Characters / The Dresden Files Unfazed Everymans And Badass Normals

Characters from The Dresden Files, ordinary people and badass normals.

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.

    open/close all folders 

Dresden family

     Malcolm Dresden 

Harry's deceased father. Formerly a stage magician, he died when Harry was around six years old. Officially, he died because of a brain aneurism; some have hinted otherwise. We'll know sooner or later. His ghost made a brief, cryptic appearance in Dead Beat.
  • Vagueness Is Coming:
    • "Beware the Jabberwock, my son." However, this may just be part of the lead-up to a pun. "No, I don't have a vorpal sword to lend you. You'll have to make do with a Snickers snack."
    • His remarks about how "Death" and "Terrible waters" lie in Harry's future play this straight, when events in Changes (Harry shot dead by Kincaid) and Aftermath (rise of the aquatic Fomor) are taken into account.

     Margaret "Maggie" Angelica Dresden 

The daughter of Harry and Susan. She was conceived during Death Masks. The living Macguffin of Changes. She was kidnapped by Arianna to be used in a sacrificial ritual, but saved by Harry.
  • A Boy and His X: She and Mouse, whom Harry tasked as her protector, are virtually inseparable.
  • Buffy Speak: According to her, Mouse "slayerized" a monster under her bed.
  • The Cutie: Was this until Arianna kidnapped her.
    • Break the Cutie: Compare the smiling photo to the broken-down wreck she is when Harry meets her (after narrowly securing her a reprieve)
  • Disappeared Dad: Harry, by virtue of not being told she even existed for the first five years of her life and later his death.
  • Happily Adopted: As of Ghost Story is now living with the Carpenters with Mouse as her companion.
  • Hero of Another Story: At EasterCon 2015, Jim announced that he was planning a series following Maggie's future adventures at an Extranormal Institute.
  • Human Sacrifice: Arianna planned this for her, and after Arianna's plans fell through thanks to her death at Harry's hands, the Red King tried to do the same. She was saved, but it's pretty safe to say that she'll have scars for years to come.
  • Missing Mom: Susan because it was too dangerous to keep her around while Susan was fighting the Red Court, and later because Susan died in a Heroic Sacrifice, saving little Maggie from the Red Court.
  • Protectorate: As Michael puts it:
    Michael: Things did not turn out well for the last monster who raised his hand against your child. Or any of his friends. Or associates. Or anyone who worked for him. Or for most of the people he knew.
    Michael: Whether or not that was your intention, you did establish a rather effective precedental message to the various predators should they ever learn of her relationship with you.

Carpenter family

     Charity Carpenter 

"My children are vulnerable. I'm taking them to safety. Help me or stand aside."

