with pop culture, lest they shall spend all their time correcting Wrong Opinions about various fandoms on the internet.




          1
    3. Farla says:

      The stories involving them take advantage of people’s fear of strangers. There would be room, in my opinion, to make going to a vampire party a seriously freaking Big Deal for the characters. 

      Hm. Or conversely, the reversal of the vampire inviting you into their home means you’re empowered to do whatever the fuck you like and they can’t do much about it. But that’d mean vampires would almost never do so, which means they’re not going to be particularly social or have any of the complex class structures and courts.

      Honestly, that kind of makes more sense – vampires are a weird combination of an apex apex predator on a highly inefficient diet, and should need huge territories to function, plus they’re crazy powerful in this so they should be individual boss monsters rather than working together to keep the protagonist’s power level down to just regular suedom.




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      1. Roarke says:

        Well, going back to famous vampire literature, you have Stoker’s Dracula being an extreme recluse who had all of one houseguest in a century. I think a lot of modern works have tried to give vampires societies when it doesn’t actually fit with our most popular conception of them. That might be where the disconnect is – by making vampires social creatures who band together, we’ve weakened them in our own eyes and made them more like us. 

         




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        1. illhousen says:

          Part of it is an attempt to reconcile their folklore roots with the more modern depictions, I think. Vampires used to stand for plague and were closer to zombies, hence their ability to easily turn other people into vampires. In that framework, a vampire society does make a degree of sense on logical level since it’s easy to get the number for it, even if it doesn’t fit thematic level anymore.

          (Or we can just blame Anne Rice and her love for rock star vampires.)




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  2. Several multi-paragraph quotes have no italics.




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  3. Act says:

    made for doing things that had nothing to do with locomotion.

    Because as we know, women are made to be fucktoys and anything else is incidental.




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    1. illhousen says:

      Reminds me of that Xanth quote that went something like “she was made for r- love.” Reminding me of Xanth is really not a good thing.




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  4. illhousen says:

    On old laws: later (much later) it’s clarified that they’re designed and in part enforced by fae because allowing fae to design your laws for inter-organization interaction sure sounds like a good idea.

    Most theological arguments are about why there is suffering and if God can be said to be good if he is all powerful yet allows evil

    And it would be so easy to have Harry be wary of God from the noir perspective. He constantly deals with supernatural malevolent beings that only care about their own agendas. I think DF does the usual “gods need worship” thing, so it would be trivial for him to suspect that capital-G God is in the same category, interacting with humans for our prayers and souls and inflating his own importance.

    I mean, you can even say that Harry wants to believe that there is someone powerful, all-knowing and all-loving who has humanity’s best interests at heart but simply can’t bring himself to do so because he’s seen way too much dark shit and things that pretended to be benevolent only to turn into face-eating abominations the moment they had you alone.

    I think Butcher here just reached for something edgy and noir-y for Harry to think rather than actually thinking about what issues people may have with God.




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    1. Roarke says:

      There’s also this feeling I have where God faces the same issue as magic: in a world where God actually exists and worshiping him noticeably improves your life, people’s behavior and society’s makeup would look totally different.

      In a world where magic actually exists and can bring great harm, Harry wouldn’t have this bizzare respect for people’s skepticism. Similarly, we wouldn’t be where we are as a society if God could legitimately improve the lives of his followers or protect them from malign forces. We’d be far more religious than we are now. Though, hell, maybe that’s my own bias creeping in.




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      1. illhousen says:

        To be fair, from what we’ve seen it appears to be a zero-sum game: God grants you fortune by taking it from someone else. So it’s more like buying a lottery ticket “where there are no losers! Only winners!” but actually you’re totally going to go home with a cheap keychain that costs way less than the ticket while someone else gets jackpot. Also, your car is going to break. Turning your back on such a god is more understandable.

        (But in general, yes, that’s the issue with masquerade-type settings. You can get away with it by introducing secret history and saying that the current society is the result of shady machinations of supernatural forces, but making those forces resemble our myths as well is a rather difficult task.)




