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Literature / White Night

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The One with... the rest of the White Court Vampires

When Harry Dresden investigates the deaths of magic practitioners in Chicago, he finds that all clues point to an unlikely suspect—his half-brother Thomas. Determined to clear Thomas’s name, Harry finds himself unraveling a conspiracy within the White Court that threatens everything he holds dear...

White Night is book #9 in The Dresden Files.


White Night provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 90% of Your Brain: Conjectured by Harry as the reason Lash can accelerate his mental faculties so that they can have a full conversation in the course of a few seconds.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Harry decides to apply his habit for nicknames to Lasciel's shadow, calling her Lash. This leads her to realize she is no longer the same as Lasciel and to her eventual realization she has a choice in whether she will live or die.
  • Anti-Magic: A Warden's blade is said to be enchanted to break other enchantments. Madrigal wears anti-magic bands in the duel against Ramirez and Harry. Ramirez's Warden sword wins.
  • Another Man's Terror: Subverted in a scene that has all the necessary elements but the terror. The woman in question had been killed by a White Court Vampire; when Molly experiences her last few moments, at first they think she is gasping in pain...
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  • Attack Animal: Mouse is this under the Unseelie Accords. When he kills the heir apparent to House Skavis, though it isn't under Harry's direct orders, Harry notes that he will take the full blame under the Accords as he is Mouse's handler and owner. Anything Mouse does reflects upon Harry.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Lord Raith, as leader of the White Court, is held to be not only one of the strongest of all vampires, but more than able to make his enemies do his bidding though some good machinations.
    • Lara, the true leader of the White Court, proves to be perfectly capable in a fight as well.
    • Marcone is not one to let his men fight his battles for him, so when he brings in his people to save Harry, he doesn't stay near the escape route, but charges right with Harry's group to rescue Lord Raith.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
    • Harry and Carlos Ramirez.
    • Thomas and Lara Raith, fighting the super-ghouls to buy time for the others to escape.
    • Later, Harry and Lara Raith and their escape from the Deeps.
    • Briefly, Thomas and Hendricks, of all people.
  • Batman Gambit: Lara plays one out this time. She, possibly, eggs Lord Skavis to make his move for a coup and watches House Malvora try to steal their thunder. She then has Thomas play hero and stop the abductions when possible, but forbids him from directly contacting Harry. So he does what she expects and leaves overt clues to try and get Harry's attention. Once Harry's blood is up at the idea of all these women slain, Lara knows he will come knocking during the big meeting of White Court nobles and humiliate the would-be usurpers.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Helen Beckitt acts this way towards Harry, because she thinks he has already decided she's guilty. The rest of the Ordo Lebes are only slightly less obstructive at first, because they think he might be the killer.
  • Better the Devil You Know:
    • Stated verbatim (along with Lesser of Two Evils) as the reason why Harry engineers Marcone's status as a freeholding lord under the Accords.
    • Also the reason why Harry ends up helping Lara take on House Skavis and Malvora. Again, he'd rather have the Raiths in charge, because Lara wants peace rather than the destruction of the White Council.
  • Big Bad: Vittorio Malvora, piggybacking on the Skavis heir’s plan to lead the White Court into war with the White Council. However, it’s later revealed that he’s just The Heavy for a returned Cowl. Both are members of the Black Council.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Harry, despite being the younger brother, does not take well to Murphy even implying that Thomas may be behind the killings, to the extent that he nearly unleashes destructive magic on his surroundings at the mere thought of his brother being threatened.
  • Big Entrance: When one vamp declares to the assembled White Court, "Who shall call us to task for killing practitioners in this time of peace?", Harry takes that as his cue. He creates a thunderclap by slamming his staff into the ground, rolls out a carpet of fire as he walks, points his staff at the offending vamp, and declares "Vittorio Malvora! Madrigal Raith! I am Harry Dresden, Warden of the White Council of Wizards. Under the Unseelie Accords, I accuse you of murder in a time of peace, and challenge you, here and now, before these witnesses, to trial by combat. To the death." In Ancient Etruscan, no less.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The trio of receptionists at Executive Priority Health.
  • Bluffing the Authorities: Harry breaks into Thomas Raith's apartment to look for information and is quickly accosted by security. He throws them off by playing the part of a clingy boyfriend who's furious at not being on the list of approved visitors.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Lord Raith of the White Court has several of his daughters act as his guard in the climax.
  • Bowled Over: Harry knocks one vampire into an audience full of them during a duel and Lampshades the resulting mass knockdown as "Bowling for Vampires!" He even gets a laugh from the assembled vampires for his trouble.
  • Buffy Speak: Harry conjures a little ball of light and heat and sends it toward Molly's head in an attempt to scare her straight. When discussing it later, he and Murphy refer to it repeatedly as "the face-melty thing."
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Given the odd habits of The Fair Folk as of late, Lara purposefully uses dew drop fae, the ones about Toot's size and rank, as lighting to the Deeps. The intent is to give Summer and Winter a deliberate poke just to see their response on the matter.
