Characters: The Dresden Files The Kemmlerites

Characters from The Dresden Files, the Kemmlerites.

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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     Heinrich Kemmler 

Heinrich Kemmler was considered to be the most dangerous wizard who ever lived. An immensely powerful necromancer who spent over a century planning World War One and wreaking havoc in World War II, up until the White Council and every ally they could pull together gathered and killed him for good. His legacy remains, however, in a series of books spreading his knowledge of necromancy, as well as his survivng disciples.
  • A God Am I: He was permanently killed while trying to perform the Darkhallow, a ritual that would have made him a god by devouring the warrior spirits in the Wild Hunt. This goal has now been taken up by his apprentices.
  • The Chessmaster: Spent over a century engineering World War One, after all.
  • Deader Than Dead: The White Council made absolutely sure that he is not coming back.
  • Expy: Of Heinrich Kemmler the Lichemaster, an insanely powerful undead necromancer in Warhammer Fantasy.
  • Killed Off for Real: The White Council killed him real good, though it took seven attempts to take.
  • Necromancer: The necromancer in the setting. His schtick included not only resurrecting the dead, but also using ghosts and spirits as undead bateries for his magic.
  • Not So Different: Harry's conversation with Evil Bob implies that Harry and Kemmler might have been similar.
  • Posthumous Character: Kemmler is dead. Very, very dead. The Council killed him real good, but it took a few tries to make it stick. Seven, according to Ghost Story.
  • Predecessor Villain: He was the major baddie for his timeframe but he's long been dead by the time the series takes place. His apprentices carry on his legacy.
  • Rasputinian Death: Killing Kemmler took a lot of work.
  • You Monster!: He is considered one, even by people who otherwise have no concept of morality like Bob.
    • To put that in perspective: Queen Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness, who likes to manipulate and torture people for fun, who can charitably be described as a sadistic sociopath, and who is the most dangerous and vicious of an entire nation of sadistic sociopaths, unironically considered Kemmler to be a madman.

     Cowl 

An incredibly powerful and mysterious necromancer who, with his assistant Kumori, showed up in Dead Beat to try to harness the Darkhallow. Both he and his assistant Kumori are probably White Council members, and they're pretty much confirmed to be on the Black Council, but their identities are otherwise unknown. Cowl does, however, deny being a Kemmlerite.
  • Affably Evil: While not as friendly as Nicodemus or Marcone, Cowl is pretty respectful of Dresden.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Is he really Necessarily Evil or just evil?
  • Badass:
    • He shrugs off death curses like ping pong balls and isn't more than a little winded after Harry flips a car over on him. At the end of Dead Beat, the Darkhallow literally explodes in his face, but he's still alive as of White Night.
    • Not to mention the amount of power he'd have to put into taking all of Chicago off the technologicial and communicational grid.
    • He's also said to be stronger than Ebenezar and to pack a magical punch equivalent to a Fairy Queen, making him in all probability one of the five or so best wizards in the world.
  • Black Cloak: Harry, of course, makes lots of bad jokes about it.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: First seen in Grave Peril with the rest of Chekhov's Army, giving Lea the athame. Not really introduced until he shows up 4 books later with the rest of Necromancers-R-Us.
  • Determinator: Again, a car thrown at him, multiple death curses, or the Darkhallow destabilizing and literally exploding in his face will not stop this guy.
  • Evil Counterpart: Dedicated, a bit curmudgeonly, and uses dark power for what seem to be good-ish purposes.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: His disgusted reaction at being called a Kemmlerite indicates this.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Who may or may not be Necessarily Evil, if you believe him.
  • The Faceless: His cloak conceals his true appearance.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: We know what he was after in Dead Beat specifically, but his long-term goals are still mysterious.
  • Implacable Man: See above, the car.
  • In the Hood: Part and parcel of his aesthetic.
  • The Man Behind the Man: To Vittorio Malvora, in White Night. Likely to a lot of other things, too.
  • Necromancer: He'd have to be, in order to make use of the Darkhallow and be Kumori's mentor, though he doesn't use these abilities as often as the other members of the Necromancers R Us.
  • No Name Given: Introduces himself as "Cowl", but it's pretty obviously not his real name. This has generated a lot of Epileptic Trees.
  • Not So Different: Harry notices a lot of similarities between the two of them in Dead Beat, and is appropriately disturbed by the implications.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Why does he want to become a god in Dead Beat? He thinks its inevitable that someone will and considers himself the least possible evil (and when you look at Corpsetaker and Grevane, he probably has a point...)
  • Wicked Cultured: Prefers Goethe.

