Battle Ground - Dresden Files (Open spoilers)

We have to allow that in Peace Talks, Harry, Michael and Butters might be wrong about the new sword. They landed on a theory that there’s an angel inside the sword and that angels can’t act against mortal free will. As I read it, there’s 2 possibilities: they were wrong and the sword is a lot more nuanced, it can discern the difference between evil intent even when confronting a mortal, or it burned Harry because it was the Winter Mantle and it’s non-mortal fae power that it cut and not Harry himself. I prefer the latter theory since that would better explain the burn versus the amputation. That the sword is smart enough to wound to the degree of the evilness of a mortals actions is a bit too much for me.

I didn’t put this together at the time, but my sense is that LHOD is correct here. I can’t think of any other reason why he’d emphasize the “Sir” there if not to communicate that he’s a Knight of the Blackened Denarius. Dresden doesn’t often refer to them as Knights, but they have been called that before. Mab I’m pretty sure would keep it a secret, but I’d be a bit surprised that she couldn’t sense it on her own. I’m going to assume that Harry, Michael, Sanya, Butters, Mab and Molly will probably be the only ones who know at the start of the next book.

You could be referring to a few things. Bob splitting off his “evil” half which ultimately became it’s own dark spirit from Ghost Story. Bob’s personality didn’t really change, but he’s now got a new enemy out there. Also in Cold Days Bob communicates his worry that if anyone (Mab) were to come after him he needed a “safe house” of sorts. In exchange for knowledge of how to kill an immortal Harry promises to make Bob a second back-up skull that he can retreat to if needed. Harry made it, but it was a pretty crappy place compared to Bob’s mansion of a skull. Harry ends up needing to give it to Bonea once she gets freed from his head, so right now Bob doesn’t really have a backup anymore. Harry probably still owes him one.

It’s a fair concern, but I wouldn’t give up hope yet. We know that some people are ignoring it and are focused on just grieving/rebuilding, but we also know that it’s now under the spotlight for a bunch of new people. The CPD isn’t going to go back to the way they were, the SI department will probably get staffed back up again. Dresden’s bannermen will be out there as will Marcone’s. The Paranetters won’t be hiding under a rock anymore. The Librarians will probably become a major player.

When Harry said “everyone’s gonna know” he didn’t know about the MIBs or Librarians, and him forcing the Accords to do reparations probably helped people bury their heads a bit. I suspect we’ll learn that events like this have happened before and the MIB have a pretty good playbook to manage the fallout.

Also, if my theory above about Dresden creating his own little army of mortals and mortal-friendly monsters is anywhere close to true, there will certainly end up being a force of in-the-know people unlike we’ve seen before. We may also see squads of roving mortal vigilantes out there hunting down monsters and the like. Could put independent talents like the werewolves and Mort in a bunch of trouble.

If there’s anything we know, it’s that wizards and sidhe alike DO NOT SHARE INFORMATION. I think it’s very defensible that there’s a secret governmental agency out there working against the magic world. Harry encountered Tilly and Denton and the Hexenwolves in earlier books so there’s already been some FBI guys at least partially clued in. Clearly the White Council doesn’t trust Harry, so I see no reason that they’d tip Harry off.

I also dig that it’s the Library of Congress too. It’s weird…but that makes it more fun. Would have been dull for it to be the DoD or NSA or something. Plus there’s a little bit of symmetry with the Archive being a major force.

Agree on this one. It’s a bit of a Butcher trope that people act hostile in completely non-proportional ways to people who are ostensibly allies. Murphy was a psycho to Dresden because he kept secrets. Eb was a lunatic about Thomas. Ramirez is being a lunatic because Harry is holding back. Now the White Council going super-antagonistic is pretty much in line with how Butcher sets up conflict between mortals. It all falls under the author’s desire torture Harry at every turn, if people were moderate and reasonable things would be too easy for Harry. But yeah…it gets tiresome.

Only thing I noticed was the supercharged spell energy for Harry, but I’m not sure that’s directly related.

