Justin [=DuMorne=] as one of the good guys. Cowl’s identity and BOB is/was the key to all answers!
I have read almost all of the Dresden Files theories and I gotta say dozens of them feel good and the probability that few of them are going to be confirmed in upcoming books is great. However I haven't seen this one yet so I'll try to put everything that i thought of in this one.
First of all my theory is based on lets say Butcher’s style. Before I had read Storm Front I did read another of Butcher's books - Aeoronaut Windlass which basically can be cut into small description: ".......... and even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…" also it was curious as hell so I can recommend it to you
From the perspective of all 15 books it kinda fits to Dresden Files also. To understand my theory you must know how I perceive books. In my opinion nothing is mentioned without a reason, that's why in the middle of reading Storm Front and Full Moon I was kinda sure that either Justin [=DuMorne=] or Elaine Mallory were alive. Why? Because one does not commit such amount of pages and time to describe those characters if there is no higher reason to it. Of course you might say its necessary to better understand Harry’s situation and what has shaped him into the man he is, but it would be enough to describe it in lets say one or two chapters briefly. However Jim actually took time to tell us almost everything about it. After the last page of Full Moon, when I was still unaware of the magnitude and complexity of the whole situation Dresden got into I was expecting this to be a vengeance from Harry’s former mentor or lover. I wasn’t even surprised when Elaine was back in the Summer Knight.
So before I write more, I will say this – Justin [=DuMorne=] is also alive (yes I’ve heard Jim said he is dead but cmon - spoiler from another series - [spoiler]Jon Snow[spoiler] was meant to be dead also…..)
Why do I think so? First of all he was a White Council Warden, enough skilled to take part in the fight with Kemmler (a wizard good enough to take on whole White Council all alone). After the fight he managed to steal Kemmler’s accomplice which now goes by the name BOB. As time go by he gets two apprentices – Elaine Mallory and Harry Dresden. He decides to teach them whats necessary to prevail/survive and its said by Harry that Jusin wanted to grew up a pair of his own warlocks.
Unfortunately his plan goes wrong when Harry comes home sooner as he skipped his last lesson in school. Harry gets to see (what was in my opinion!!) Justin showing up to Elaine what it takes to alter someones mind. Harry gets the whole situation wrong in that time, and he escapes. Elaine, in Summe Knight tells him what really happened – Justin get into her head, but its still to soon for Harry to realize. As he escapes he is merly confronted by He Who Walks Behind, the Outsider who seems to know [=DuMorne=]. Again Harry gets situation wrong which is confirmed in Ghost Story as he tells Lea the whole story as he understood it. He then claimed that He Who Walks Behind was not there to kill him, but shape him, motivate him to kill [=DuMorne=]. He Who Walks Behind suggested that he knew [=DuMorne=] and that was yet another reason for Harry to get back there and straight things out with his mentor. He didn’t think straight, as he said, his whole life died that day, he lost a love of his live, a home, a mantor, he was not able to perceive this whole situation for what it really was. He asks Lea for power to be able to stand against his former mentor, she provides. But as it goes for Sidhe, they cannot lie, but they can go past the truth and that is what they are doing. It is said by Butters, that mantle of the Winter Knight doesn’t nothing for Harry, it doesn’t increase his powers, it just turns off the limitations of mortal body, which is even confirmed in real life that we are all capable of doing impossible things in times of grate importance – mothers lifting cars to rescue their childs. So Lea tricks Harry into believing he is capable of taking on [=DuMorne=]. Harry got back, he threw his fire curse and burned everything. Why does neither Elaine or Justin threw their Death Curses? Death in fire is painful but its rather slow so why on earth, skilled Warden, Wizard of the White Council didn’t throw his Death Curse in his last moments? Lets explain
Now, as I explained why I think Justin is also alive I will preside to what comes next. I will pinpoint most important events to back up my theory.
Grave Peril – Bianca’s ascension party, few things happened here that shaped upcoming events, first of all Lea was given an Athame Dagger that led her to her uprising against Mab power which we learn in time. She was held prisoner by Mab in Arctis Tor, and its clearly that Mab did it to straight Lea and let her return to her old self. The Dagger has been given to Lea by Cowl and Kumori.
Summer Knight – we learn that Aurora went crazy and she is about to destroy the balance between Sidhe Courts, just my assumption (she also gets to hold an Athame Dagger due to her friendship with Maeve, perhaps it was Maeve who started the Summer Knight events).
We also get to know how war presides exactly.
Blood Rites – not much is revealed, Harry learns he has a brother and his mother was really well known in Supernatural world.
Dead Beat – Harry learns about Kemmler, he finds out BOB was his spirit. He encounters two powerful wizards, one (Cowl) strong enough to outpower even Harry’s mentor – Ebenezer [=McCoy=] and Kumori who was skilled enough to sit in the Senior Council too. Because Harry in facr is the good detective he quickly connects the dots and he know for sure that he meets them for the first time. Due to what Luccio had told him about the recent events with the Red Court of Vampires he knows for sure that all, most powerful wizards of White Council are simply busy with more pressing matters or unable to fight at all. Ebenezer went to counter attack with the Fellowship of saint Giles straight away. Also Harry learns what does Darkhallow do to its accomplisher. Bob gets taken by Cowl. Harry also learns its not safe to let BOB go huge and he commands him to “delete” all the memories regarding Kemmler. Sidenote for better understanding – Harry misjudged the Cowl’s powers, however he was not mistaken that he was powerful.
