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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 (Battle Ground) are UNMARKED. Tread carefully.



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     Heinrich Kemmler 

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 I 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 surviving disciples.


  • Axe-Crazy: Perfectly willing to engineer world wars.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: When he crosses paths with Warden Luccio in the Old West, she describes his suit and tie as 'impeccable'.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Responsible for the First and Second World Wars.
  • The Chessmaster: Spent over a century engineering World War I, after all.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Comes up behind a Warden he could have annihilated in magical combat and holds her up with a gun, because its easier and preserves The Masquerade.
  • Determinator: Tears bloody patches out of his skin to escape imprisonment in "A Fistful of Warlocks".
  • Deader Than Dead: The White Council made absolutely sure that he is not coming back. The White Council killed him six times, and confirmed it, boot on body, every time. None of this was more than a minor inconvenience. However, the seventh time, when they called in the entire White Council (not literally all of it, but every single combat capable/skilled member), stuck, and Heinrich Kemmler is, per Word of God, finally and irrevocably dead.
    Bob: They killed him good. A couple of times. He'd come back after they'd killed him early in the nineteenth century, so they were real careful this time.
  • Evil Overlord: Necromancer-style.
  • Expy: Of Heinrich Kemmler the Lichemaster, the most powerful necromancer alive in Warhammer Fantasy.
  • Ghostapo: Was associated with the Thule Society, though Luccio noted that he was stronger than even the greatest of the Society's sorcerers.
  • Godhood Seeker: He was permanently killed while trying to perform the Darkhallow, a spell (with a few ritual-like restrictions) 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.
  • Hero's Evil Predecessor: According to Word of God, Kemmler was a Warden of Demonreach.
  • Killed Off for Real: The White Council killed him real good, though it took seven attempts to make it stick.
  • Mind Rape: Part of the reason for why Bob considers Kemmler such a monster is that he twisted and perverted his own essence under his ownership, corrupting Bob's purpose as a spirit of intellect into something truly dark and hideous.
  • Necromancer: The necromancer in the setting. His schtick included not only resurrecting the dead, but also using ghosts and spirits as undead batteries for his magic.
  • 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. The entire White Council (or at least, all members who were combat capable, according to Word of God, which was still hundreds, if not thousands, of wizards) was called in to do it. Not just the Wardens but everyone.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Sides with the Germans in World War II, to the point where he raised entire concentration camps from the dead For the Evulz.
  • Villainous Legacy: He's long dead in the present but his evil lives on in the form of both the Darkhallow as well as his disciples who continue his evil 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, boss of most of the wicked fae, someone who Harry once described as giving lessons to all the fairy-tale evil queens, unironically calls Kemmler a monster.

     Evil Bob 

Evil Bob

Evil Bob is the dark side of Regular Bob that served Kemmler 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 The Dragon to the Corpsetaker's ghost in Ghost Story. Evil Bob is still out there, last seen locked in combat with his regular self in the Nevernever, and Bob decided to run the moment Harry was clear.


  • 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.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: From Evil Bob's perspective Harry is an infant wizard with potential but clouded by stupid things like morality. However, when Harry rationally points out that Evil Bob stopping to offer Harry a We Can Rule Together speech is in his self-interest, Evil Bob notes he doesn't have such a thing. When Harry replied that Evil Bob had the superior advantage over Harry in most every aspect and need not make the offer but did so and offered to help usurp Corpsetaker, it must be because Evil Bob feels his interests would be better served working with a less insane Harry than the egomaniac Corpsetaker. Ergo, Evil Bob does have self-interest and can choose to act on it. Evil Bob realizes there might be some validity to this and will think on it later, but now must kill Harry.
  • 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: Harry's Bob is less than eager to face the guy in a fair fight.
    "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 Spirit!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.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Played with. While he does have some powerful knowledge and dangerous magic, Bob doesn't consider what he knows all that powerful as he primarily knows how to destroy things. Good!Bob knows things a lot of creation-based magic, which in his view is harder and more powerful. That said, this doesn't mean Evil Bob is a pushover.
  • Super Strength: Spiritually at least. He was able to grab Harry's staff with two of his fingers and lift up Harry's whole body in the process, and as Harry was basically a ghost at the time, this involved overpowering him against his will.
  • Villain Ball: He believes Bob's ruse about heading behind Harry to weaken the gate, when in fact Bob had already severely weakened the gate so it would collapse once Harry passes through. It inhibits him from helping the Corpsetaker in her confrontation with Harry.
  • 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.

