Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Fool Moon

Go To
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:

  • Absence of Evidence: Johnny Marcone knows that Harry has snuck onto his estate even though (or because) he didn't see him do it: one of his security cameras went on the fritz and he says, "Such malfunctions and Mr. Dresden tend to go together."
  • Action Girl: Tera shows she's a capable fighter in both in her human and wolf forms.
  • Addictive Magic: The Power High of the Hexenwulf belts is explicitly likened to being a stronger than cocaine and the Hexenwulfen are nearly driven insane when the belts are taken from them. Agent Harris almost begs Harry to give his back after Harry took it from him and is later seen twitching like he's on withdrawal. He also describes they almost went insane when Denton took the belts away for a time.
    Agent Harris: "Denton took the belts. He hid them from us. He'd held out better than anyone. And my God, poor Benn was so far gone, it was like she wasn't even human anymore. Wilson wasn't much better. But we lasted out the month."
  • Affectionate Nickname: Tera usually refers to Harry simply as "Wizard".
  • All Bikers are Hells Angels: The Streetwolves are a Lycanthrope biker gang that makes even stereotypical Hell's-Angel bikers look like Sunday school kiddies, having a reputation to be rough and "spooky" even with town's criminals.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Harry is surprised at how easy the cops watching his apartment fall for Tera's Show Some Leg gambit. Tera and Susan aren't surprised in the slightest.
    Tera: Of course it worked. Men are foolish. They will stare at anything female and naked.
    Susan: She's got that right.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Tera West is a tall, stern woman with long brown hair and a cool, commanding presence.
  • Amazonian Beauty:
  • Animorphism: Both the Hexenwulfen and The Alphas are able to transform into wolves via magic, the Hexenwulfen needing a Transformation Trinket, while The Alphas simply use a Shapeshifting spell.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: At the Final Battle against the FBI Hexenwulfen, Harry manages to steal one of their enchanted belts, and uses its power, Shapeshifting into a wolf himself to fight them. Harry describes its power as utterly intoxicating, and comes close to the brink of being seduced into remaining a wolf, but manages to snap out of it and remove the belt when he sees how horrified Susan is at what he's become.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When contemplating who could have magically armed Victor Sells and the Hexenwulfen:
    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.
  • Ax-Crazy: All of the Hexenwulves have been rendered dangerously unhinged by prolonged use of the Hexenwulf belts, but Agent Benn handles it the worst, becoming the more outwardly violent of all them. Her reaction to Murphy questioning Denton is to assault her without provocation and then attempt to shoot her, only narrowly being talked out of it. Later its revealed her insanity goes way deeper when shes shown to get a sexual thrill out of violently murdering her enemies in wolf form.
  • Bad Ass In Distress: Harry is captured by the Streetwolves when he runs out of magic, and is rescued by the timely arrival of Tera and the Alphas.
  • Badass Teacher: Tera West, The Mentor of The Alphas is by far their most capable combatant and is the one who leads them in fights.
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: In this case the bad guys are FBI Agents turned into Hexenwulfen with the intent to kill untouchable criminals and pin the blame on other groups with wolf motifs, but got Drunk on the Dark Side and started killing innocents too.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Harry defeats the FBI Hexenwulfen by stealing one of their Hexenwulf belts and turning into a wolf himself and manages to defeat all of them by himself.
  • Big Bad: Phillip Denton, an FBI Agent that made a deal with a powerful user of Black Magic to gain the Hexenwulf belts that allow him and his team to transform into wolves and be able to kill whoever they wish, pinning the blame on the local werewolf groups.
  • Bottled Heroic Resolve: Harry takes a Stimulant potion, but this backfires as it turns out feeling like you have an inexhaustible power supply and actually having one are two very different things. While he doesn't fall on his face, he runs out of juice right in the middle of fighting the Streetwolves and he ends up getting captured.
  • Broken Ace: Harley MacFinn is handsome, rich, smart and an all-around Nice Guy. He's a famous Wealthy Philanthropist behind many environmentalist projects and has a smoking hot and supporting fiancée in Tera West who loves him and accepts him even knowing about his curse. But he also has his life entirely revolve around an Heriditary Curse that he isn't responsible for, turning him into a rampaging murdering monster against his will, something he feels incredibly guilty about.
  • 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.
  • Buffy Speak: During the Loup-Garou rampage at the SI, rookie detective Rudy keeps annoying Harry as he tries to do his magic work, until Harry screams this gem at him:
  • Bulletproof Vest: Agent Denton empties his gun on Hendricks during the Final Battle and Harry assumes he's dead. The last chapter reveals he was wearing a Kevlar under his clothes and survived, having a bunch of purple bruises on his chest to show for it.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of the story Tera leaves town to go back to the mountains with her family now that her fiancé MacFinn is dead.
