List of The Dresden Files organizations
||It has been suggested that this article be merged with List of The Dresden Files groups. (Discuss) Proposed since March 2011.|
In the universe of The Dresden Files, a series of fantasy/mystery novels written by Jim Butcher, each magical species (human wizards, faeries, vampires, etc.) has its own political and societal rules, and organizations. The human wizards depend on the White Council, while the vampires and faeries belong to various courts.
- 1 The White Council
- 2 Vampire Courts
- 3 Faerie Courts
- 4 Werewolves
- 5 References
The White Council
The White Council is the governing body of the Wizard community in the world. They primarily protect humanity from abuses of magic, but also shield this world from the Sidhe and other creatures that wish humanity harm. It is also a political and democratic organization seeking to unite wizards throughout the world, and can make or break treaties with the other supernatural powers as necessary. Due to the multitude of nationalities present, meetings of the Council are traditionally conducted in Latin, a procedural point which has, not coincidentally, served to keep younger wizards from gaining too much standing or momentum by making it very difficult for them to speak eloquently or even coherently to the rest of the Council. The council meetings' dress code imposes wizards to wear robes. Wizards and apprentices are differentiated by the color of their robes: black and brown respectively. In addition, full wizards wear a stole.
The Council is governed by a Senior Council of seven wizards, with the leader referred to as the Merlin. Beyond the Senior Council, which constitutes the executive branch, there are the actual wizards of the council that contribute to the legislative branch. The Judicial branch belongs to the Wardens, a combination police force and military.
The Senior Council
The Senior Council is the executive branch of the White Council. It consists of seven wizards, selected by their peers among the most senior wizards. Its chair is entitled the Merlin; traditionally regarded as the most powerful wizard in the world, though the politicking required to secure the position may suggest that factors other than raw power are equally important.
The Senior Council arrives at its decisions through majority vote, but the Merlin has proxy authority to cast the vote of any Senior Council member not present at a Senior Council meeting who has not designated a substitute; politicking at this level often turns simply on who does and does not arrive at a meeting before a vote is concluded. The Senior Council can reserve certain matters to the Senior Council only, not involving a vote of the White Council as a whole.
The Wardens are the White Council's enforcers. Their primary role is to enforce the Seven Laws of Magic, and they are empowered to deliver summary judgment when confronting a violator of the Laws. This can be anything from advising new practitioners of the Laws, to delivering suspects to trial in front of the Senior Council, to simply beheading criminals in the field. During times of war (such as the conflict with the Red Court), Wardens also serve as the White Council's primary military force. The two "badges" of the office of Warden are their gray cloaks (which, according to Harry, blood cannot stain) and silver swords with the ability to break enchantments. The swords were custom forged for each individual Warden by the current Captain of the Wardens, Anastasia Luccio, but since the events of Dead Beat, she is currently unable to create the swords. It is this reason why Harry was not provided with a sword when he was made a Warden during the war with the Red Court.
There are three ranks, or grades, of Wardens.
- Captain: commands the entire force of Wardens. Reference: Dead Beat
- Commander: commands significant forces of Wardens, such as a whole continent or part of a continent. Specific assignment may be established by the Captain. Commanders report to the Captain. Reference: Dead Beat
- [Ordinary] Warden: all other members of this force who are not Commanders or the Captain.
It would appear that Warden rank nomenclature is more related to Navy grade nomenclature than Army.
Morgan is not only a Warden, but a Commander as well; in the event that the Captain is incapacitated, Morgan becomes acting Captain. Morgan also appears to be of a higher rank than Dresden, however this may simply be due to seniority. Reference: Dead Beat; however Morgan's rank is also mentioned in other books such as Storm Front.
In addition to the Wardens, the Council also secretly appoints one wizard to serve as its Blackstaff. The Blackstaff is given unique authority to violate the Seven Laws of Magic at his or her sole discretion without penalty—to be, as Harry phrases it in Blood Rites, the Council's "wetwork man", their covert assassin and counteragent. This was implemented as a last-ditch solution in situations where the Laws are being exploited to prevent the Council from taking necessary action against its enemies. This is currently Ebenezar McCoy (Harry Dresden's teacher after he killed his adopted father, Justin DuMorne with black magic). It was shown in Changes that The Blackstaff is not only the position held by McCoy, but also an object that he wields, an unmarked, unadorned staff of twisted black wood. The Blackstaff seems alive and tendrils from it creep up Ebenezar's arm as he uses it in battle.
