Thomas Raith

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Thomas Raith
The Dresden Files character
First appearance Grave Peril
Last appearance Cold Days
Created by Jim Butcher
Information
Species Vampire (White Court)
Gender Male
Occupation Hair dresser
Venator
Family Lord Raith (father)
Margaret Gwendolyn LeFay (mother, deceased)
Harry Dresden (half-brother)
Margaret Angelica Mendoza (niece)
Lara Raith (half-sister)
Madrigal Raith (cousin, deceased)
Madeline Raith (cousin, deceased)
Ebenezar McCoy (maternal grandfather)
Inari Raith (half sister)
Elisa Raith (half sister)
Natalia Raith (half sister)
Significant other(s) Justine (on and off lover)
Nationality American

Thomas Raith is introduced as a vampire of the White Court (an incubus) in Grave Peril of the contemporary fantasy series The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. It is revealed in Blood Rites that Thomas is the half brother of Harry Dresden, the protagonist of the series, and, until Changes, Harry's only known living family.

Thomas does not appear in the TV series. However, he appears in every book since Death Masks, and is the star of his own novelette, entitled Backup.

Abilities[edit]

Thomas is a White Court vampire, and naturally possesses a perfect human physique, supernatural strength, speed, and healing ability; all drawn from the demonic hunger within them. By drawing power from their 'inner demon', White Court vampires can become enormously and selectively powerful and their ability to drain normal humans can be increased over time to the point where they can literally kill with a quick kiss (Thomas' father was infamous for his 'kiss of death'). A side effect noted throughout the series is that when White Court vampires do draw on their demon, their eyes start to glow and their skin will seem more pale. Overuse of their demon's abilities requires the demon to be fed, which can induce a ravenous hunger, during which the White Court vampire will lose all control. A White Court vampire that cannot feed their demon is scarcely much more than a human being.

This 'demon within' is affirmed by two different soulgazes during the series to actually be an actual entity within a White Court vampire, like a sick mirror-self that slowly draws in the vampire. The White Court vampires are even referred to as 'little phages' by a skinwalker, phages being a form of demonkind that feeds on emotions. However, in Changes, it is stated by Bob that without the human element of the White Court individual, their demon cannot act and is trapped, rendering the person an effective vegetable.

As a White Court vampire, Thomas is stronger and faster than other humans, at least when well-fed. Thomas is comfortable in hand-to-hand combat and swordplay in Grave Peril, and uses a shotgun in Proven Guilty. He has variously used a cavalry saber, a kukri, and a falcata in combat, always wielding two weapons to take advantage of his people's amazing grace and natural fighting ability.

Thomas is not described as being truly 'skilled', as humans define the term. His natural combat abilities and instincts are far refined above that of normal humans, the best term might be 'naturally hard-wired for combat'. He can shoot like the best of mortal marksmen without practicing, wield weapons like a master, and perform superhuman stunts of agility without difficulty (all of which is quite irritating to Harry). However, all these feats require drawing on the demon to perform, and the demon, in the end, must be fed.

The vampires of House Raith feed off people's emotional energy in the form of lust, usually through sex, and this act can result in death of the hapless mortal. However, if he chooses, Thomas can also feed lightly from many individuals through intimate, personal contact. At the end of the novel White Night, it is revealed that Thomas has learned to "sip" and satiate his hunger without harming his female hairstyling clients (although he notes that they may be slightly addicted to the experience). He possesses a sort of glamor that creates a strong sexual attraction to him in both men and women, and even led to him being attacked by a Jehovah's Witness. He is unable to turn it off, which can make it difficult to hold a "normal" job.

White Court vampires of other houses can also feed off other emotions, fear and despair by House Malvora and Skavis respectively being the two mentioned during the series, most notably in White Night.

The White Court can exert incredible mental control over mortals, to the point of being able to incapacitate them completely. This control is mostly confined to members of the opposite sex, but that is more a matter of choice and preference then a hard rule. Thralldom, mental slavery, domination, seduction are all within the purview of the White Court. The predatory mindset of the White Court evinces little sympathy for their mortal prey, whom they term as 'cattle' or kine. Thomas is a notable exception to that mindset...but women, even hostile women, are almost helpless to resist him if he exerts his will.

White Court vampirism is hereditary. Thomas states in Blood Rites that his siblings begin to show the cravings during their late teens or early adulthood; once they feed, they are full vampires. However, if they fall in love first, their love will break the curse and they remain human. Love also protects humans from being fed upon; in Blood Rites, Thomas' sister Inari is burned, her mouth blistered, from kissing Harry Dresden, since the last woman he was with was Susan (whom he is in love with). It is stated that the love must be reciprocal for it to harm a White Court vampire. A being in love is not necessarily immune to the sexual arousal of a White Court vampire, but is completely immune to their ability to twist minds.

