The Dresden Files organizations
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 Knights of the Cross
- 6 Fellowship of St. Giles
- 7 Venatori Umbrorum
- 8 Ordo Lebes and Paranet
- 9 Angels
- 10 Demons
- 11 The Fallen
- 12 Outsiders
- 13 Dragons
- 14 Fomor
- 15 The Forest People
- 16 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.
At the end of Proven Guilty, Ebenezar McCoy and Harry Dresden suspect the existence of a hitherto unknown group of black wizards, and other beings, which Harry dubs the Black Council. Evidence of this group includes the surprisingly strong offensive power of the vampire courts during the war, the betrayal of secret Warden safeholds, the self-destructive actions of the faerie courts, dangerous magical items given to mortal authorities, the number of black wizards and magical foes that Harry has faced in previous books, and the summoning of Outsider demons, which can be done only through mortal magic. The identities of this group's members are unknown, although McCoy and Dresden suspect that at least one member of the White Council—and likely the Senior Council—is in league with this group. They believed the traitor is one of four people, Morgan, Injun Joe, Ancient Mai, or the Merlin, as they were the only Council members to be aware of the location of the Warden boot camp which was leaked to the Red Court. As Ebenezar vouched for Injun Joe and Harry vouched for Morgan it would seem that either Ancient Mai or the Merlin himself is the traitor. (note: this theory conveniently leaves out Warden Luccio, who also knew the location.)
In Turn Coat the secretary of the White Council, Samuel Peabody, is exposed as a traitor. A group of Senior Council members containing Injun Joe, Ancient Mai and Ebenezar McCoy is also attacked by two members of the Black Council, Peabody and an unknown other - possibly clearing Ancient Mai. It is unclear what this does to the status of the traitor, but suggests that Peabody might also have had access to the information through the means he used to manipulate the Senior Council, or Warden Luccio (who was put under Peabody's influence through magical means). Alternatively the traitor could be the Merlin, or the new member of the Senior Council, Gregori Cristos.
One definite member of the Black Council (initially encountered by Harry in Dead Beat), is the necromancer calling himself Cowl. He appears to have once been affiliated with Kemmler, one of history's most powerful and terrifying necromancers. In White Night, he is affiliated with an organization calling itself the Circle, which may be the Black Council's own name for itself. In White Night, Warden Carlos Ramirez mentions he referred to the group as the Black Hats, though he believes Harry's name is better. Events in Small Favor seems to indicate that at least one holder of a Blackened Denarius, Thorned Namshiel, is among the Black Council, though his status is now unclear. It is also suspected that either Tessa (Imariel) or Rosanna, possibly both, are members of the Black Council.
In Cold Days it is implied that a contagion called Nemesis (nicknamed The Adversary due to the danger of even naming it) is an Outsider mind-affecting virus, attempting to destroy everyone and/or allow Outsiders in. The force appears to be able to infect individuals upon contact, changing their motivations to be aligned with the Outsiders' aims. It is possible that the Black Council is not so much a conspiracy as just a collective name for those wizards infected. The adversary keeps its own existence secret by killing or infecting anyone who appears to know of it. Those known infected by the end of Cold Days include Maeve, Cat Sith, the Leanansidhe, and Aurora. Many of those suspected of being Black Council members may also have been infected. Queen Mab claims that the infection entered Winter's realm through a magic athame given to the Leanansidhe by the Red Court, infecting Maeve and perhaps others. She also claims that the Leanansidhe was infected but has been cured. Those who know of the adversary but are not yet apparently infected include Mother Winter, Mother Summer, Mab, Titania, The Gatekeeper, and Harry.
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. Before Changes, the Black Court was 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.
Very little has been revealed about the Jade Court in the Dresden books, so next to nothing is known. In Death Masks while driving to McAnally's to decide the time, location, and weapons for the duel, Harry asks Shiro if he ever dueled vampires. Shiro says, "Hai,. Jade Court. Black Court." When Harry asks for more information Shiro says, "Southeast Asia, China, Japan. Very secretive. But they respect the Accords." This is all that has been said about the Jade Court so far. When asked in the 2014 Chicago Book Signing, Jim Butcher responded by saying that more information will be revealed about them in coming books, but they are unlikely to appear.