  • Broken Aesop: Harry should share all information with his friends without problems but Kim doesn't bother doing the same with him and gets no criticism.
  • Brutal Honesty: Tera doesn't mince her words for the sake of politeness, speaking whatever is on her mind. Best exemplified when she thinks Susan is stupid for asking obvious questions, like if Harry bullet wound is hurting.
  • Canis Major: All of the shapeshifted wolves are bigger and stronger than normal wolf should be, with the Loup-Garou being described as being the largest.
  • 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 rivaled 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.
  • The magical shapeshifting belt Harry confiscates from Harris, which he later uses as a last resort to fight the rest of the Hexenwulfen.
  • The magic silver pentacle that Harry got from his mother also makes a comeback as an improvised Silver Bullet used to kill the Loup-Garou. 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 needed a mystical killer to blame their killings, to keep the White Council from looking for them.
  • Combat Breakdown: A one-sided variant happens to Harry when he tries to hold his own against the Streetwolves with the aid of a magic potion that works a lot like mundane amphetamines... especially what happens when they wear off. Completely exhausted and unable to cast spells, and surrounded by several very pissed-off Streetwolves, Harry falls back on his .38 Special.
  • Crying Wolf: Literally. While under the effects of the Blending potion, Harry tries desperately to alert the guards to the rampaging Loup-Garou. He is, of course, ignored.
  • Curse: The Loup-Garou is a product of a curse on Harley MacFinn's family line, which caused him to turn into a rampaging and giant wolf during the full moon. MacFinn was using a summoning circle to keep himself imprisoned, but the Hexenwulfen break it in order to frame him for their actions. Said curse was supposedly laid by St. Patrick, though the source of that information (Chauncey) is questionable.
  • 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.)
  • 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 killer - 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 Hereditary 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 Nude Nature Dance in the rain so that Harry can get some tools out of his apartment, which the police are (or rather were) watching. Harry almost gets distracted by it himself and trips on a curb, which Susan isn't pleased about.
    Susan: You don't have to look quite so hard.
  • 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."
  • Dramatic Wind: Lampshaded by Harry, who is slightly annoyed by the fact he isn't wearing his duster so it could billow dramatically as he stepped through a large hole he had just blasted in a wall.
  • The Driver: Susan spends the last half of the book driving Harry and/or Tera to whenever they need to go next.
  • 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. Denton's FBI Agents at first were only planning to use them to kill criminals like Marcone, but their transformation changed them so much they ended up killing innocents as well. Harry himself gets a taste of how bad it gets when he uses one of the belts to fight them during the Final Battle, and his actions horrify Susan.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Mortally-wounded Carmichael gets one by leaping on the Loup-Garou's back, saving Murphy's life.
  • 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.
    • Harry summons the demon Chaunzaggaroth for information. His conversation with him makes it very clear that Chauncy is supposed to be a fire-and-brimstone Dante's Inferno demon, with it referring to Saint Patrick and the Catholic Church as "the other side." But in Death Masks he tells Murphy that "demons" are just harmful spirits from the Nevernever and that the Fallen which empowers the Knights of the Blackened Denarius are the only true Biblical enemies-of-God demons that are active in the world. Of course, Clap Your Hands If You Believe is in effect, and some regions of the Nevernever closely resemble the various locations from human mythology as a result. It's entirely possible that Chaunzaggaroth simply comes from a region that mimics Fire and Brimstone Hell, and deliberately invokes the concept during the conversation.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Despite harboring no romantic feelings toward her, Harry gives Tera quite a few appraising looks throughout the story, especially at her legs. It doesn't help that she's naked for a lot of it and quite unconcerned about it, much to his frustration. She even notices it herself, in one of the rare moments she shows amusement at his expense.
    Tera: Do you like to look at my body?
    Susan: Careful how you answer this one, buster.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Harry had a massive one when he realized his pentacle met the criteria to harm the Loup-Garou.
  • Ending Memorial Service: Near the end of the book Harry and Murphy go to Kim Delaney and Carmichael's funeral.
  • Evil Is Easy: The major drawback of the ease of use of a Hexenwulf belt is what it can do to the mind of someone unprepared for what the transformation does to one's mind.
    Bob: Oh, sure, it's really easy. And when you use a talisman to turn into a wolf, you lose all of your human inhibitions and so on, and just run on your unconscious desires, with the talisman-spirit in charge of the way the body moves. It's really efficient. A huge wolf with human-level intelligence and animal-level ferocity.