The Black Council
A group that is thought to exist in opposition to the White Council. Despite Harry's suspicions, there has never been any direct evidence for the existence of the Black Council or for any members. Harry referred to them as "The Black Council" during a discussion with Ebenezar McCoy in Proven Guilty. In White Night, Carlos Ramirez called them "The Black Hats", but agrees he likes the Black Council better. In the same novel, Harry overhears Vittorio Malvora and Madrigal Raith talk about "The Circle", which may be the name the Black Council uses to refer to themselves.
There is much speculation as to who may be a member of the Black Council. Current suspects include:
- a Denarian (possibly Thorned Namshiel and/or Tessa)
- a member of the Senior Council
- Samuel Peabody
- the Naagloshii
- Madeline Raith
- Madrigal Raith
- Vittorio Malvora
- Gregori Cristos
Further information about Nemesis in Cold Days and what Nicodemus calls "contamination" in Small Favor leads Harry to surmise that the Black Council may be just a part of those infected by Nemesis, a contagion of the mind from the Outside, aiding the ongoing attempt of The Outsiders to breach the Gates and enter our universe with apocalyptic consequences.
The Grey Council
As of Turn Coat, Ebenezar McCoy has begun forming a Grey Council, members of which are wizards and non-wizards whose identity only McCoy is aware of. Its formation is a response to the Black Council, which secretly exists within the magical community, and its intention is to be an even more secret council. Of the thirteen members, only three are known as of Changes: Harry Dresden, the current Winter Knight, Ebenezar McCoy, current Blackstaff, and Donar Vadderung, (a current identity of the Norse god Odin), CEO of Monoc Securities. Due to her involvement in Changes, it is highly likely that the Leanansidhe is, if not a member of this Council, a willing ally.
There are three vampire courts which have made appearances in the novels: White Court, Red Court, and Black Court. A fourth, the Jade Court, has been mentioned but no information has been provided about them as of the novel except that they are very secretive. These courts made their first appearance in Storm Front.
This Court is the most human-like group of vampires. They are similar to succubi and incubi, feeding off the emotions and life force of their prey. They are born to their vampiric state, rather than being created (as is the case with Black and Red Court). They are for all intents and purposes human until their vampirism manifests sometime around the age of their maturity. As with the Red Court, their first feeding (with its subsequent and almost inevitable kill) usually marks their full transformation. However, under specific circumstances, individuals descended from White Court vampires may curtail their transformation into vampires; see Blood Rites.
There are different Houses within the White Court, each comprising a close-knit family. There is much in-fighting between the Houses, but House Raith is considered to be the most powerful. The Houses are mainly distinguished by their choice of emotion to feed upon, but this has been represented as a strong preference rather than a restriction.
Those of House Raith are sexual predators, using their supernatural good looks and psychic aura to attract both men and women. During intercourse, or any direct physical contact where emotions like lust are heightened, they feed off their prey. Victims of the feedings of House Raith grow to enjoy the experience and become bonded to their predator like a drug addiction.
House Malvora's members feed off fear. Most prefer very strong fear such as that of being in a potentially deadly situation, but some (such as Thomas's cousin Madrigal) satisfy themselves with smaller scares like those created by horror and slasher movies, of which Madrigal was a writer and director.
The vampires of House Skavis feed off despair, preferring to drive a victim into the depths of depression and in many cases driving them to suicide.
The White Court is not endowed with as much physical strength as the Red or Black courts under normal circumstances; usually, their physical performance levels (standing jump heights, endurance and so on) are slightly better than those an ordinary human of equivalent size and health, but they can channel unused emotional energy as fuel for performance boosts of limited duration. On the other hand, they make up for it by having far fewer vulnerabilities. Sunlight and symbols of faith do not harm them at all (Thomas feels "uneasy" at the thought of entering a church, but this is possibly due more to his own guilt than any objective vulnerability, as he was in fact able to enter the church). Their power derives from an internal demonic essence they call the "Hunger" which acts like a battery. If they refrain from feeding for too long, the "Hunger" drives them into a frenzy where they must feed (almost always killing their victims), and can drive them permanently insane. When needed, they tap this store of energy to augment their strength, speed, resilience, and healing ability far beyond normal; while doing this, they radiate waves of cold (possibly an illusory reaction of normal humans to their energy sink), their skin whitens, and their eyes turn an unnatural silver. White Court vampire blood is pinkish instead of red and has a euphoric effect if ingested.