    • The best way to ensure one is not seen as prey by the White Court vampires is to show oneself to be a dragon. Whites are like tigers. They will wait patiently for a moment of weakness to take down their prey. If the prey shows it can destroy them, or at least make the kill an incredibly painful ordeal, that urge to feed ends.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Treated realistically here. Carlos Ramirez wears one for the duel with Vittorio Malvora and Madrigal Raith and it comes in handy. Later on though he takes a knife to the gut and the blade goes straight through. Harry then correctly notes that a bulletproof vest might stop gunshots, but isn't so good for sharp, pointy objects.
  • Burn the Witch!: Harry and Murphy discover people being murdered by someone who writes the passage from the Book of Exodus with the aforementioned proclamation in it. Harry tells Murphy that the original wording was "harmful spell-caster" (in other words, only kill people who use dark magic, something the White Council tends to do itself with some gusto) but that King James changed it to killing witches in general when he translated the Bible because he didn't like them.
  • The Bus Came Back: Elaine Mallory was last seen in Summer Knight. Helen Beckitt was last seen in Storm Front.
  • Bus Crash: Greg Beckitt, Helen's husband, died in prison.
  • Call-Back:
    • When Harry encounters Helen Beckitt for the first time since she shot him in Storm Front the person recounts that and how s/he knew Harry previously.
    • When Elaine, Harry, and the woman they're protecting are in a building that's been set on fire, and Mouse uses his supernatural powers to awaken everyone, Elaine asks where Harry got Mouse. Harry responds that it was in a situation not too different from the one they're in.
    • Lara discovers Harry is still protected by true love, even though his last time with Susan in was four years ago. She finds the fact he has been with no one since Susan both amazing and sad.
    • Harry asks for some Listerine after he and Lara kiss, which is the same thing he asked for after Morgan gave him CPR back in Storm Front.
    • Marcone has issued orders that Harry be treated like a prince at all of his businesses because he doesn't want a repeat of what happened to the Varsity.
    • The end of Blood Rites is mentioned in passing because Thomas nearly dying there has given him a connection to the place, so he can find a Way there from the Nevernever.
      Harry: In Thomas's case, he was nearly sacrificed by a cult of porn-star sorceresses in those caves a few years a—
      Molly: I'm sorry, but it sounded like you said "cult of porn-star sorceresses."
      Harry: Yeah.
      Molly: Oh. [skeptical look] Sorry, then. Keep going.
    • Harry fails to spot Elaine at first, because that person is under a veil that makes them appear too boring and unremarkable to notice. Harry himself used a potion to achieve that effect in Fool Moon.
    • Mouse apparently caused some damage at the vet's after a paperwork snafu nearly got him neutered. Harry'd actually brought the Foo dog in to be treated for the shoulder injury he'd suffered in Proven Guilty.
    • Harry's soulgaze with Helen Beckitt leads him to realize the identity of the comatose woman Marcone stole the Shroud of Turin for in Death Masks.
    • When Harry and Ramirez go meet Lara and the White Court, Ramirez asks where Harry and Lara first met. Harry replies they met on the set of a porn movie: that Lara was an actress, and Harry was a stuntman.
    • Harry tells Murphy about Kim Delaney, who Harry had mentored but who died trying to pull off a bigger, more complicated spell than she was ready for.
  • Camp Gay:
    • Thomas's hairdresser persona. He does this mainly because it is socially expected that a hot, well-dressed hairdresser will be gay as Christmas, and because it pulls in money. It also makes it a lot less likely that his customers will try to molest him.
    • Harry must invoke this when he is found in Thomas's apartment and is not on the approved-to-visit list, as the majority of Thomas's place is excessively neat and stylish, with two prominent items of gay-stereotyped memorabilia. Harry plays on the resulting impression that Thomas must be gay by pretending to be an old boyfriend, having to drop into an impression of Murphy to resist the urge to lisp.
  • Casual High Drop: The mysterious Grey Cloak tries to elude Harry Dresden by running into a parking garage, then dropping off the roof on the opposite side, in the hope that Harry will be left behind watching its exit.
  • The Cavalry: Thomas, Marcone, Murphy, and a whole slew of others for Harry and Ramirez.
  • Character Development:
    • As noted under Pride, Molly doesn't start off as the wisest and most mature young lady, but seeing Mouse destroy a vampire so only a bloody pulp remains and feeling the vampire's demise helps her become a wiser woman who admits she doesn't want to join Harry, but feels she needs to. She can no longer sit back and do nothing, so she will do anything Harry asks of her and she will never leave him behind.
    • The Shadow of Lasciel undergoes significant development, starting when Harry gives her a nickname and the realization that she is just as malleable as a human mind, which leads to a challenge of her self-identity. This causes a disheveled appearance, which is out of character for her compared to the cold, calculating, and immaculate person she was in all previous appearances. This Harry-induced development eventually leads to her performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save the life of Harry Dresden. Lash goes from the shadow of a Fallen Angel to someone who would die for the life of another.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Lara, upon seeing a badly damaged thrall can tell right away the cause was her cousin Madeline's feeding habits. This will become important in Turn Coat.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Harry repeatedly says how magic comes from emotions. Typically Harry uses his anger or hope to draw on power. In the end, he uses lust from the kiss of the succubus Lara Raith to empower his magic, which ends up saving his and Lara's life.
