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Nightmare Fuel / The Dresden Files

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For books known primarily for over-the-top awesomeness and hilarious narration, The Dresden Files can be downright horrifying at times.


General

  • Harry's frequent soliloquies about the true nature of the Crapsack World of the Dresdenverse bear mentioning, as he is frequent to point out how vast and unknown the world really is and perhaps even more disturbingly, how good we are at simply ignoring it. The basic premise sums it up best. It's a big world out there and humanity is nowhere near the top of the food chain.
    • And it's not even merely indifferent, it's petty. People get singled out to be prey simply because they break some rule of etiquette they had no reason to know existed, or tried to help the wrong person, or accepted an agreement without considering its Exact Words, or because of who their ancestor was. Or hell, they might not even have done anything at all and they just happened to be good looking enough to attract the wrong sort of attention. And all of this is perfectly legal under the Unseelie Accords, which don't even pretend to be fair or well-meaning in any way.
  • The White Council's stance on dark magic. Doesn't matter how minor or what good intentions you used it for or even if you knew that you were breaking a law to begin with. You'll end up somewhere with a hood over your head as they prepare to chop it off. No trial involved what so ever. What makes it especially bad is that in Molly's case is that the Merlin would have done it to simply spite Harry, and, if Michael hadn't arrived in time, he would have walked in on his daughter being executed (though being a Champion of God makes you king of nick of time rescues.)
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    • What's worse? The history of Black Magic is one long case of proving them right. Despite the fact that she knows it would get both her and Harry executed, Molly is still far too eager to invade people's minds and mess around inside them. The once innocent child has become very Anti-Hero-ish and what she'd do without villains to battle is a good question. Basically, the spells that carry the instant death penalty are punished so harshly because those are the spells that have been proven to get the wielder Drunk on the Dark Side with no turning back. How bad? Both world wars might have been averted, or at least reduced, if they got to Kemmler early on in his career.
  • The White Court, especially the Raiths. They can rape you to death, and make you like it. Yeah.
    • Death by snu-snu just became a whole lot scarier.
      • We see Thomas doing this in Backup. It's not pleasant.
      • Thomas is undoubtedly one of the friendliest of vampires. So whenever Thomas is pushed into unleashing his inner demon he wouldn't contain it until it is well fed.
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  • Also the Red Court, horrible rubbery drooling bat-monsters.
  • The love spells in Love Hurts. Particularly the one that caused the brother and sister to fall in love.
    • Even worse: given how it was distributed, there's a significant chance of catching a parent-child pair as well.
    • Let's hope to God the Tunnel had a minimum height requirement...
  • The Walkers: He Who Walks Behind, He Who Walks Before and (if the formula sticks) He Who Walks Beside. More specifically the implications of their names. Who or what exactly are they walking Behind, Before and Beside?
    • This question has been answered, to a point: "Before" refers to its position of leadership, it spearheads the attacks on the gates of reality and marshals the forces of the outsiders etc. "Behind" seems to refer to the creature's position as a schemer, it is 'behind' things like Dresden killing Justin DuMorne. What this says about the agenda of the walkers is fridge horror in itself, because Harry's increasing power and control of Demonreach may all be part of the Outsiders' plan as much as or more than anyone else's.
    • For bonus points, there is also a literal interpretation (Outsiders seem to be bound to their True Names more tightly even than the fae): You. Whenever He Who Walks Behind manifests, he is literally right behind you, where you cannot see him.
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    • Everything to do with the Outsiders. It's said that the fae are tasked with keeping them, well, outside our realm, and the callousness and terrifying Blue and Orange Morality they can display are due to He Who Fights Monsters to some degree.
      • Also, whoever or whatever Nemesis, their agent, is. It's hard to know if it's an entity/group or force or ability. All we know is, something spreads and infects even the most powerful beings such as high-level fae, twisting their minds in ways that causes them to act against their fundamental nature as they become increasingly insane, and so far there's no way of knowing how it works, how it spreads, who will be next, or who has been touched by it already, let alone any way of protecting yourself from waking up not yourself tomorrow or helping the loved you're watching slowly warp into someone else. One day it just happens. Many of the threats the heroes have faced that they assumed was part of a grand conspiracy (they called it the "Black Council" as a hypothetical Evil Counterpart to the White Council that governs magic use) was actually because the worst possible beings to become ensnared by such a thing did, and really thought they were acting individually and of their own will. It's Nothing Is Scarier at its best: there's not a thing called Nemesis in the air, the food, or the water, or even a spell someone cast or the price of reading the wrong book or looking at the face of the the wrong creature. It's that thing where suddenly one day you're not you anymore, nothing more, nothing less, and aside from knowing it's the Outsiders' doing, nobody really understands it any better than they did before they switched from calling it "Black Council" to "Nemesis." (Names from others who've noticed the pattern are 'the adversary' and 'the contagion.' No, they don't know how it works either.)

Short Stories

  • Father Douglas trying to kill Harry at his apartment in "The Warrior", showing just how dangerous someone who's supposed to be "just a guy" can be.
    There was a hole in the leather mantle. I flipped it up. Beneath the hole, several ounces of metal were flattened against the second layer of spelltoughened leather, about three inches below the collar and a hair to the right of my spine.
    That was chilling. Even through my best defenses, that was how close I’d come to death.



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