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Characters: The Dresden Files Harrys Household
Characters from The Dresden Files, Harry's household.

WARNING! Due to the books relying heavily on mystery and surprise, the pages would be virtually unreadable with excessive spoiler tags. Therefore, all spoilers except for the most recent novel (Skin Game) are UNMARKED. Tread carefully.

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     Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden 

My job hadn't changed: When demons and horrors and creatures of the night prey on this city, I'm the guy who does something about it.

Our hero, a smart-assed private investigator and wizard with a really big cat, an even bigger dog and a dark past. Since he killed his mentor in a magical duel after said Evil Mentor's failed attempt to bring him over to The Dark Side, he's been under very serious suspicion by the White Council as a potential warlock. Only Ebenezar McCoy's intervention stopped him from being executed. Now he makes a living helping the helpless and beating the snot out of vampires, but he's starting to realize that his family history is a lot more complicated than he had suspected...
  • Action Dad: To his daughter, Maggie.
  • The Alleged Car: The Blue Beetle is junk.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: In-universe, Murphy mentions most muggles he interacts with wouldn't have a hard time thinking this even if it's not the case. Dresden is a self-declared wizard who never looks people in the eyes, has a near-pathological need to snark, bad personal hygiene, and Nerves of Steel that means he responds little to things normal people would lose their wits over. From Harry's POV he has logical reasons for most of these (avoid soulgazes, no electricity in his apartment, Seen It All when it comes to supernatural horror, etc), but that doesn't make him seem any less weird to the muggles he must uphold The Masquerade to.
  • Anti-Hero: Pragmatic Hero. He's generally a good guy with a bad case of Chronic Hero Syndrome and Honor Before Reason, but piss him off and you'll wish you'd never been born. Isn't that right, Entire Red Court? Oh, wait, you can't answer that. Because you're all dead. Because Harry killed you all.
  • Back from the Dead: As of Cold Days.
  • Bad Dreams: Mostly of things burned into his mind from using his Sight, such as the skinwalker.
  • Bad Liar: One would imagine that someone capable of hatching a (usually) half-decent plan with a half-second's notice would be able to lie half-decently, but Harry simply cannot. Averted in the later books, if only because he stops trying.
    • Not anymore, thanks to Lasciel.
  • Badass: Of all shapes and sizes.
  • Badass Baritone: Aftermath (which is narrated by Murphy,) mentions that Harry speaks quite softly under most circumstances, but when he's either in combat or deliberately trying to intimidate someone, he has a resonant baritone. Since Harry never mentions it in any of his books, it's possible he's not really aware of it.
  • Badass Beard: Every once in a while.
  • Badass Bookworm/Genius Bruiser: Depending on where you place his six foot eight, but skinny, person. As of Skin Game it seems like his relentless physical training as the Winter Knight has resulted in a much more muscular physique (given the open Eating the Eye Candy a female character indulges in during his Shirtless Scene,) so by now he's probably the latter.
  • Badass in Distress: Becomes a Distressed Dude on a regular basis and cannot always get out on his own.
  • Badass Longcoat: Harry wears a duster. A magically reinforced, black leather duster "with extra billow" that can repel almost any physical attack.
  • Badass Teacher: To Molly for a time.
  • Beard of Sorrow: At the beginning of Summer Knight, Billy indicates that Harry has become so obsessed over trying to find a cure to Susan's vampirism that he's neglected his personal grooming even more than normal.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: If Harry can be said to have a consistent strategy beyond sheer bullheaded determination, it's that he's constantly turning his foes' darkest weapons against them in defense of others, even as he resists the temptation to wield those same weapons on his own behalf. From bound demons and hexenwulf belts to zombie dinosaurs and bloodline curses, Harry doesn't just stop the bad guys' ploys, but volleys them right back at the villains themselves.
  • Being Good Sucks: Harry is regularly forced into bad situations where, regardless of what he does, he will step on good people's toes and cause them great grief. Of particular note is the events in Grave Peril. His earlier poor choices led him to choose between watching Bianca slaughter an innocent girl and unmake Amoracchius or break his promise of good conduct and start a war with the Red Court. The evil vampire Bianca lampshades his continual dilemma by giving him a gravestone which says, "He died doing the right thing."
  • Berserk Button:
    • Hurt, threaten or kill a woman or child in his presence? He will take you down.
    • Threaten a woman or child that he holds dear, like the Archive, or his daughter, and he will pick up literally every weapon at his disposal to make sure that you die in an excruciatingly painful way. Arianna Ortega and her daddy learned this the hard way when Harry beat Arianna in single combat and Harry impaled the Red King's eyes before setting them on fire. And then there's what Harry does to the rest of the Red Court... (Put simply, it doesn't exist anymore.)
    • In the first three books, do not mention Elaine. He doesn't talk about Elaine. Ever.
  • Big Eater: Not in evidence during the time of the books but in Turn Coat Harry states that someone gave Ebenezar Mc Coy the impression that apprentices are always hungry. Granted, he was a teenager at the time, and teenage boys are notorious for their appetites.