  • 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.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The demon "Chauncy" that Harry summons to bargain for information seems affable and polite, and is proud to never have to lie. But after Harry gives him the third of his four names, Chauncy casually reveals he has information about Harry's parents and even insinuates that his father has not died of natural causes. Harry realizes then how much of a Manipulative Bastard Chauncy truly is, dangling the information that Harry wants the most only when he had already had most of his names, so he could tempt Harry into giving the final one. Harry barely refuses, causing Chauncy to drop the polite facade and show his Game Face while screaming in rage as Harry banishes him, leaving Harry with a wake-up call that Evil Is Not a Toy.
  • FBI Agent: The FBI shows up to investigate the series of killings with a wolf element, pointing Harry to a few suspects. They're actually the ones behind it, having turned into Hexenwulfen so they could murder criminals and are trying to frame other supernatural wolf groups in the region for their killings.
  • Flippant Forgiveness: Murphy shoots in Harry's direction to save him from Denton 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:
    • Agent Benn quickly resorting to violence after a Jurisdiction Friction incident with Murphy, reaching for her waist before hesitating and pulling a gun on her and Agent Harris tells them Benn is just stressed due to the wolf killings. It's a hint at how the FBI Agents are becoming much more mentally unstable. Harry also later deduces Benn was actually reaching for her Hexenwulfen belt at first, before settling on the gun.
    • 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 Hereditary 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, it's implied his Love Interest Tera is pregnant with his child. Either that, or the Dresden Files' Word of God-promised concluding "Big Apocalyptic Trilogy" really will be The Apocalypse...
    • 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.
    • Harry implies a Man Behind the Man is involved. Nemesis, the ultimate version of the trope is revealed few books later.
    • Subconscious Harry makes an appearance and tells Harry to take Murphy on a date and that Elaine is still alive
  • Frame-Up: 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.
  • Full-Frontal Assault:
    • Tera is fully naked during the assault at the Streetwolves garage to rescue Harry, since she had to shift to human to communicate with him. She still holds her own against them wielding only a lead pipe.
    • Agent Benn rips off her shirt in rage when Harry takes Denton hostage, and stays topless for the rest of the book. Given the Hexenwulfen clothes aren't affected by the transformation, this is done to show how unstable and savage she has become.
  • The Gadfly: Tera almost seems like she has No Sense of Humor at first, ignoring whatever joke Harry cracks in her presence. The only times she shows signs of amusement are when he gets visibly irritated by her and she almost laughs when Harry vents how much she frustrates him near the end of the story.
    Harry: Put some clothes on, you weird, yellow-eyed, table-dancing, werewolf-training, cryptic, stare-me-right-in-the-eyes-and-don't-even-blink wench.
    [There was a hissing sound from the back seat, and I flicked a scowl back over my shoulder. Tera was chewing on her meat. Her eyes were shining, her mouth was curved at the corners, and her breath was puffing out her nostrils in near-silent laughter]
  • 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 Hexenwulf 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.
  • Go Out with a Smile: As he turns back human after being shot by Harry, MacFinn gives Harry a smile to let him know he understands he did what he needed.
  • Graceful in Their Element: Harry realizes that Tera is a wolfwere upon watching her move in her wolf form, noticing she's much faster and graceful than any of the other shapeshifters.
    "And that's when I saw the difference between Tera and the Alphas, Tera and Denton's Hexenwulfen, even Tera and the Loup-Garou. Where they were fast, Tera was fast and graceful. Where they were quick, Tera was quick and elegant. She made them look like amateurs. She was something more primal, more in tune with the wild than they would ever be."
  • He Knows Too Much: Denton starts to see Harry as a serious threat when his report to Murphy mentions the Hexenwulf belts that him and his FBI agents have. He sends him to investigate the Streetwolves in the hope that they'd kill Harry.
  • 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 (a 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 as Murphy assumes his silence is due to him withholding information.
  • Heroic RRoD: Under the influence of the Stimulant potion, Harry ends up using so much of his magic without noticing that he runs out of juice during a fight against the Streetwolves, being unable to cast any spells.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Denton and his FBI Agents took on an Artifact of Doom and became Hexenwulfen in order to fight drug dealers and other criminals beyond the reach of the law. Unfortunately, they were corrupted by the power, killing innocent people while on a Power High and then tried to scapegoat an innocent man for their crimes.
  • Hidden Villain: Like in the previous book, we don't know the identity of who supplied Denton and his 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, likely a member of the Black Council.
  • Hostage Situation: During the Final Battle, Harry takes Denton hostage and tries to make his other men surrender, but then they reveal they had already captured Murphy as a hostage, just in case they could use it against Harry if he showed up.