  • The Chessmaster: Lara Raith. She discovers the Skavis and Malvora plot. Knowing it's a threat to her, she decides that Harry should get involved, as he can both stop the plot, and will most likely kill the parties involved. She thus tells Thomas that Justine is in danger, but won't give details unless Thomas keeps silent. She knows that Thomas being contrarian as he is, that'll guarantee he finds a way to tip in Dresden, which is what she wants. She reveals the plot to Thomas. Thomas does as she wanted. Making sure he's seen smuggling women away, and leaving a Room Full of Crazy in his apartment containing evidence, knowing Harry will make a beeline there when Thomas will stop answering his calls.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: After ghouls kidnap and murder two apprentice wizards, Harry captures one, buries it to its neck in sand, crisps its head with fire, splashes orange juice onto it and into a trail to a nearby fire ant nest, and waits for the ants to start stinging its exposed tissues before Ramirez convinces him to just mercy-kill the thing.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Implied, since Thomas managed to persuade the women he took to the safe house that they were in danger and needed to come with him.
  • Compensating for Something: Elaine jokingly implies that wizards like Harry who use staffs (as opposed to her non-traditional magic chain) are obsessed with phallic imagery.
  • Could Say It, But...: Thomas is forbidden by Lara to tell Harry about the current situation. So Thomas uses this.
    Thomas: If there was a meeting of the most powerful hundred or so nobles of the Court scheduled to meet at the family estate the day after tomorrow, I couldn't tell you about it.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: "Priscilla" is actually the son of Lord Skavis, and murderer of many of the women.
  • Dark Secret: Harry finally pieces together Marcone's darkest secret and one of the major driving forces for his cruel efficiency. The woman in the hospital from the end of Death Masks is Helen Beckitt's daughter. No one else knows she survived the hit that was meant to kill Marcone. So Marcone has taken up caring for her and searching for ways to save her from her coma.
  • Deception Noncompliance: Thomas is forbidden to tell Harry about the White Court's plans. Therefore, he deliberately acts secretive and leaves obvious evidence in his apartment, knowing that this will lead to Harry finding out without needing to be explicitly told.
  • Demonic Possession: Vitto Malvora is possessed by an Outsider.
  • Destructo-Nookie:
    • Inverted: Harry uses lust to power his magic by getting into a heated kiss with Lara Raith, forming a shield which allows him and Lara to survive the resulting explosion.
    • Bob thinks this happens when he is asked to investigate a crime scene where a Succubus was involved.
  • Determinator: Harry has endured Lasciel's Shadow in his mind tempting him for three years. Even Lasciel's Shadow is silenced when she realizes that, until Harry, no person had ever lasted even a few weeks before falling to her influence.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Harry is a bit surprised when he discovers that He Who Walks Behind, who Harry had beaten when he was 16, is an Outsider, one of his universe's Eldritch Abominations.
  • Disguised in Drag: "Priscilla" is really the male heir-apparent to House Skavis. It was good enough to fool several women who regularly met her.
  • Due to the Dead: Harry tells Elaine about the fate of Kim Delaney. He also reveals he occasionally visits her grave and tends to the site as a reminder of his poor choices in the past and of those he failed to protect.
  • Eldritch Location: The Nevernever's weirdness appears again; two portals that are merely across a room from each other in the mortal world are likely miles apart in the Nevernever.
  • Elite Mook: Vitto sees Madrigal as this. While together he appears to be supportive and patient about their partnership; in private, he mocks the other and dismisses him as any real use to their plans after this event.
  • Enemy Civil War: In the backdrop of the book, the White Court is in such a war, but in their personal style. So while not fighting any direct battles, they play each other in gambits. While House Raith is working on a peace effort, House Skavis kills dozens of low-level practitioners to prove that it is foolish to make peace with wizards, and thus take the Court. House Malvora, hearing of this, plans to take credit for the kills and take the Court for their own. Lara Raith uses Thomas to fight them both by having him find and rescue as many victims as possible—and may have arranged the whole scheme to bring down the other houses before they team up in a way she could not predict.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Helen Beckitt works for Marcone at one of his "health spots" as the Madam and does finances for some of the organization. As she notes to Harry, she has a hard time getting work with her criminal record.
    • After Vitto calls in his Master and the Uber-ghouls, Harry doubles this up. First, he was working with Marcone already to be his back-up. Second, Harry knows he has to help save House Raith or the White Court could end up actively fighting the Council. So they make a pact of peace to help each other get out.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Lara Raith helps move Harry and Ramirez to a place in the Deeps' tunnel and supplies them with Justine as a translator, allowing them to hear Lady Malvora's proclamation that she is the power behind all the murders.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • Marcone merely smiling apparently counts as this, according to Ms. Demeter. This happens when Harry sees Helen Beckitt come in to the main office at Marcone's "health club" and reveal herself to be Marcone's lover.