  • Blessed with Suck: As the Winter Knight, Harry gains Super Strength, a Healing Factor and more magical juice... but in return, gives him a vulnerability to cold iron with a side order of mind-warping and psychopathic impulses. In addition, losing the mantle (by breaking the laws the Winter Fae abide by) causes all injuries and defects the mantle "cured" to return undiminished.
    • Skin Game implies that the Winter Knight's mantle is nothing more than the ability to run the human body with the limits turned off. You know, like the limits that keep one from breaking their own bones, shredding their own muscles or running themselves to death by exhaustion. Well, that and the ability to call up Winter Mist.
  • Book Dumb: Played with. Harry is clearly pretty well-read and generally seems well-educated, but he never finished high school and compared to most of the White Council he is hopelessly ignorant. In Turn Coat, when he was in a room full of wizards that contained a guy who went back to med school every ten years or so to stay current and others who had so many doctoral degrees their stoles were stretched from the little markers, he considered that he would like to embroider "GED" on his in red, white, and blue. He's basically the only one on the White Council who isn't fluent in Latin.
  • Character Development: Changes from a well meaning yet reckless and impulsive to a smarter, more analytical and cautious badass.
    • This is the focus of much of Ghost Story and is explicitly stated by Uriel at the end.
  • The Chessmaster: Harry evolves into this over the course of the novels.
  • The Chew Toy: Jim has said his whole career revolves around torturing Harry.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: We know about the chivalry, and the perversion, well, apparently the faerie queen has a great ass. If one pays close attention, Harry's narration even gets more descriptive of the feminine form depending on the degree of sexual frustration he's experiencing.
  • The Chosen One: Harry is a "starborn", one born under a confluence of events that gives him power over Outsiders. It's why Justin adopted him. It's strongly implied that his mother arranged the circumstances of his birth so this would happen and this may be why she married Malcolm Dresden in the first place.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: In one book, a vampire realizes that he is protecting someone because people in trouble go to him, and he helps them.
    • And he has a massive Guilt Complex to go with that Chronic Hero Syndrome. It originated when he was escaping from Justin, he got a civilian involved by trying to rob him, only for He Who Walks Behind to come along and brutally kill the young man.
  • The Collector of the Strange: Vampire teeth. He also has a variety of *very* odd things in his lab, including spent uranium powder and a sack baggy made of the scrotum of a Lion. It was a gift.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Primarily the reason that Harry continues to assert that he is not a "good" person. Occasional forays into spur of the moment damsel rescuing aside, Harry rarely ever goes into a situation without being prepared and more tellingly, if he sees an opportunity to get the upper hand over a superior opponent by playing dirty, he doesn't hesitate to use it.
    • He's perfectly willing to use a gun or hand-to-hand combat when that would work better than magic, which is especially effective since a lot of people expect him to be a Squishy Wizard with no combat skills other than magic.
      Harry: [after punching a bad guy in the face] Man, the yahoos I scrap with never anticipate that tactic.
  • Creature of Habit: To a degree that even his enemies know and have used it against him occasionally.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: So, so much. Even he doesn't know all the details of just how dark and troubled it really is.
  • Dark Shepherd: Occasionally acts like this, especially with Molly— see the fireball scene in White Night. He tries to be nicer to his friends, but when push comes to shove, he's better at making people fear him than respect him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Constantly, to the point where his influence has turned several of his friends and associates into snarkers too.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • He's turned down a lot of these over the course of the series. In Changes, he accepts Mab's.
    • He previously accepted, and subverted, Lasciel's.
  • Destructive Savior: When destroying buildings is a Running Gag, you know you've got one on your hands. Ghost Story reveals that the first magical battle he engaged in at sixteen, against He Who Walks Behind, ended with an entire gas station exploding. And the fallout of the Battle of Chichen Itza results in a massive power vacuum.
    • In "The Warrior" Harry sees an electrician on Michael's construction crew about to go to work drunk. Harry hexes a transformer to blow out power to the construction site, stopping work until the man sobers up. Although Michael appreciates that Harry stopped the man, he points out that Harry simply could have told him about the situation.
      Harry: That's not how I roll.
  • Determined Defeatist: In the climax of nearly every novel, Harry has accepted that he'll most likely die, and sets out to accomplish his goal anyway, without factoring in his own survival. His survival ends up being ensured anyway, somehow or other. Usually.
  • Disappeared Dad: As of Changes, when he finds out about his daughter for the first time.
    • Though technically he's been one since Blood Rites. Approximately
  • Determinator: He's usually been shot, stabbed, beaten, and kicked in the guts enough times to kill most men before the real fight even starts.
  • The Dreaded: Harry becomes one of these to some of his enemies. At one point in Changes, when he encounters a Red Court vampire (who happens to be one of their oldest, deadliest, and most capable assassins), it panics and runs away screaming.
  • Driven to Suicide: Harry in Changes. After being lied to by a Fallen about everything being his fault, he would rather die than become Mab's creature.