Their largest weakness is true love: people who are, or have recently been, in real, affectionate and sacrificial love are highly resistant to White Court control, and can even physically burn and blister vampire skin. Also, White Court vampires are born, not turned like Red and Black Court vampires; if the offspring of a White Court falls in love with someone that feels the same way before feeding for the first time, the love can destroy the demonic side before it can manifest allowing the person to live a normal, mortal life.
Unlike the other courts, the White Court prefers to avoid direct confrontation. They are a court of schemers and prefer to stab each other in the back in exquisitely detailed plots to impress the others in the Court, to the extent that direct confrontation is looked down upon as socially damaging. At the moment Thomas's father is, in name only, the King of the White Court. In reality, Thomas's older sister Lara is in charge, pulling the strings from the background to keep up appearances.
As of White Night, the leaders of the Malvora and Skavis houses were killed in the White Court coup in the Raith Deeps caused by Vittorio Malvora. This has left Lara with a larger, if less challenged, power base in the White Court.
In White Night, it is revealed that the language of the White Court is Etruscan.
The Red Court of Vampires are less human-like than the White Court. Instead they are slimy bat-like creatures hidden behind incredibly sensuous human costumes (made of an outer skin). It is revealed in Changes that the oldest and most powerful red court vampires are capable of wearing any flesh mask (that is, turn into any human), and that their flesh masks can fully protect them from the sun, so that they can walk about in broad daylight. They use these costumes to trick their prey into being more comfortable and to hide in plain sight. They are incredibly strong and fast, and can shake off any injury quickly. The Red Court is vulnerable to sunlight and to having their bellies cut open, which can spill the blood they have drunk and eventually kill them. Their saliva contains a potent magical narcotic which gives the prey a euphoric feeling and is highly addictive, allowing the Red Court to control their victims rather easily. The narcotic lowers the victim's inhibitions while dulling the pain of the vampire's bite. Addicted humans have been shown to go to great lengths to protect their vampiric masters, and willingly provide information from the mortal community as needed.
The Red Court is also capable of transforming ordinary humans into vampires in a two-step process: the human is first infected with the vampiric thirst for blood (gaining supernatural speed, strength and endurance in the process) and then completes the change into the demonic form upon killing a human victim in their first feeding. Infected humans with sufficient strength of will have been known to refrain from feeding for an indefinite length of time (magical bonds, regular exposure to sunlight, and avoiding physical intimacy all help), but no cure has yet been found for the "half-vampire" infected state. It is intimated that the Faerie Queen Mothers, or a being of similar power, could cure, or rather completely destroy, the vampiric infection with a magic known as an Unraveling (see Summer Knight). Their hunger for blood makes controlling their emotions very difficult, and when in a situation where emotions run high (such as during a fight or when engaged in physical intimacy), it is much easier for them to lose control.
The Red Court is highly organized in a feudalistic system with a King at the top, followed by Dukes and other ranks. The Red Court began a war against the White Council in response to Harry's actions in Grave Peril, and the war is a long-running plot thread, continuing through subsequent books with the White Council on the defensive and struggling against the Red Court and their allies, while being assisted only by a few smaller allied organizations and limited help from the Faerie world in "Proven Guilty" as well as Changes".
In the events described in White Night, the White Court of Vampires, headed by Lara Raith and her figurehead father, the King of the White Court, urged that there be a peace between Wizards and Vampires. In Turn Coat, it is confirmed that the Vampire Courts are just "catching their breath" in order to attack again. Also in Turn Coat, it is stated that the Red King is an incredibly powerful vampire who has lived nearly four thousand years.
In Changes, the Red Court attempts to use an ancient and powerful blood curse in order to kill Ebenezer McCoy, by killing his great-granddaughter (Harry's daughter) Maggie. The curse is activated through a sacrifice, which results in the instant and complete death of any and all living members of the sacrifice's bloodline. During the climax of Changes, Harry turns the blood curse against the Red Court by sacrificing Susan Rodriguez, who had become a full-fledged Red Court Vampire, to the blood curse, resulting in virtually every Red Court Vampire being wiped out because they all share a connection through the Red King. Dresden theorises that possibly some have managed to survive, the youngest and weakest and possibly any in the Nevernever when the curse was activated, but as a result the Red Court is now effectively extinct.