Basically he was securing the ways and the underground. Preventing the Fomor and Ethniu from attacking their flanks by popping up anywhere they wanted. Ensuring that the good guys could focus their lines on the lakefront. There was a mention that if Ferrovax were to take the field then reality would definitely fracture, so it was the best use of his power.

I thought he/she said something that basically translated to “chaos is a ladder”. The plan wasn’t to create this exact outcome, but it was to generate a giant shit show and find opportunities. Harry is Starborn, Harry is the warden of Demonreach and Harry is the Winter Knight. Three things that are really really important to the outsiders, so finding a way to get close to Harry and manipulate him makes all the sense in the world. Justine is a pretty good tool considering Harry’s habit of going a bit off the reservation both for family and for damsels in distress. Maybe Harry gets killed by Ethniu, maybe he takes Justine to Demonreach, maybe Harry gets her close to Mab, it’s all about creating opportunities. It wasn’t really a plan.

My theory is that He Who Walks Beside wanted to accomplish a few things. He wanted discord within the Accords. So he needed to get a couple signatories at each others throats. He wanted to infiltrate the White Court. He wanted Harry out from the protection of the Svartalves. He wanted Harry out of the White Council. He needed Harry highly distracted. Thomas’ attack accomplished all of that in one stroke. In his speech at the end he basically confirms that even without landing on Demonreach he’s still already won…the terror and the chaos already created is enough to ensure Empty Night. Getting on Demonreach was just another gambit, it wasn’t the “plan”. It was a nice to have.

Not sure it would work that well for something with 15+ previous stories. One of the annoying things about the books is that he constantly needs to write in a short bio of every character for the weirdo who picks up book 16 without having read any of the previous ones. Butters is a twerp, magic can’t violate physics, Mab and Lara are the most beautiful beings ever, Karrin is small but fierce, the swords and denarians etc… I’m sure the editors force all that on him, but it always elicits an eye roll from me. Yet, with so many characters and so much mythology no synopsis could possibly cover it all.

LOTR is actually one book too, so the summary is a bit more essential when you are publishing sections separately.

Eh… think about it this way. Assume that there are these MiB librarians who work for the US government and know about and investigate the supernatural. Will we then be able to go back and reread the entire series and there will never be a place where we’re like “jesus, where the hell are the librarians”? Did they not show up when Harry resurrected a T Rex and when running around downtown Chicago? Did they not show up when a satellite was pulled down out of orbit? Are they not interested in Demonreach? If they weren’t investigating Harry, what WERE they investigating this entire time? Did none of them ever contact Murphy? Butters? Were they busy the entire time with the even MORE frequent and life-threatening supernatural events constantly threatening, say, Denver?

One of my biggest gripes about the series is how truly unbelievable it is that the mortal world would remain ignorant of the supernatural world, given how god damn much supernatural stuff there is all over the place. How many times must demons and vampires and magic users have been caught on security cameras? Etc. And there’s been this ongoing preachy little “people refuse to believe anything that isn’t jammed down their throat” runner in Harry’s thoughts. And now it’s going to turn out that everything we thought we knew about what the mortal world knew was wrong, and basically all the main characters but Harry knew about it all along?

I’m (ironically) skeptical.

Really, these days books should come with a link to a page on the author’s website with a spoiler-free summary. So you can read it if you want, or skip it if you don’t.

The big question is, to me, where does the series go from here?

Because there are reportedly still another 8 books to go (5 standalones and one trilogy), and Butcher has already done his big, epic, all-hands-on-deck, Avengers Endgame-portal-scene battle; he won’t do it again. So what will he end the series with instead?

My guess? There’s going to be a slow descent into tragedy, a war of attrition in which the good guys will lose. Before we reach the end of the last book, we’re going to see the fall, one by one, of the White Court, Demonreach, One-Eye, the Knights, the White Council and even Winter and Summer, until all that’s left will be Harry Dresden standing alone against Nemesis and the Outsiders, fighting for the fate of the universe. We’re in for a rough ride, folks.