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 perpetual 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.
The Alphas are a group of college werewolves that act as Harry's apprentices and backup in the series. As classic werewolves they were taught a wolf transformation spell by a wolfwere (a wolf that can become human), Tera, as well as how to behave in their transformed state. They are initially slightly nerdy students led by the werewolf Billy. While physically weaker than many of their adversaries they make up for this with the use of teamwork and guerrilla tactics, such as ambushes and hit and run operations.
In the beginning of the series, the Alphas fought and travelled in large numbers. However, due to graduations of the students and other life happenings, most have moved on. By the time of "Harry's day off" the Alphas are down to four members and lose one more in the events of Turn Coat. However, they are increasingly competent at their tasks, gaining enough of Harry's respect to become among the truly 'clued in'. Will has demonstrated that they can use their shapechanging ability to quickly heal wounds, although it causes great hunger to do so.
The current members of the Alphas are Will (the leader), Georgia (Will's wife), Andi (the cute redhead) and Marci (returned in Side Jobs).
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.
Knights of the Cross
Also known as the Knights of the Sword, the Knights are people chosen to wield one of three holy swords that God sent to Earth. Much like the legendary Excalibur (actually Amoracchius), the swords serve the righteous for a just cause. Each is reputed to bear a nail from Christ's crucifixion inside the hilt. They cannot be touched by "unclean" beings, although this protection can be disabled if the bearer attempts to use them in a dishonorable or evil way; the only known way to destroy a Sword is to use it to kill a truly innocent being, or alternatively, in an act that goes against its nature (Faith, Hope, and Love).
The three swords, whose Latin names represent the three prominent Christian virtues, are:
- Amoracchius (Love), a broadsword, currently possessed by Harry Dresden after the events of Small Favor left Michael Carpenter too wounded to wield the sword anymore. In Proven Guilty, Michael states in a conversation with Harry that the original Merlin was briefly a custodian for Amoracchius, and speculates that the sword may actually be Excalibur, as it has never actually been altered like the other two have. As a result of the events of Small Favor the sword was given to Harry for safekeeping, making him the steward of both Amoracchius and Fidelacchius. However, it is unclear whether or not Michael can still wield the sword. In one of Butcher's short stories, a newly swordless Michael wields a baseball bat and a decidedly less loving attitude. The sword can be unmade if it is used to kill an innocent. The Sword of Love is used by Susan, despite her being a half-vampire, during Changes, as she wields it for the love of her daughter. It is confirmed as Excalibur in "Ghost Story". When Harry becomes the new Winter Knight, stewardship passes from Harry to Karrin Murphy, as Murphy is unsure how much influence Winter has on him. In the novel Skin Game, Michael briefly wields the sword again after the archangel Uriel lends his angelic power to Michael. At the end of Skin Game, Michael gives the sword back to Harry for safekeeping in Demonreach.