White Court vampires are apparently extremely long-lived; Thomas' father has lived centuries. Their exact life span is unknown. They are possibly immortal; Harry has referred to them as immortals on several occasions. They speak a long-dead language (Etruscan) amongst themselves, much as the White Council uses Latin.

Thomas is also far more easily able to earn money then a normal person, as his abilities to charm women help enormously in finding ways to earn cash. With access to House Raith, he has enormous wealth available, intelligence gathering capability, and powerful contacts that can be called on for help (to the extent of getting an American military airlift out of Mexican territory). As someone who has lived a life of wealth and privilege, Thomas has not been shown to have any deep skills of his own, getting by on his vampiric aptitude and charm much of the time. He is a slob and eats horribly, his demon maintaining his physique, but he is extremely conscious of social interactions, appearances, and is a natural fashion plate (as in, anything he owns instantly becomes fashionable).

Thomas is also, however, a member of the Venatori, a very, very secret organization which exists among the supernatural powers-that-be, which hunts down and keeps secret and forgotten various entities, and is thus highly knowledgeable about all sorts of supernatural threats and organizations that very, very few beings alive have any clue about. What training he has is geared towards stopping these threats, more than anything - he has been drafted by his elder sister Lara, the true head of the family, into these duties. The Venatori seems to be an organization spread across multiple supernatural 'nations', who are quite interested in keeping their place in the current status quo; simply put, they don't want any ancient and powerful threats returning to compete with them.

Appearance[edit]

Thomas has much the same overall appearance as Harry—both are tall, with long faces and strong jaws. However, Thomas' vampire heritage gives him a more ideal, beautiful appearance and gracefulness that humans can only dream of. He also has very pale skin, muscular body, and dark curling hair; Harry comments at one point that he looks like the "long lost Greek god of body cologne" and the "high priest of Bowflex." A running joke through the series is that people are always assuming that Harry and Thomas are a gay couple, apparently not noticing the resemblance. Harry has even used this to his advantage occasionally.

Unlike the stereotypical vampire, Thomas tends to dress rather casually, although he prefers white as a base color scheme. He dresses in rich, sometimes over-the-top clothing in the vampire court, but when living with Harry, he dresses in spare sweats and cutoff jeans. He also tends to rely on outside weaponry such as a sawed-off shotgun and a Desert Eagle pistol, but he is capable of great speed and strength when he is sufficiently fed. He has been shown using an old cavalry saber as a weapon, with a kukri in his off hand, and during "Changes" exchanged the saber for a falcata, an inward-curving Iberian weapon (often described as a sword-axe hybrid).

He is stated to have a pentacle amulet identical to Harry's, with a communication spell linking the two.

His blood is more pinkish then red, part of his heritage as a White Court Vampire.

Personality[edit]

Thomas initially is very flippant and seemingly arrogant, even swearing by "my towering ego" and acting in a rather flaky manner about poisoned punch. He is immensely charming and apparently immune to verbal barbs. However, he has more of a sense of humour than most vampires, similar to Harry's. Perhaps because of his highly dysfunctional family, he also likes Harry from the very moment he meets him. It is unknown at exactly what point he becomes aware of Harry's relationship to him.

It's gradually revealed that Thomas is a deeper, more caring person than he wants to reveal. His flaky attitude turns out to have a purpose—all his vampire brothers have been murdered by their father, and he risks putting his lover Justine in danger if he shows more than passing affection for her. When Harry and Michael were about to throw him out, Thomas switched from being flippant to genuinely pleading. He is the only White Court vampire shown to be capable of true love, which is rare even by human standards in the Dresdenverse; it should be noted that as the actual son of a king, this theoretically makes him almost uniquely suited to wield Amoracchius, should the need arise.

One of Thomas' major traits is an overpowering loyalty to his family. With the definite exception of his father, he is willing to put his life on the line to save any one of them, and has done so for Harry on more than one occasion before they had any sort of a relationship. In the case of others, he can be rather brutally blunt, such as describing Butters as a coward and advising Harry that the nervous coroner would only endanger him.

Like all White Court vampires, Thomas is not harmed by religious items, sunlight or garlic. Unlike most of them, he experiences guilt over his incubic nature, and tries to minimize the damage he causes—perhaps the legacy of his late mother. Like his brother, he is a monogamist at heart, and tries to keep his seductiveness in check.