  • Expy: Shares a lot of characteristics with John Constantine.
  • Famed in Story: It's gotten to the point where nasties rarely come to Chicago unless he's a specific part of their plans, since they know it's a bit of a death sentence, and the other Wardens are scared to attack him when they outnumber him six to one and have three members of the Senior Council with them (all three of whom, Harry notes, can tie him in knots singlehandedly), and he can barely stand.
    • Those nasties by the way? We can add Nicodemus to the list of things that are afraid of Harry. According to Word Of Jim, Nicodemus is now terrified of Harry. Let me repeat that. Nicodemus, the two thousand year old man who is allied with a fallen angel and has been fighting Holy Knights and the various supernatural entities in the world for literally thousands of years, is now terrified of a wizard less than forty years old.
    • As a result of all this, he's pretty much the ruler of Chicago- not that he runs it like a gangster or something, but no small-time mage or other supernatural creature would start anything serious, for fear that the Wrath of Dresden would come down upon them. His death was far more destructive than he knew.
    • Stories of his exploits also stretch to the Nevernever, in particular a certain tale involving a donut.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • His old-fashioned chivalry. He is a sucker for a Damsel in Distress. As of later books he seems to be getting over this, at least in the Wouldn't Hit a Girl sense.
    • Acting without thinking or considering the consequences seems to be a long-term problem Harry faces, coming to a head over the course of Changes and Ghost Story. Letting his emotions decide his actions becomes such a serious flaw that he even exploits the expectation of it in Small Favor.
    • Temptation to power is another deep-rooted flaw. Harry used Black Magic at a young age, and the power of dark magic still tugs at him. In more than a few cases, the temptation of power has snuck in when he least expected it, causing him to do more damage than he intended or get distracted by the raw joy of using that power. Lasciel's influence may have had some effect on this as well.
    • And arguably his self-esteem/abandonment issues, which have fucked him over multiple times.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: Harry's understanding of how magic works in his world is incomplete. This is because he really wasn't taught or trusted by the most knowledgeable. Those who do know refrain from telling him because they believe it is important that he figure things out on his own.
    Does Harry have an incorrect understanding of the Dark Hollow and other parts of the world?
    Butcher: Oh god yes. I wonít say Harry is clueless, but his understanding of lots of things including the way that magic works is incomplete in many ways. If only because he hasnít been trusted by a lot of the wizarding community by a lot of the people who could have taught him better. And a lot of the people who do know better arenít correcting him because they think itís important to learn these things on your own.
  • First-Person Smartass: To the point that one of his defining traits in the Dresden Files RPG is "Epic Wiseass."
  • For the Funnyz: Could be the poster boy for this.
  • Full-Contact Magic: He's no Squishy Wizard, except in a Puny Earthlings sense. For all the chucking fire around, he's quite likely to slug someone. Or shoot them.
  • Freak Out: Undergoes a subtle and prolonged one in Changes. We'll see if he gets better or not.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Boy howdy.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Small Favor includes a partial listing of his (large) collection and he acquires more after that, including some very noticeable ones on his face in Turn Coat.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Harry starts to realize how much he cares about Murphy in Blood Rites after he sees her around Kincaid and realizes how jealous he's getting.
  • Handicapped Badass: Getting his arm burned nearly to a crisp in Blood Rites didn't slow him down much, and he still had limited use in Dead Beat, wherein one of the most badass moments in the entire series happened.
  • Healing Factor: A very, very slow one- improved bodily regeneration is the reason wizards live so long, and it means he can eventually recover from what should be permanent injuries. Now enhanced as of Changes, one of the many benefits of becoming the Winter Knight.
  • Heartbroken Badass: At a few points, particularly the start of Summer Knight and the end of Changes.
  • Heroic Willpower: Harry has been tempted many a times to use dark magic and resists each temptation. Through this will power, he not only endures the mental manipulations of Lasciel's shadow, he turns around and slowly changes her to the point where she is willing to die for Harry Dresden. Later in Cold Days he endured and broke Mother Winter's bind on him and later shattered a Mind Rape upon him and forced an Outsider to name itself.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted. Save for his sword cane, which was more useful in fencing, Harry won't be receiving any sword from Mab, like Fix got from Titania.
    Jim Butcher: Whatís he gonna do with a sword? Heíll cut himself. Honestly, if he had a sword heíd fall on it, you know he would. Somebody would take it away from him and hit him with it. Thatís the kind of thing that happens.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity:
    • To the "straights" he's at best a quirky man who knows way too much and thus is pretty damned creepy, and at worst they see him as a delusional charlatan who may or may not be conning Chicago PD out of good money. And so, Internal Affairs rabidly hates him and tried to jail him at least once, while trying to undermine him and everyone connected to him repeatedly.
    • The FBI also doesn't like him considering that one time four FBI agents investigated him and vanished a few days later, and his criminal record suspects him of kidnapping, murder, and at least two cases of arson, and he was recently accused of blowing up another building.
