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Shout Out: Ghost Story
Misfortune is only to be expected in the 13th novel of The Dresden Files, and you can't get much more unlucky than dead. But despite being a ghost, Harry's not done facing trouble, even if he doesn't have a body of his own to cope with it: just his wits, his memories, and a whole lot of Shout Outs.

  • In the first chapter, Harry references one of the running gags from Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    Harry: "For crying out loud, didn't I just say that death wasn't scary anymore? Tell that to my glands."
  • Lea disappears, Cheshire Cat-style.
  • Harry Potter
    • Lea tells Harry that he has his mother's Sight, and he asks "Not her eyes?". Everyone who knew Harry Potter's mother told him he had Lily's eyes.
    • He's not the only wizard named Harry to be struck down by a fatal attack and find himself speaking to a deceased associate on an empty train platform, either.
    • Kemmler had to be killed seven times by the White Council before he'd stay dead. In the Harry Potter novels, there were seven Horcruxes that had to be destroyed to make Voldemort mortal.
  • Inez greets Harry with a Shirley Temple curtsy.
  • Twelve-year-old Harry, from the fire-lighting flashback, wishes he could skip his lesson and go watch Knight Rider on the mall's TV displays.
    • He compares how Justin hits him to Bruce Lee without the silly noises.
    • Gathering power, young Harry reasons, ought to work like it does for the Silver Surfer, Green Lantern, or Iron Fist, and not like Iron Man (because he doesn't actually have powers).
    • Receiving a baseball glove for a present reminds him of Kansas City Royals player George Brett.
  • "The game's a-freaking-foot!"
  • Unsurprisingly, Captain Jack doesn't get Harry's "Sparrow" crack.
  • Corpsetaker "gobbles a bunch of killers and she gets to be a real boy again".
  • Harry mentions he fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the other two more well known ones being to never get into a land war in Asia, and to never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.
  • Sir Stuart once lost five years listening to a Pink Floyd album.
  • Harry gives Boz a boot to the head.
  • Butters wanted to name the Brighter Future Society the Brighter Future Group, purely for the initialism.
  • Harry tells Mort "Buck up, little camper", a line from Better Off Dead.
  • Murphy warns Childs that events will segue directly to the OK Corral if the arrangement ends.
  • Lea's attitude is summed up as "Nietzsche and Darwin Were Sentimental Pansies".
  • Harry refers to Stuart crashing the gang's truck as "playing Maximum Overdrive" with them.
  • The book is rife with Star Wars references, the best of which being when Harry's ghost proved its identity to Molly by quoting The Empire Strikes Back.
    • Molly tells Harry that Chewbacca (meaning Mouse) is with Maggie.
    • Sir Stuart unwittingly uses an identical phrase to one of C-3PO's lines in A New Hope. Subverted when Stuart's next line transitions into a Monty Python skit.
    • Butters agrees to join Skaldi in the ring for training five minutes after he gets a functional lightsaber.
    • If the Eagle Scouts have some kind of Sith equivalent, Marcone would be it.
    • Butters says Harry "totally Kenobied the day" when he persuaded Fitz to come back.
    • The thought-image Harry and Molly'd used to signify victory in their mental practice-duels was that of Vader in his TIE fighter saying "I have you now" from A New Hope.
    • Even Uriel the Archangel, Heaven's spymaster, says he prefers Star Wars to Star Trek just after appearing to Harry during Molly's Battle in the Center of the Mind.
      • Which is fair enough, as Harry'd just asked him "Aren't you a little short for an archangel?" and Uriel likely knew Harry had just argued Wars over Trek in Molly's mental Star Trek-themed command hub. Which brings us to:
  • Molly's command center in her mental defense system is the bridge from Star Trek: The Original Series, featuring the fight music and bridge lurches. The controls are manned by different Mollys in different-colored shirts (including a Red Shirt who immediately dies) representing facets of her personality as interpreted through the archetypes from the original series, complete with fights among the Freudian Trio.
    "The bridge rocked again and we staggered. One of the panels exploded in a shower of sparks. Some Molly in a red uniform who hadnít spoken crashed limply to the deck.
    'Not real,' Ensign Molly said. 'Sorry; my bad. Some things you just canít get rid of.'"
    • The Omega Bomb, however, is a Planet of the Apes Shout-Out.
    • Harry uses his Sean Connery voice to give orders to Communications Molly.
    • On the mental battlefield outside it, Harry spots some targeting-lights like those of the Predator's shoulder cannon.
    • Harry says "Up, Simba" in his best Yul Brynner voice when he turns a rug into a flying carpet.