  • Hot in Human Form: Tera West is described as being a very attractive werewolf woman. She's actually a wolf who turns human, not the other way around.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Played With, Tera isn't tiny (in fact Harry describes her as tall) but next her Love Interest MacFinn she "looks like a slip of a girl".
  • Hunk: Harry describes Macfinn as being a tall, muscular and handsome guy with a chest so hairy that makes him look "overwhelmingly masculine".
  • Humanity Ensues: Harry spends the whole book trying to deduce why Tera West was immune to his soul gaze, since that meant she wasn't human. It's not until the end he figures out she's actually a wolfwere, meaning she's a wolf who can take the form of a human.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: When Harry comments about how the Hexenwulfen belts turn their users "into animals", Tera takes offense and expresses this view.
    Tera: They have not become animals. Animals do not do what they have done. Animals kill to eat, to defend themselves or their own, and to protect their territory. Not for the joy of it. Not for the lust of it. Only humans do that, wizard.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: The Alphas introduced in this book become one of Harry's most recurring allies throughout the series.
  • Idiot Ball: When Harry 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.
    • Either several of these were given out to Murphy or shes just that stupid by herself (she gets better in later books). Especially when they arrive at the second scene - though she does later apologize for that.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Harry tells this to Tera when she refuses to spare Agent Harris so Harry can interrogate him. She doesn't buy it and simply replies "No I won't. I'll be alive, and he'll be dead." So Harry resorts personally threatening her to get her to back off.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifter: The Loup-Garou curse makes the user transform into the rampaging beast against their will every full moon, having to either isolate or restrain themselves to prevent innocents from getting hurt.
  • 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 from behind. 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.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Killing things as a wolf really get Agent Benn and Denton in the mood. Harry feels sick when Denton's wolf-form mounts Benn during the slaughter of the Streewolves.
  • Interspecies Romance: Between Tera West and Harley MacFinn, with much Irony. She is a wolf that can voluntary shift into a human while he is a man that involuntary turns into a wolf.
  • It's for a Book: Played for Drama. One of Harry's friends and a low-level practitioner, Kim Delaney, comes to him with a few idle questions about a ritual that he knows is designed to contain creatures that are both mortal and spirit — in other words, extremely dangerous beings that she has no business trafficking in. Naturally, he doesn't answer and tries to deflect her away from the question. However, she needs the ritual to help contain MacFinn who is cursed into becoming the Loup-Garou. When she tries to use the ritual anyway, it doesn't work and she ends up being killed by the berserk Loup-Garou.
  • 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.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Harry disguises himself as a janitor to get into the SI station where a ready-to-transform werewolf is being held under arrest. It helps that he has Blending potion that changes people's perception of him and lets him pass beneath everyone's notice.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Murphy gets into a conflict with the FBI agents who are also investigating the string of murders caused by a werewolf. The Jurisdiction Friction is so bad, agent Benn pulls a gun on Murphy while investigating a crime scene. This is because they are the werewolves themselves, in particular Hexenwulfen, the demonic-influenced ones, and are gradually losing their human minds to the Beast. The fact that they're the guilty parties, having set up another type of werewolf to lose control of his curse and attack a Mob head who's escaped justice, doesn't help.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: The Sadist Agent Benn enjoys stomping on Harry's wounded shoulder after she and the rest of her team have him at their mercy.
  • Killer Cop: Denton and his team of FBI agents become Hexenwulfen in order to take down criminals the law cannot touch. By ripping them to shreds. Unfortunately for them, Hexenwulfen get Drunk on the Dark Side when they transform and they end up killing innocent people as well, just for the thrill.
  • Kind Restraints: MacFinn willingly confines himself in a magic circle in the nights he transforms into the Loup-Garou so he can't hurt innocents. Unfortunately, the bad guys break it and set him on a rampage.
  • Knee-capping: Harry shoots Parker in the knee to try to take him down. Given Parker is a lycanthrope with a Healing Factor, it doesn't really do much more than piss him off.
  • Klatchian Coffee: Harry Dresden makes a Stimulant potion with this effect. Naturally, the liquid base is coffee, and other ingredients include a doughnut (breakfast of champions), dawn sunshine, and cheery music. Drinking it takes him from beaten up and worn out to whistling Carmen and composing a poem about autumn, and effortlessly mopping the floor with a pack of human lycanthropes... until it wears off.
  • Last-Second Chance: Harry offers the Big Bad this, knowing he's a Fallen Hero, but the Big Bad rejects it.