- Fidelacchius (Faith), Also known as Kusanagi, formerly possessed by Shiro Yoshimo, the Knight who trained Michael. Its first appearance was that of a katana with a water-patterned steel blade and a wooden-cane scabbard. Later on, it takes the form a Star Wars-inspired lightsaber. Following the death of Shiro at the hands of the Order of the Blackened Denarius in Death Masks, the sword, in its katana-form, was in the temporary care of Harry Dresden. According to Michael, Harry is the only member of the White Council to hold a sword in care since the original Merlin. Karrin Murphy briefly wielded it in Small Favor and was given what Harry called a "job offer" but turned it down. It can be unmade if it is used in an act of treachery. In Changes, Karrin Murphy briefly takes up the sword, however, in Aftermath, one of the short stories in the collection Side Jobs, she deliberately chooses not to use the sword, reasoning both that it could much too easily become a crutch, and that without her hand to wield it, the sword is nothing but a sharpened piece of steel, thus making the HAND the important thing... and she already has two of those with her. After the shooting of Harry at the end of Changes and the events on Demonreach at the end of Cold Days, Murphy, not knowing how the Winter Knight Mantle will affect Harry, takes up stewardship of Amoracchius and Fidelacchius. In the novel Skin Game, Murphy uses Fidelacchius in an attempt to kill a then defenseless Nicodemus Archleone, an act that goes against its nature, and it is shattered into several pieces. At the climax of the novel, Harry attempts to throw the hilt of the broken sword to Charity Carpenter to use, but it ends up in the hand of Waldo Butters. In his hands, the sword emits a blinding light from the broken hilt, and drawing from Butter's faith, becomes a lightsaber that he uses to beat Nicodemus back. At the end of the novel, Butters remarks on the incredulity that the newest Knight of the Cross is Jewish.
- Esperacchius (Hope), Also known as Durendal, the sword of Roland gifted by Charlemagne (in legend, called Durendal) is a heavy saber, currently possessed by a Knight known only as Sanya, a young Russian man of African descent with a bleak personal history with the Order of the Blackened Denarius as he was once possessed by a Denarian himself. He has claimed that the archangel Michael himself gave him his sword; despite this encounter, he claims to be agnostic. It is unknown what circumstance can unmake the Sword of Hope, but presumably it would be an act of despair, one that goes against that fundamental nature of Hope (e.g. suicide).
The Knights are endowed with the power of Faith. Their swords act as foci for their faith, and seem able to harm any supernatural being, including those whose respective mythological vein runs parallel to Christian mythos. The Swords are shown to inflict pain on faeries, though this may be a vulnerability to cold steel more than anything else. The Knights are also frequent beneficiaries of seemingly coincidental events that either aid their cause or lead them to places where their assistance is required (such as Father Forthill's coincidental appearances at the Carpenter household in Grave Peril when someone is needed to look after Michael's children in his absence, or of Fidelacchius bouncing into Butters' hand instead of Charity's). Very little information is given on the Knights, though Shiro was revealed to be a descendant of Shō Tai, the last king of Okinawa. The only Knight to be featured prominently in the series is Michael. It is revealed in Small Favor that both Michael and Sanya are also descendants of kings much like Shiro was, Michael a descendant of Charlemagne and Sanya counting Saladin amongst his ancestors. This has led Harry to believe that the swords should be given to someone who has descended from royalty, as kings were thought to be spiritual and physical protectors of their people. However, Harry has stated that this is only a theory.
The original founding purpose of the Knights was to battle The Order of the Blackened Denarius (see below) and redeem those humans corrupted into serving the Fallen.
The archangels who gift the swords also watch over the wielders, and as a result, the Knights of the Cross can bring almost unstoppable power to bear if their guardian spirits choose to manifest (as happens in Changes).
Fellowship of St. Giles
A relatively new player on the supernatural scene, the Fellowship of St. Giles (named for the patron saint of cripples) is largely made up of people who have been infected by Red Court vampires, but have yet to drink the lifeblood of another human to complete their transformation. The Fellowship helps its members control their urges, support each other, and fight the vampires who infected them. They are allied with the White Council in the war against the Red Court, but have little communication with them. Despite their recent emergence on the playing field, a member of the Blackened Denarius recognized Susan as a member because of her markings.
They have mystic tattoos placed all over their bodies that both grant them more restraint and act as a warning when they expend too much strength and are in danger of losing control. Normally the tattoos are not visible, but as the person uses the abilities their partial transformation gives them they begin to change. They initially are black and seem to swirl on the skin. As the Fellowship member reaches the danger zone, the tattoos turn red.
Being a half-vampire grants great potential strength, speed, and the ability to recover from incredible injury if they drink blood. Drawing on these powers creates massive amounts of bloodlust which is increasingly difficult to control.
