Power in the Dresden Files

I’ve been on a good reading kick in the first time in months. Sometimes, when I’m in my writer mindset, I can’t motivate myself to read, for a number of reasons. Ever since I finished the second draft of my novel though, I’ve found myself reading again. It’s been nice to look in other worlds and see these characters.

The majority of my reading has been on The Dresden Files. I am not caught up with the series; I just finished Blood Rites (book six), so there are still some curveballs and twists that I’ve not witnessed yet. I find myself raptly engaged by the world Jim Butcher created, and I like the characters, but there’s something nagging at me as I finish each book, and it has to do with Harry Dresden himself.

Now, I like Harry. I didn’t care much for him after the first book or two, but he did grow on me. As I’ve spent more time with him, his personality has won me over, but there’s something about him on a meta level that pisses me off. He’s overstocked with power, and this trend has continued after every book. Harry is given more and more power, and that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. (After all, Anita Blake had the same thing given to her, but the lurid and tasteless sex scenes that began to overrun the novels ran me off before I could find out why Anita was becoming such a powerhouse.)

I don’t know why I dislike this trend. It may be that the writer side of my brain just doesn’t like one person becoming so omnipotently powerful, even if it seems like small steps along the way. Or, maybe it’s the years of roleplaying that makes me dislike when one character is stocked to the point where you wonder why the other characters are even there. (I’ve been in those games. It’s never fun.) I can see that Jim Butcher is working towards a larger picture, and obviously this accrued power is part of that end goal, but I find myself wondering why put so much on one person.

Let’s look at Harry for a moment:

1. He’s a very powerful wizard. The White Council, other spell casters, and other supernatural creatures are all aptly aware of this, and as such, this is pointed out to us as a reader.

2. He has a faery godmother, who traded her boon from him to Mab of the Winter Court. Queen Mab has already once offered to give him the powers of the Winter Knight. (He owes her two more favors, as of where I’ve read. I foresee that this is likely to occur.)

3. He has acquired one of the Swords of the Cross – one of three very holy relics. He did try to give it back, but the other two knights insisted that Shiro wanted him to have it. Now, yes, an angel could come and take it to give it to someone else, I’m sure, but as of right now, Harry has it. (And it’s been shown that one does not have to be a devout Christian to be one of these Knights.)

4. He has a Temple Dog, acquired by accident, but he has one. I did some looking up on what the Temple Dogs do. They help keep one from being afflicted by mind-affecting magic, amongst other things.

5. He has a Silver Coin of the Fallen, a demon that would offer him fantastic power in order to gain control of him. He buried it in his basement, but he now has access to Hellfire, and his burnt hand has skin unburnt in the sigil of the demon that was represented on said coin. (Since he has a temple dog, he would stand to be able to not be as affected by said demon while still somehow accessing the power.)

6. Finally, his mother was Margaret LeFey. I like Arthurian legend. I know the last name LeFey. Morgana, Morgan, however you want to call her. This means that his lineage is of very powerful magic, which could foreshadow even larger scopes of power in his future. Sure, this could go hand in hand with the first point that he was a powerful wizard, but the fact that one of the most well-known sorceresses in our legends could be linked to Harry deserved its own point.

Now, as I said, I’ve not finished what has been written to date, and I am certain that there is something important as to why this has been done. It just irks me. I know that these are Harry’s books, so yes he is going to be the center of everything that occurs, but I’d kind of like to see the power spread out. Yes, there are other big bads and powerful entities, but we’re starting to see that Harry is culminating enough power to be akin to a god. He’s fallible, and that makes him endearing as a character. I guess I just wished that I knew more as to why Harry has to be so powerful. (I’ve heard rumors of how this series might end, and I’m sure all of this plays into that, but right now, it seems supremely unbalanced.)

Have any thoughts? Comments? Please feel free to leave them. Of, and be a dear, and follow Wheaton’s Law (aka Don’t be a dick.). Spoilers for future books are not wanted.