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YMMV: The Dresden Files

The Books provide examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The comic book. As Jim Butcher himself points out, Dresden Files has the heart and soul of a comic book anyway.
    • The roleplaying game is both incredibly faithful to the books, condensing the Dresdenverse into a very elegant and functional game, and flexible enough to handle anything you might want to do with the game. An example is how a couple of people in one playtest group wanted to play as a ghost and a ghoul. They managed to figure out how to do so after about 10 min of planning for each.
    • One of the other playtester groups succeeded in making a character who was essentially an animated sentient whip.
  • Awesome Ego: Ramirez. The Tabletop Game says as much.
  • Complete Monster: See The Dresden Files
  • Crazy Awesome: In Ghost Story, Harry was able to manifest his disembodied spirit into the real world and punch a mook, specifically because he was insane, which is the very definition of this trope. Recall that only insane ghostly spirits can manifest physically, because it's incredibly dangerous. Oh, and the way he comes to realize he's crazy enough to do this? He remembers all the other crazy stuff he's done in previous books. And much of that crazy stuff was awesome.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Ride of the Valkyries. Also tells you something about Gard's sense of humor considering what the short story "Heorot" reveals about her true nature.
    • And in Cold Days: "We will, we will, rock you!"
  • Evil Is Sexy: Lara Raith is pretty much the embodiment of this, as are all the other Raiths, and both Fairy Courts, and Bianca and many of the Red Court vampires (before seeing their true form at least). Harry even mentions the benefits of having no hot water as taking cold showers constantly is a good defense against the supernatural charms of the dangerous female beings he meets constantly.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: The biggest one by far is Harry Dresden/Karrin Murphy, due to the colossal amount of Unresolved Sexual Tension they share, but Harry Dresden/John Marcone also has a remarkably large and enthusiastic following amongst the fandom.
    • The Goodship Molly Dresden has a substantial fan following too.
  • Foe Yay: Harry and Marcone seem to have a little of this going at times.
    • Harry and Lara have plenty of these whenever they meet or team up.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The short story "Day Off", found in the anthology Blood Lite, features the characters of Kirby and Andi, the fact that they are going steady, and the fact that Harry is in a relationship with Warden Captain Luccio. In the book Turn Coat, Kirby dies and Harry and Luccio are told that their relationship was psychically arranged by the same Council traitor who killed LaFortier and Morgan. Consider the difference in tone between the two stories and you have got Mood Whiplash as well.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The first two books are okay, but the series really hits its stride at Grave Peril. It improves even more during and after Dead Beat.
    • Butcher really hit his stride when he had Harry punch a werewolf through a goddamn wall. After that the series figured out its pattern of stringing together incredibly awesome scenes with interesting mysteries and witty dialogue.
      • Really, the first three books focus heavily on Harry's job as a wizard-for-hire that frequently works with the police. Starting with Book Four, Summer Knight, the supernatural side of Harry's world takes over. Whereas before the focus was helping the cops with supernatural cases, as well as taking private cases himself that seemed to intertwine with the case the police were working, the focus now was on the many, varied worlds of the supernatural that Harry is involved in; the vampire world, the Fey world, the White Council, etc. Roots of this showed up in Book Three, Grave Peril, but by the time Summer Knight is over, the series is no longer about a wizard PI who works with the police, which was the initial premise.
    • Butcher himself lampshaded this when he made a statement to the effect that one of his regrets about the Dresden series is that people have to start it by reading the books he wrote when young and inexperienced.
    • The series isn't the only one growing the beard. Go back and listen to James Marsters in Storm Front. Compare that to James Marsters in Changes.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • From "Changes". "If that was the price I had to pay to make my daughter safe, so be it. If I was haunted by my choices for the rest of my life because Maggie needed me to make hard choices, so be it." This passage is from when he was deciding to kill Lloyd Slate and become the Winter Knight. Applied to what happened later, when he killed Susan, there is a whole new dimension of haunting regret.
    • Another one occurs in Grave Peril, when Harry is waiting for Susan to bail him out of jail and sees Michael and Charity talking he finds himself wondering why all his relationships don't work and jokingly puts it down to all the "ghosts, demons and Human Sacrifice." cue Changes...
    • In the short story "Something Borrowed", Kirby was supposed to be Billy's best man at his wedding, but got really hurt in a fight the night before (no thanks to the jello shots)... Flash forward to Turn Coat...
    • In Death Masks, when Harry tracks Marcone to Persephone's bedside, he assumes the comatose girl must be Marcone's own child. He tries to keep up his hatred for the gang boss because of his many crimes, but a part of Harry can't help but think he might have become every bit as unscrupulously-ruthless himself, if he'd had a daughter who was helpless and needed him to fight for her. Several books later, Changes comes along...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In Backup, Thomas says that Harry and e-mails go together like Robert Downey Jr. and sobriety. Turns out, RDJ is AWESOME sober.