Due to the events in Changes, the Fellowship is essentially defunct. The half-vampires have been cured (those not slain by Red Court treachery), although the older half-vampires succumbed to the blood curse along with the full-blooded Red Court vampires, and the Red Court itself has been destroyed.
An ancient order of humans dedicated to fighting the darker aspects of the supernatural. What they lack in magical or supernatural powers, they make up for in political influence, knowledge, and conventional firepower. Very little is known about the Venatori; Harry describes them as being "like the Masons, but with flame throwers." While they have some armed assets, they excel at using their influence in society to hinder the movement of supernatural predators such as vampires. The Venatori Umbrorum have been credited with freezing bank accounts, cutting supply lines, exposing mortal collaborators, and even going so far as assassinating or kidnapping human agents of the Vampire Courts. They are allied with the White Council in the war against the Red Court. The order's name, Venatori Umbrorum, is Latin, and translates to "The Hunters of Shadows". The group acts as unwitting cover for an even more secretive group referred to simply as the Venatori (Hunters in Latin) who specifically exist to stamp out knowledge of demonic gods, a task they call the Oblivion War.
The Venatori (hunters) founded the Venatori Umbrorum as their foot soldiers, with their name intended to mean 'shadows of the hunters', not the other way round as commonly believed. There are approximately 5,000 Venatori Umbrorum and 200 Venatori. Thomas Raith, Harry Dresden's vampiric half-brother, and his sister Lara are among the Venatori.
The novelette "Backup: A Story of the Dresden Files" describes relationship between the Venatori and Venatori Umbrorum in detail.
Ordo Lebes and Paranet
During the events of White Night, Harry becomes involved with a group of lower level magic users calling themselves the Ordo Lebes, or Order of the Cauldron (which Harry mistakenly translates as Large Cooking Pot, only to be corrected by Murphy). They are a group that has banded together to gain a measure of protection from supernatural threats. After the novel's events, Harry and Elaine Mallory, with the help of the Ordo, set up the Paranet, a method for low level magic users to stay connected on the national scale.
Ghost Story reveals that the Paranet has exploded in size since the death of Harry Dresden. Under the guidance of Karrin Murphy and Elaine, the Paranet is attempting to safeguard people with magical abilities from the aggressive incursions of the Fomor. Membership is up to thirty thousand people, and Harry's home in Chicago has become a virtual fortress to protect magically capable people as part of the greater Chicago Alliance.
In Cold Days, the Paranet has become even more central and powerful, uniting minor magical folk against the Fomor. A geek conspiracist is the one who finds the critical clues indicating where the magical rituals that will disrupt Demonreach are being held, including out on the water, and thus where to direct the hit teams to attack them.
There have been several hints at Archangels in the series. The Archangel Michael is said to have given Esperacchius to Sanya, a Knight of the Cross. The Archangel Rafael (or one of his lieutenants) is said to have given power to a saferoom in the Carpenter household.
The Archangel Uriel is commented on by Queen Mab; toward the end of Small Favor; she calls him "The Watchman", and refers to three other Archangels as "the Prince of the Host", "the Trumpeter", and "the Binder of Demons", presumedly Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael respectively. Uriel is described as 'Heaven's spook' by Bob. Harry also appears to be in debt to Uriel and might owe him a favor. In Small Favor, Harry is given the power of Soulfire, the magical opposite of Hellfire, by Uriel (intimated as a reward for doing good, and to replace his lost Hellfire). In the novelette "The Warrior" Harry meets Uriel again and Uriel explains how Harry and Michael are still doing good and fighting for it, despite the fact that Michael does not wield the sword anymore. Uriel also points out that he is not supposed to be explaining these things to Harry.
Uriel makes another appearance in Changes when Harry in a desperate struggle to escape from his paralysis summons him and attempts to convince him to heal him. Uriel is unable to act stating he had already done all he could although he gives Harry confirmation that his daughter is actually his and is not a deception by Susan or some other entity. Uriel in this conversation reveals that he is familiar with Odin (also known as Vadderung) whom Harry had met and informed him of the Red Court's plans and the location where his daughter would be held at. Uriel leaves telling Harry "Whatever you do, do it for Love. If you keep to that, your path will never wander so far from the light that you can never return."