    • To the White Council, however, he is considered a loose cannon who may or may not be a devious, dangerous schemer at Black Magic, and it doesn't help that he caused a war with the Red Court of vampires, and then a war with the Fomor, by creating a power vacuum in his genocide of the Red Court.
    • His ostensible allies don't trust him, and the only people he's got on his side are a gaggle of werewolves, the Knights, a few members of the Chicago PD's Special Investigations unit, his half-brother, his apprentice, a Foo dog, and a smattering of allies in the Faerie Courts and the White Council. And knowing Harry, being homeless and dead for about a year is going to cause even more problems.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: In 'Ghost Story, Harry comes to realize that the lines he crossed in Changes made him into the very things he was fighting. And then later in the book, realizes that this conclusion was an overreaction to one bad decision and that he's still fundamentally a good guy.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's snarky enough that it isn't immediately apparent, but just watch him react to challenges and/or slurs. In fact, the villains who are targeting Harry specifically (instead of just being unlucky enough to get in his way) often deliberately take advantage of his tendency toward this, to the point that Harry himself turns the Flaw Exploitation right back around in one villain's face.
  • Honor Before Reason: Harry will swear up and down that he's an Anti-Hero, but he's kind of exaggerating. Then again, he has been repeatedly told he's a menace to society and been treated like a terrible person for most of his life, so it's possible he might have started believing everyone's bad opinion.
  • Hope Bringer: In Ghost Story Molly notes that he was this for the little guy in the supernatural world. He scared off so many power dark things from Chicago and as a Warden, taught the Paranetters how to band together to be able to take on stronger forces.
  • Houseboat Hero: At the end of Changes. Briefly.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: He's about 6' 8", and Murphy, not an inch over 5 feet, supplies the "tiny girl" part. According to Welcome to the Jungle, he's six-foot-nine, actually. Everyone supplies the "tiny girl" part. Except maybe Gard. And Titania and Mab when it suits them.
  • Human Weapon: As the Winter Knight, Harry is expected to be his own most dangerous weapon, not needing to rely on magical trinkets and items to survive. That said, Mab has nothing against using them if it makes the job easier, just so long as they aren't a crutch.
  • Hurting Hero: With his parents' deaths, lose of a childhood friend, forced to murder one parental substitute, lived in fear of summary execution for several years, got a girl but lost her, got close to another but she didn't want to get serious, had another girl really close and they started to become genuine friends when she died to protect him, and many other emotional traumas. Lara puts it succinctly.
    Lara Raith: You wear your pain as armor.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: A Promise to Mab keeps him from knowingly seeking suicide to get out of being the Winter Knight.
  • Idiot Hero: Harry's tendency to not think the long-term consequences of his actions through can leave this impression. He's not stupid in any sense of the word, but he sometimes gets in over his head due to his habit of acting first and thinking later. Some of his enemies consider him one as well, but they usually discover a bit too late that he's much smarter than they gave him credit for.
  • Informed Loner: Harry thinks and reacts to problem as though he were entirely alone and unloved, but events in the series have rendered this attitude increasingly invalid. This is because, before Ebenezar started mentoring him, he basically was alone.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He considers it "the prerogative of wizards to be grumpy."
  • Kill It with Fire: Harry can bring a lot of power to bear with fire magic, and it's his usual go-to for combat evocation. This served as a plot-point-by-omission when he doesn't try to Kill It with Fire during most of Small Favor and also served as character-development-by-omission in Dead Beat.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Harry's landlady considers him this. It's one of the reasons she hasn't thrown him out after missing rent checks and "wild late-night parties."
  • Lady and Knight: Becomes this to Molly after the events of Cold Days
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Quite literally. Lash does this so that the part of Harry's brain that have her impressed upon them will be burned out when Harry goes under psychic attack. She does however leave him a gift of the knowledge of how to play guitar.
  • Loophole Abuse:
  • Male Gaze: Harry notices women who look good, to the point that one review site named the "Dresden Goggles" trope after him. This is one of his big character flaws and blind spots.
  • Meaningful Name: Malcolm Dresden was a stage magician, and thus named his son after three of the greatest stage magicians in history. And considering how many seemingly-impossible situations he's escaped from.... Out-of-universe, his last name was also chosen in reference to the firebombings of the German city Dresden in World War II, mostly because Harry has a similar effect on nearby buildings.
  • Mistaken for Gay: By Butters in Dead Beat.
    • Later takes advantage of this in White Night to sneak into Thomas' apartment.
  • Mr. Seahorse: He gets pregnant with a Spirit of Intellect, like Bob, born from Lash's sacrifice. If not for Molly "Delivering" it, it would have popped out of his mind in the same vein of Athena out of Zeus, only his head wouldn't heal up.
  • Moment of Weakness:
    • Harry's breakdown when talking with Aurora in Summer Knight and his realization of how much he let Susan's suffering damage his own life.
    • Harry is forced to admit to Lash's growing influence when such a moment causes pointless collateral damage in White Night.