Proven Guilty – here, for the first time we get to see the scale of whole these events, attack on the Arctis Tor, hellfire in use, Knights of the blackened Denarius in place. Here we first get to know what Harry thinks about this whole mess that has been happening since he took the job from Mrs. Sells. He leans out the fact he knows for Ebenezer – the one man he knows he can trust, despite the fact that he knows he can go and say – hey, laws of magic go fuck yourself. Ebenezer confirms something is not right.
White Night – I’d say the only significant thing that has happened here was the Harry’s presumption that whoever Cowl was, he survived the Darkhallow rite.
Small favour – Nicodemus, willingly or not, on purpose or not confirmed that some of the Order of blackened Denarius might have been working for “Black Council”. We then learn, that Thorned Namshiel was probably responsible for hellfire attack on Arctis Tor, which is when I realized the magnitude of the whole situation.
Turn Coat – we found out how the presumable Black Council intended to use wizards of the White Council to serve their needs. We learned the name of one of their pawns. Peabody – mind altering wizard.
Changes – nothing of significant here if it comes for me, except the fact we get to see how POWERFUL [=McCoy=] is and we learned that the “Grey Council” has 12 members.
Ghost story – we learned the full story of the day Harry presumably killed Justin [=DuMorne=] and he first confronted the Outisder.
Changes – we learned a lot, Harry has learned a lot more. He now knows how serious his responsibilities are if it comes to Demonreach, he learned the name of the man behind the curtain – Nemesis, the Adversary. He quickly found out that the Black Council was no more, that the Adversary has made all of the Supernatural groups gone wild. Lea, Cat Sith, Maevie, Aurora if it comes to Sidhe, most powerful ones.
Ok so right now, with everything pointed out lets explain what I have in mind – chronologically.
Margaret LeFay was know for her ability to go through Ways of the Nevernever. She was one of the most talented wizards if it came to this. As Rashid said in the Cold Days, he is not surprised to see Harry at the Outergates in his young age because he took a lot from his mother. So lets go back in time. Margaret in her voyages through the Nevernever becomes aware of the never-ending attack on the Outergates, she then quickly becomes aware of the Adversary because she had a vast network of contacts with Fae. She tries to change the White Council, she tries to make it more flexible it if comes to following its rules. She fails so we loose track of her.
Justin [=DuMorne=] gets a hold of the Skull and learns that the Kemmler was also aware of the presence of the higher being that was trying to influence the supernatural and mortal worlds. But Kemmler was a pure evil, perhaps he was possessed by the Adversary and his spirit knew it. So the spirit says that all to Justin, he then takes an apprentice who might forge a same knowledge of Ways as his mother did. Justin verifies what Skull spirit had told him he decides that Laws of Magic are the burden that harshly reduce humanity power to defend itself. He is teaching Harry and Elaine subconsciously to do whatever is necessary to WIN because he knows what it might take to win against adversary. He doesn’t contact the White Council because he suspects it Is already in the grasps of the Adversary. The day Harry confronts him he is being mentioned by a Walker He Who Walks Behind in order to mislead Harry into believing Justin is a real bad guy here. Harry asks for power to a fearie and confronts Justin. In a series of quick events Justin figures out it might be better to step aside and to work in shadows than in a daylight. He lets Harry pull his fire curse and he pretends to die, forges his own death. He does that in the hope Harry gets a hold on the spirit of the intellect, he does that but he might didn’t know that the spirit acts differently for each of its users/holders. We get to see him again in a Grave Peril where he gives Athame’s Dagger to Lea. Yes, you got me, Im sure he is Cowl. I will say why in time. He gives her the dagger because he knows she is powerful and she will try to use it to gain power over the Winter Couurt and most likely die trying, Id say it was pure vengeance for tricking Harry. Then again in Deat Beat Justin get ahold of its former Skull and decides to try to become a God in order to be able to stand against the thing that pulls the strings in all of the events. The end justifies the means – which is actually said in the book that COWL and Kumori are about to use the gained power to do good, of course it would take a lot of lives but they just figured ouit the equation that lets say 1000 lifer are woth of sacrificing for other 7 billions to live. Harry disrupts it. Then he orders BOB to delete its part of memory including Kemmler.
Connect this with everything that has been said about [=DuMorne=], Margaret LeFay, Adversary and you might gain the sam result as did I. Cowl and Kumori both respect Dresden, why would they respect him if they were Black Council or Adversary puppets if as Rashid said all of Harrys doing resulted in thumbs into Adversary eyes??
The spirit of intellect, BOB knows the real identity of the being pulling the strings but it got deleted from its memory. So to sum it up. The humanity long forgotten enemy came back to kill it once again, and this time only Harry Dresden can hold him back.
Cowl – [=DuMorne=] for 100%, we are not aware of his full power so is Harry because he never saw him fighting for real, that’s why he mistaken him for the most powerful wizard he encountered.
Kumori – I’d say its Harry Mother because its turns out Harry has much more family than he expect to have. None of them, Cowl, Kumori want to kill Harry. It might be Elaine also – working in full knowlage, yea I know physical description doesn’t match but – shapeshifeing, kinda feel it?