Contenders for the Word of Kemmler

For Cowl, see his entry under The Outsiders.

     Capiocorpus, aka the Corpsetaker, aka the Grey Ghost 

The Corpsetaker

One of the disciples of mad necromancer Heinrich Kemmler, the Corpsetaker is a necromancer who specializes in mental magic, raising spectres, and using dark magic to allow them to jump between bodies. Violent, savage, and thoroughly insane, albeit hidden behind a thin 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, they have stolen the body of a college student named Alicia Nelson. Returns for another round in Ghost Story as "the Grey Ghost," the novel's Big Bad who is stuck as a ghost and intent on coming Back from the Dead.


  • Ambiguous Situation: It's unclear if it's her actual soul and spirit running around Ghost Story (meaning her actual metaphysical self), or if it's "just" her ghost (meaning basically a psychic footprint of herself that believes that she's the real Corpsetaker).
  • Ascended Extra: She goes from "just" one of the three members of the Big Bad Duumvirate in Dead Beat to the Big Bad of Ghost Story.
  • Ax-Crazy: Of all of the Kemmlerites, Corpsetaker is probably the most unbalanced and twisted. Mental magic does that, of course.
  • Big Bad: She is the primary threat in Ghost Story, planning on giving herself a new body in order to return to life.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: She, Grevane, and Cowl are all fighting for the position of gaining the Darkhallow's power in Dead Beat, but Cowl eventually outmaneuvers the rest of them and becomes the novel's Final Boss.
  • Body Surf: Until Ghost Story, fans weren't even sure if the Corpsetaker originally had a gender.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Harry managed to kill her after she took over Luccio. In turn, she inflicts this on Harry's spirit in Ghost Story after he manifests a physical body and she takes him by surprise by possessing Butters.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Performed on both Mort in Ghost Story and her old body in Dead Beat.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: She's ultimately way too dangerous and deadly for Molly to defeat in their mental duel, but Harry Dresden's apprentice still gives as good as she can and lasts long enough that Mort is able to intervene and save the day.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Her final fate as implied when the screams of the wraiths destroying her spiritual essence sound like "the blaring howl of the horn of a southbound train".
  • Evil Counterpart: She's arguably more of one for Molly Carpenter than Kumori was (particularly during the events of Ghost Story), being a master of psychomancy with leanings towards Black Magic (Molly's first intentionally cast spells were Mind Raping her friends to get them off drug abuse, while the Corpsetaker is a warlock through and through) while also initially appearing as a pretty young woman and cow their allies into line by being as much of a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant as possible.
  • Fallen Hero: Ghost Story reveals that she was once a member of the White Council before defecting and joining up with Kemmler.
  • Faux Affably Evil: When they first meet, it only takes a few snarky remarks from Harry for the polite façade to fall from her borrowed face and reveal her true colors as an absolutely terrifying sociopath.
  • 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. That said, she needs a lot of power to be able to do it from spirit form. The known bodies that she's taken are that of Dr. Charles Bartlesby, Alicia Nelson, Anastasia Luccio, and Waldo Butters.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Gets taken down with the wraiths she used on Mort, with him even directly wielding them against her.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: A very creepy example, with her face while possessing Butters being described as contorting into an expression "somewhere between murderous rage and that of an orgasm."
  • Karmic Death: In Ghost Story, Mort destroys her with the same wraiths she had used to torture him.
  • Mask of Sanity: Harry has an internal Freak Out in Dead Beat after he first meets her in Bock Ordered Books and realizes that she's "calmly insane."
  • Mind Rape: One of the Corpsetaker's specialties is to violate the minds of her victims. She also brutally tortures Mort in Ghost Story by subjecting him to this via dumping him in a pit of wraiths. Repeatedly.
  • Necromancer: Her particular brand of the craft seems to focus on spirits and other "intangible" undead rather than physical zombies like Grevane does.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Harry describes her as having a look of utter shock when he shoots her in the head in Dead Beat, having never expected that he'd be quicker on the draw than she was.
    • Similarly, when she's possessing Molly in Ghost Story, her borrowed eyes widen in horrified realization when she sees Mort sic her own horde of wraiths on her.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Precisely what sex and gender the Corpsetaker originally had isn't made clear in Dead Beat, not especially helped that her original body is long since dead and whether the concept of gender really applies to a necromancer who seems to exist purely as a body-hopping mind is ultimately up in the air. As of Ghost Story, she appears to have originally been female and still identifies as such.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Below is her Badass Boast to Molly in Ghost Story:
    Corpsetaker: Slippery little girl. But I was crushing minds like yours centuries before your great-grandfather's grandfather left the Old Country.
  • The Sociopath: The Corpsetaker is never once shown displaying anything resembling empathy, and only sees other people as just stepping stones to use in her quest for pursuing more power. She's also a passionate sadist, crooning to Molly during their mental battle that she will "give [Molly] a lesson in pain."
  • The Unfavorite: Evil Bob once comments, while trying to recruit Harry, that Kemmler wasn't terribly fond of her either.
  • Villain Ball: She leaves a powerful ectomancer alone in a room with some very strong wraiths. Mort even lampshades how foolish this was before killing her off once and for all.
  • Villain Team-Up: Her ghost works with the Fomor to regain a real body and also has gained Evil Bob as her Dragon.
  • Weapon of Choice: A tulwar.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Harry stops to mention them after glimpsing her "true" form as a spirit. Notably, they're the only aspect of her appearance mentioned as being attractive, with the rest of her being described as looking hideous.
  • Worthy Opponent: When locked in a Battle in the Center of the Mind with Molly Carpenter, she begrudgingly notes that she's proving to be a tougher nut to crack than what she usually sees when taking control of other wizards' minds.
    Corpsetaker: My, my, training standards have improved.
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     Grevane 