    • The realization that his actions have such tremendous long-term consequences, including breaking Molly's mind causes another one in Ghost Story.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • A significant part of Ghost Story hinges on Harry realizing just how horrible the consequences of his choices were, especially after he learns that he was the one who arranged for his death and had Molly assist him. This revelation shakes him to the core.
    • Proven Guilty has another such moment. Yes, it's awesome that he kills a xenomorph with Hellfire, but immediately after, he finds that the girl he was rescuing from it had bled to death, and he might have saved her life if he hadn't been focused so much on, and having so much fun with, obliterating the monster.
  • Nay-Theist: He acknowledges the likelihood of the Almighty's existence and is very much likely an insanely powerful being. Doesn't mean Harry will be penitent to the being. This has more to do with Harry's self-image and low self-esteem than his views on God. It's not that Harry doesn't like or respect God, it's that he feels unworthy to be on God's team. There's every evidence that God doesn't necessarily agree. Of course, Harry's standard for worthy behavior is Michael Carpenter, who sets the bar kind of high.
    Harry: The Almighty and I don't exactly see eye-to-eye.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: By killing the Red Court he created a power vacuum that various baddies are trying to fill, and with his death he wasn't there to help his friends.
  • The Nicknamer: It even becomes significant in-story on occasion; his naming of Ivy and Lash gave them identities separate from the Archive and Lasciel, respectively, and naming Bob allowed him to develop a different personality as well.
    • And when he calls Uriel "Uri", it ticks off an archangel who has the power to unmake galaxies. That last sylable is a VERY important part of his name - it's the "God" part of "Light of God". On the other hand, he has no problem with Mr. Sunshine, especially given his association with fire and sunlight.
  • Noodle Person: He's 6 foot 9 and very skinny. Aftermath (narrated by Murphy,) mentions that when he's not in combat situations he instinctively moves with exaggerated care and restraint to avoid accidentally hitting someone or something with his long limbs.
  • Not So Different: Cold Days has Mab accuses him of being this to his late master Justin in how he indoctrinated Molly into being a Wizard who's loyal and willing to die for him. His methods were a little more gentle, but she's not exactly wrong.
  • Oblivious to Love: Harry can be... a bit dense when it comes to women. He's not oblivious to sex, he understands that perfectly. It's just that he has a few self-esteem issues. And a tendency to attribute others' seduction attempts to their own problems or secret plots to control him (which, in all fairness, they usually are). And difficulty with understanding or recognizing subtlety. And all of that factors into how he communicates with and interprets other people.
    Thomas: What does a woman need to do, Harry? Rip her clothes off, throw herself on top of you, and shimmy while screaming, "Do me, baby!"?
  • One-Man Army: He probably has the highest "monsters killed/time" ratio on the entire White Council. Inarguable after Changes, though other people still did the prep work.
  • One of Us: In-Universe. Tends to quote Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. A lot. Plays D&D with the Alphas.
  • Our Hero Is Dead: Harry's shot at the end of Changes and falls into Lake Michigan. It's been confirmed that he's dead. Though he was Only Mostly Dead, so he gets better.
  • Papa Wolf: Few things make him madder than threatening or actually harming children. Along comes Changes...and let's just say that no one would be making any attempts on Harry's daughter any time soon should Harry still be alive
  • Perpetual Frowner: Usually seen scowling, snarling, glowering, or frowning.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Highly prevalent in the first few books, but begins to be mitigated as the series progresses, especially once Harry starts getting a regular paycheck as a Warden.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: He's one of the strongest wizards in the world, and according to Murphy's narration in Aftermath, seeing him in action is downright terrifying, even when he's on your side.
  • Playing with Fire: He likes fire. It took Mavra crispy-frying his hand to make him stop using it.
    • Though he also becomes something of An Ice Person after becoming the Winter Knight in Changes.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: He quotes Star Wars and he's badass enough to be a jedi
  • Properly Paranoid: "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."
  • Pyro Maniac: Uses it at There Is No Kill Like Over Kill levels. People have complained and pointed out that there are other elements he could use..
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Let's see.
    • The first one he killed in self-defense.
    • The second one was secretly the Council's assassin the whole time. Not a real great track record there.
    • And now Mab's a pseudo-mentor to him and by the end of the book, he seriously threatens her immortal life twice. Things just keep getting better and better.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Harry prefers revolvers, generally large-caliber ones, because of both the simplicity, the power of such a high-caliber weapon, and because having a .44 shoved in your face is quite intimidating. It's also justified because of his 'Murphyonic Field', any other, more complicated firearms would have a very high likelihood of jamming/malfunctioning for Harry. Revolvers are simple, making the chance of them failing him at critical moments no greater than it would be for a vanilla mortal.
  • Ring of Power: Starts off with one that builds up force each time he moves his arm, capable of knocking a big man off his feet and flipping a car. He eventually upgrades to modified ones, one on each finger, capable of delivering impacts common with high speed car crashes and could possibly flip 24 cars when fully charged .