    • In Ghost Story, Skaldi Skjeldson asks Butters when he's going to get in the ring and "train like a man." Butters' answer is "About five minutes after I get a functional lightsaber." Fast forward about two and a half books, to Skin Game, and Butters takes up Fidelacchius, which reforges into something very recognizable.
  • Ho Yay: Harry and Thomas. Even though they're half-brothers. Half-BroYay!. Hell's bells, the Ho Yay actually becomes a plot point at times.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Quite a few of these are kicking around, to Harry's dismay. Fortunately, some are his friends. Harry himself is TRYING for it at times. He's still at Guile Hero/Manipulative Bastard though
    • Marcone is constantly getting people that hate him to do what he wants, even when they are perfectly aware that, lesser or no, he is evil.
    • Martin, in Changes.
      • Lara Raith.
    • Nicodemus. Over 2000 years old, head of the order of the blackened Denarius, instigator and magnifier of multiple wars and plagues, slaughterer of hundreds of Knights of the Cross and perfectly plans and executes (until Harry throws a spanner in the works) a scheme to capture both Marcone, chief crime lord in the entire US, and the Archive, essentially everything ever written down in the head of a little girl who is stronger than the Summer and Winter Ladies. Also, uses when he throws Lasciel's coin at little Harry. Either Harry Dresden or Carpenter is going to take it, and either would be perfect for his purposes.
    • Collin Murphy scams Uriel Wow.
    • In Skin Game, Mab, Marcone, and the Greek god Hades concoct a scheme to pay back the Denarians, while Harry gets advice from Odin and Uriel on how to carry out his part. Between them, Nicodemus himself didn't stand a chance.
  • Memetic Sex God: The Dresden Files has its own folder.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: An unfortunate result of the books being told from Harry's POV is that we miss some of the crazier fights in the background. Of course, considering how much awesome is crammed in the series already, adding more might result in brains melting.
    • l the battle between the Wardens and the Red Court across half of Europe in Dead Beat
    • Morgan and Michael and half of Summer trouncing the Red Court in Proven Guilty.
    • Small Favor had what was likely an awesome parkour chase as a gaggle of faerie elves chased Thomas-disguised-as-Harry across the Chicago rooftops. We missed it mostly because Harry was with Michael as he went Fist of God on a few hundred hobs in the subway.
    • Molly, Thomas and Mouse fighting the Ick in Changes while Harry lies broken on the other side of a house.
    • Between Changes and Ghost Story, Murphy killed two warlocks who were at Council-tier strength. Considering Murphy is a human with no magic to her, that is really impressive, but we sadly don't get to see it.
    • By Skin Game, it's Butters who's taking up the slack for Harry and Molly, by not merely taking a level in badass, but taking a level in Batman.
    • Also in Skin Game, Sanya isn't in Chicago fighting Nicodemus because he is in Iran taking on a group of Denarians to prevent a nuclear crisis.
    • The Oblivion War, as specified in Backup. Jim Butcher even said that by Harry's very nature, he'd be an immense liability if he even knew about the war.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Chauncy, the crab-demon-thing with pince-nez glasses that Harry has a conversation with in Fool Moon.
    • Ferrovax. He's only shown up at the party in Grave Peril, and did comparatively little there. He's also one of the most popular characters among fans. Comparatively little being flattening a man with the tone of his voice.
    • Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex that Harry revives in Dead Beat.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • Lasciel's shadow can make illusions so perfect that Harry can not tell the difference. She completely makes up a person to interact with him, and he is so taken in that other people start thinking he has gone nuts because he is talking to empty air. Then she demonstrates that if she wanted, she could use this to kill him at any time. Yeeeesh.
    • He Who Walks Behind is an Eldritch Abomination whose distinguishing characteristic is that when it manifests it is always behind you. Even if your back is against a wall, it's still behind you. And now it just has a handy solid surface to pick you up and strangle you against. With one of it's tentacles around your neck. Which it didn't have in the reflection you saw of it.
  • Sequelitis: Depending on who you ask this series is either this trope, or the first three to four volumes suffer from early installment weirdness. Originally, this series was about a private detective who is also a wizard. By the time we get to volume seven, it's about the crazy world Harry inhabits, which included Fey realms, Vampire wars, wizarding politics and the machinations of the White Council, and most especially about the people Harry cares most about, which include almost every good character, and even some not-so-good ones, ever introduced in the series. YMMV if the series is far too bogged down in its own plot now or if it has grown the beard.