I think you have a different idea about what their charter is. My take is that they are not so much investigating or fighting the paranormal, but are primarily responsible for keeping things under wraps. The Librarians, i.e. the repository for written knowledge and popular publications, make sense because they could be controlling what stories get published, which get recorded for posterity and which get suppressed. They will have relationships with newspapers and TV stations to file their stories and could be using those relationships to monitor what’s going on and influencing the slant on them. The MIBs are there to respond when a story can’t be controlled through influence.

So they maybe aren’t the mortal force opposing the supernatural, they are the mortal force keeping it from creating mass hysteria. And if so, they wouldn’t be likely to be involved in the action and wouldn’t be doing any more than keeping a file on Harry. Hell, we may learn that they have something to do with The Larry Fowler Show’s discrediting and harassing Harry.

Sure, the suspension of disbelief is necessary here and this may be one of the thinner strands, but it’s explained in-world. Technology breaks around wizards and magic. Most monsters walk around in human form almost exclusively. Shit always goes down at night in cities where there’s lots of crime and drug use. People have extreme amounts of denial to preserve their sanity. When someone claims they saw, say, a Bigfoot, they get called crazies and mocked or locked up in the looney bin. But if you’re looking for examples where those reasons fall down, I’m sure you’ll find them…but this isn’t hard sci-fi, so choose to be bothered by it or not.

I think that number is highly fluid. IIRC it started at a planned 20 book series, then later he announced that there’d be a big 3 book trilogy to end it…making the number 22. Then Peace Talks/Battle Ground had to be split up stretching it out to 23. 25 is the last number he publicly announced, probably because it’s a round number. Who knows, it may get to 30 before we’re done.

He’s announced that the next book is called Mirror, Mirror which is going to be a multi-dimensional story where alternate-dimension Harry summons our Harry to take the fall for something. He’s hinted that there will be a time-travel plot line, not sure if this will part of the multi-dimension thing or it’s own story.

We know that there probably will be a book where Harry takes on Drakul and settles Marva’s hash, that likely needs to be a full book. Rumor has it that Harry and Marva will be allies at some point, so who knows if that’s a different plotline or part of that one.

Jim has said there is definitely going to be a big Dragon fighting book where Ferrovax will probably be the big bad or at least heavily involved.

He suggested that he wanted to write a big Professional Wrestling based book, but most people said that sounded dumb and supposedly it’s not gonna happen.

We know that the titles of the last 3 books, the big ass trilogy, are Hells Bells, Stars and Stones and Empty Night. And that will almost certainly be another kick down drag out brawl like PT/BG.

We know that every 5th book tends to be a Denarian book, so I think it’s a safe bet that book 20 will be another Marcone/Nicodemus book.

He said that he’s going to pull in some Greek/Roman mythology at some point and that seems like a topic that can be a full book, through there have been hints that One-Eye is basically Zeus but I don’t think that’s what he’s talking about.

We haven’t seen the whole Cowl/Black Council thing come to a head yet, so I have to guess that this will be a book unless it’s part of a BAT. The Margaret LeFey/Papa Raith/Lara Raith thing is still a bit of an outstanding bit of drama which could ultimately lead to a White Court civil war.

We also have heard him say that the British-accented prisoner in Demonreach will get a bunch of screentime which implies that there will be at least a partial jail-break or some kind of Demonreach plot line which may or may not be it’s own book.

Long story short, I’m pretty sure that the pattern we’ve seen so far will hold up. There will be a series of standalone “case file” books where Harry fights a big-bad. In the background, there will be machinations with the big power brokers and Harry will probably suffer more and gain a little more power and influence. There will probably be a mysterious hand directing these conflicts in gradually more obvious ways right up until the BAT. Maybe one or two of the big power structures will collapse along the way, but I don’t think we’re heading into a long slow collapse into chaos just yet. Jim has said that he pretty much always wants Harry to be out matched and out gunned, so I doubt that it’ll be him standing alone against the Outsiders. He’ll probably be the guy that hits the launch button, cuts the head off the snake, or sees the opening that turns the tide at the last minute, but I don’t think he’ll be the main force standing up against the onslaught. It’s not Jim’s style.

My scrotum attempted to travel back in time.