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Literature / Fool Moon

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Bad moon rising.

Warning! All spoilers for Storm Front are unmarked on this page!

The one with werewolves.

Business has been slow since the events of Storm Front, to the point that Harry Dresden is wondering if his next square meal will be a block of ramen.

However, things start to look up when the police discover a brutally-mutilated corpse with some odd, wolfish footprints nearby. It looks like someone has full moon fever, and Harry must draw upon all his magical resources to find out how to stop them.

Fool Moon is book #2 in The Dresden Files. Now has its own Shout Out page.


Fool Moon provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: The Streetwolves make even stereotypical Hell's-Angel bikers look like Sunday school kiddies.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When contemplating who could have magically armed Victor Sells and the Hexenwolfen:
    Black wizards don't just grow up like toadstools, you know. Someone has to teach them complicated things like summoning demons, ritual magic, and clichéd villain dialogue.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Butcher calls the neighborhood surrounding the University of Chicago Lincoln Park. In reality Lincoln Park is an affluent neighborhood on the North Side of the city. The University's neighborhood is Hyde Park, which (apart from parts of neighboring Kenwood) is a less affluent area on the South Side.
    • He also describes it as being a bad neighborhood. In this case, he may have confused the University of Chicago with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), which is near some pretty rough neighborhoods.
  • Big Bad: Agent Denton.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Happens to Agent Harris in mid-battle, when Harry unfastens his Hexenwulf belt just before Harris can tear his throat out.
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  • Characterization Marches On: Murphy is very quick to suspect the absolute worst of Harry, even more than in Storm Front - though as is explained, this is largely because of the events of Storm Front, with Harry having ditched her to take on the Big Bad by himself. Since said Big Bad was the head of a magical drug ring that rivalled resident mob boss Johnnie Marcone, who'd tried to hire Harry it made it look like Murphy had colluded with Harry and Marcone to remove one of Marcone's rivals. This brings a nasty Internal Affairs investigation down on her head, which she's struggling with throughout the book... and then he goes and apparently breaks his promise not to bring her in on something important. Fortunately, his proving to be on the level (and his explanation of the supernatural world in later books) cures her of this tendency for the rest of the series.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Similar to the previous book, Harry mixes a couple of potions early on which come in handy later. A pseudo-invisibility potion which makes it difficult for people to notice him allows him to sneak into the SI building where the Loup-Garou is being held, and a super energy drink potion gives him a burst of energy when he needs to fight on very little sleep. Both of these backfire on him: the pseudo-invisibility potion's effects make him unable to warn people at the SI building when things get dangerous, and he badly overexerts his power under the effect of the energy potion, leaving him nearly incapable of magic for the rest of the book.
    • Also with Murphy's earrings: “Her earrings seemed to be little more than bright beads of silver in her ears, which I had never really noticed when she had worn her golden hair long.”
    • And with Kim’s paper scrap.
    • The magical shapeshifting belt Harry confiscates from Harris, which he later uses as a last resort to fight the Hexenwulfen.
    • The magic silver pentacle that Harry got from his mother also makes a comeback. You know, the silver pentacle he inherited from his mother.
  • Clear My Name: Harley MacFinn is the set up scapegoat to the corrupt FBI agents who need a mystical killer, to keep the White Council from looking for them.
  • Crying Wolf: Literally. While under the effects of the "Ignore Me" potion, Harry tries desperately to alert the guards to the rampaging Loup-garou. He is, of course, ignored.
  • Deal with the Devil: Harry made a deal with a demon he calls "Chauncey", giving up one of his four names in exchange for information to help him with a case. (Chauncey already had two of his names, the first and last, making this a risky deal indeed.)
  • Disney Villain Death
  • Disposable Woman: Kim Delaney is introduced at the beginning of the story, then gets killed right away to give Harry motivation to go after the monster - and to illustrate the problems in his habit of keeping secrets for people's own good. She's not totally forgotten, however, getting call-backs in later books, such as Skin Game, where she's referenced as Harry's first apprentice and provides some of the features of Harry's brain-child by Lash.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Harley MacFinn's Loup-garou curse placed on him by Saint Patrick of all people. What could his family have done that warranted such an extreme punishment? (Although Chauncy only said "legend has it" that St. Patrick was responsible, not that he'd actually laid the curse.)