     Kumori 

Cowl's apprentice / sidekick. Apart from the fact that she's female and a pretty solid Well-Intentioned Extremist, she's almost as much a blank slate as her boss.
  • Anti-Villain / Token Good Teammate: Compared to the other members of Necromancers-R-Us.
  • Black Cloak: Apart from being slightly smaller and having a female voice, she's pretty much identical to Cowl when her hood's up.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: How she views herself and Cowl. Harry disagrees.
  • The Dragon: To Cowl.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Who serves an enigmatic master, no less.
  • In the Hood: Though unlike Cowl, she's willing to let it down every once in a while.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: This is why she wants everyone else to. Harry points out that by preserving everyone, she would be keeping around the tyrants, the torturers, the genuinely evil people as well as the intellectual all-stars.
  • Necromancer: Like her mentor, she doesn't directly use her powers to raise the dead like the other antagonists in the book, but she does use it to keep a dying man alive long enough for paramedics to save him.
  • Pet the Dog: Using her necromancy to save a dying man's life. Harry is disturbed at the implications. Subverted when it's later revealed that the process was excrutiatingly painful for the "patient," and that he might have been permanently negatively affected by the process.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: More explicitly than Cowl; she genuinely believes that she can use her necromancy to benefit humankind.

     Capiorcorpus, aka the Corpsetaker, aka the Grey Ghost  

One of the disciples of mad necromancer Hienrich Kemmler, the Corpsetaker is a necromancer who specializes in mental magic, raising spectres, and using dark magic to allow him/her/it to jump between bodies. Violent, savage, and thoroughly insane, behind a veneer of affable friendliness. One of the members of the Kemmlerite gang that showed up in Dead Beat to initiate the Darkhallow. When Harry encounters the Corpsetaker, he/she/it has stolen the body of a college student named Alicia. Returns for another round in Ghost Story as, well, a ghost.
  • Axe Crazy: Of all of the Kemmlerites, Corpsetaker is probably the most unbalanced and twisted. Mental magic does that, of course.
  • Body Surf: Until Ghost Story, fans weren't even sure if the Corpsetaker had a physical gender.
  • Boom, Headshot: How Harry manages to kill her after she takes over Luccio.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Performed it on Mort in Ghost Story and her old body in Dead Beat.
  • Fallen Hero: Ghost Story reveals that she was once a member of the White Council before defecting and joining up with Kemmler.
  • Grand Theft Me: Her main M. O., swapping souls with anyone with magical talent whenever it suits her. It even works on Warden Luccio, and her ghostly spirit has plans to do so even after her death.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Gets taken down with the wraiths she used on Mort.
  • Karmic Death: In Ghost Story, Mort destroys her with the same wraiths she had used to torture him.
  • Mind Rape: One of the Corpsetaker's specialties.
  • Necromancer: Her particular brand of the craft seems to focus on spirits and other "intangible" undead rather than physical zombies.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Precisely what gender the Corpsetaker originally had is not clear. Whether the concept of gender really applies to a necromancer who seems to exist purely as a body-hopping mind is up in the air. As of Ghost Story, she appears to be female.
  • The Unfavorite: Evil Bob once comments, while trying to recruit Harry, that Kemmler wasn't terribly fond of her either.
  • Weapon of Choice: A tulwar.
  • What Beautiful Eyes: Harry stops to mention them.