    • Lacking any rings in Skin Games, he just carves the spell into his wizard's staff. Seventy-seven times
  • Running Gag: In addition to frequently (correctly) being blamed for buildings erupting into flame, later books introduce one revolving around Harry's particular method of becoming the Winter Knight, and people who are aware of it. Among other things, he slept with Mab. She made sure all of Faerie saw it happening.
  • Sad Clown: He may make joke. He may smile. Odds are part of it is false and he is hurting deep inside.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Constantly. Most important in Grave Peril, where he breaks the Accords and starts a war over doing the right thing.
  • Secret Keeper: Over the course of time, Harry has come to know a few big secrets in the series.
    • He knows how to preform the Dark Hollow ritual.
    • He knows Lara Raith is the power behind the throne and Thomas is his brother.
    • Harry keeps the fact Maggie is his daughter a secret.
    • Harry knows Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness, was mortal once.
    • Harry knows how to kill Immortals, a secret he learned from Bob.
  • Sensor Character: Harry can sense the presence of magic in others. He can even tell how skilled a user the other person is from minimal contact.
    • Although that seems to be standard for everyone, given his mention of how "The handshake between two practitioners carries an electric shock" and his statement that he is not really good at sensory magic.
  • Significant Birth Date: Halloween. Since this is also when dark power is at its strongest, his birthdays tend to really suck.
    • Cold Days reveals that this is also the day of the year when immortals can change and die. As it's hinted that Harry has a special destiny, this is probably not a coincidence.
  • Sophisticated as Hell
  • Squishy Wizard: Only in a relative sense. Harry is a big man who keeps himself in good physical condition, as he recognizes that running away very fast is a good way to stay alive, and sometimes hitting something with a sturdy piece of wood is more effective than a spell. Still, he's only human, and up against all sorts of supernatural nasties who are quite capable of reducing him to a smear on the wall if they get the chance, so he usually relies on his wits.
  • Stepford Snarker: He snarks to hide his pain.
  • Thanatos Gambit / Memory Gambit In Ghost Story, it's revealed that Harry arranged his assassination with Kincaid and then deleted the memory. Yikes.
  • Super Strength: Gains it after becoming the Winter Knight.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As the series progresses, Harry gradually goes from being a semi-athletic gumshoe who gets exhausted slinging a few spells to a well-toned, building-crushing chessmaster who can sling with the nastiest wizards and monsters the world over. And this is prior to the events of Changes, where he finally becomes the Winter Knight.
    • He's taken multiple levels. When Susan was turned he suffered a Heroic BSOD and started kicking more ass; when he started training with Murphy he learned enough martial arts that he actually could kick ass; when his hand was charbroiled he began fighting smarter and developed more clever uses of his spells; when he had a demonic entity living in his head he learned a lot about the world (and got access to Hellfire while she was there); when he got an apprentice he relearned better ways of casting magic; when he got soulfire from Uriel he... well, started kicking more ass; when he got the Genius Loci, he gained power and a super sense while on it; and once he started living in isolation on the island, he taught himself Parkour by running through the prison.
  • Touched by Vorlons:
    • For changing the Shadow of Lasciel into a self-sacrificing Lash, Uriel chose Harry to be given Soulfire, the Fires of Creation.
    • Donar Vaderung (aka Father Odin) tells him in Cold Days his dying and subsequent resurrection has marked him on deeper level than he knows. He is now a "fulcrum," a turning point in many plots.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Lash, and Lea to some extent. The former wants him to give up his soul to her. The later wants him so in her debt she can turn him into a dog and protect him.
  • Tykebomb: It's implied Justin was training Harry and Elaine to be this. They also count as a deconstruction: as far as the White Council is concerned, Harry is one of these, so they aren't exactly friendly to him; Harry has entirely justifiable angst from killing Justin (compounded by the fact that he knows killing with magic taints your soul); and throughout the series we see he has major trust issues.
  • Uninhibited Muscle Power: Butters speculates that this is all he really gains from the mantle of the Winter Knight.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Sometimes. Jim makes a point that Harry has severe tunnel vision about some issues, such as when magic he isn't particularly good at is even being used (especially noncombat magic, water magic, and noncombat water magic). Books with other viewpoints show that some characters Harry writes off have Hidden Depths. This is also used to explain the occasional continuity errors, such as issues with geography and names changing between books (he's bad at that subject/heard the name wrong). Small Favor takes this to new level; the omission of one key item Harry's ubiquitous blasting rod and fire magic doesn't become apparent until one character points it out, and then Harry realizes that he's been Mind Raped by Mab.
  • Vague Age: Because there isn't much reason to bring it up in his own narration. The author comments on Twitter that he's "...25 in Storm Front and 36 in Cold Days," but admits that this might contradict canon.
  • Walking Techbane: To the point where he can't have a water heater in his apartment. Or a refrigerator. Or light bulbs.
  • Weapon of Choice: Harry's primary weapon is the blasting rod, which lets him focus magic into concentrated blasts of force or fire. He also routinely packs a revolver of one stripe or another.