Harry: These belts, man, the power they have given you. It's bad. You can't handle it. It's gotten into your head, and you aren't thinking straight. Give them up. You can still walk away from all of this, do the right thing. Come on, Denton. Don't throw away everything you fought for all those years. There is a better way than this. [shows Benn] Look at her. Those belts are like a drug. Is this the kind of person she was? Is this the kind of person you want to be? Wilson, Harris, were they always like they are now? You're turning into monsters, man. You've got to get out of this. Before you're all the way gone.
Denton: [closes his eyes, then shakes his head] You're a decent man, Mr Dresden. But you've got no idea how the world works. I am sorry you've gotten in the way. Necessary sacrifices.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Harry jumps out of Susan's moving car to confront the Streetwolves, the text reads without any spoken dialogue, "Don't look at me that way."
  • Little Useless Gun: The Loup-Garou can only be harmed by inherited silver. Murphy has some jewelry that qualifies, and the equipment to cast it into Silver Bullets, but only for her .22 target pistol rather than her service weapon, to Harry's annoyance. Since the Loup-Garou also has a Healing Factor, she only manages to slow it down a bit, until it gets into point-blank range—just after she empties her mag.
  • 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 Hexenwulfen. 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 (the headquarters of the Streewolves, a lycanthrope biker gang) and Wolf Lake Park (the place where MacFinn hides from civilization after his summoning circle is broken and he can turn into the Loup-Garou safely). 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.
  • The Mentor: Tera West serves as a shapeshifting instructor for the Alphas, having met and agreed to help to via the Northwest Passage Project.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: One of the laws of magic is to never change someone's form against their will: it will eventually destroy their mind, leaving just a normal animal. Changing your own form is allowed partly because it's consensual by definition, partly because people who transform themselves instinctively protect their minds to avert this trope but still carries risks. The use of the Hexenwulf belt by the unprepared FBI Agents and Harry Dresden himself perfectly shows how the Power High changes them. When Harry transforms in the Final Battle, the reader gets a first-person viewpoint narration of his subsequent gradual loss of control to the monstrous wolf's beastly instincts. Hearing it from his narration is pretty freaky, and when he turns back, he's sickened and horrified.
  • Mistaken for Dying: After the Final Battle, Harry believes that Murphy shot him, forgives her generously and is well into the "I'm Cold... So Cold..." routine before she disillusions him. She was shooting at Denton who was attacking him from behind, and he's cold because there's a cold front and it's raining.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Tera West described as being incredibly attractive woman with a lean and toned figure several times. And while she wears practical clothes whenever she can, she does end up naked quite often due to Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing. Her comic book illustrations need to make heavy use of Censor Shadow and Godiva Hair to keep her bits covered up.
  • Naked First Impression: Tera's first meeting with Susan has her only barely draped in Harry's trenchcoat. Susan just chalks it up to Harry's weird world.
    Susan: We are going to talk about this one later, mister.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: The Loup-Garou is completely invulnerable to any form of harm save for his one weakness: inherited silver. Nothing else can even scratch him.
  • Noble Wolf:
    • The Alphas are a group of heroic young people who have learned how to turn into wolves and use that ability to protect innocents.
    • Tera has most of the qualities associated with wolfs, being very intelligent, dignified, proud and loyal. And she gets bonus points for actually being an wolf.
  • Noodle Incident: Harry had a job in Minnesota because "Somebody saw something in a lake".
  • No One Gets Left Behind: While holding off the Hexenwulfen at the Full Moon Garage, Tera refuses ran away and abandon the Alphas even if it means she has to sacrifice herself to buy time for them and Harry. Harry himself, who still needs and doesn't want people to die for him anyway, manages to defeat the Hexenwulfen, making the sacrifice unnecessary.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Tera uses her enhanced sense of smell to track down people, even in her human form, tracking down Harry's location several times in the story.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • 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.
    • Chauncy tries to convince Harry that he's indifferent to the rules and they're not that different, to convince Harry to throw in his lot with Hell. Apparently, it's part of his usual pitch.
  • Our Souls Are Different: When Harry attempts to soulgaze Tera, nothing happens, which makes Harry incredibly suspicious of her, theorizing she may be a creature for the Nevernever. It turns out it's because she's actually not human but a wolfwere, a wolf that shapeshifts into a human.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: As explained by Bob, there are four kinds of werewolves in the The Dresden Files universe:
    • The werewolf (as a technical term) is just a human who can transform into a normal wolf at will. They undergo no mental changes (and thus must learn how to live like a wolf), have no linkage to the Moon, and gain no special invulnerabilities. It is a learned ability, somewhat like becoming a wizard who knows only two spells, but knows those two really well. Humans transformed into wolves by someone else's magic are mentioned as a related subversion, and one that violates one of the Laws of Magic, because a person transformed in this way will, over time, lose their human mind and become no different than any normal, non-magic wolf, which is at that point considered to be murder. Aside from the ability to transform into a wolf and back, there's also one other advantage to being able to change shape: using that magic to heal yourself quickly by rapidly shifting between forms. However, it is a very painful process. They are represented in the story by the Alphas. Similarly, there's the wolfwere, a wolf that can take a human form in the same way as werewolves, and with the same limitations. Bob never mentions them, but Harry deduces Tera West is one.