Uriel helps Harry Dresden complete his mission in the novel Skin Game by lending his power to Michael Carpenter both to save Harry and Murphy's lives, and to enable Michael to act as Murphy's replacement. In this state, Uriel is as vulnerable as any mortal; and Michael, while wielding Uriel's power, can cause Uriel to Fall if he acts in any way contrary to Divine Will. He is not totally helpless however, as he can still call upon his eons of experience in battle and war.
One of the Archangels makes a personal appearance during the climax of Changes, appearing around Karrin Murphy as she wields the Sword of Faith, and it condemns the Red Court in the name of God before shielding her in the battle that arises. She promptly proceeds to kill one of the eldest of the Red Court and kick ass for Heaven.
During Ghost Story, Harry meets up with angels acting in several capacities, including sentries, guardians for the Carpenter household, an Angel of Death (they escort to the Afterlife any worthy souls who might be attacked on the way there), and Uriel again. It is hinted that angels strongly value their relationship to the Divine; when Harry abbreviates Uriel's name by removing the syllable that means "god," Uriel corrects him by asserting that syllable's importance. (The name "Uriel" is from the Hebrew meaning "God is my light;" but Harry shortens it to "Uri," meaning simply "my light.")
It is also suggested that Uriel has the power to obliterate the planet with a simple thought. Later on, when Harry comments that Uriel had the power to unmake solar systems, Uriel corrects him with, "galaxies."
There are several different types of demons in the Dresden universe.
Not much has been revealed about the inner workings of these demons, except that there is a caste system, with lower demons at the bottom and older, more powerful beings at the top (sometimes referred to as gods). They must be summoned by a wizard or sorcerer using their true name to appear in this world, with two obligations to fulfill once done so: first, to attempt to escape whatever confinement may hold them, and second, to kill whoever summoned them. In appearance and ability they all resemble monsters, have some magical ability and are very strong. Like all creatures from the Nevernever they must create a body made of ectoplasm to exist in this world. If this body is destroyed, the demon is not killed but returned to the Nevernever. It is hypothesized by Bob the Skull that Fidelacchius, Esperacchius, or Amoracchius might be able to actually kill the demon through its mortal shell, though this has not yet been confirmed. Despite their strengths and the intentions of the wizards summoning them, these demons are said to be uninterested in affecting the mortal realm on their own, if they even notice at all. They also are allowed to interfere when called upon by a human.
Scions, like changelings, are the result of the mating of a demon (or other non-fae being of the Nevernever) and a mortal creature. These children tend to look inhuman, often disfigured or insane; even those who appear to be normal humans have an "inner" demonic form that can be seen by a wizard's Sight. As only two human scions have been directly depicted in the series, it is unknown exactly what if any superhuman abilities they possess, though those scions that have been featured or mentioned are among some of the more dangerous characters.
- Jared Kincaid, a mercenary and assassin for hire currently working for the Archive, was strongly implied to be a scion during Blood Rites, when Harry caught a glimpse of him with his Sight. Though Kincaid has shown no obvious supernatural powers—his primary choice of weaponry is firearms—he has demonstrated literally superhuman marksmanship (never missing a single shot out of dozens fired) in at least one firefight. He has also shown himself to have amazing physical strength, to the point of being able to kick down a bolted door with little sign of effort, and survived intense violence that should have killed an ordinary mortal. He was also able to identify a land mine by scent, see the beams of an infrared laser, and presumably has superhuman night vision. He is several centuries old, and has long been known as the Hound of Hell, or simply the Hellhound. He served as the right hand of Vlad Drakul.
- Lucius Glau, a servant of Madrigal Raith's in Proven Guilty, was said by Madrigal to be the scion of a djinn. Though mostly human in appearance, he displayed sharklike teeth and was capable of superhuman speed and ferocity as well as the ability to levitate about an inch off the ground when running, but could be injured by normal means.