  • We Help the Helpless: Doesn't he ever.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: After becoming the Winter Knight, his impulses begin pushing him to become more and more predatory, in every sense of the word. Harry resists it, but finds the implications disturbing.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: In Cold Days it is implied Queen Mab wants him for this as she is happy he gives her two serious, legitimate threats to her immortal life and with all every intent of going through with them if she crossed a line. As the Outsiders could even infect her, she wanted a Knight to kill her if the situation came about, not some loyal Yes-Man who may not realize her infection.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: He has trouble assaulting female characters unless it is a life-or-death moment.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: From the get go, Harry demonstrates some pretty decent skills as a PI, but he develops some serious skills in the art of manipulation, cunning and developing plans to leave him winning something even if he doesn't end up with all the marbles at the end. Then again, he had a Fallen Angel living in his head as a counselor for a couple years, so maybe that helped. To elaborate:
    • In Blood Rites, he successfully dethrones the King of the White Court by using Lara Raith as his catspaw, a move that impresses her, since he manipulated her by claiming that he would be her catspaw.
    • In White Night, Harry outsmarts several members of the White Court and solidifies Lara's power base again by manipulating the situation. In Small Favor, he manages to outwit Nicodemus of all people, nearly killing him in the process.
    • In Turn Coat, Harry successfully comes up with a scheme to capture the White Council's mysterious traitor.
    • The entirety of Skin Game is a speed chess rematch with Nicodemus, which ultimately ends in Harry's favor when he's able to provoke Nicodemus into breaking his word, irrevocably tarnishing his name in the supernatural community.

     Bob the Skull 

Harry's wiseass spirit of intellect familiar, currently inhabiting a skull after some unspecified, long-ago incident that pissed Mab off at him. Since technology goes haywire around wizards, Harry can't use a computer, which is why he keeps Bob around. Bob knows how valuable he is, and as such Harry has to bribe him with things like porn and trips outside his skull to make sure he cooperates.
  • All Guys Want Sorority Women: Bob's first action when let out was to trigger and watch an orgy at a local sorority.
  • Bash Brothers: Bob's new role with Butters as the owner, after Butters lets him off the leash and he gets to show what he can do besides act as a knowledge bin.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Maaaybe... In Small Favor Harry notes that Bob is being of pure thought, which, in a sense, all fictional characters are too, and that Bob may consider the characters in his romance novels to be kin. He even talks to them as he reads. He's also mentioned to Harry that there are other universes where "fictional" characters are real, so it's possible that he has trouble keeping track.
  • Deadpan Snarker: And we love him for it.
  • Dirty Old Man: Word of God is that his personality is based on his owner. He's obsessed with sex because Harry was a Hormone-Addled Teenager when he acquired Bob. He retains this personality after transferring to Butters because that's how he was when Butters first met him, and that first impression stuck.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bob is generally cheerfully amoral. But even he thinks Kemmler was a monster.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: Necro-Bob is seriously, seriously powerful.
  • He Knows Too Much: Throughout the books it seems like Mab's desire to kill Bob stems from some kind of Noodle Incident, it is revealed in Cold Days he knows how to kill immortals.
  • Leap of Faith: Bob states that he is actually incapable of making this. He is a being of reason and logic. That is his basis of power. To delve into matters of Faith is something he won't do as he could piss off the wrong angel, Fallen or otherwise.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Let's just say that when Bob needs to take on other spirits, he rarely has any trouble handling them, the only possible exceptions being a Physical God and his evil self.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Even though he has no body. Among other things, he usually spends his time reading sleazy romance novels when he is not helping Harry. Bob explains his fascination with the naked female form as being a purely aesthetic appreciation for their beauty and grace...
    Harry: And they have boobs.
    Bob: And they have BOOBS!
  • Magical Computer:
    • Literally. Bob has an expansive knowledge of all things magic, and somehow possesses the capability to understand the current state of magic and any changes to it that may have occurred.
    • And as of Ghost Story he literally has a computer! God help us all.
  • Mr. Exposition: His general role in most stories. Harry either needs information, information translated, or Bob to go gather information. His knowledge is extremely extensive. In Cold Days he was shocked when Demonreach's glyphs were beyond even him.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The TV series changed him from an animated skull to a ghost attached to the skull. This is because it's much easier to show emotion and the like with, you know, a face.
  • Putting on the Reich: Evil Bob worked for Kemmler for a while, and picked up an appreciation for SS gear, if Ghost Story is anything to go by.
  • Servile Snarker: He's bound to serve Harry. That doesn't mean he has to be polite about it.
  • The Smart Guy: Rounding out the team.
  • Spirit In A Skull
  • Superpowered Evil Side: You don't want to mess with Dark Bob.


Harry Dresden's feline of unusual size. Mister is a matter-of-fact animal and eats Harry's leftover food whenever possible.