    • The Hexenwulfen (also called "spell wolf") who use an enchanted belt of wolfskin to transform at will into a dire wolf. In addition to facilitating the actual transformation, the Hexenwulf spirit also helps run the wolf body, bypassing the learning curve true werewolves have to deal with. The magic is generally tied to darker, sometimes demonic, forces and causes the Hexenwulfen to gradually fall deeper and deeper into savagery in both their wolf and human forms. They are represented in the story by Denton and his fellow FBI agents.
    • The Lycanthropes are people whose minds become wolf-like at full Moons, and who gain increased strength and healing at the same time, but physically remain human. They are related to Viking berserker. They are represented in the story by the Streetwolves.
    • A Loup-Garou is a human, subject to a powerful curse (which in at least this case is hereditary). Under the full Moon, they transform into a demonic man-wolf with enormous speed and strength, as well as immunity to injury by virtually any source except inherited silver. The demon takes over all control during this time, with the human personality completely submerged. There is no known cure, and the only spells capable of perfectly restraining them are similar to what one would need to contain an archangel. They are represented in story by Harley MacFinn.
  • Perception Filter: The Blending potion Harry takes to infiltrate the SI, makes people who see him, if they even notice them at all, ignore him as beneath their notice and anything he says is also interpreted in a bland, day-to-day fashion that is not given any serious thought. This backfires on him when he needs to warn an Innocent Bystander about an impending threat.
  • Police Brutality: Murphy arrests and handcuffs Dresden and proceeds to slam his head into some furniture hard enough to chip a tooth for withholding information. Keep in mind Harry wasn't resisting and was even pleading with her to listen to him.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A running theme throughout the book. Many lives could have been saved if people were willing to just explain themselves.
    • Kim and Harry get into an argument at the start of the book with regards to a binding circle. Kim refuses to admit she's asking because Harley, a Loup-Garou, needs the circle fixed to prevent him rampaging. Without that context, Harry in turn refuses to give any information because so far as he knows the circle's only use is for binding things Kim should not even know exist much less be toying with. The end result is Kim's death when Harley transforms.
    • Harley himself is too reluctant to reach out about his condition as a Loup-Garou to get the expert help he needs. He instead relies on an amateur he personally knows, getting both Kim and ultimately himself killed.
    • Harry's refusal to explain things fully to Murphy eventually ends with him clamming up at the worst possible moment and gets Harley thrown in jail. Had Harry been more forthcoming, maybe he could have warned Murphy in time to prevent Harley transforming and rampaging through Special Investigations.
  • Power High: Agent Harris describes the thrill of turning into a Hexenwulf is indescribable.
    Agent Harris: The change. When... when you're changed, when you're a beast, it's so incredible. So much speed, power. Your body just sings with it. I tried coke once, in college, and it was nothing compared to this.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: Susan and Harry end up sleeping together just before the Final Battle.
  • Red Herring: A given since this is a mystery story, there are several suspects for the wolf killings.
    • The Streetwolves, the local lycanthrope biker gang are the primary suspects and the first group Harry investigates. They are being set up as a patsy for the police force by the real killer.
    • Tera West's paranoid personality, not being forthcoming about information and the fact that Harry can't soul gaze with her makes Harry incredibly suspicious of her throughout the story. She turns out to be Good All Along and simply wants to help her fiancé.
    • Marcone has been working against the Northwest Passage Project, giving him ample motive to be working against MacFinn and sabotaging his magic circle so he'd turn into the Loup-Garou. It turns out to be a case of Not Me This Time, with Marcone actually being the ultimate target of the real killers.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: When the Alphas are all shedding their clothes in order to shift, Anci is shown to be shy about having to do it, being the only one to awkwardly covering herself with her arms while she does it.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Kim Delaney, not only on this book but on The Dresden Files as a whole. She's presented as Dresden's sort-of apprentice, but is torn to shreds by a Loup-Garou while attempting to contain it with a partially-complete magic circle that Dresden refused to teach to her in full. This sets the Loup-Garou up as the major threat of the book, and starts Dresden's Character Arc of realizing that concealing information from people, even "for their own good," can have tragic consequences.