The Black Court comprises the most well-known kind of vampire, the reanimated bloodthirsty corpses popularized by Bram Stoker's Dracula. In fact, in the Dresdenverse, the publication of that book at the behest of the White Council is believed to be the primary cause of the Court's downfall, as Stoker supposedly published the book as a "how-to" manual to hunt the Black Court. Black Court vampires still inhabit the human bodies that they lived in before they were turned into vampires, with the only difference being their bodies rotting like zombies in the time that they have been undead. Black Court vampires possess all the classic strengths and weaknesses of Stoker's Dracula: they can lift and throw cars with one hand and crash through concrete walls without harm; but must sleep in their native soil and fear garlic and objects of faith. Sunlight, while deadly to younger members of the Black Court, is merely an inconvenience to older members, weakening them significantly, as in Stoker's novel. Mavra, an ancient Black Court vampire, has demonstrated the ability to use magic in the same way wizards do. The Black Court is currently the smallest and (politically) weakest of the Courts, although those few who survived the purges caused by Stoker's book are among the strongest and most cunning monsters in the world by virtue of sheer Darwinian necessity. They also have the ability to enthrall humans to be passive and submissive, and cultivate "Renfields" (another Stoker reference and similarity to Stoker's Dracula). Where thralls may have their minds restored with minimal lasting effects, Renfields are thralls that have been altered to the point of psychosis, and their minds are too far gone to be returned to normal. A Renfield has had his strength and agility augmented and will kill in a berserker frenzy until put down. Until let loose by their controlling vampire, a Renfield will appear as a normal thrall in a trance-like state, however their true nature can be seen with a Wizard's Sight.
Little has been revealed about the Jade Court in the Dresden books, except that their realm of influence covers an unknown amount of Asia and the Far East and that they are very secretive.
The Sidhe Courts (Summer and Winter) are the two ruling bodies of the Sidhe and their lands make up most of the Nevernever. Their combined power can affect the real world through the barrier of the Nevernever, and maintaining the balance of power is greatly important to most members of the supernatural community. It supposedly is responsible for the continued cycle of the seasons, and is rumored that great ecological disasters such as Ice Ages and Global Warming were caused by imbalances between the two Sidhe courts.
Each court is ruled by three Queens—Queen Mother (neither of whom have been given a name outside of their title of Mother Summer and Mother Winter), Queen, and Lady. Bob refers to the three as "The Queen Who Was," "The Queen Who Is," and "The Queen Who Is To Come" respectively. They are forbidden from taking hostile action against mortals without their consent—such as making a deal with one of the Sidhe. However, each court has a Knight, a mortal champion appointed by a Queen, who may involve him or herself in mortal affairs.
In Cold Days, it is revealed that the position of the Queen, the Lady and the Knight are mantles, which are similar to positions of office, each with associated powers and personality traits, that can be transferred from one suitable person to another. The person holding the mantle is known as the vessel. If the current Queen, Lady, or Knight dies, then the mantle usually transfers to the nearest vessel, as demonstrated in Summer Knight when the Summer Lady Aurora died, and her mantle then transferred to Lily, who was the Summer Knight at the time, turning Lily into the new Summer Lady. It is currently unknown what makes a person a suitable vessel, though it is implied that extensive contact with and knowledge of the Fae are contributing factors that make someone an ideal prospective vessel.
Bearing the mantles has an effect on the vessel's personality and behaviour, influencing the person towards fulfilling the duties of their position. For example, the Winter Knight acts as the champion, enforcer and assassin of the Winter Court, so the Winter Knight is influenced to become more predatory and animalistic. The novels imply that as time wears on the mantles tend to gradually wear away and overtake the vessel's original personality, until the current vessel becomes nigh-indistinguishable from the previous one. The rate and degree of these personality changes seems to depend upon the vessel.