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        1. Roarke says:

          I mean, it’s definitely true that Michael hit the Catholic Megamillion Jackpot and Forthill didn’t. Hot housewife, no birth control, holy sword, Bible T-shirts, etc. But major characters aside, Christianity is still providing items and locations of faith that can repel ghosts and vampires to anyone who believes. Heck, even assumed heathens like Lydia (let’s face it, despairing atheism would just be the cherry on top for that poor girl, right, Harry?) can seek and receive sanctuary at no cost.

          And yeah, this whole thing flies in the face of the masquerade given that the church would be rewarded for getting people afraid of the dangers that absolutely exist. Fear is already used as a recruiting tool when there’s nothing to fear. I don’t think you can get away with making current society the product of supernatural forces. I think you have to go the human-potential route, where our population and technology exploded so quickly that all non-humans, natural or supernatural, were pushed to the fringes..




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          1. illhousen says:

            Well, yeah, faith in general is more useful there than in the real world, just not necessary Christian faith.

            I don’t think you can get away with making current society the product of supernatural forces.

            Nah, you totally can, you just need to actually design those forces in a way that the current society would fit their goals. Like, in PMMM, the progress of humanity depends on wishes girls make when selling their souls to a fluffy eldritch abomination. It actually works well enough and ties into the themes of the show.

            Mage: the Ascension is more iffy since it does like to use historical magical practices as a basis for its occult societies, but the core idea of the current secular paradigm being the result of a deliberate manipulation by reality-warping wizard scientists is sound.

            There are other examples that work along the same lines.




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        2. Farla says:

          You really don’t like surprise car failure! I’d rather have regular car failure always five minutes walk from a friend’s house. So far, it doesn’t seem to be zero sum – that is, God doesn’t actually use his priest as a misfortune sink every time Michael needs to pull a lucky break out of his ass. He just doesn’t care about his priest wanting to do things other than babysit and bless holy water.




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      2. Farla says:

        There’s also this feeling I have where God faces the same issue as magic: in a world where God actually exists and worshiping him noticeably improves your life, people’s behavior and society’s makeup would look totally different.

        Here’s what I was thinking – Michael is holding a limited-edition holy artifact. We’ve seen no sign of the rest of the congregation, as if they can’t be tapped for additional resources. This should perfectly fit the prosperity gospel group, where followers of the true god are wildly more successful…but they seem to be normal. Hell, the poor priest seems to be the only one at the church instead of there being a whole host of ordained guys helping out.

        So what if there’s scaling problems? A small god has small power, but few to divide it among, and because gaining a single new follower gives a huge boost, it’s motivated to provide miracles to all of them. The more followers, the less a god gets from the individual ones, and it can only serve to empower a chosen few. Most religions either stick to being a tribal affair with no interest in spreading the faith. A few, though, keep trying to reach for maximum power and end up going through lemming-like boom/bust cycles as the religion expands beyond its capacity to provide, its followers abandon it, and then it provides to the loyal few again. When this happens, the priesthood is going to try to keep power by providing an explanation for why the miracles aren’t coming.

        Modern Christianity is the religion that hit the right combination of rationalizations over the centuries that faith no longer requires miracles.  They were big on having a few empowered people traveling around to prove God was real, while focusing most of the pitch on the afterlife, so ordinary people didn’t expect to get the power personally. And at some point, it hit a critical mass where it had absorbed so many faithful and persecuted so many other religions into the ground that it very nearly did any with miracles – other gods can’t get enough followers together to do much of anything, but Christianity’s power is spread so thin that car failure is about the most it does for even its most devout and important.




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        1. illhousen says:

          It could work, but there is still issue of holy ground providing protection from dark forces. I suppose if it’s only marginally better than the normal threshold and the main benefit is communal: that everyone can request a sanctuary, including travelers and homeless, then maybe it could fall into relative obscurity since those who would most benefit and care about it are people without power.

           




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    2. CrazyEd says:
      I mean, you can even say that Harry wants to believe that there is someone powerful, all-knowing and all-loving who has humanity’s best interests at heart but simply can’t bring himself to do so because he’s seen way too much dark shit and things that pretended to be benevolent only to turn into face-eating abominations the moment they had you alone.

      Of course Harry believes such a thing exists. He is such a thing.




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  5. CrazyEd says:
    Last time, Harry decided that he’d so thoroughly fucked up everything about investigating the A-plot that he might as well work the vampire party B-plot.