Harry's dog, acquired accidentally when Harry was hired by a Tibetan monk to retrieve a litter of fu dog puppies from captivity. Mouse accidentally got left behind, and Harry couldn't get in touch with the monks to return him. Harry named him Mouse because he was small, grey and quiet... and the last line of the book in which he's introduced is, "Why did you buy large-breed puppy chow?"
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: As he is in fact a magic dog, it's not too odd that Mouse seems to be about as smart as an average human. He's still a dog, though; he can't talk, nor does he have opposable thumbs, and his idea of a good time is a nice long bellyrub.
    • In Changes fellow animals can understand Mouse, and he "speaks" clearly and articulately. He really is as smart as, or smarter than, a human.
    • In Skin Games, when Maggie mentions she and Mouse are reading James and the Giant Peach, Harry needs to consider if she means she's reading it to him, or if Mouse might be reading it too, considering the dog is as smart as most people.
  • Angel Unaware: Uriel refers to him as "cousin."
  • Berserk Button: In the short story Day Off, it's revealed to be not a good idea to threaten Mister in front of him.
  • Big Eater: According to the RPG, he consumes a HUUUUUGE amount of kibble.
  • Big Friendly Dog: He's one of these except for the "dumb" part, and plays it up to make himself less scary to people who meet him. In particular, he was able to win over Murphy who described herself as phobic about large dogs.
    • So big that Dresden refuses to call him a "dog" anymore. "Dogosaurus" is common, and when refering to both of his pets, they were referred to as "Mister, my large cat, and Mouse, my small Ankylosaur."
    • For comparison's sake, here are some pictures of Tibetan Mastiffs, which Mouse is said to appear to be a member of. Mouse is BIGGER (as in at least three feet tall at the shoulder).
  • The Canine Companion version of Cool Pet
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Possibly. The reaction of several characters, such as Nicodemus and Ancient Mai, imply that he is more dangerous than he looks, so Butcher seems to be foreshadowing something important.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed: Mouse has been known to sigh at Harry's density when it comes to the fair sex, and at one point plays up an injury to make the person whose fault it was feel guilty.
    • Also when Harry is giving the guitar a bad name.
    • When Andi is kidnapped again Mouse opines that she should be locked in a garage until she learns to take care of herself.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Mouse has a bark that crosses dimensional borders, shrugs off bullet wounds and being hit by a speeding van, and is a credible physical threat to a high-ranking fae. Luckily, he's also loyal, compassionate, and possibly more intelligent than his owner.
    • Anduriel, Nicodemus' Fallen, has demonstrated fear of Mouse on multiple occasions.
  • Gentle Giant: Well, usually. Cassius pushed him too far, though.
  • Gigantic Adults Tiny Babies: Mouse earned his name because he fit into Harry's coat pocket as a puppy. Fully grown, he barely fits into the Blue Beetle's back seat.
  • Half Canine Hybrid: Mouse is a temple dog— part mortal canine, part Chinese guardian spirit called a foo dog.
    • As revealed in Changes, his pedigree may be even more purely spirit than that; one of the characters refers to him as a Foo dog himself. Ancient Mai also calls him a foo dog, and the Eebs refer to him as an "ice demon" from "the land of dreams" - aka Tibet.
    • In Ghost Story, Uriel himself refers to Mouse as "little brother."
  • Heroic Dog: On several occasions, Mouse saves Harry's life. Also Maggie's protector as of Ghost Story.
  • It Can Think: While Mouse isn't a threat to him, Thomas was startled to see Harry speak to Mouse as if the dog could understand him, and hastily informed Mouse that he hadn't meant it when he'd said something rude about Harry earlier.
  • Large Ham: Turn Coat - the bullet wound scene.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Thomas was convinced that Harry was actually an impostor once when he showed up with a human sidekick. Might also qualify for Molly, since Harry frequently tells Mouse to hold back and protect her in dangerous situations.
  • Made of Iron: Shrugs off being hit by a speeding van, and considers being shot a minor inconvenience.
  • Make the Dog Testify: Towards the end of Turn Coat, Mouse's testimony is instrumental in bringing a Bad Guy to justice. It helps that this is a court of wizards, so "My dog can identify the culprit" is not quite so blink-inducing, particularly since most of the Chinese wizards could immediately identify him as an intelligent, evil-detecting temple dog.
  • Mighty Roar: Mouse doesn't bark often, but when he needs to sound an alarm, he can literally be heard for a mile.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: It has been proven that Mouse is at least as intelligent as any human. In Changes. When Harry and his associate are transformed by Lea into hounds, they can understand Mouse speak. Turns out he's smart enough and powerful enough to be called a demon by Lea, and frightens her enough to make her back down by threatening to bite her ass off.
  • Only Sane Dog
  • Power Glows: When he does, holy wrath is about to descend on someone.
  • Took a Level in Badass: By Word of God. You see, Temple Dogs draw on power from their thresholds. Granted, being Harry's dog, he's learned a few ways around the limitations, but after moving to the Carpenter's, "he went from Thing to Hulk when he moved in to protect Maggie."

    Characters/The Dresden FilesThe Dresden Files The White Council

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