  • Harry "Will Smith"-ing during his fight with the lemurs.
  • Mort complains about how everyone goes all Lifetime about Mister.
  • Harry defines all of his neat abilities as a ghost in terms of which Marvel Comics mutant has those powers: Nightcrawler is one prominent example, as is Shadowcat. He's a bit annoyed when he can't think of one that could see in the dark. Although personally, Harry suspects Colossus would've been more fun.
    • Harry also compares his non-ghostly "wizard senses" to "spider sense".
  • In the months between Changes and Ghost Story, Marcone has a stone castle transferred to a major U.S. city.
    • Surprisingly, mega-nerd Butters doesn't seem to have made the connection: he calls it the Batcave instead.
  • Merging with Mort, Harry sees the world hit him in full Technicolor.
  • The spell Molly casts when confronted by the turtlenecks is similar to the Dungeons & Dragons illusion Mirror Image.
  • Harry calls himself the Andrť the Giant of the supernatural world.
  • Mort's hybrid car is said to boast a computer that "Looked like it could have run the NYSE and NORAD, with enough attention left over to play tic-tac-toe. Or possibly Global Thermonuclear War." in a shout-out to WarGames.
    • When Harry criticizes Mort's car, Morty snarks back that Harry used to drive Herbie's trailer-park cousin.
  • One of the Alphas is a young woman whose werewolf form is lightly-built and colored a bit like a coyote. In trying to recall her name (Marci), Harry's second guess is "Mercy", which is the name of Patricia Briggs' coyote-shapechanger heroine; like Harry, she hangs out with werewolves and fae.
  • Harry starts to sneak into the Grey Ghost's lair, then quits with the Scooby-Doo action when he realizes his ghost-self can't make noise anyway.
  • Sir Stuart's line about wraiths not knowing pity, nor restraint, prompts Harry to suggest fear as another thing they don't know. Almost certainly a Terminator reference.
  • Aristedes' blade is like a Bowie knife designed by H. R. Giger.
  • Harry tries some of the same words Gandalf used to try to open the door to Moria on the entrance to the Corpsetaker's lair. And calls her a tasteless bitch for not reading Tolkien when it doesn't work.
  • Then there's the description of what Evil Bob looks like when he manifests. A tall, Faux Affably Evil man with a skull for a head, who traipses about in an SS uniform? You don't say.
    • Attacking Evil Bob's defenses, Harry recognizes the scenario he's entered from Saving Private Ryan.
  • The police station in Chicago Between reminds Harry of old episodes of Dragnet.
  • Judging by their graffiti, at least one of the Big Hoods is a believer in the conspiracy theories of David Icke.
  • During the flashback to Harry's teen years, he makes period-appropriate Shout Outs to Pee-Wee Hermann, The Natural, and Big Trouble in Little China.
    • In the same flashback, young Harry is subjected to an audio-Cat Scare by a Sinistar arcade machine.
    • The straitjacket that alerts him to Justin's intentions lies next to Harry's much-used copy of The Hobbit. Seeing it, Harry realizes he can't exactly run off to Oz and ask another wizard for help.
    • He Who Walks Behind smiles like something from Lewis Carroll's drug-induced nightmares.
    • Being confronted by the Walker leaves young Harry feeling empathy for Jerry of Tom and Jerry.
  • The entire subplot dealing with Fitz and his trouble rescuing his friends from Aristedes is a either a pastiche or homage to Oliver Twist.
  • Harry quotes the opening narration of Super Friends to Sir Stuart.
  • Mortimer Lindquist: "Don't have a gun. Never really felt like I needed one"
  • Bob describes the ancient Sidhe Wars as "like The Lord of the Rings and All My Children made a baby with the Macho Man Randy Savage and a Whac-A-Mole machine". Even Harry's left speechless by that one.
  • Uriel reveals that one of the Fallen tempted Harry to arrange his own death with seven words and that as a result Uriel can use seven words to help Harry. Considering that Jim Butcher and Patrick Rothfuss are friends, this may be a shoutout to The Name of the Wind.
  • At one point Harry says that for someone to get away with calling Murphy "Karrie", they'd have to be "a Terminator. From Krypton."
  • Inez gives a shout out to Jim Butcher himself, when she tells Harry "They'll write books about you."
  • "There is no spoon."
  • Fitz calls Harry's disembodied voice Harvey.
  • Frustrated that the Lecter Specters don't laugh at his jokes, Harry says it's like Gallagher performing at the Harvard Faculty Club.
  • The battle at Chichen Itza is called "Murderpalooza", a reference to the Lollapalooza concerts.
  • Harry uses his tracking spell to spin around and point at his objective, commenting "Crombie, eat your heart out".