    The first book had a pretty good pretense of being a detective story (if you’ve never read a detective story before), and the second book tried its best to remain a detective story, but the third book has just seemed to have given up on that premise. I don’t think it’d surprise you to learn that, as the books go on, they get more and more blatantly action-adventure with each installment.

    Then he straightened the collar of his doublet, which showed through the neck of the mail, and reached behind the seat for the steel helmet that slipped on over his head.

    Considering that I seem to recall him having the Cross of St. George  on his cloak and his paladin motif, a gambeson would be more appropriate here than an arming doublet, considering his only metal armour is chainmail (which is itself a pretty weird choice). They’re far more padded, providing cushioning against impact blows and stabbing (the weak point of chainmail) a negligible amount of cutting/slashing protection, and are actually what crusaders wore under their chainmail armour. Arming doublets are about two and a half centuries after the Third Crusade (the one people think of when they hear “crusade”).

    Oh, and his helmet is likely to be a flat topped great helm, probably the worst design in European helmet history. [The site seems to be bitching at me for putting in a link, so you’ll have to search youtube for user Lindybeige’s video on medieval great helms to see it. It’s the second helmet he talks about in the video, at about 2:38)

    Since Michael lives in the modern day and has access to all of history’s armours up to that point in time, I would suggest he wear a kettle helm (good protection, no real visibility impediment to speak of, and decent hearing) with a bevor (a sort of metal collar which protects your neck and lower half of the face) with a good steel cuirass and articulated arm harness over an arming doublet (with chainmail sewn onto it where there are gaps in the armour). Sure, he’d look like a well armoured fifteenth century man-at-arms instead of a late twelfth century knight, but that’s stupid anyway so who cares?

     this is written in first person

    Remember when you described Storm Front as having a great conversational style? Remember the last book Butcher actually wrote in that style? Storm Front really does seem to be shaping up to be the best book of the series… somehow.

    the idea Michael didn’t ask at all

    Or, if he really had to ask on-camera, why not just have the conversation happen on the drive over there?

    Harry always knew this but didn’t care.

    Considering “Even if Bianca isn’t behind it, and I’m not saying she isn’t, chances are that anyone who could be is going to be at the party tonight”, it seems like it’s that Harry knew this but is trying his hardest into finding any explanation that lets him weasel out of facing retribution for burning her tits off in book one.

    Harry knew the vampires were up to something with a big body count but […] he didn’t want to poke a hornet’s nest

    This might actually work if Harry was actually a noir protagonist who wasn’t constantly reminding us what a big damn hero he is.

    It will be like walking into a roomful of wolves.

    I’m pretty sure that this is even downplaying the deadliness of vampires. Harry could probably kill a pack of wolves with magic with zero problem. An equal number of vampires? Eeeeeh. He’d probably have to at least dip into his “I did it but trust me it was super duper hard on me you guys” points pool.

    If Bianca doesn’t respect that, it’s going to kill her reputation in front of her guests and the Vampire Court.

    Since it doesn’t seem like these are magical laws but just plain ole regular societal laws, why would literally anyone there care if Harry was killed? Are they just using it as an excuse to laugh at her because they want to damage her reputation for other reasons? Because, if so, that’s not what that is implying.

    Worse, the only thing that does seem to be nailed down is that this isn’t magically enforced, because Harry just says it’ll make Bianca look bad, not curse her or something.

    Don’t forget that he didn’t even tack on a “vampirism does weird things to your psyche and compels you to act more in a certain way” or anything like that. Even if it wasn’t magical rules but the vampires were magically compelled to follow those societal rules, that’d still explain things a hell of a lot better than Butcher actually did.

    Harry can, has, and will, Michael.

    Oh, c’mon, you’re totally selling him short. Harry has actively avoided doing things that, if left undone, will result in his (usually gruesome) death. Not even threat of imminent murder is enough to get this asshole off his chair.

     It is super easy to react to every situation with, “Oh, that looks risky, I’ll hold back to do more good later!” which is why such an impulse can never, ever be trusted.

    As an RPG player, I think it helps to think of it in terms of “if I do this specific good action right now, I will lose the ability to do this even better specific good action I plan on doing at a specific time in the near future that can only be done if I hold off on immediately doing good right now”.

     and the fact that Harry clearly prioritizes the survival of people he knows over random missing persons

    And the survival of himself over the survival of people he knows, don’t forget about that.