His dislikes include Red Court vampires, unnecessary clothing (i.e. shirts, shoes) when indoors, polka music, secrets (that he isn't in on), and his father. Thomas is also a massive slob: he lives almost exclusively on beer and microwave meals, and leaves the private rooms of his chic apartment an undecorated mess. Unlike many fictional vampires, he has a sense of humor about his nature, even showing up at a duel wearing a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" T-shirt.

History[edit]

Thomas was first introduced in the third book of the series, Grave Peril, where he showed up at the ball hosted by Bianca, a vampire of the Red Court. His presence there, instead of the presence of his father, was an insult to Bianca planned by Thomas's father, Lord Raith. He showed up with Justine, his girlfriend, whom he had "poached" from Bianca. However, as Thomas is a vampire, he feeds on Justine, causing damage to her soul. He ends up betraying Harry to save Justine, but helps him and Michael later, after Justine is kidnapped by Bianca. He returns Michael's sword to him, and helps them journey through the Nevernever.

In Death Masks, book five of the series, Thomas shows up as the second in a duel for Ortega, a Count of the Red Court who was sent to kill Harry. Once again, his father's presence had been requested, and Thomas was sent as an insult. Although Thomas appeared intoxicated during most of the duel, he was actually helping Harry to some extent.

In Blood Rites, book six of the series, Thomas comes to Harry asking for a favor. He asks Harry to investigate the set of Thomas's friend Arturo's movie, a pornography film. It is later revealed that the White Court is heavily involved in the pornography industry, and that Thomas is attempting to take power from his father, the king of the White Court. Thomas reveals that the reason he has helped Harry is that they are half brothers, sharing the same mother. Thomas was born at least five years before his half-brother, to a human mother and the White Court Vampire king. His mother was little better than a slave, and when Thomas was a preschooler she managed to escape. Thomas apparently was aware that his mother gave birth to another child before her death, but Harry did not know of his brother's existence until Thomas reveals himself.

Thomas is then nearly sacrificed by his father in a ritual meant to kill Harry, but Harry and Karrin Murphy intervene in time to save him. When his sister Lara takes control of the Raith family, she is forced to exile Thomas from his family, to continue the illusion that their father is still in control. Lara promises to care for Justine. Harry, having no other family, welcomes Thomas into his apartment.

Also, in book six, it is shown that Thomas's relationship with Justine goes beyond that of predator and prey. He loved her, and after receiving a near fatal injury, he fed on Justine to the point where she should have died. However, somehow he held back, and they both managed to survive, although Justine was greatly weakened. Moreover, the true love she displayed for Thomas means that he can no longer touch her skin without suffering severe burns and blistering.

Thomas spends the next few years living with Harry in a cramped basement apartment and attempts to live on only occasional sexual encounters with women he only meets once. (This is complicated by the fact that wizards are at war with vampires; if a vampire is found in Harry's apartment it will cause trouble.) In Dead Beat Thomas is shown as increasingly frustrated, both because he can't hold down a job due to his vampiric powers, and because he feels Harry doesn't sympathize with his hunger. After demonstrating to Harry how it feels, he seems to calm down. But Harry still worries about him, especially in Proven Guilty where Thomas vanishes during the day for months at a time, with no mention of where he's been, and moves out of Harry's apartment.

In White Night, book nine of the series, Thomas becomes a suspect in several murders/disappearances. Once Harry tracks him down, however, he discovers that Thomas has been taking women who are being targeted by the White Court to safe houses, protecting them. Thomas helps Harry to find and confront the real killers, and helps him fight off an army of ghouls summoned by Cowl. He is briefly reunited with Justine, who has recovered somewhat from her draining and is now in a position to give him inside information on the White Court's plotting.

At the end of the book, Harry discovers that Thomas has gone into business for himself as a hairstylist and beauty salon owner. He had enrolled in cosmetology school and taken a job as a night watchman to pay for his tuition before opening the shop. For him, shampooing and cutting hair creates a feeling of intimacy that allows him to feed in small doses from the women who make up his clientele. Thomas kept this enterprise a secret because he was afraid that Harry would laugh at him, but he admits that he no longer cares because he can stay well-fed, taking tiny sips from many women, avoiding those in love, and enjoying an intense personal experience they share. Nevertheless, his newly reduced hunger does not keep him from being tempted by sexual energy or weak humans, so he needs to stay away from sex clubs and hospitals.