Grevane

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/grevane.PNG
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.

Grevane was also associated with the Thule Society, though it's not clear if he was a member.


  • 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.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: He, the Corpsetaker, and Cowl are all fighting for the position of gaining the Darkhollow's power in Dead Beat, but Cowl eventually outmaneuvers the rest of them and becomes the novel's Final Boss.
  • Character Tics: He's seen constantly beating a small booklet against his thigh. This looks like a nervous tic, but Harry explains to Butters (and the audience) in short order that the magically-raised dead need to hear a "drumbeat" to simulate a beating heart to keep them under control.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • Grevane doesn't appear to understand that the reason Harry is protecting Butters is because he's Harry's friend.
    • When cornered, Harry threatens to burn the Word of Kemmler, and Grevane tries to call Harry's bluff, saying he knows Harry wants the power as much as he does.
      Harry: God, you people are dysfunctional.
  • Evil Brit: He has a British accent and is a total psychopath.
  • Evil Old Folks: One of the Kemmlerites who clearly show his age, and a crazy sonofabitch to boot.
  • Fatal Flaw: Completely 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.
  • Frozen Fashion Sense: He wears a tan trench coat and, to Harry's disbelief, a black fedora; making him look like he takes fashion cues from Humphrey Bogart.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has a notable scar on his upper lip which gives him a permanent sneer.
  • Grammar Correction Gag: When he first meets Harry, he gets flustered at his grammarnote  and starts trying to correct it.
  • 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.
  • Nice Hat: Amusingly subverted; Harry is gobsmacked to see him walk into the morgue wearing a fedora and even gives a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer about it.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Grevane's zombies are less shuffling mindless flesheaters and more like Terminators. They have the speed to catch up to Harry's car, and have the strength to rip it apart afterwards if they get the chance.
  • Pride: He believes himself to be the best and strongest of all the students of Heinrich Kemmler. When he gets his hands on the Word of Kemmler, he believes his victory is without question. For this reason, even when Harry is leading an attack against him he never considers preparing his Death Curse because he believes he won't die.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: His powers aren't the flashiest, but it's hard to argue against a literal army of the dead. Ones that fight like T-800s.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: Yes, really. A pretty deft 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 Fool!: Calls Harry a fool in their first meeting.