    Hell’s bells, I noticed how good he looked.

    Ignoring the fact that Harry expressed surprise that even he, Greek God/Skinny Nerd Who Is Just Like The Reader that he is, found him good looking (not even attractive to him specifically, just objectively good looking) as a nail in the coffin (haaaaaaaaaah) against this being proof he’s bisexual… does anyone else get the feeling that this is Butcher’s way of responding to people who complained about all the descriptions of naked chick flesh in the last book?

    This doesn’t even read like a straight man trying to describe a naked man without sounding too much of the gay about it. I’ve read old pulp adventure novels before, and this is just reading  “The man had muscles. He wore no clothes. He looked good. Women must love it.” off a flash card in a dull monotone in comparison.

    “Three vampire Courts,” Michael supplied. “Black, Red, and White.”

    “I knew that.”

    Shouldn’t Harry, magic geek that he is, be the one explaining this to Michael?

    made for doing things that had nothing to do with locomotion

    If I put myself into Butcher’s mindset, I instantly know what this means, but what in the world is this sentence construction supposed to actually mean?

     have no concern for the fact the girl herself is drugged and a vampire’s supper

    Actually, has Harry even pointed out that she’s a vampire’s supper yet?

     his outfit is the shittiest movie vampire costume Harry could make. I mean, he put real effort into it. […] These are Harry’s priorities.

    To be entirely fair, he probably already had this on hand just in case he ever had to taunt some vampires, so it’s not like he had to take time out of his incredibly tight deadline to make it or anything.

     




    1
    1. Farla says:

      I’m pretty sure that this is even downplaying the deadliness of vampires. Harry could probably kill a pack of wolves with magic with zero problem.

      Come to think of it, Harry did walk into a roomful of wolves at least three times last book.

      Actually, has Harry even pointed out that she’s a vampire’s supper yet?

      He hasn’t, but I think the book has made it clear if something’s obvious and Harry doesn’t bring it up at all, it means he knows and doesn’t care.




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  6. Xander77 says:
    Leaving aside black face and different sorts of cultural appropriation (not the same power dynamic) white supremacists are deeply invested in unmasking (((inferior races))) “pretending to be white”. The “masquerade” parody of their Aryan heritage is deeply offensive to them.

    Even aside from real world parallels, as a predator, prey being deeply invested in mocking you, regardless of the quality of said mockery, is probably offensive as hell (not to mention a little dangerous) and scaring them into obedience is probably the reflexive first response.




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    1. Farla says:

      I’m not sure that works as a comparison. White supremacists who say “pretending to be white” are talking about people who are living their lives in a way where it’s hard for the white supremacists to know to target them. It has nothing to do with an actual costume but saying the way people are living their daily life is something to be offended by, because those people are hardest to harass and doing the least to them so you need a reason to put extra effort into tracking them down anyway. It’s not that they flip out over obviously black people putting on clown paint and a shitty blond wig. And Harry isn’t even an actual vampire parody here – he’s dressed up like the way his culture views vampires. So it’s if a KKK gathering got upset that a black person was dressed as a stock idiot white character from black films – how many shitty vampire movies are the vampires even watching that they can tell precisely what’s going on here? Isn’t most of the problem just that a black guy is there?

      And that’s without getting into that the vampires are a minority who live their lives on the outskirts of another culture while being easily able to mangle anyone anytime they feel offended, while white supremacists are about fragile-ego terrorism where they enforce social norms by going after anyone they can because they feel powerless. Vampires can’t be as emotionally delicate as white supremacists are because if they were, they’d already have gone after people making stupid vampire movies and, because they’re vampires, actually accomplished something. Meanwhile, I don’t think any wolves get offended by rabbits putting on heavy wolf tails and skipping into the den – if you’re an actual predator, your prey not taking you seriously is awesome. More of that, please. (How well can Harry cast his spoken magic spells with plastic in his mouth?)