  • Savage Wolves:
    • Lycanthropes are humans who can channel the "spirit of rage" in them, acquiring all aspects of a savage wolf, granting them powers but turning them extremely aggressive with no physical transformation.
    • The Hexenwulfen retain some of their minds while shifting into wolves, but the Addictive Magic and Power High aspects of it turns the users into savage beasts over time.
    • The Loup-Garou is a completely berserk cursed-wolf that attacks anything that it finds on its path.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Harry uses the Hexenwulfen berserk savagery to his advantage during the Final Battle, meaning to trick all but Denton into killing each other, with a berserk Wilson tearing Benn's throat and Harris and Wilson then shooting each other to death in the dark.
  • Sexual Karma: Harry and Susan have an emotionally fulfilling and mutually satisfying Pre-Climax Climax which contrasts with the villainous Hexenwulfen couple who have sex in their wolf forms just after having gone on a murderous rampage.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl:
    • Given Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing, veteran Voluntary Shapeshifter Tera West does not to care about ending up naked in front of others, and ends up spending the last half of the book strutting around in the buff without an ounce of shame, even though she's fully aware of the effect her naked body can have on men. When she asks Harry for his coat the first time he finds her naked, it seems more out of pragmatic need not to attract attention than any concern for modesty or being cold.
    • Downplayed with the Alphas, who similarly have to strip naked to shift and (aside from Andi) don't show any embarrassment to it, but still cover themselves in bathrobes when given the chance, in contrast to Tera who doesn't even bother.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: This is played straight and averted with the various werewolf transformations.
    • Played straight with Tera and the Alphas, who take off their clothes before they transform. Wolf-Billy actually trips on his own robe when he shifts without fully taking it off causing his forepaw to get caught, showing why it can be dangerous not to strip before shifting.
    • The Loup-Garou clothes are shredded upon transformation.
    • Averted with the Hexenwulfen, who transform by the power of magical belts and their clothes apparently transform with them as they can shift back and forth without altering whatever they were wearing.
  • Shapeshifting Heals Wounds: Although it takes a lot of energy, and leaves really ugly scars, a werewolf can use the wolf spell for healing some of their injuries when changing forms. This is how Tera saves herself after she's mortally wounded by the Loup-Garou.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Susan takes offense when Tera refers to her as being Harry's "mate".
    Susan: "Mate?" [Susan said indignantly] "Mate? I am most certainly not his - " [gets interrupted]
  • Show Some Leg: Harry needs to get inside his apartment to get some of his magic tools, but some cops are standing watch. Tera volunteers to distract them but Harry doesn't want any violence and she acquiesces... and proceeds to drops the trenchcoat she was wearing, struts over to where the cops are and start doing a Nude Nature Dance, causing them to get too distracted to notice Harry going inside his apartment.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Especially inherited silver, which is the only thing that can stop the Nigh-Invulnarable Loup-Garou.
  • Stab the Scorpion: The Final Battle ends with a double one involving Murphy and Harry. Murphy shoots Denton off Harry's back while Harry is using his silver pentacle to blast the Loup-Garou off Murphy's back. For a moment, Harry does believe she shot him and is Mistaken for Dying and starts feeling cold before she snaps him out of it.
  • 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 realized he was a true wizard.
  • Stout Strength: Billy, The Leader of the Alphas, is described as stout and geeky, but Harry does notice his weight is actually more muscle than fat.
  • 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.
  • Talking to Themself: After Harry passes out from exhaustion after the Loup-Garou rampage in the station, Harry talks with his own subconscious (who looks like an evil version of him) for the first time in the series, having a conversation mostly regarding Harry inability to trust people and how him keeping secrets only makes things worse.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: In this book its even introduced as the first law of magic.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Hexenwulf fur belts are what allows them to easily turn into rampaging wolves without any training or magical ability. Also doubles as Artifacts Of Doom since it gets them Drunk on the Dark Side.
  • Trespassing to Talk: Harry Dresden returns to his office to find John Marcone sitting at his desk, waiting to make him a job offer.
  • Undressing the Unconscious: After Harry's shot by Agent Benn while escaping police custody with Tera's help, he soon passes out from the blood loss. When he next wakes up he's in a bed at a shabby motel, completely naked. He goes to the bathroom and finds a Modesty Towel to cover himself with, but Tera soon comes back with some new clothes for him and confirms she was the one who undressed and patched him up, much to his embarrassment.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Both the the Streetwolves and MacFinn are being used by the FBI Hexenwulfen, as a cover for their own murders to throw supernatural investigators off their trail.