    • Vitto Malvora does the more typical version when he pumps a powerful Mind Rape on Harry, Thomas, Lara, and others. He takes his time gloating and kicking Lara Raith. He doesn't realize that by Lash's help, Harry is no longer under his spell. He also doesn't anticipate the shotgun blast to the hand. It kills his concentration and frees everyone from the spell.
  • Evil Is Easy: Harry continues to train Molly in this fact and to avoid taking the easy path and using magic for everything.
  • Explosion Propulsion: The end. A weakened Harry. Lara with no means of escape. Explosives rigged to blow up the Raith Deeps. The solution? Harry makes out with Lara and uses the emotional energy to shield them, shooting them out of the entrance like a cannonball.
  • Famous Last Words: "I...she doesn't deserve you.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Marcone has considered this would be the likely conclusion if he revealed to Helen Beckitt that her child, whom she thought she lost because of a mob hit intended for Marcone, is alive. However, Amanda is trapped in a coma and nothing Marcone has acquired has helped her. So, he feels that to give Helen her daughter back in such a case would only serve to destroy a broken woman even more.
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: The Unseelie Accords are an agreement between major powers in the supernatural world to ensure rules of hospitality and punishment for violating them. An offer of membership is Marcone's payment for helping Harry at the end.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • An amusing one is when Harry is explaining the White Court's antics to Ramirez. He says that "You're worried Malvora's going to come smashing in like a big old grizzly bear and kill anything in their way." Later on, when Vittorio Malvora loses the duel and calls in his Black Council backup, well... that exact thing happens, sans an actual bear.
    • There's an early sign that shielding Harry from Vitto's mental magic destroyed Lash when Harry fails to understand an Ancient Sumerian order issued to one of the super-ghouls.
    • The fact that the first thing Harry almost calls Priscilla, a cross-dressed man in disguise, is "turtleneck", and he says it would be "impolite to call you that without checking first." Even better? The reaction is "Pricilla stiffened." Doubles as a Stealth Pun.
  • Gambit Pileup: This is a given, as the White Court are involved. House Raith (under Lara Raith's command) are pushing for peace with the White Council, because Lara "loves peace." House Skavis is making a power play to undermine Raith by killing human women with magical talent, in an effort to show that the Council is weak and so is Raith for making peace with them. Meanwhile, House Malvora is attempting to take credit for Skavis's plot by bumping off the Skavis agent and saying it was their plan. Madrigal Raith adds to the complexity by baiting Harry onto the Skavis's trail, hoping Harry will do his thing all over Skavis. And in the opposite corner, there's Thomas, who is actively sabotaging both Houses' plots by sheltering the women they're targeting and obliquely helping Harry.

    Of course, it turns out that Vittorio Malvora, the agent for House Malvora in this case, is working for the Black Council, apparently to undermine the peace effort, and when everything falls apart he calls in the Black Council to ruin everyone's day to an epic degree. And at the end of it all, the entire thing was a gambit by Lara Raith to kill or deface the leadership of Skavis and Malvora to make House Raith stronger, and it works beautifully. But the one who ends up on top of the whole situation is Gentleman Johnny Marcone, who leverages everything to become the first mortal freeholding lord under the Unseelie Accords, approved by Lara Raith, Donar Vadderung, and Harry Dresden.
  • Glamour Failure: A variation with Lara and Ramirez. Her divine beauty does not vanish from the physical world, but because Carlos soulgazes her and sees her True Self, her seduction and allure are now contrasted with the harshness Ramirez saw within, making it much easier for him to resist.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Compared to the old rigid manner in which Lord Raith ruled the White Court, from how the house securities were set up to plotting ahead, Lara Raith is a far more progressive mind and, in Harry's view, a much more dangerous force. Harry wonders if he did the world a disfavor in helping her back in Blood Rites, and now he must go help her secure her power even more.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Madrigal Raith kills a woman so that Harry will start investigating and eliminate the Skavis for him and his Malvora allies. This is what actually happens. It never occurs to either him or the Malvora that Harry would go further, seeing through his plan and wreaking havoc on them too. It results in Madrigal's own death and the Malvora suffering the same fate the Skavis do.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Leaping super-ghoul + disintegration-shield = "Ramirez was going to need new clothes."
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Lady Malvora beats a super-ghoul over the head with its own ripped-off arm.
  • Groin Attack: Poor Mouse apparently came close to getting neutered after a clerical error at the vet when he went to get patched up after the events of the previous book.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: In every other way, Ramirez qualifies as an action hero, so he makes sure to let everyone know that he's no slouch in the bedroom either. It's all an act, as Lara Raith is delighted to find out.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Lash (Lasciel's Shadow); unfortunately, a case of Redemption Equals Death.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lasciel's shadow commits heroic suicide to save Harry by taking a psychic bullet for him—Vitto's attack causes brain damage, and Lash chooses to have it affect the parts of Harry's brain that contain her.
  • Heroic Willpower: Through sheer force of will and personality, Harry manages to transform the shadow of Lasciel into a being of good.
  • Hesitant Sacrifice: Lash, the Shadow of Lasciel, usually helps Harry because she would die if he died. But at the end of the book, Harry asks her to mitigate a powerful psychic attack, Lash at first will only offer help if Harry takes up Lasciel's coin. In the end, she doesn't just agree to help shield Harry from the attack, she arranges things so that the resulting brain damage is limited to the parts of his brain that she inhabits.