Sidhe cannot tell a direct lie, but instead are masters of twisting words in order to convey falsehoods without actually lying. They are strictly concerned with the wording rather than the intent of agreements and will specifically place loopholes in agreements which they can exploit. In almost every case, a mortal making a deal with a Sidhe will end up causing the mortal to get the short end of the stick with any attempts to withdraw from the deal causing the mortal to become further involved with the Sidhe. Sidhe are also vulnerable to cold iron. This weakness also extends to any form or alloy of iron, such as steel blades or iron nails. The Knight of each court does appear to share, to an extent, the vulnerability to cold iron, human though he may have begun. The Knight's power also appears to depend (sometimes) on his allegiance to his court.
The two sides are engaged in a Cold War, in which both sides are mobilized for battle but never engage in anything more than skirmishes. Large battles between the two courts have great effects in nature including weather patterns, and are usually avoided unless there is no other choice such as in the events of the novel Summer Knight. Each side is stronger during their namesake season, with the balance of power shifting during the Summer and Winter Solstices. Despite their ongoing conflict, both Queen Mothers live together seemingly peacefully in a cottage. Also, members from both courts have worked together, most recently the Winter Lady and Summer Lady in the events of the novel Proven Guilty.
The Sidhe exchange control of an artifact called the Stone Table twice a year at Midsummer and Midwinter. Whichever Court is in control of the Table steadily gains in power, and in order to preserve the balance, the Summer Court hand it over at Midsummer, the height of their strength, and the Winter Court hand it over at Midwinter, the height of their strength. The power of any being killed upon the Stone Table goes instantly and permanently to the court which is currently in possession of it.
Summer Court (Seelie)
The Summer Court is the more warm and caring side, but is just as scheming as its Winter counterpart. Summer faeries typically are more nurturing of mortals, but this is not always true. They are associated with the element of fire. Their lands in the Nevernever are bright, sunny, warm, and lush with vegetation. Most of the lesser creatures of Summer are typically not malicious, but can seem so when they involve themselves in mortal affairs. It is important to note that the Summer Court is not inherently "good", and that victory over Winter is not a desirable outcome. As Bob explains to Harry, such a triumph would result in an era of rampant growth, "especially if you were an Ebola virus."
Titania has ruled as Summer Queen throughout the series. The Erlking, the leader of the Goblins and the Wild Hunt, is (per the author), the Summer King, temperamentally opposite to his queen and generally apart from the court.
The original Summer Lady, Aurora, was slain by a squad of Wyldfae (see below) during the events of Summer Knight, being replaced by a former changeling (half-human, half-Sidhe) named Lily. Ronald Reuel, the Summer Knight, is slain by the Winter Knight at the beginning of the same book, with the role subsequently being taken by Fix, another former changeling. At the end of Cold Days the mantle is passed to Sarissa, when Lily is killed by the Winter Lady Maeve.
Winter Court (Unseelie)
The Winter Court is colder and much more merciless than its Summer counterpart. The lands of Winter resemble a tundra or frozen wasteland, with the center being Arctis Tor, a massive fortress made of black ice. Some of the lesser creatures of Winter include trolls, goblins and fetches, spirits which feed on the fear of others.
The Winter Queen and Winter Lady throughout the series to date have been Mab and Maeve respectively until the recent change during Cold Days with the Winter Lady's mantle being transmitted to Molly Carpenter . Lloyd Slate, the Winter Knight was revealed as a traitor during the events of Summer Knight and was subsequently subjected to repeated tortures by Mab. Eventually, during the events of Changes, Slate was killed and replaced as Winter Knight by Harry Dresden. Harry's godmother, the Leanansidhe ("Lea" for short), is also a very powerful member of the Winter Court. The author has stated that Winter and Summer each have a King as well, who is temperamentally opposite to the Queen. Winter's King is Kringle (Santa Claus).
The Wyldfae are creatures of Faerie which do not belong to either Winter or Summer. Most of them do freelance work instead, capable of choosing whichever side they want in a given conflict. During full-scale conflicts, the Wyldfae feel a "calling" which drives them to choose one side or the other. If they are forced to choose sides in a war between Summer and Winter, they will align themselves with the faction most appealing to their personalities. Therefore, the nastier and more murderous aid Winter over Summer. There is no direct leader of the Wyldfae, although the being known as the Erlking or Elfking is probably the closest counterpart.The Erlking is one of several Faerie Kings. These Kings are Wyldfae on the fringes of their respective Courts, Winter and Summer, and therefore generally are not known as Powers within the Courts.