    • The FBI Hexenwulfen themselves are merely a pawn for the Black Council, who supplied them with the belts.
  • Your Vampires Suck: Bob makes fun of movie werewolves. While the setting's werewolves take almost every form you can think of, none of them are "contagious", and Bob has to repeatedly remind Harry that "Hollywood stole that from vampires." The majority of modern werewolf tropes originate with the Loup-Garou.
  • The Vietnam Vet: Harley MacFinn served in the Vietnam where and one of his most bloody transformations as the Loup-Garou took place, when he slaughtered everyone within several miles.
  • Vigilante Man: This was the original intent of Denton and his FBI Agents, to use their Hexenwulfen powers to kill criminals that were untouchable by the law, so they could pin the killings on the local lycanthrope biker gang. But then their powers began to change them for the worst and they started killing innocent people too.
  • Viral Transformation: Averted, as Bob explains no type of werewolf bite is contagious. He claims this is just something "Hollywood stole that from vampires".
    Bob: Would you get off this 'bitten and turn into a werewolf' kick, Harry? It doesn't work that way. Not ever. Or you'd have werewolves overrunning the entire planet in a couple of years.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: Both the Werewolves and the Hexenwulfen can transform into their wolf forms at will. The Werewolves via a magic spell and the Hexenwulfen via a Black Magic talisman that serves as a Transformation Trinket.
  • Voodoo Doll: Harry uses one to temporarily disable the Nigh Invulnerable Loup-Garou. The doll he uses is a stuffed plush toy from the Special Investigations office that is otherwise used to amuse children waiting for their parents.
  • Walking Techbane: Harry makes use of a directed form (Hexus), essentially simply ramping up this tendency to short out anything electrical. He makes the point multiple times that it's possibly the easiest thing in the world for a wizard to do since it happens all the time anyway. Hexus manages to make machines spectacularly self-destruct, too. When he tries to do it as mildly as he possibly can, he winds up getting way more of the effect when he wanted. When a wizard who can ruin gadgetry just by being around it whether he wants to or not tries to mess with your motor, your security system, or your computer, it's less "glitches" and more "KABOOM."
  • Weak, but Skilled: While Tera's wolf form doesn't have the raw power of the Loup-Garou, she's quick and skilled enough to fight him one-on-one by dodging and evading his attacks for a long time.
  • Wealthy Philanthropist: Harley MacFinn is one of the 10 richest men in America, and also a passionate devotee of environmentalist causes, being the head of the Northwest Passage Project, where he buys land off private owners in the area of the Rocky Mountains and donates them to the state to create a wildlife preserve. This does have the caveat that his drive to create a super-sized wildlife park is so he'll have somewhere safe to go on full moons when he turns into the Loup-Garou.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Agent Denton genuinely believes that what he is doing is right and refuses to admit to Harry on how the belts have changed him and his men for the worse.
  • We Need a Distraction: Tera serves as a distraction for Harry on three different occasions:
    • Once in the forest when she charges past the police so they pursue her while Harry and MacFinn can escape.
    • Later, when Harry needs to sneak into his apartment that is being under watch by the police she again volunteers to be a distraction, but Harry pleads for her to not be violent. She acquiesces by dropping her coat, deciding that dancing naked in the rain is the easiest way to distract them.
    • In the Final Battle, she takes on the Loup-Garou one-on-one, using her speed to evade his attacks and distracting it while Dresden takes care of the Hexenwulfen.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Subconscious Harry calls Harry out on not trusting others and keeping Murphy Locked Out of the Loop.
    • A narrowly averted and Played for Laughs example occurs when Harry is captive at the Full Moon Garage and he starts to strike at the wolf paws digging into his cell. Cue a very angry Tera West telling him to stop as he's obviously getting rescued.
    Tera: You are the only man I ever met who would smash the paws that are trying to free you from certain death.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Agent Benn is described to have grey/silver hair despite looking to be in her thirties (possibly due to becoming a Hexenwulfen) and is by far the most Ax-Crazy and violent of the FBI Agents, almost shooting Murphy over Jurisdiction Friction.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Denton tells Harry that he should have shot once he was at his mercy rather than moralizing.
  • The Worf Barrage: Harry blasts the Loup-Garou through the wall of the police station and the entirety of the neighboring building, only to have it let out a howl of irritation.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Marcone teams up with the FBI Hexenwulfen to take down Harry and the Loup-Garou, unaware that their primary motivation is killing him in the first place. After Harry and the Alphas are taken care of, they promptly turn on him, shooting Hendricks and leaving Marcone to be killed by the Loup-Garou. This causes Marcone to help Harry escape to take them down (and save himself).