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Invoked by Tera and her primal dance in the rain so that Harry can get some tools out of his apartment, which the police are (or rather were) watching.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Using the Hexenwulf belts is explicitly likened to being a cocaine addict but the rush when using the power feels even better.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: “I'll bet you sex to donuts that they are, Carmichael. And that should tell you how certain I am."
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Carmichael.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: To a degree. Murphy is very quick to suspect Harry himself, and with rather less justification than in book one - though it's largely precipitated by the way in which he breached her trust in book one. Luckily, this is the last time.
  • Eureka Moment: Harry had a massive one when he realized his pentacle met the criteria to harm the loup-garou.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Partly thanks to Harry's Listening abilities.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Played for a spot of fun when Harry faces MacFinn in his transformed loup-garou form, and is trapped in the corner. As he faces his possible demise, Harry reconciles to himself that he would at least die at the jaws of what he saw as the perfect predator rather than by a scabby troll or whiny, angst-ridden vampire.
  • Fallen Hero: Harry soulgazes Denton and sees how he's gone bad.
  • Flippant Forgiveness: Murphy shoots in Harry's direction to save him from some crazy who was about to kill him. Harry, who was facing the opposite way at the time, had not seen his attacker and thought she shot at him instead because she doubted his loyalties. However, he had previously betrayed her trust, so he decides he can not blame her for thinking him a bad guy and he forgives her for shooting him. Murphy thinks he is a big idiot for thinking that way, and lets him know it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Tera West only eats the meat patty from her burger, discarding the bun. As a wolf, she has a carnivore's taste in food, even in her human form.
    • The second part of the curse on MacFinn's family was that the bloodline would not die out until the end of days. Given that MacFinn died without any apparent heirs...
    • Chauncey drops hints about Dresden's family background that would be explored in Blood Rites and Changes.
    • The fact that some Native American shamans had their own version of werewolf shapeshifting is mentioned, an ability Listens-To-Wind would employ in Turn Coat.
    • Flatnose grouses about Parker's dealing with Marcone, asking "who is he, the governor?" Several books later, Marcone becomes the official ruler of Chicago, at least in the supernatural community's eyes.
  • Frameup: Many of the murders in the book are committed by the corrupt FBI agents. This leads them to frame the biker gang for mortal police and MacFinn for the White Council.
  • Friend or Foe: The FBI agents shooting each other.
  • Geometric Magic: Circles and other geometric forms of magic are discussed.
  • Giving Them the Strip: The loup-garou pins Harry's duster to the ground with its paws. Harry escapes by abandoning his coat. It likewise bites at Harry's feet but is left with only a cowboy boot to shred.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Harry views his use of the Hexenwolf belt as such, a last resort.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Dresden makes the potion which renders him Beneath Notice to even a werewolf. The effect is so perfect that even as Dresden is screaming about the incoming Loup-Garou, the police he's screaming at only hears something mundane.
  • Hereditary Curse: Harley MacFinn, whose family curse allegedly originated from St. Patrick himself. One member of each generation is cursed to become a Loup-Garou (super-werewolf) during the full moon.
  • Heroic BSoD: Harry suffers a mild episode when Murphy shows him Kim Delaney's ripped-up corpse, shutting down emotionally and keeping uncharacteristically silent. His timing couldn't be worse, for not opening up about something.
  • Hidden Villain: Like in the previous book, we don't know who supplied the corrupt FBI agents with the were-pelts, but they also warned them about the White Council and the fact they would hunt down Black Magic users. Harry surmises that one dark wizard could be responsible for the events of both books.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Either several of these were given out to Murphy or she’s just that stupid by herself (she gets better in later books).
      • Especially when they arrive at the second scene - though she does later apologise for that.
    • Also with Harry when he goes following the wolf pack into a dark and confined area.
    • Ditto for when he decides to protect Tera and Susan by jumping out of a moving car. At least in this case he admits it was a stupid move.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Dresden says this when he mistakenly believes Murphy has fatally shot him, when in fact she was shooting at Denton, who was trying to kill him. She mocks him, saying that they're all cold because they're covered in water during a freezing cold night.
  • Instant Sedation: Marcone's tranquilizer gun pretty well drops the Alphas in their tracks. Only Tera West shakes off the effects enough to fight back after being drugged.
  • It Was a Gift: Silver alone isn't enough to hurt a loup-garou - it specifically has to be inherited silver. Fortunately, both Harry and Murphy were bequeathed gifts of silver from members of their family.