Goblins are vaguely humanoid fae that all carry irregular features, varying in size and shape, are aesthetically repugnant but all have gleaming red eyes. They are devious, intelligent and ruthless, subduing a group of vampires and their Ick in the dark in a matter of seconds and then later ripping them apart.The Erlking is the lord of the goblins and is one of the predatory beings that can be summoned by ritual to Earth to lead "The Wild Hunt", a massive predatory stampede in which the Erlking calls all nearby beings (mortal, supernatural, faerie, or otherwise) who consider themselves hunters to join him in his charge.
The Tylwyth Teg are an independent kingdom of the wyldfae ruled by their king Gwyn ap Nudd. They are small, only a few feet tall however can take on the form of any creature, having a particular fondness for goats, but can look like any creature including human. In the short story "Curses" it is revealed that if treated well by mortals they would perform tasks for them (grooming of goats being a common one) and if respect was not shown, they could retaliate, going so far as to kill.
Little folk/Dewdrop faeries
The Little folk (also known as dew drop faeries or polevoi) are small winged faeries that glow in various colours. They have relatively short memory spans and are quite emotional. They often observe many mortal events, considering them as entertainment, given their large numbers and ability to move around without attracting too much attention their abilities, especially in acquiring information, are greatly underestimated by most. Harry develops a loyal group of Dew drop faeries (called the "Za Lord's Guard") in the course of the series; they follow him for a regular payment of pizza—with which they are infatuated—and for the glory and honor they accrue among other Dewdrop fae by conducting successful missions on behalf of their "Za Lord" (Dresden). They can vary in size from fly-sized, such as Elidee in Summer Knight to Toot-toot's fifteen inches tall as of Changes, though Toot's size is an increase from when first seen in Storm Front, possibly due the power he has amassed from increasing followers in the Za-lord's guard.
Cobbler elves who are obsessed with shoes, crying out when Harry threatens to snap a pair of Prada stilettos in the short story "It's my birthday too"
The offspring of a fae and a mortal is called a changeling. They may have odd appearances, depending on their parentage. The offspring of a human and a troll, for example, may appear as a human which is incredibly tall and broadly built with a bulky mass and well-defined jaw. Other changelings have been shown as simply having oddly colored hair, such as green. Changelings must eventually choose whether to become a mortal or a Sidhe. Upon making the choice, the changeling becomes either completely mortal or Sidhe, no longer retaining any of the characteristics of the other half. It is unknown if there is any specific time or age at which a changeling must choose, but during times of war, they are affected by the calling to choose just as the Wyldfae are.
Multiple breeds of shapeshifters have been encountered in the Dresdenverse. The one thing all have in common is that none of them, so far, demonstrate the classic contagious bite as seen in books and films and cannot infect surviving victims with their condition (in "Fool Moon", Bob states that if this were so, the entire planet would be overrun with werewolves in a few years).
The "classic" werewolf is someone who uses magic to transform themselves into a wolf. This is not necessarily a wizard or well-trained practitioner of magic, since the transformation spell will work for anyone who learns it. The physical body is transformed, but the mind remains the same. This can be a disadvantage in the beginning because, although the person gains all the senses of a wolf, they do not have the life experience of using them. The werewolf must learn to use smell and hearing as their primary sensory input rather than sight, and learn to move and react to their environment as a four-legged creature. All this takes time, but the werewolf can eventually learn to do well in their new form. The wolf form has all the natural capabilities of an ordinary wolf; silver is not needed to kill them and they do not heal wounds any more quickly than normal wolves. This type of werewolf can reassume its human form whenever it wishes.
The transformation spell can be cast on another, forcing someone to assume the form of a wolf (or any animal the caster chooses). This is a violation of the Second Law of Magic, because the mind of the transformed person is eventually lost and all that is left is the mind of a wolf. If the spell is reversed in time, the victim will recover; however, once lost, the personality cannot be restored and the person is, in a sense, dead. The Alphas are the werewolves featured predominately in the series.