- Mouse, Harry's dog, has been said to be the scion of a divine guardian-dog spirit and a mortal canine, a breed called a Foo Dog. Since accidentally being adopted by Harry, he has demonstrated extraordinary intelligence (and a sense of humor). And is capable of seeing and effectively fighting supernatural beings, even those of great power. Also referred to as a Temple Dog, he has proven to possess several supernatural abilities in accordance with his guardian heritage, and even the Leanansidhe is cautious around him. In Changes, it is revealed that he can also talk quite fluently... if you happen to speak Dog. In Ghost Story, Uriel calls Mouse a 'little brother'.
- Grendelkins, the short story Heorot reveals the existence of creatures called Grendelkins, scions of the original Grendel. They are large, vicious, overtly masculine monsters who spread their seed through raping virgins, which then tear their way out from the womb.
- The original Vlad Drakul has been stated to have been the scion of a demon (referred to as a quasi-immortal), but the truth of this has not been verified in the series.
- Bigfoot Erwin, the son of a Bigfoot and a human woman, has been described as a scion in the short stories of the Bigfoot trilogy. Erwin looks like a big human. He has great strength, immunity to diseases and recovers fast from injuries.
The Fallen are angels that have been cast into exile, presumably during Lucifer's fall. Unlike the Nevernever demons, they are very interested in affecting the lives of mortals, but are placed under strict limitations, capable of only tempting or possessing a willing human. The reason for this is not known, though one theory is "God said so". The Fallen most able to act in the mortal world are the Denarians. In Small Favor it is hinted that Satan himself stepped in (illegally) to help the Denarians, donating what Harry calls a "truly frightening amount of power" for their plans. To balance this transgression, Uriel 'invested' in the good guys by granting Soulfire to Harry.
Order of the Blackened Denarius
The Denarians are unions of a human host and one of the Fallen. Their aim is to disrupt human civilization and sow chaos, corruption and suffering among humanity. There are thirty such Fallen, each bound to a tarnished silver Roman denarius which bears its respective Fallen's sigil; the thirty denarii represent the thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas Iscariot, and may possibly be those very coins. Once a human has physically touched one of the Blackened Denarii, the Fallen bound to it is free to communicate with its new host, able to bestow knowledge, physical prowess, and magical ability, for as long as the host maintains possession of the coin.
If the coin is merely touched briefly and not actually picked up, a shadow copy of the Fallen is put into the hosts mind to tempt it to pick up the coin completely and finish the bonding. It is not nearly as powerful as the original, but even this mental copy is capable of extreme power, such as casting lifelike illusions (for the possessee only). It also possesses all the knowledge of the original - a heavy temptation in itself. Once the coin is taken up, though, the shadow is no longer needed and vanishes.
The amount of influence a Fallen chooses to exert over its host appears to vary—in the case of Ursiel, the Fallen had completely taken over the host body, and kept the host's soul tortured and trapped. In the case of Nicodemus and his Fallen, Anduriel, the two work in what appears to be a mutually beneficial partnership. It appears that the Fallen who dominate their host's soul are less powerful than those that work with their hosts. This is most likely due to the issue of free will, since the ones that deprive their hosts of it are unable to draw on as much power.
In all cases, however, the free consent of the bearer is necessary to permit Fallen influence. Harry himself resisted the shadow of a fallen angel (Lasciel) for several years, drawing sparingly on its power only to ensure their mutual survival or when no other choice presented itself. This extended stay led the shadow to gain a measure of free will of its own, eventually sacrificing itself so Harry could survive a debilitating psychic attack.
If the Fallen has not completely overtaken its host, it appears that the host is able to consciously free himself or herself from the influence of the Fallen, simply by abdicating the power it provides and surrendering the Denarius. In the case of Quintus Cassius, a Denarian bonded with Saluriel, Cassius surrendered the coin to Knights of the Cross to avoid execution. Sanya admits to having once been a member of the Order, carrying the coin of the Fallen Magog for five years, but he voluntarily threw it away prior to becoming a Knight of the Cross.