  • Killer Cop: Denton and his team of FBI agents become hexenwolfen in order to take down criminals the law cannot touch. By ripping them to shreds.
  • Knee-capping
  • Locked Out of the Fight
  • Locked Out of the Loop: This story takes a sledgehammer to Harry's belief in not telling people things for their own safety. His refusal to tell Murphy what's really going on infuriates her, as she knows the case could probably be solved faster if he was cooperating fully. She attempts to arrest him, meaning he has to fight her along with the real villains. It goes both ways with Harry and Kim Delaney — His refusal to talk to Kim Delaney about the magic circle she came to him with (other than to tell her what it was) and attempts to dissuade her, without really trying too hard to get more information from her, end up getting her killed, as she was trying to help MacFinn by making a new magic circle to contain him after his regular one was destroyed by the FBI werewolves. Because Harry kept the knowledge of how to properly make it from her, she was not able to do it correctly, and was killed by MacFinn in his loup garou form. Harry has a Heroic BSoD when he realizes what he did. Conversely, Kim's lying to Harry about why she wants to know about the circle gets her killed because if she had told him, it's pretty obvious he would have been able to contain MacFinn given even a little time to prepare, while he felt Kim would have been unable to use such a circle correctly even if he had told her because she didn't know enough yet.
    • Also happens to Harry multiple times, who can almost never get a straight answer from anyone even as he's struggling to save their lives.
  • Meaningful Name: Full Moon Garage and Wolf Lake Park.
    • The latter is Lampshaded when Harry points out that Murphy would immediately go to a place called "Wolf Lake Park" to look for a deranged werewolf on the run. Which of course is exactly what happens.
    • Invoked by the Alphas, "alpha" being the biologists' term for the top male and female of a wolf pack.
  • Not So Different: After Harry holds Denton at gunpoint and talks with him for a while, he points out that what the FBI agent was doing made him just like Marcone, who he was supposedly fighting.
    • Also applied to Denton and Harry: The former's Motive Rant about how one should exploit power to make the world a better place strikes a nerve With the latter. Harry even resorts to the same power as Denton did for similar reasons, and comes dangerously close to succumbing to the same corruption.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: There are four kinds.
    • The first kind, "human can turn bodily into a wolf at will", is represented in story by the Alphas. Or there's where somebody else turns you into a wolf (highly illegal, as it inevitably kills the victim' personality). Or wolves who learn to turn into human, though that could be a wolfwere.
    • Hexenwolves, where someone gives you a talisman to turn you into a wolf, causing you to retain your intellect, but gain animal ferocity, represented in story by Denton and the FBI agents.
    • Lycanthropes, who only turn spiritually into a wolf, with their body remaining human, though with abilities associated with werewolves, represented in story by the Streetwolves,
    • The Loup-Garou, which is far more like the traditional werewolf, except that you turn into one by curse, and it takes inherited silver to kill you. Represented in story by MacFinn.
  • Police Brutality: Murphy beats Harry up while arresting him for withholding information. Keep in mind Harry wasn't resisting and was even pleading with her to listen to him.
  • Poor Communication Kills: “I closed my eyes and leaned against the stone wall. I didn't try to fight or to explain. What was the point?”
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Especially inherited silver, which is the only thing that can stop Loup-Garou type werewolves.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Murphy appears to shoot Harry, when she was really shooting at Denton. Why she didn't just step around him is anyone's guess...
    • Actually a double example: while Murphy is shooting Denton off Harry's back, Harry is using his silver pentacle to blast the loup-garou off Murphy's back.
  • Stealth Pun: Billy Borden and the rest of the Alphas first learned their shapeshifting when they were in college. Since they're still at college four years later (and therefore are presumably in freshman year) then it's likely that Billy was a teenage werewolf. Harry, naturally, lampshades that.
  • Stop, or I Will Shoot!: Police do not seem to think twice about shooting at Harry, even when he is just running and giving no sign of fighting back. Justified It turns out that the FBI agents who were shooting at him were actually the werewolves responsible for the murders he was investigating, and had been trying to kill him from the moment they realised he was a true wizard.
  • Take Up My Sword: Murphy instructs her SI officers that if the loup-garou brings her down, one of them must take up her pistol (with silver bullets) and shoot the creature in the eye.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: In this book it’s even introduced as the first law of magic.
  • Trespassing to Talk: Harry Dresden returns to his office to find John Marcone sitting at his desk, waiting to make him a job offer.
  • We Need a Distraction: See Distracted by the Sexy above.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Denton tells Harry that he should have shot once he was at his mercy rather than moralise.


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