      Then there’s the part where wizards aren’t actually valid prey but a power block of their own that the vampires are on fragile terms. The diplomat from one country showing up at your party as a racist stock character from the movies of a third, occupied country is tasteless, yeah – but that reflects badly on him more than anything. It’d be like a black guy showing up at a party as a freaky white person out of a manga – yeah, it’s not exactly flattering, but also, who cares? He just looks dumb. They never oppressed us, they never made it so that was the only version of ourselves we ever saw in broader culture, people never shouted those caricatures at us on the street. At most, the vampires might feel quietly hurt if the wizards are supposed to be allies, but I’m pretty sure they hate each other and they’re about to taunt Harry right back by killing people in front of him for supper.




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      1. illhousen says:

        Plus, in-universe, vampire stereotypes are propagated by vampires themselves because they match Black Court powers, so it’s a way to give people information how to fuck up rivals without destroying the masquerade. Whether or not it makes sense aside, people buying into vampire stereotypes is exactly what vampires want, canonically.




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  7. K says:
    Can we talk about the literal paladin of the Lord seeing someone he considers a friend (in his own words!) “drooling” over what Michael damn well knows is a rape and abuse victim that “can’t be nineteen years old” and whom he refers to as a literal girl, and who is also addicted to drugs and addicted to being fed upon/raped by a White Court vampire (because that’s literally all Thomas is at this point- some random vampire, whom Michael damn well doesn’t have any reason to trust nor like, because he knows how charming and charismatic the White Court is and what they use that charm and charisma FOR)/Thomas (a guy that’s older than her and could be older than her by centuries, for all Michael knows) and Michael’s only reaction to all of that to just be light teasing of the guy doing the drooling? And, as we see later on at the ball and also later on in the book, this doesn’t take away Michael’s fancy buffs and faith spells at all, really? Because like. That’s kind of fucked. Like, Jesus Christ, Michael wasn’t there to see how horribly Dresden treated Lydia, but he’s here now, so you’d think he’d do SOMETHING!



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    1. Roarke says:

      If Butcher was going to have a problem with drug rape, he wouldn’t have written the love potion scene. A character’s morality, be it good or evil, can only fit within the author’s comprehension. So Michael can only ever be as good as Butcher can imagine.

      Which is to say, not very.




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    2. illhousen says:

      Michael is a fan of Twilight. So’s God, apparently.

      And the true horror of DF is exposed.




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  8. depizan says:
    What is Harry’s plan supposed to be? The stated plan seems to be: “go to vampire party hosted by person who hates me because the person controlling the demon-ghost I just bespelled to kill me first might be there.” I feel like there should be an “and” with some form of action after that, but there doesn’t seem to be.

    Does he think he can stay there until sun up? (Despite the very good reason you point out why that’s unlikely.) It’s not as if he can do anything to the controlling person if he finds them there. (Unless there really aren’t guest protections, in which case, he appears to merely have gone with: “Of all the people who want me dead, I think I want to be killed by Bianca.”) And if he does have to leave while it’s still dark out, he’s likely to be demon-ghost munchies, making finding out who the controlling person is kind of pointless.

    It feels more like he’s completely forgotten what the plot is, so he’s going to go to a party to randomly be a dick.




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    1. Roarke says:

      There’s actually an interesting principle at work here that would serve well in a better story. 

      See, traditional noir detectives were a backlash against the ‘Great Detective’ of the Sherlock Holmes era. These dudes were not geniuses. Their strength was in grit and social acuity, not analyzing clues. So the investigation in noir stories involved going to anyone who might know anything and grilling them until they spilled something (or beat up the detective, or both). 

      From this angle, going to a party full of bad guys makes perfect sense if you’ve totally run into a dead end in the investigation. A more self-aware detective would be like “Welp, I got nothing. I’m going to go shake that tree with the nest of hornets to see if they’ll tell me anything while stinging me to death.” 




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      1. depizan says:
        Ha! You have a good point there.

        (And it’s not just noir detectives – that’s the general begining point for rather a lot of James Bond movies. “Hm, we suspect that that dude is up to something. I know, we’ll have Bond annoy him and see what happens!” But most noir detectives – and James Bond – are more likable, moral, and just plain human than Harry Dresden.)




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        1. illhousen says:

          That’s generally because noir stories don’t pretend their protagonists are heroic (James Bond movies kinda do, and the original stories… let’s just say they introduced a term “semi-rape” or something along those lines). Noir detectives are shitty people down on their luck living in a shitty world, and the narrative owns up to it and allows their mistakes and callousness to bite them in the ass and make things worse for them.