  • Hulk Speak: Harry briefly invokes this when talking to Bob: "Harry get hammer. Smash stupid talky skull."
  • Humans Are Warriors: Ancient Uber-ghouls are rampaging through the White Court Vampires. The sheer panic of the situation is making the normally well-composed monsters lose control and let their demon run wild, feeding on any thrall they can. A few dozen humans come in with high-powered rifles with large clips. The humans shoot the uber-ghouls until they fall, and then shoot the bodies some more. When they run out, they reload. They also set up powerful explosives to just blow the place up. Humans win.
  • Human Shield:
    • When Harry and Ramirez face the murderers the White Court uses the human thralls as a barrier between the fighters and the watching vampires.
    • Later, when Lord Raith and his house work with Harry to get out of the cavern, Harry insists they bring the thralls. So Lara makes them into a circular shield around Lord Raith, Justine, and Lara's sisters, Harry realizes this shouldn't surprise him, as Lara is well practiced at turning a disadvantage into a plus.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Vitto Malvora joins some of his minions in consuming the flesh of his victims.
  • I Gave My Word:
    • Marcone refuses to leave Harry to die because he promised to bring Harry out alive. He's forced to leave before the promise is fulfilled when the escape route closes.
    • Lara Raith gave the same word and so refuses to leave Harry alone.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Harry pays a visit to Marcone and finds Helen Beckitt on his lap, their clothing disheveled.
    I cursed my timing. If I'd come ten minutes later, I'd have opened the door in medias res. It would have been infinitely more awkward.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: Lara is not happy when Harry makes demands of her, but she only becomes angrier than he has ever seen her when he flippantly asks for some mouthwash to remove the odd taste from when she kissed him.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Describing stuff like how Harry gets away from the explosion at the end is necessarily going to involve saying this.
  • It's All My Fault: Marcone takes personal blame for what happened to Helen Beckitt's daughter, as he was the target of those bullets all those years ago.
  • Karmic Death: In the final battle, when one of the vampires trips over a thrall in his attempt to flee from the ghouls and kills her in frustration, he's immediately torn to bits by one of the ghouls.
  • Lady of War: Lara Raith is described as such in the climax.
    In that moment, Lara was more than simply a vampire of the White Court, a succubus, pale and deadly. She was a reminder of the days gone by, when mankind paid homage to blood-soaked goddesses of war and death, revered the dark side of the protective maternal spirit, the savage core of the strength that still allowed tiny women to lift cars off their children, or turn upon their tormentors with newfound power. Lara's power, at the moment, hovered around her, deadly in its primal seduction, its sheer strength.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The back cover identifies Thomas as Harry's half-brother, something that was only revealed three books prior.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: While helping Murphy come up with something to put in her report, Harry advises her to throw in a dog, as people always love them. Mouse promptly agrees.
  • Loophole Abuse: The low-level practitioners are not, technically, at war with the Vampire Courts. However, because the practitioners are under the purview of the White Council, regardless of the fact the White Council proper is at war, the Wardens of the White Council do have the right to protect them and challenge people in their name. For instance, against the murderers Vitto and Madrigal.
  • Magic Cauldron: The Ordo Lebes name themselves after cauldrons based on this trope, although in fact they're not literally using cauldrons. (Harry initially translates "lebes" just as "large cooking pot" until Murphy points out the obvious intention. Goddamn Latin correspondence course...)
  • Making a Splash: Carlos Ramirez specializes in water magic. Rather than conjuring and manipulating actual water, though, he uses spells which take on some of the more useful qualities of water. Such as a shield which disintegrates bullets (or anything else that hits it. Trying to punch through this shield is a bad idea.) before they can reach him, just like what happens when you fire a gun into water.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • We see just how much Lara has her hooks in Lord Raith; Harry notes how hard he has to look to see the cracks in the façade.
    • Harry spends some time hunting Vitto Malvora, only to find that Vitto has a master he's working on behalf of: Dresden's old enemy Cowl.
  • Meaningful Echo: To get his help, Johnny Marcone makes Harry say "please" and adds to it with "pretty please" and so on. Harry refuses to say "with a cherry on top." But at the climax, when Harry needs a bit more help, without hesitation Harry says "Please, John." Marcone is visibly shocked by this act.
  • Must Be Invited: Mortals can cross household thresholds uninvited, but if they're wizards, they are unable to use most of their magic while inside. Harry deliberately steps into Anna Ash's apartment without an invitation, disarming himself as proof of his good intentions. Later, he figures out that he may have been manipulated into the act, so that he wouldn't see Elaine under her veil.
  • Nerves of Steel: Harry's main point to Molly is to not let people see just how scared you are when facing the Big Bad or his evil forces. Also, a staple of the strongest White Court vampires, including Lord Raith, who must not let it slip he cannot feed and is low on energy. He just sits calmly in the middle of a coup and still plays things to his advantage.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Had the body Molly scanned, described under Another Man's Terror, not popped up, Harry likely wouldn't have been looking around enough to catch onto the plot at all. Harry even makes note of this.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In-universe. When Marcone and Harry watch Lara and Thomas fully vamping out as they fight off the uberghouls Marcone calls it the most beautiful, terrifying sight he has ever seen. Harry can only nod.