A hexenwolf uses a talisman imbued with powerful magic to transform itself into a huge wolf. The hexenwolf's wolf form is much larger and more powerful than any natural wolf, possessing enhanced speed, strength, and ferocity. The only part of the hexenwolf that is unaffected by the transformation are the eyes, which remain the same color as their human form. The talisman itself may take many forms, including a ring or amulet, but most commonly appears as a belt made from a wolf pelt. The talisman engenders the transformation by providing an anchor for a spirit of bestial rage, and is activated with an incantation by the wearer. This spirit protects the human personality while in wolf form. However, the hexenwolf loses all human inhibitions and runs more on primal human desires. The hexenwolf can be wounded or killed by normal weapons and can be forced to transform back into human form if someone manages to remove their talisman. A hexenwolf may reassume human form at will, but the power that the talisman gives the user is addictive—in many cases, this addiction begins to affect the user's mind and personality in human form, much like a drug addict needing a fix. The most seriously afflicted lose all impulse control, becoming violent and sociopathic. Harry briefly became a hexenwolf to fight off another hexenwolf. See Fool Moon.
A lycanthrope is someone who is a natural channel or medium for a spirit of rage. The lycanthrope is born with this ability; it does not allow them to physically change into a wolf, but grants them a beast-like strength. When this spirit takes over, the lycanthrope becomes stronger, more aggressive, and more resistant to pain, injury and sickness. They heal wounds rapidly and tend to congregate in groups much like packs with an Alpha leader. Although harder to hurt or kill than an ordinary person, lycanthropes can be killed with ordinary weapons. In Fool Moon, Bob explains that the Norse berserkers were lycanthropes. The lycanthropes featured in the series are a biker gang known as the Streetwolves.
A Loup-garou is the closest to the monsters of legend. These werewolves have been intentionally cursed by someone, usually a very powerful sorcerer, demon lord, saint, or one of the Faerie Queens to be possessed by a wolflike demonic entity at every full moon. They become near-mindless killing machines with supernatural speed, strength and ferocity. They recover from injury almost instantly, are immune to poisons as well as any kind of sorcery that attacks the mind. They can only be killed by a weapon made from silver which has been inherited—not just purchased. The curse of the loup-garou can be hereditary if the one who placed the curse specified it as such. Usually the person afflicted with the curse is aware of their condition and will have enough sense to isolate or shield themselves from society to prevent the horrible damage they would inflict on the rest of the people with the next full moon. As such, Loup-garou attacks on the populace are thankfully rare. The only one featured in the series to date is Harley MacFinn whose family curse originated from St. Patrick himself.
Tera, the fiancée of Harley MacFinn in the book Fool Moon, was seen as a supernatural being, most likely from the NeverNever, as when she looked into Harry's eyes there was no soulgaze. She was able to change form into that of a wolf at will and seemed to move much more gracefully than any other of the types of werewolf. At the end of the novel, she transformed into a wolf and joined a pack, causing Harry to surmise that she was, in fact, actually a wolf that was able to take on the form of a human, using similar means as that of a "classic" werewolf.
Another kind of shapeshifter that appears in the novels is the Skinwalker in the novel Turn Coat. The skinwalker, also called the naagloshii, has the ability to change itself into an enhanced version of any animal and can use magic extensively. Its true form is that of a golden-furred semi-humanoid. Naagloshii gain power by hunting magical practitioners and devouring their power; most are millennia old and thus have acquired extreme power, to the extent that even powerful wizards avoid fighting them if possible. They are, however, not invulnerable - the fugitive Warden Donald Morgan relates a tale to Dresden about an encounter with a naagloshii he had in the 1950s, which he ultimately defeated by luring it onto a government nuclear bomb testing site in Nevada, then escaping into the Nevernever seconds before the bomb detonated, killing the skinwalker.
Listens-to-Wind ("Injun' Joe"), a Wizard of the White council, has also shown the ability to change shape with ease, presumably with the use of magic; he was able to change into many animals, including, but not limited to: a huge bear, a flying squirrel, and a turtle. He did this during the events of Turn Coat in order to counter the naagloshii's shapeshifting attacks, and finished the fight victorious, the injured naagloshii fleeing the battlefield howling in pain.
- Summer Knight
- Summer Knight, chapter four.
- Summer Knight, chapter five.
- Summer Knight, chapter six.
- Summer Knight, chapter Five.
- Summer Knight, Chapter six: "The Senior Council members can always take a matter to a close vote with three supporters".