It also turns out that he has been reluctantly allowed to rejoin the Raith family's ranks, because of his contribution to saving the White Court. Though this would allow him to live in wealth and luxury, Thomas seems uninterested in leaving the new life he has made for himself.

In "It's My Birthday, Too," Butcher reveals that Thomas's birthday is in fact February 14, Valentine's Day.[1]

Small Favor has Harry calling in his brother as his backup, and shows that their formerly tense relationship has softened now that Thomas no longer feeds sexually. Thomas has apparently bought a Hummer with all the luxurious trappings, which Harry refers to as the "oil tanker," and is able to wear the best quality casual clothes with a scarf crocheted by Justine. Thomas is repeatedly tempted by the Denarians throughout the book, since they could allow him to reunite with Justine, and Harry does his best to help his brother overcome these temptations since he knows more of the Denarians' natures. By the end, he seems to have gotten over this temptation. Mab says that she might offer the post of Winter Knight to Thomas, even though this post usually goes to a mortal, saying that "He's in love. That's mortal enough for me."

"Turn Coat" is a turning point of sorts for Thomas, who is kidnapped by a Native American skinwalker who attempts to bargain for Morgan using Thomas' life. In the meantime, it tortured him mercilessly, "fed" him young women, before torturing him again. This seems to have broken Thomas' resolve to live without sexual feeding, as he claims he was stupid to try to live with "nibbling," and that he only sees food when he looks at humans. He has rejoined the Raith household rather than living on his own, and indicates that contact with Harry will be limited (despite Harry's repeated refusals to shun his brother). However, he shows some signs of his other personality when Harry fries his radio and asks about Justine, indicating that hope is not lost.

"Changes" Thomas has returned to feeding his vampiric nature, taking "large bites" instead of "nibbling". His initial appearance in the novel depicts him as nonchalant, and he is once more in the good graces of the White Court. However, he and Molly later soulgaze and he is shown to be suffering, likely from the torture he endured in Turn Coat. Also during the soulgaze he loses control of his hunger and almost/may have fed to some extent on Molly. Thomas teams up with Harry and company for the final battle at Chichen Itza to help save Harry's daughter (his niece), Maggie (totally excusable because if the Ritual goes through, he will be killed as well as Harry). When Molly is injured Thomas gives his word to Harry to protect her and calls in a favor to get her extracted and medical treatment. Because of this Thomas may be in debt to his sister Lara. Thomas also leaves Harry the keys to the "Water Beetle" as a place to stay.

In Ghost Story, Thomas is taking Harry's death extremely hard, barely feeding and drinking excessively. He blames himself for Harry being on the Water Beetle when he died and believes he could have done something to stop it had he been there. At the end of the novel, the archangel Uriel takes Harry's spirit to visit Thomas, and Harry sees that Justine has voluntarily given up her protection against Thomas' touch so that he can feed on her again. Harry decides that Thomas will be fine.

In Cold Days, Thomas catches a fully alive Harry sneaking onto the Water Beetle and nearly kills him before realizing that he is really who he claims to be. Thomas participates in Harry's efforts to unravel the mystery involving Demonreach Island and Queen Mab's command that Harry kill her daughter Maeve. He is now in good health again with help from Justine, who brings home women of various temperaments for him to feed on as his mood changes.

Backup[edit]

In his own story seen through his eyes, Thomas reveals more of himself, showing how deeply his demon influences his choices, possibly increased due to his new "vegetarian" diet. Several moments throughout the story show him struggling to keep himself controlled around the women in his life; while Thomas shows care and consideration for the bonds he has created, his demon regards them as food and playthings, urging him to give in and act upon his monstrous appetites. He also explains that his skills at magic are rather simple compared to Harry's, and just barely achieves a tracking spell.[2] This story also reveals that Thomas is part of a secret organization, The Venatori Umbrorum, who Harry Dresden has previously described as "like the masons, but with machine guns." Thomas is part of an even more secret group of Venators who's purpose is to keep certain entities known as the 'Old Ones' at bay by directly opposing their servants and followers also by concealing information of their existence, as they draw power from those that think about them. This conflict is known as the Oblivion War. It appears though that while The Venatori Umbrorum and The White Council of Wizards are openly strong allies, the more secretive Venators like Thomas only reveal themselves to others like himself otherwise it is common practice to either kill or recruit people who stumble on the conflict.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Butcher, Jim (September 2007). "It's My Birthday, Too". Many Bloody Returns. ISBN 978-0-441-01522-1. 
  2. ^ Butcher, Jim (October 2008). Backup. Burton, MI: Subterranean Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-59606-182-8. 

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