Michael's loving and caring wife, mother of their seven children, devoted housekeeper, first-aid medic, armor- and weaponsmith, and sparring partner.
  • Action Mom: Not only was she her husband's training partner for much of their marriage, she charged head on into the capital of Winter Fae to save her eldest daughter.
  • Almighty Mom: Mess with her kids and doom will befall you, even if you're a powerful fear-eating faerie.
  • Badass Normal: Unlike her husband, Charity has no supernatural powers anymore or ancient artifacts. That doesn't stop her from being Michael's primary sparring partner and hitching up alongside Harry, Murphy, and Thomas to charge headlong into Queen Mab's stronghold to rescue her kidnapped daughter. And she pulls her own weight the whole way.
  • Biker Babe:
    • Presumably; Michael mentions she used to work on motorcycles, so it's not a stretch to imagine she rode them, too.
    • He mentions this when referring to how she can forge armor so take it with a grain of salt
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Averted. Rather than continue using her magical abilities after she was rescued by Michael, she let them atrophy until they vanished completely. Molly, not knowing her mother was a former practitioner, cites the parable of talents as her reason for continuing to use magic and makes Charity realize her own mistake years ago.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Got close to violating the Laws of Magic when she was young and then nearly sacrificed to a dragon, before Michael showed up and saved her.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Her earlier actions towards Harry were always curt and colored by her intense dislike of him. Even when she helps him with his injuries, she can be sadistic.
    Harry: [narration] I hear they make antiseptics that don't sting anymore. But Charity used iodine.
  • Happily Married: To Michael.
  • Ironic Name: Not that charitable, at least to Harry.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nasty as hell to Harry for getting her husband involved in ANYTHING regardless of how noble the cause, Harry's efforts to help Michael, Michael's own willingness or anything really but cares for her family. After Proven Guilty she now sees Harry as family and calls him as such in Small Favor when they are waiting to see if Michael is going to survive the wounds he received fighting next to Harry.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After years of serving the Lord with no monetary reward for their work, they get one-fifth of the diamonds stolen from Hades' vault. Charity insists to Michael (who is still hesitant to take several million) that it's a divine gift. After all, they have children to put through college, and grandchildren will be coming soon.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Inverted - she has the secret and doesn't share with anyone, not even Michael. Harry, being a detective, figures it out on his own.
  • Mama Bear: She doesn't care what sort of supernatural nasty you are, she'll punch you out if you threaten her children.
  • Meaningful Name: The Swords of the Cross are named after the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope and Love (1 Corinthians 13:13), of which Michael wields Amoracchius, the Sword of Love. Some translations of the Bible (particularly the King James Version) name Love as Charity.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: With the dash of Secret Legacy, her dislike for all things magical and knowing Molly was using it made her try to keep Molly from turning to a bad path.
  • Parental Substitute: While Michael and Charity love Maggie as if she was their own, they are well aware that they aren't her parents. They both encourage Harry to take over the role, both for Maggie's sake and his own.
  • Rescue Romance: She met Michael when he saved her from a firebreathing dragon.
  • Secret Legacy: Atrophied magical talent, which is passed on to her daughter Molly.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She normally dresses in loose conservative clothing but Harry sees her in her underwear, once, and comments that she won the genetic lottery.

     Daniel Carpenter 

The second oldest of Michael and Charity's children, now a member of the Chicago Alliance.
  • Badass Normal: Has no powers, but he has been very well trained. Bombshells reveals he's just come from a tour in the army.
  • The Big Guy: He is a trained fighter on the large size.
  • Hot-Blooded: Is a bit eager to deal with the Fomor and other issues, with a tendency to not think first.
  • Idiot Ball: He mentioned Murphy was now the custodian of two of the Swords in front of a White Court Vampire. Not his brightest move.
  • Knife Nut: His preferred weapon.


     Waldo Butters 

"Polka will never die!"