          Harry actually would be a lot more tolerable if the books plainly stated that, yeah, he’s not a good guy, he’s in it for the money and to save his own skin, and a lot of his beliefs are shitty and cause harm, and then progressed from there. (Well, that and give him less power as it skews what is and isn’t forgivable and understandable for him to do).

          As it is, it’s frustrating because he has the narrative backing, so a lot of his questionable traits are brushed off and outright ignored or portrayed as little cute flaws (like his “chivalry”). The book tries to present him as being a better person than his thoughts and deeds indicate, but in the end only makes him worse than he could have been.




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          1. depizan says:
            Yeah, Harry’s completely ridiculous power levels are almost as much of a problem as the narrative trying to tell us he’s a good guy. Both warp otherwise recognizable narrative bits beyond recognition.

            And I threw Bond in there because (while I enjoy the movies, most of them, anyway) he’s another character that the narratives generally want the audience to believe is a better person than he’s shown to be. But it’s more tolerable there because he’s not ridiculously overpowered to the degree Harry Dresden is.

            There’s also the problem that, while these books get the “bad villains” part of pitting your questionable protagonist against worse people, they kind of fail at the pitting part. Harry just kind of does…stuff. Fairly random stuff at that. Like here. He’s going to this party because he can’t think of anything else to do (apparently), but he’s not going to really do anything, and he’s ignoring that there are plot relevent things he could be doing, like helping the teenager who kicked off this story.

            So instead of “kind of shitty guy goes up against shittier guys,” we get “shitty guy wanders around being shitty while other shitty people do shitty things, and eventually takes out the other shitty people by pure plot contrivance.” Which is not satisfying on any level.




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        2. Roarke says:

          I still can’t get over the most recent Bond movie’s plot. I just can’t picture M sitting there before her death with a flowchart going “And then James goes to the funeral of the guy I order him to kill. He bangs the widow and saves her from assassins, discovering the conspiracy in the process… Yes, this is definitely a plan that is going to work.”




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          1. depizan says:
            Yeahhh, the recent run of Bond movies involve a whole lot of impossible plotting by characters. Even by the standards of Bond movies. 



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            1. Act says:

              The problem isn’t even that it’s contrived, it’s that it’s played straight.

              The pre-Austin Powers movies were tongue-in-cheek, silly-sexy fun romps, so it didn’t really matter how absurd everything was, because the absurdity was the point. However, once the AP movie happened, there was a big Don Quixote effect, where for whatever reason the writers didn’t want to embrace the parody and without that the only place for the writers to go was grimdark… which they did, but that ignores that the entire setup can’t exist in a serious universe. They went from being silly but fun to silly and boring.

              There’s a good quote out there somewhere from one of the writers on the recent movies about how AP is resopnsible for the modern iteration I’m too lazy to find. Say what you will about Mike Meyers or the AP series in general, but the list of parodies that killed a genre is short (Quixote, Airplane!, uh…) and it’s a huge accomplishment. The only weird thing is that after being killed the genre has somehow refused to die. It’s like a genre zombie now.




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            2. Roarke says:

              the writers didn’t want to embrace the parody and without that the only place for the writers to go was grimdark

              I wonder if the timing has something to do with that? Austin Powers, at least the last one, came out around the time The Deconstruction was becoming a really popular thing, especially the grimdark kind. Deconstruction movies were kind of trying to fill the same niche as parody and satire.

              That’d explain a lot of elements in the new Bond movies, actually, like the first half of Skyfall, which was all about rubbing in how painfully outdated the idea of the old-time martini-chugging spy was in the digital age, and how computers were replacing everything, and blah blah.




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      2. illhousen says:

        “When you have a case, go around and start asking questions. The answers don’t matter. Sooner or later the guilty party will learn about your involvement and come to give you a beating. That’s how you find them.”




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    2. CrazyEd says:

      It feels more like he’s completely forgotten what the plot is, so he’s going to go to a party to randomly be a dick.

       Honestly, I lost track of the plot chapters ago. Things are just happening at this point. A leads to B, but I’ll be damned if I can tell you why besides “Butcher said so”.




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      1. depizan says:
        I think Butcher forgot the plot. Or that a book is supposed to have one.



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