  • Squick:
  • Stoic Woobie: At the end of Cold Days, Mab certainly counts. Her daughter Maeve, was possessed by Nemesis and threatening to destroy the world, was killed before her eyes, and by Maeve's actions her second daughter has become the Summer Lady, keeping her from Sarissa and destroying the relationship of BFFs they had previously. The only hint we get of her deeper turmoil is when she admits to Harry who asked if she didn't like her choice to have Maeve killed, "[she] was mortal once."
  • Too Cool to Live: Shiro
    • As of Turn Coat, Morgan, although this may be Too Badass To Live considering his Jerkassness.
    • Meryl, dammit.
    • Cat Sith, introduced as an uber Badass malk, he ends up possessed by Nemesis. Even if he survived his fight with Harry, Nemesis appears to have destroyed his mind and taken over him completely. Ironically this is noted as lessening Sith's badass-ness in the process.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The repeated sexualization of women, to some; Harry has a tendency to describe attractive women in extended detail whenever he meets them, going on page-long monologues in some cases. A common counterpoint to this is that the series possesses a number of non-sexualized women note , most of the jaw-droppingly beautiful women are not human to begin with, and Harry's fixation is presented as a clear character flaw that gets him into trouble often. Its generally left up to the reader to decide which holds more weight.
  • What an Idiot: Yes, Susan, do gatecrash a party hosted by a vampire. A party you most certainly weren't invited to, never mind your forged invitation. This cannot possibly go wrong.
    • Officer John Stallings Grave Peril. He trusts Harry enough to steal a key piece of police evidence for him: the personal journal of an occultist serial killer, but simultaneously doesn't trust Harry enough to mention said serial killer also killed himself a couple days ago, even when Harry asks him point blank about it. Slallings could have saved everyone a ton of trouble if he hadn't lied about that.
  • The Woobie: Both Harry and Thomas. The universe clearly hates their family.
    • Molly as well, and how, as of Ghost Story... and Cold Days.
    • By the end of Cold Days Titania admits she knew Aurora was corrupted and needed to be stopped from destroying the world. She had to watch as Harry killed her only daughter and knew it was for the best. Then she is forced to take up raising young Lily to her position as Summer Lady. And after only ten years of Lily's reign, the thing that led to Aurora's death led to Lily's death. She must now raise Mab's daughter Sarissa to be the Summer Lady.
    • Lily did not want to become the Summer Lady. She wanted to become human, find a husband, and raise a family. But because of circumstances beyond her control, she was forced to become the Summer Lady. Then she was manipulated by a corrupted Maeve to thinking she was The Hero who could help save the world from Outsiders and followed Maeve into an attack that would have led to the destruction of the world.
      • And now Sarissa has taken her place, meaning that she'll have to spend the rest of her life working to oppose her own mother, as well as any friends she might possibly have had in Winter. (Hey, it can happen.) Maybe even be obligated to kill some of them on the battlefield if the Courts should come to blows again.
    • Little Maggie, so so much. She's never said a word on-page as of Cold Days, yet one can't help but want to hug a little kid who's seen her foster family massacred, been a captive of Red Court vampires, witnessed perhaps hundreds of preparatory human sacrifices, and who may or may not have seen her mother transforming into a monster and then having her throat cut by her father. In Skin Game, they have Mouse registered as a medical dog because Maggie would suffer panic attacks without him. Michael isn't sure that's not just an excuse.
      • As of Skin Game she manages to woob all over her every scene until they burst into sweet piles of d'aaaw when she meets her dad.

The TV series provides examples of:

  • Broken Base: The fandom is vehemently torn over whether Book Bob is better than TV Bob, and generally over whether the show is a good adaptation of the books.
    • General consensus is that Terrance Mann was just awesome as Bob, putting all he had into the performance, to the point where some still hear his voice when reading Bob's speech in the books. But Bob still should have been a disembodied knowledge spirit, not a ghost.
  • Les Yay: Bianca and Natalie. Sharon and Nancy.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Kim Coates as the demon Sirota.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • The reaction of the bulk of the book fans when the show started.
    • Reasons ranged from the reasonable (the series was far less "quirky" than the books and more a mainstream supernatural show) to the outright weird (Murphy is supposed to be blonde, dammit!)
    • Sometimes averted when it comes to Harry's hockey-stick staff. Most agree, even if grudgingly, that a man walking around with a hockey stick would be far less conspicuous than a man walking around with a six-foot staff that looks like something Gandalf might carry. Credit where credit is due; in the series, Harry is less overt about what he is than in the books. TV Harry doesn't mind if people think of him as one of those "psychic investigators" police sometimes employ. Book Harry straight out says he's a wizard.

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