Chicago medical examiner, polka enthusiast and geek extraordinaire. He was assigned to autopsy the corpses found after a fire, but since said fire was in fact the result of a wizardly temper tantrum, he got a vampire corpse, called it "humanlike, but definitely nonhuman" and consequently got stuck in a mental institution for observation for three months. This gave him a cheery disrespect for authority that helps him get along quite well with Harry.
  • Action Survivor: Butters started as a normal, but highly principled man. He is nothing special but then some zombies attack and it kick starts his journey to being a badass normal in a world of the supernatural.
  • Amazon Chaser: Dates Andi in Cold Days who still has a well-muscled body and could easily lift Butters.
  • Ascended Fanboy: He gets to be a real, honest to goodness Knight, complete with a special sword of his own, with a mission from God.
    • Not just that, he isn't any old Knight he's effectively a : Jedi knight, complete with lightsaber. Can one ascend from two different fandoms at once?
    • Butters has effectively multiclassed.
  • Badass Longcoat: Grabs Harry's bulletproof one at the climax of Skin Game, although the difference in their size means it fits him more like a Jedi robe...
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He may be a bit overfond of polka, but he's very good at remembering bits of random information and thinking about them logically, even when faced with a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • His one-man polka suit in Dead Beat.
    • His deep love of Star Wars and the ideals of right over coming wrong and one man being able to make a difference, even if it is by a Heroic Sacrifice. All very befitting a Knight of the Cross.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Harry taught him how to make a magic circle so Harry's magic wouldn't interfere with his technology. Later he draws a magic circle to prevent the undead armies from killing him and his drum.
  • The Coroner: The reason why he's a coroner despite being an excellent medic, is that he doesn't have the professional detachment needed to be one.
    Harry: Butters hated seeing people in pain.
  • Cowardly Lion: At first, he runs in terror from a necromancer with some zombies. Later, he begins using magiteck with Bob's help to fight back against supernatural predators. Then he becomes a Knight of the Cross.
  • Crazy-Prepared/Properly Paranoid:
    • In Changes, he is shot in the back. A few minutes later it is revealed that he put on a kevlar vest the minute he got the call, and brought garlic and chalk too.
    • In Ghost Story he has Bob examine and then shadow Harry, without Harry knowing it, to ensure if Harry's shade is some trick or turns evil, Bob will end him.
  • Diagnosis from Dr. Badass: Does this to Aristides in Ghost Story.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: As of Skin Game, he is a Knight of the Cross. A JEDI Knight of the Cross, lightsaber and all. A JEWISH Jedi Knight of the Cross, no less.
  • Hidden Depths: Another layer gets peeled off with every appearance. Butters is probably the poster child for this trope; initially he appears as a polka-loving nerd, but by the time of Ghost Story he is one of Harry's most valuable allies, for his brains, his honesty and his incredible courage, considering he has nothing even resembling super-powers, or even ordinary strength, to take into battle with him.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Waldo Butters, about 120lbs soaking wet, tried to become part of the US military but washed out of boot camp. Same with the police. He failed both times but still had the push to be stronger. This push led him to ride on a zombie dinosaur to save the world and pursue other dangerous paths. This finally culminates in him becoming a Knight of the Cross.
  • Jewish and Nerdy: Self-described as such in-universe.
  • Jewish Mother: Mama Butters, from Bob's description, is capable of whipping up a massive Fancy Dinner for Jewish Holidays as Harry sees in Bob's 'apartment'. Also nags Butters about finding himself a Nice Jewish Girl if only he'd clean up. Bob fills in for her at times, complete with Yiddish accent, to Butters' dismay.
  • Jumped at the Call: After the events detailed in Took a Level in Badass, Butters can't contemplate not accepting Fidelacchius.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: This is a requirement for all Knights of the Cross. Even before receiving Fidelacchius, he was defending Chicago in Harry and Molly's absence.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: He saved Harry's life by attacking Cassius. And later, subdued a gunman with an improvised taser. Later on in Ghost Story he cripples Aristides by knowing exactly which bones to break
  • Lovable Coward: Deconstructed, then subverted.
  • Magitek: Butters is not very strong with magic in a practical sense. He is, however, brilliant in the theoretical sense. With Bob's help, he can make enchanted items which give him a distinct edge and element of surprise, like a self-propelling skateboard that can clock up to 30mph. He can even make a listening device that won't short out when he sneaks it into Harry's bandages.
  • The Medic: Although he says he finds it weird to operate on people who are still alive, Harry's acquaintance with him comes in handy when he, say, needs a bullet wound treated and doesn't want to intrude on the police's busy schedule. Or sewing up a sliced up Morgan in Turn Coat.
  • Notice This: In-Universe example. Because of Butter's RPG history, it seems Heaven will be giving him signs like this. On a jog with Michael, he notices a homeless man with a yellow exclamation point over the man. Michael explains to him this is a job.
  • Nerd Glasses: He wears them.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: A Batman Jewish Jedi Knight of the Cross, anyone?.
  • Non-Action Guy: Doesn't stop him from being useful when the need is there.
  • Post-Modern Magik: In Ghost Story he rigs up a two-way radio for Harry to converse with the others. Bob the Skull observes that while Butters has no talent for magic himself, he probably understands magic theory better than Harry.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: He's very smart, and he's tiny, apparently — when he curls up into a fetal position, Harry thinks he could probably fit in a grocery bag.
  • Survival Mantra: When shaking to his core in Dead Beat because of the attacks by zombies, Harry gives him some good reasons to not give up. The more important reason becomes this mantra. That reason: "POLKA WILL NEVER DIE!!"
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: With Bob the Skull's help. He may not have the power in magic, but with his mind, he can make formulas and theories beyond what Harry can understand.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • As of Ghost Story. Before the series, he was a plain muggle coroner. But after receiving a few victims in Harry's cases, from the exploding hearts of Storm Front to claiming some of the remains found from the Velvet Room were not human, and then meeting Harry in Death Masks and the whole debacle in Dead Beat Butters learned quickly if he was to be part of this other world, he would have to toughen up.
    • As of Skin Game this nearly defies belief. First off, using artifice spells and Bob as a portable magical battery, he's got a magical skateboard that travels at sub-motorcycle speeds, skill with an improvised whip that would put Indiana Jones or Simon Belmont to shame, and magical amnesia grenades. And that's all BEFORE he becomes the Lightsaber of Faith wielding Jewish Jedi Knight of the Cross. It Makes Sense in Context.