  • Noble Demon:
    • Johnny Marcone may be a ruthless criminal, but his word is good. So when he agrees to help Harry with an extraction from The Deeps, he comes through with style. He even agrees to help rescue the Raiths being swarmed by superghouls.
    • The White Court, in general, is this as they too keep their word and honor their deals. Lara is specifically described to be good to her word and always repays her debts. She refuses to leave Harry after all hell breaks loose, not only because she promised him safe passage but because a member of her court is the betrayer.
  • Noodle Incident: Karrin Murphy blushes when she refuses to talk about what she and Kincaid did in Hawaii. All we know is he gave her a fully automatic P90 in a box of Belgian chocolates as thanks.
  • Not Hyperbole: Harry mentions Molly practically glowed with pride at a compliment and notes she did actually glow for a while, early in her training, but he managed to teach her to control that.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Not knowing what Harry has planned to get them out of the Deeps, Lara is worried, but when he tells her to kiss him, she obliges with all her power. She thinks this kiss would be now or never, not knowing Harry plans on using her kiss to help them escape.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Justine, Thomas's lover, while still recovering from Thomas's harsh and near-fatal feeding back in Blood Rites, plays up the idea she is a will-less thrall.
  • Omniglot: Harry learns that a perk of Lash's presence is he can understand and speak any language. Even Ancient Etruscan and Ghoul.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten:
    • Murphy assures Harry that she and the SI cops will never forget the fact Harry had to pretend to be gay to get out of trouble.
    • Harry and the fact that Ramirez is a virgin.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Marcone mentions he used this against some hungry vampires who tried to feed on some of his men when they escaped into Nevernever. They were wise to not try it again.
    Harry: Hell's bells. Did you kill any of them?
    Marcone: Unnecessary. I shot them enough to make my point.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Creepier, even, than the regular kind, if they're the giant prehistoric-looking variety that Vittorio's boss unleashes to massacre the White Court.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Lasciel's Shadow is supposed to be everything the real Fallen is. But after three years of Harry enduring her temptations, and nicknaming her "Lash," there are signs she is starting to change. The most visible sign is her normal image of a beautiful blond in a toga slowly becoming disheveled, as well as replying "You're welcome" when Harry thanks her at one point.
  • Pride: Molly's biggest issue in the book; her naive mindset makes her act and do foolish things (like break into a crime scene) without considering the consequences. She hates some of the lessons Harry forces upon her, thinking she is beyond them. It takes the Scare 'Em Straight moment below to help her out of this.
  • The Promise: Implied. Harry guesses Lara made Thomas agree to not talk to Harry about things he is doing, in exchange for Justine's protection or assurance she is still safe.
  • Psychic Glimpse of Death: Harry asks Molly to try to connect with the body of a recently deceased woman to try and witness her death firsthand. Harry asks this knowing it won't be a pleasant experience for Molly, but she's better at mind magic than he is and they have no other clues. In a mixed blessing, Molly discovers this woman was killed by a vampire of the White Court, which consist of succubi and incubi, and thus died while in the throes of passion. Molly experiences that, too.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Harry realizes that the vampires are going to be wiped out in the Deeps the instant he notices that the uber-ghouls are doing this.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I. Am not. Yoda." As part of Molly's Scare 'Em Straight moment, this comes between the melted trash can and the ball of face-melty sunshine. It's a proper danger sign when Harry won't even be placated by pop-culture references.
  • Puppet King: Lord Raith is still this. If anyone else in the White Court learns of it he, and by extension Lara, would be removed from power, and the White Council would gain another enemy to fight, forcing Harry to help protect the secret.
  • Rage Breaking Point:
    • Harry gets to this point a few times in the book. Once, in flashback, was when he saw what the ghouls did to some new recruits. The next time is after a bad meeting with Marcone. And each time he vents his anger violently and collateral damage results. After Murphy gives him a What the Hell, Hero? speech, Harry realizes Lash has been spending time with his inner rage, poking it and coaxing it to come out more often, in hopes of destroying Harry and making him take up the coin.
    • Lara Raith doesn't react with visible emotion when Harry and she destroy part of her home, he makes her pay blood money, threatens killing her if one of her kind tries the genocide route again, or forces her to free the tiny fae she captured on the pretense they were trespassing. However, when Harry asks for Listerine because of a strange taste in his mouth, Lara finally loses it and whispers at Harry to leave.
  • A Rare Sentence: Harry makes mention of the events of Blood Rites with the line, "a cult of porn-star sorceresses." Molly is taken aback and asks if she heard it right. When told he meant what he said, she accepts it.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Murphy suffers from this with her demotion since the last book. She might have saved a young girl from some evil Fae who happened to murder other people, but as that cannot be reported, she has no justifiable reason for missing a day during a murder investigation.