  • Molly, according to Butters, has gone "totally Dark Knight."
  • A Three Little Pigs reference crops up when Forthill speaks to Harry.
  • Bob's sanctum is like "Apartment Bond, James Apartment Bond". Manifested inside it, Bob dresses like James Dean.
    • When Butters calls, an alarm right out of Star Trek goes off inside.
  • "You look like you're expecting Hannibal Lecter to come through the door."
    • Harry dubs the mob of insane ghosts the "Lecter Specters".
  • Morty vigorously denies being a hero, or as he puts it, "a goddamned death wish-embracing Don Quixote."
  • Eternal Silence reminds Harry of old images of The Shadow, and has a voice so deep, it makes James Earl Jones sound like Mickey Mouse.
  • Evil Bob never read the Evil Overlord List, apparently.
  • Seeing that Mortimer has shaved his head, Harry refers to his new look as "a full-on Charles Xavier".
  • When Molly tells one of the Fomor thugs "You're my huckleberry", she's using a piece of Victorian-era slang that was revived by the movie Tombstone.
  • Butters' Plymouth Road Runner has a vanity plate that reads: "Meep Meep".
  • One of the possible afterlives Harry says he was supposed to have faced would be burning in an oven equipped with a stereo that played nothing but Barry Manilow.
  • Stuart tells Harry that, with practice, he might be able to push a penny across a table very slowly. Pushing a penny around is how Sam proves his existence to Molly in Ghost.
    • Also, much later Murphy reminds Harry that he's not Patrick Swayze and she's not Demi Moore. And they're certainly not in pottery class.
  • "Sweet home Chicago" is a Lynyrd Skynyrd reference.
    • Actually its more likely a refrence to The Blues Brothers or just to the song by that name in general
  • In his flashback to the long-jump contest, Harry remembers having felt as if he'd learned to fly like Superman.
  • Harry compares the wards on Murphy's house to a wall built out of LEGOs.
  • Molly is referred to as Raggedy Ann by Murphy, in accordance with her "Rag Lady" nickname.
  • Bob: "Don't make me puke. You wouldn't like me when I puke."
  • Seeing a cop car approach, Harry/Molly sings "Bad boys, bad boys" to the turtlenecks.
  • The inevitable "I see dead people" reference (or rather, hear them, since it's Fitz who makes it).
  • To his own disgust, Harry starts singing West Side Story lyrics to himself at one point.
  • The Corpsetaker probably looked like a James Bond villainess when she was young.
  • Citing unlikely alliances, Bob mentions God and Lucifer messing with Job, Luke and Vader killing the Emperor, and Spidey teaming up with Sandman.
    • Harry wants to dismiss the latter example because Spider-Man isn't real. Bob retorts that in another universe, he could be real. A case of Fridge Logic when you realize that in our universe, Harry himself is just as fictional as Spidey...
    • Wait but Luke and Vader are?
  • Molly's psychic sensitivity is compared to her having great big, honking Dumbo ears that are extremely sensitive to loud noises.
  • Harry quips "It's like Thunderdome" when the other ghosts gather around him in three dimensions. When they fetch Molly, he greets her with "Two ghosts enter, one ghost leaves."
  • Butters asks if Aristedes is fast like Jackie Chan, or fast like The Flash.
  • Told that they're like family, Fitz snarks that their gang is like The Simpsons. Harry would've opted for The Waltons.
    • Mentioning both shows in close proximity may also be a reference to one of the first President Bush's speeches, in which he advocated making American life more like the latter than the former.
  • "How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?"
  • Boz emerges from the pit like Godzilla from the surf, and lumbers towards Mort with Voorheesian steps.
  • Molly thinks Harry's quoting The Bible when he says "for everything there is a season". He was quoting The Byrds.
    • Likewise, Harry thinks Uriel's quoting Buckaroo Banzai when he says "no matter where you go, there you are". He was quoting Confucius.
  • The downright horrific death suffered by one of Evil Bob's wolfwaffen is reminiscent of Clive Barker's "Confessions of a Pornographer's Shroud".
  • Harry insists that Uriel make like the Ghost of Christmas Present before he decides, at the end.
  • Not unlike Neo in The Matrix, Harry wakes up with tendrils plugged into his limbs, weak as a kitten, with his eyes hurting from the light because he hasn't been using them.
  • Uriel, perhaps not surprisingly for an archangel, references a quote often attributed to C.S. Lewis, saying that Harry is a soul, who has a body.
ChangesShoutOut/THEDRESDENFILESCold Days
ChangesShoutOut/LITERATURECold Days

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