Drummers

     Kumori 

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: Compared to the other members of Necromancers-R-Us, to the point of bordering on being a Token Good Team Mate. She took time, and more importantly, magical strength in a time when she could need it against other wizards and her master's competition to save a man's life.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Believes she's this, but only time will tell for certain.
  • 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.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: While she's loyal to Cowl, he seems to have brought her on board by promising to end death once he becomes a Physical God, and is quite intent on making sure that it happens.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Who serves an enigmatic master, no less.
  • Evil Counterpart: Just as Cowl is one to Harry Dresden, she seems to be one for Molly Carpenter: a younger, female apprentice who strays dangerously close to misusing her powers (but remember to add a mental "maybe" next to "Evil").
  • Inferred Survival: In-universe, it has never actually been confirmed whether or not she survived the magic explosion at the end of Dead Beat, as in White Night Cowl appears alone and does not mention her. Fans generally assume that she did, however, if only for the meta reasoning that killing her off before her identity is revealed would be a strange decision.
  • 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. Darkly subverted when it's later revealed that the process was excruciatingly painful for the "patient," and that he might have been permanently negatively affected by the process.
  • Uncertain Doom: Unlike Cowl, who makes a cameo of sorts in White Night, it's unknown if she managed to survive the Darkhollow's destruction. See above under Inferred Survival, though, for why she likely survived.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: More explicitly than Cowl; she genuinely believes that she can use her necromancy to benefit humankind.

    Quintus Cassius aka "Snakeboy" and "Liver Spots" 

Quintus Cassius

The fourth of Nicodemus' usual crew of Denarians, Cassius is a wizard with an emphasis on snakes. Unsurprisingly, takes on the shape of a humanlike snake in his Denarian combat form. At the end of Death Masks, he gives up his coin, as he expects that Nicodemus will help him. He is disappointed, and returns in Dead Beat, working with Grevane under the agreement that the necromancer will help him take down Harry and seize Lasciel's coin.


  • Brought Down to Badass: Cassius is no slouch even when he's suffering advanced age and has no Fallen to give him immortality.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: He's evil and he knows it.
  • Dirty Coward: Surrenders to the Knights and Harry, fully expecting mercy and fully intending to go back to Nicodemus afterward. The Knights can't touch him, but Harry can, and does so with a baseball bat to the knees and arms.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He absolutely can't believe that anyone would refuse the temptation of the Fallen and not take up the coin, so he automatically believes that Harry has to have Lasciel's coin on him or (unfortunately for Harry) inside him somewhere.
  • Evil Cripple: Not entirely, but he mentions that his joints haven't quite been the same after Harry went to work on him during their first meeting.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: His "surrender" to the Knights was a stalling tactic.
  • Neck Snap: How Mouse ultimately kills him.
  • Nightmare Fuel: invoked His death curse, "Die Alone", is this to Harry In-Universe.
  • Rapid Aging: Once he loses his coin, he ages from an adult to near-geriatric in just a few years. It left him unrecognizable for the majority of Dead Beat.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Harry guess from his reduced height, accent, and skin tone in Death Masks that he was originally a Moorish soldier from the Early Middle Ages. The RPG book gives the age of 16 centuries old.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: in Dead Beat, he comes after Harry for payback.
  • Scaled Up: His Denarian form is that of a snake-man.
  • Smug Snake: A literal example in that he is a snakey person who is also full of himself.
  • Torture Technician: He thinks Lasciel's coin is on Harry, somewhere. Specifically, he knows the lengths some Denarians will go to in order to keep their coin on them, from swallowing the coin repeatedly to cutting open their flesh and hiding it inside, so he intends to look for Lasciel's Coin on Harry, starting with a little bit of surgery.
    "I'll go on a treasure hunt..."
  • Trauma Conga Line: At the end of their first meeting, Harry was disgusted by Cassius's slimy ways and willingness to take advantage of the Knights' honor and conviction. Harry remedies the situation by having his coin taken and Cassius left behind. While it would have meant he would have been free to return to Nicodemus, Harry breaks his knees and arms, and leaves him a quarter to make a single call at a pay phone across some broken glass to either call for medical attention or Nicodemus. (Pay phones also need more than a quarter, and Harry knew this.)
  • Villain Team-Up: He contracts with Grevane in Dead Beat since they're both chasing after Harry for their own reasons.
  • Weapon of Choice: During his second appearance, it was a Louisville Slugger.

    Li Xian 

Li Xian

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


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