    • When facing an opponent who uses throwing knives, Harry notes that they're not nearly as dangerous as they're usually made out to be, since it's hard to ensure that the actual blade hits, or that it has sufficient force to injure someone. If the person throwing them is a normal human. Since the person Harry is fighting is a vampire with superhuman speed and reflexes, he actually is as dangerous as the people you see in the movies.
  • Red Herring: Helen Beckitt is not the mole in the Order of the Cauldron.
  • The Renfield: The Thralls of the White Court are people who have been so emotionally drained they have barely any will left, if it exists at all. Justine pretends to be one, but is just obfuscating.
  • The Reveal: Helen Beckitt's daughter, Amanda, is not dead, but has been living in a coma for years, tended to by Marcone. She is the young woman Harry saw Marcone visit in Death Masks.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Harry goes nuts when ghouls kill, rape, and eat 16-year-old twin trainees. Ramirez is visibly disturbed.
  • Royal "We": When speaking for the entire White Court, Lord Raith speaks with this.
  • Run or Die:
    • With hordes of uber-ghouls running rampant in the Deeps, the White Court vampires, Harry, and Ramirez have to either run from them or be killed. Thankfully, Harry planned for an extraction just in case it was needed.
    • Soon after the above and the gate Harry opened having been forcibly closed before he and Lara could make it, and with powerful bombs about to go off, and still hordes of uber-ghouls about, Harry and Lara choose "run" once more. They end up using Explosion Propulsion to escape.
  • Running Gag:
    • Harry and buildings burning down. For most of the book, he repeats he wasn't at fault, to which Molly and Murphy lampshade this by interrupting him and saying, "Not his/your fault."
    • A more subtle, series-spanning one: Harry gets reminded of his terrible Latin (due to learning it through a substandard Correspondence Course) twice. Once while badly translating "Ordo Lebes," and again when Carlos calls him out on his mysterious ability to speak fluent Ghoul and Ancient Etruscan.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The myth of Demeter and Persephone is brought up near the end, and Harry and Marcone talk about Demeter freezing the world when Persephone was kidnapped, when the original myth was more along the lines of Demeter causing crops and other life to stop growing and whither (supposedly the cause of winter).
  • Saying Too Much: Harry using Lash to listen in on the White Court speaking in their ancient tongue and understand it without aid of a translator, and then speaking it fluently, tips Ramirez that there is something not right with Harry, not when he couldn't speak proper Latin a few years back.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Harry to Molly, Chapter 30, with a slow-moving fireball headed toward her face, in order to demonstrate that she isn't ready to help him with his job because she hasn't learned that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. When talking about it to Molly later, he mentions that Ebenezer did a similar thing to him when he was an apprentice.
  • Spot the Thread:
    • At the first crime scene, Molly is sneaking around invisible when Murphy tackles her to the ground and pins her in seconds. Despite it being a perfect invisibility veil, Harry and Murphy both noticed tiny tells, like a brush of wind or the sound of the floor creaking, to alert them to her presence.
    • When meeting with the Order of the Cauldron for the first time, Harry misses something. He missed that there was another woman present, but hidden under a veil. It takes Lash to note this, and she justifies Harry's missing it because he was deliberately made to come into the house uninvited and so he was limited in strength.
    • Harry and Murphy don't realize until too late a crucial clue to the killer's identity: in the hot summer weather, Priscilla is wearing turtlenecks.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: To resist Lara's charm and vamping, Carlos invokes this and engages in a soulgaze. This breaks Lara's stride and she compliments him on how he handled her advances.
  • The Starscream: A case could be made for Lord Skavis or Lady Malvora, both trying to stage coups against Lord Raith.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • MonOc Securities. "Mon" means "One" and "Oc" is short for "Ocular" or "Eye." So "One Eye." Befitting a being whom myths claim has only one eye.
    • Near the end there's a Visual Pun when Lara stands behind Lord Raith on his white throne; she the power behind the throne.
    • Harry and Lara's escape from the cavern involves riding inside a bouncing magic ball; if it bounces just right they get to keep playing. Apparently Harry's a Pinball Wizard.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: After Harry and Ramirez dispatch Madrigal in a duel with him and Vitto, Vitto decides to drop the charade and calls to his master Cowl, and they unleash an army of uber-ghouls upon everyone in sight.
  • Super Speed: White Court vampires, while the most human of the known vampires, still can move at speeds well beyond any human can move. However, their movements are not faster than the speed of thought, which is the speed magic can be cast.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: After realizing Lash died for Harry, he cries for her sacrifice.
  • Take Our Word for It: When the uber-ghouls are attacking, Harry sees Lady Malvora ripped apart by the uber-ghouls and crushed by their weight. Lord Skavis and his retainers stand against the uber-ghouls as well as a rock "ignoring a flash flood—for the moment, at least." Harry notes the other sights are not nearly as pleasant.
  • Taking the Bullet: Lash, the shadow of Lasciel, takes a psychic bullet to save Harry.
  • Tempting Fate: Lady Malvora, when arguing with Lord Raith, calls out "Who shall call us to task for [killing practitioners in this time of peace]?" Harry, being Harry, picks now as the best time to reveal himself and gives himself a grand entrance.
    If that wasn't a straight line, my name isn't Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden.