The Knights of the Cross were founded specifically to save people from the Fallen, and will almost always become involved (often by seeming random chance) in any situation that requires confronting one or more of the Denarians.
If the host of the Fallen is a wizard or magic-user of some sort, as most of those shown have been (although it is not clear if it happened before or after they became hosts), one way to be free of the Fallen is for the host to put aside magic forever and give up the coin.
Several of the coins are currently in the possession of the Knights of the Cross, the Church, and/or the Venatori Umbrorum. These coins are kept in heavily warded boxes in secret locations. However, Nicodemus and others have proven themselves adept at retrieving the coins, whether by assault or treachery, making the Knights' task a never ending one.
Beginning in Proven Guilty, when evidence suggested that Hellfire had been used to assault the Winter Fae's fortress of Arctis Tor, suspicion began to rise that the Denarians were in league with the "Black Council". In Small Favor, it is revealed that Nicodemus, the Denarians' de facto leader, was unaware of this, and that the ones aiding the Black Council are doing so without his approval (he personally considers the Council a threat to his own plans and in fact may be fighting against them). Currently, the most likely suspect for the Black Council's mole within the Order of the Blackened Denarius is Nicodemus's wife, Tessa, who may have stolen eleven of the thirty coins for herself and fled, abandoning Nicodemus and his followers. Nicodemus himself is aware of this treachery, but was attacked and possibly killed by Harry before he could act on the knowledge. Jim Butcher has said that Nicodemus is alive, and he is now terrified of Harry.
Little of the Outsiders or "Walkers" has been revealed. They are not of our world, (in the sense that the Faerie, the Gods, and the Demons are still of our world.) They badly want to get in. Mother Summer says that if they do get in, 'everything stops'.
In terms of power, they're about as tough as the most powerful of the Demons or archangels, or stranger and even more powerful entities akin to Lovecraftian Great Old Ones. It takes wizards centuries to develop defenses against them and magic apparently has little effect upon them. They can be defeated by, among others, the powers of the Knights of the Cross (Michael faced and beat several of them near the end of Proven Guilty); Harry Dresden himself also faced and defeated a particularly infamous Outsider known as "He Who Walks Behind" at the age of sixteen, as part of the final confrontation with his mentor Justin DuMorne. However, according to Bob, Outsiders cannot actually be killed, only damaged sufficiently as to require long years to recover; this was confirmed in Blood Rites when He Who Walks Behind was summoned by a mortal magician and recognized Harry before escaping from the disrupted summoning ritual, promising to wreak vengeance. As Harry claims only a sketchy memory of the fight and sustained many scars both physical and metaphysical from the struggle, this impending confrontation may be the most dangerous of Harry's life. Later, Harry Dresden encounters another Walker entitled "He Who Walks Before". The fallen angel, Lasciel, has told Harry that he may possess a special power due to the timing of his birth, that could potentially give him the power to actually kill Outsiders, a deed believed to be impossible at this point.
Outsiders live beyond the Gates, outside the Nevernever, and it takes armies of Unseelie Fae constantly fighting to keep them out. Wizards are terrified of the Outsiders and of their power; however, as only mortal magic can summon an Outsider (neither vampires nor faeries can do it), the temptation to gain power can be irresistible, and the Seventh Law against Outsider summoning is unique among the Laws in that a single Senior Council member is assigned to enforce it full-time. (Though the Blackstaff of the Council, as part of his general exemption, may summon an Outsider it is yet unknown whether one has ever done so.) Their internal organization is only sketchily understood, but they appear to have a caste system which includes empires and knights.
It is also known that Outsiders can possess the mind of a White Court vampire. Before his death, Vittorio Malvora had performed massive amounts of magic and put several people into submission. Lasciel also told Harry that Vittorio had been possessed with an Outsider, hence gaining the ability to do this. It is also hinted at in Blood Rites that Lord Raith might have some protection granted by the Outsiders to protect him from mortal magic.