    Li Xian 

A ghoul serving under the Corpsetaker, both as her assistant and drummer to control her spectres.

     Grevane 

The first of Kemmler's disciples, Grevane is a leathery old man who was Kemmler's "favored" student. Grevane's specialty is in raising large numbers of powerful zombie minions. As in, hundreds of them at a time.
  • Axe Crazy: He projects a sense of calm and control, but he frequently loses it when things don't go his way or someone interferes.
  • Boring but Practical: His powers aren't the flashiest, but it's hard to argue against a literal army of the dead.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Grevane doesn't appear to understand that the reason Harry is protecting Butters is because he's Harry's friend.
  • Evil Brit: He has a British accent.
  • Evil Old Folks: One of the Kemmlerites who clearly shows his age, and a crazy sonofabitch to boot
  • Fatal Flaw: Absolutely full of himself. Harry notes that he doesn't even bother with a death curse because the thought that he might ever die simply doesn't cross his mind.
  • Magic Knight: Almost as dangerous with his weapons as he is with his spells and zombie minions.
  • Necromancer: The most traditional of those featured in Dead Beat.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Grevane's zombies are less shuffling mindless flesheaters and more like the Terminator, and have to be kept moving with a rhythmic drumbeat.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: Yes, really. A pretty daft hand with a kusari-gama for a man of his age and... nationality.
  • Weapon of Choice: A Kusari-gama which he is quite skilled with.
  • You Make Me Sic: When he first meets Harry, he gets flustered at his grammarnote  and starts trying to correct it.
  • You Fool!: Calls Harry a fool in their first meeting.

     Evil Bob 

Evil Bob is the dark side of Regular Bob that served Kemmeler for centuries just as Regular Bob serves Harry now. While technically not a member of the Kemmlerites, he made his first appearance in the same book as the rest of them, nearly killing Harry in the process. Harry, not wanting someone to gain access to that part of him again, ordered Bob to forget it completely. Naturally, this backfires as Bob, a creature made of living information, took that order as a command to remove that part of himself like a diseased limb. This led to it becoming TheDragon to the Corpsetaker's ghost in Ghost Story. Evil Bob was last seen locked in combat with his regular self and evenly matched.
  • Barrier Warrior: While not one in the traditional sense, he is the creator and sustainer of the Corpsetaker's system of wards.
  • The Comically Serious: See below under We Can Rule Together.
  • The Dragon: To Kemmler and the Corpsetaker's ghost.
  • Enemy Without: To Bob, as a living manifestation of dark and malign knowledge amputated from his consciousness.
  • Evil Counterpart: Imagine Bob, with all his many talents and abilities. Now imagine if he were a murderous, power-obsessed villain instead of a Lovable Sex Maniac.
  • Evil Me Scares Me
    "Bob, would you be willing to take on Evil Bob?"
    "I'd...prefer not to. I'd really, really prefer not to. You have no idea. That me was crazy. And buff. He worked out."
  • One-Man Army: If Bob hadn't intervened he probably would have taken on the Lecter army by himself and won
  • Putting on the Reich: Evil Bob worked for Kemmler for a while, and picked up an appreciation for SS gear, as is seen when ghost!Harry assaults his wards, which have taken on the shape of the beaches at Normandy.
  • Servile Snarker: Offers to kill a Fomor minion and leave a note on the corpse to call ahead next time after the minion interrupts Mort's torture session.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: Naturally.
  • Super Strength: He was able to grab Harry's staff with two of his fingers and lift up Harry's whole body in the process.
  • We Can Rule Together: Gives Harry the usual speech about joining forces but because of the way he phrases it Harry manages to turn it into a gay joke. It takes a minute for Bob to realize he's being mocked.
  • Wrestler in All of Us:His confrontation with his other self consists mostly of grappling moves.