  • Time Bomb: Marcone, possibly by Harry's request, sets up powerful bombs during the recovery mission led by Marcone, Thomas, and Murphy. They eventually blow (see Explosion Propulsion for Harry's escape) and destroy the Deeps and anything left in there.
  • Tranquil Fury: Harry during the New Mexico Incident. The results are covered below, under Unstoppable Rage. Ramirez says that he's never seen Harry "cold" like that before, and it scares him.
  • Trial by Combat: The climactic fight scene begins as a trial by combat, weighing Harry's accusation of murder in a time of peace against Vitto and Madrigal's assurance that the "mortal freaks" can't defend themselves. The challenge itself is awesome.
  • True Companions: Helen Beckitt learns her new friends in the Orbo Lebes are this when they do not shun her for her criminal record (both magical and mundane), but hug and embrace her. Likewise, Helen is shaken by Anna's death, despite her claims she doesn't care about them that much.
  • Unexpected Virgin: Carlos Ramirez, renowned battle mage and self-proclaimed Casanova, is outed the moment Lara looks at him, to her obvious delight. Harry pokes fun at him for the rest of the book, mostly to get back at him for his constant bragging about his sexual conquests.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Played straight when Harry's planning the assault on the White Court in the Deeps. It doesn't go off quite as planned, but he still achieves all of his major objectives.
  • Unstoppable Rage: During the flashback to New Mexico, when Harry tracks down a ghoul who kidnapped two sixteen-year-old wizards-in-training. He finds the ghoul standing over their bodies, having devoured parts of both of the teenagers (and it is implied that the ghoul raped one of them). Harry's response would make Jack Bauer proud. Harry literally rips the ghoul in half with magic, then sets its still-living nerves and fat on fire and hurls its blazing, screaming half-carcass into a chasm. That not being enough for him, Harry then stalks back out to another captured ghoul. He melts the sand around the ghoul, lets the ghoul sink in, then hardens it. Then he pours orange juice on the ghoul's head and lets the ants do the rest—until Remirez calms him down enough to give it a Mercy Kill instead. Harry is pissed.
  • Villain Ball:
    • One of the villains, Madrigal Raith, holds this, as he wants vengeance on Harry and hopes to use him to take out his opposition, with a hopeful mutual destruction, and thus help him complete his plan. Of course, getting Harry's attention leads to the whole scheme being exposed and falling apart.
    • The entire plot of attacking the practitioners resulting in Dresden and the White Council's response is considered obvious to Lord Raith. The perpetrators' shock at Harry's arrival at the end is just more proof the participants held the ball.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left:
    • Attempted by Madrigal when he sees Harry and another Warden come to challenge him and Vittorio Malvora to a duel to the death for crimes done in a time of peace against weaker practitioners of magic. But Vittorio tells him that if he declines the challenge, he will be killed by Lady Cesarina Malvora.
    • Harry notes that once Cowl realized there were bombs about to blow, he would close his Way to prevent any backlash into his area.
  • Villain Has a Point: Marcone is many shades of evil, but Harry notes he does have a point that Helen learning her beloved daughter is alive but trapped in a vegetative coma would shatter what remains of her sanity. To be that close to getting her daughter back only to find her lost by other means would be too cruel a fate for even Marcone to put the woman through.
  • We Wait:
    • Harry and Murphy wait in her car on a stakeout.
    • Molly's role in helping Harry at the climax is to wait in the Beetle with Mouse.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Ramirez to Harry for his failing to trust Ramirez with even a little with more information because of the fear of the mole in the White Council.
    • Murphy also gives Harry a good one when he unleashes his frustration by doing some property damage, pointing out that even though nobody was directly hurt, he'll have caused a lot of trouble for some perfectly innocent shop owners who will, at the very least, have to go through all the hassle of dealing with their insurance companies and lose business in the meantime while the destruction is repaired. She points out that this sort of impulsiveness with his power is exactly the sort of thing he's been trying to teach Molly to control, and he was actually lambasting her for her thoughtlessness right when he lost his temper and loosed the blast.
  • Who Needs Their Whole Body?: The ghouls in New Mexico remain conscious and somewhat mobile even after one loses two limbs and another, its lower body. The super-ghouls that invade the Deeps keep right on fighting, even when they've lost arms, legs, chunks of torso or even heads.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Harry debates whether shooting Grey Cloak from a distance would be a good thing or not, as he knows next to nothing about him and nothing about the situation he's running. Harry decides to follow the guy to learn more.
  • With Us or Against Us: A villainous example: Because of how deep Madrigal has gone with House Malvora in this coup, Vittorio tells him this when Madrigal wants to cut and run from a fight against Harry and another Warden.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious:
    • At the end, when Harry is close to dying, Lasciel's Shadow does not call him "my host" which is her customary name, but "Harry."
    • Harry himself breaks with his own habit and calls Marcone "John" when he pleads for the gang boss to help him save the Raiths and the thralls.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The "Bowling for Vampires" incident. Harry does something particularly clever in his duel with Madrigal Raith and follows it up with one of his patented wisecracks. The White Court vampire audience cheers. Harry is discomfited.


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