In Cold Days, it's revealed that the Outsiders have a sort of mental weapon or virus called Nemesis which can infect those in our world and turn them toward the Outsider's purposes, ultimately letting them into the Gates. Those infected will also try to kill or infect anyone who discovers Nemesis' existence, so it's considered wise not to speak its name aloud. Harry surmises that the Black Council of Wizards he suspects may be a part of the Nemesis infection.
As with the Outsiders, little is known of dragons. The only dragon to have appeared (in shapeshifted human form) so far in the Dresdenverse was met by Harry at Bianca's masquerade, in Grave Peril. It is unknown if they are beings of the Nevernever, combinations of spirit/mortal nature like vampires, or some other order of being altogether. What is known is extrapolated from things said and hinted at during the encounter in Grave Peril with the being called Ferrovax, self-identified as the eldest and strongest of his kind.
As noted, Ferrovax could shapeshift into human form, and possibly other forms; Ferrovax stated that dragons "are what [they] wish to be." The true appearance of a dragon is (according to Ferrovax) terrifying enough to drive a beholder to madness; even in shapeshifted form, Ferrovax showed his true nature by his "smoking" an unlit cigarette. Ferrovax also demonstrated immense magical power when he casually blew Dresden off his feet using only half of Dresden's Name, and then nearly crushed him with a glance. He is either immortal or long-lived enough to make no difference (his costume at the masquerade, a Roman centurion, appeared to be a legitimate relic of Imperial Roman times). However, the scope of his claims may merit at least a degree of skepticism; Michael Carpenter has fought and slain at least one other dragon, Siriothrax, suggesting either that not all dragons are as powerful as Ferrovax, or that the abilities of a Knight of the Cross were truly formidable.
Signatories to the Unseelie Accords, the Fomor are first introduced in the short story "Even Hand" with the appearance of Mag, a cantrev lord who assaults Marcone's office. They also appear in "Aftermath" kidnapping many low-level practitioners in Chicago and many major cities less than 24 hours after the end of "Changes". The Formor (according to Gard) are water-dwellers, cousins to the Jotun, seers, sorcerers and shapechangers. They are described as humanoid, tall (around seven feet) and froglike with pale skin and bulging eyes. The Formor capable of using magic have less of a "murphyonic field" than Dresden and are not impeded by running water like mortal wizards. They have specialised weapons that shoot out acid filled spines adapted and used in different ways similar to grenades, guns and mines (enchanted seashells serving as firebombs, for instance). When Marci is hit with a spike in "Aftermath" it dissolves a large hole into her shoulder. They are also supernaturally strong, resilient, and can both communicate and echolocate much as dolphins and bats do.
In Ghost Story, it is revealed that the Fomor are now making a play to be major magical powers, kidnapping mortals to transform into minions and aiming to take over the abandoned territories of the Red Court, or those powers leaving old territories to claim Red Court lands. Their minions are called 'Turtlenecks' because of their standard apparel, and Harry is told that they are old, old enemies of the Fey, a mixture of ancient gods, fallen fey, and rival spirits.
The Forest People
The group of people to which "Bigfoot" Strength of a River in His Shoulders, or River for short, belongs to. They shy away from human civilization and are huge and hairy in appearance. They have large reservoirs of power to draw upon, a side-effect of which may be the growth of excess body hair. They are as magically gifted as most wizards of the Council, and extremely smart. However, they tend to be very careful to remain ignored by humans, and probably other creatures as well.
In Skin Game, Harry encounters a creature called the Genoskwa, who he initially misidentifies as one of the Forest People. Genoskwa is infuriated by this, and attacks Harry, saying it is nothing like the "whimpering" Forest People and has nothing but contempt for River Shoulders. Like the Forest People, it has superhuman strength, speed, agility, and endurance, but it also possesses the ability to neutralize direct magical attacks, which Harry theorizes may be a novel application of earth magic.
- 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".