     Vince Graver 

A Private Investigator who was hired to spy on Harry during the Turn Coat case. Dresden managed to get him on his side, and Graver was able to obtain key evidence in proving that Samuel Peabody was a spy on the White Council.

     Nick Christian 

A Private Investigator and one of Harry's mentors.

  • Friend to All Children: He takes a variety of jobs to pay rent, but his passion is missing children cases. He's managed to save several children from abductors over the years, and in his view, that makes all the sacrifices he's made worth it.
  • Private Detective: His job.

     Steven "Stevie D" Douglas 

A hired thug operating in the Chicago area. Baron Marcone and Duchess Ortega have both hired him for jobs.

  • Genre Savvy: He knows that Dresden's a tough opponent, so he tries to kill him as soon as he has a chance, before Dresden has time to cast any countermeasures. He even tried to kill Butters—whom he hadn't been paid to shoot—just because Butters was between him and Dresden and he didn't want to give Dresden the few seconds it would take to move Butters out of the way.
  • Professional Killer: His job.

     Anna Valmont 

A professional thief who was a member of a crew that called themselves the Churchmice, Valmont first met Harry when she was hired to steal the Shroud of Turin in Death Masks. She reappears in Skin Game as part of Nicodemus's caper.
  • Badass: She manages to steal the Shroud of Turin from the Vatican and is arguably the best thief in the world.
  • Boring but Practical: In Hades' vault, she goes right for the fountain of diamonds, filling her sack from the spout. She chose them over the gold and other treasures because they had the highest value for their weight and would be easy to move once they got back home. Anna's practicality ends up ensuring that the heroes involved in the caper come away with a monetary profit.
  • The Bus Came Back: Returns after a 10 year absence.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: She has a reasonable claim to the title of the best thief in the "Dresdenverse" at the moment.
  • Revenge: Her main reason for joining Nicodemus' group in Skin Game is for a chance to avenge her friends that died in Death Masks.

     Dr. Helena Pounder 

A tall and powerfully-built archeologist who had a child with one of the Forest People, Strength of a River in his Shoulders.

  • Brawn Hilda: Helena is more than six feet tall and powerfully built. Dresden says that she 'wasn't really pretty' and looks like a bouncer.
  • Mama Bear: Dresden refers to this trope by name after meeting her, and it fits. After all, when her son is being bullied, her way of solving the problem is to pull some strings and have a professional wizard—capable of fighting warlocks, vampires, and demons—hired at her son's school to can sort them out.
  • Rescue Romance: Starts dating Strength of a River in his Shoulders after he saves her life by getting her food when she's stranded on a barren dig site for months.

     Sandra Marling 

A part-time volunteer at a homeless shelter who befriended Molly Carpenter after the other girl was sentenced to community service. An offhand comment by her led Molly to study recent research on using fear to bypass addictions, which had the unfortunate result of Molly using fear spells on their mutual friends Nelson and Rosie. As chair of the horror convention SplatterCon, she also invited horror director 'Darby Crane' to Chicago; when Darby Crane turned out to be White Court vampire Madrigal Raith, Harry mistakenly blamed Raith for Molly's actions.

  • Silk Hiding Steel: She appears perfectly normal at first, and in fact drops out of the 'Proven Guilty' case less than halfway through it (and hasn't reappeared so far). However, the RPG notes (which are written from an in-universe perspective) show how Marling was indirectly responsible for Molly's corruption, Molly's abduction by phages, and Dresden being distracted by Madrigal for long enough to allow said abduction to occur. It also mentions that she vanished after the novel and Dresden—wizard PI—has been completely unable to locate any trace of her.