WoJ on Harry’s Friends

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Molly (and a little Charity)

*Editor’s note* Molly isn’t mortal anymore, but she’s staying here nostalgically

I just re-read Grave Peril, and I was wondering if the following passage was meant to foreshadow things that happen in Proven Guilty, or if I’m just reading into it too much.

“Mortal Children are so sweet.  And can be bent and shaped in so many, many ways.  Your eldest daughter, I think, would-”  Lea to Michael page 243

If so, that would imply that I was thinking about seven years ahead.  I mean, I would have to be, to have written something like that back when I did Grave Peril, which was way before the books actually *sold*.  It would mean that I’m doing a lot of stuff on purpose, given that, you know, Molly actually wound up /in/ the Winter Queen’s fortress, with Lea (Mab’s chief advisor) actually /right there/.

Hell, if I’m doing that, why not assume that I planted stuff in Storm Front that I don’t intend to come out until the big old apocalyptic trilogy’s finale?

That would be kinda nerdy, dontcha think? :)

Nerd Royale With Cheese

Word of Serack:

Jim’s implied to me (kinda like the above WoJ about Grave Peril, which doesn’t flat out acknowledge the reference) that the line from chapter 3 of Small Favor, “she looked natural in the snowy setting, her cheeks and nose turning red with the cold” is a foreshadowing of her potential affiliations with the Winter Fae.

2009 Lexington signing:
Q:  Are Molly’s actions of peeking into Harry’s head in SmF (TC spoiler) and into Luccio in TC violations of the 3rd Law?  What about Harry and Elaine’s communication spell in WN, or (TC spoiler) Merlin’s actions at Morgan’s trial?
A:  Molly’s actions are a violation of the 3rd Law.  She is entering someone’s head without their consent.  Harry and Elaine’s communication is consensual sharing of thoughts.  (He didn’t really answer the last part of the question)
2010 Lee’s Summit signing:
Q:  Harry says several times that Molly isn’t going to be a good combat wizard, but she seems to hold her own. 
A:  Harry still sees her as a little kid AND she’s a girl.  Those are two things that Harry has a hard time looking past.  She really could be very dangerous, but not in the same way Harry is – and that’s how Harry measures combat talent: sudden and intense violence.
2011 Naperville Signing
Is the Winter Court interested in Molly?
Lea’s offer (back in Grave Peril) was a pretty generic, “Give me your first child” offer, as opposed to “Hey, I specifically want that one.” But Molly is unfortunately in a position where she’s going to get noticed by all kinds of things that intent her no good, and the Winter Court may be among them, yes. But that’s what you get for hanging around with Dresden, it rubs off on you. (This answer almost directly contradicts the implications in the first WoJ in this section -Serack)
2011 Bitten by Books Q&A
Is Mollys progression & endgame fairly planned out already in your notes? Or are you adapting her as the stories are written?”
I have a good idea where she’s going, though that’s subject to change if I come up with something more fun.
Kansas City release party Q&A
At what point did you realize that Charity had had her own experience with the magical world, and had been a practitioner in the past, and at what point did I know that Molly was going to be Harry’s apprentice?  
The answer to that is: when they appeared. I knew that Charity just couldn’t stand Dresden, and I had to have a good reason for her to really not stand him and really, the best reason that anyone could possibly have for not liking somebody is because they remind them of themselves, something they hate in themselves. So I thought that was just perfect. And then I gave her all kinds of good, rational reasons on top of that to not like him. “You get my husband arrested, and in trouble, and beat up!” Ok, well, good point. As far as Molly goes, I knew she was going to be Harry’s apprentice by the end of the first book she showed up in. No, not the end of that one. By the end of Death Masks.  By the time she was sitting there with the Knight of the Cross, prank-calling the grocery stores with him, just to play around with his head, you know, that was like, “She’s not going to get away from being Dresden’s apprentice at this point.”
2011 DC Signing
Molly seems to be doing a lot of very-close-to-black-magic stuff. Is she getting, like, totally corrupted?
Well… what’s “corrupted” mean? [laughter] Yeah, she’s playing around with some nasty stuff and it’s only a matter of time before that catches up to her. On the other hand, she’s doing things she knew Dresden would’ve done if he could have done them, so it’s all Harry’s fault.
Salt Circle interview
Okay, Why didn’t Ebenezar take over Molly’s training after Changes?
Ebenezar, he was not able to afford…we’ll have to get into some of the politics of it, he was not able to afford to actually show up and do it, he was able to keep the council off of Molly’s back and that was as far as he could go at the time. Meanwhile, she was getting trained up by the Leanansidhe so it’s not like she was, so it’s not like she did not have an instructor. She probably could have had a friendlier instructor, one who didn’t throw knives at her, but on the other hand maybe it was kind of good for her to have somebody tough because she wasn’t hanging around in the kiddie pool anymore after Harry was gone.
2014 WyrdCon pannel
If seven and eight had been in a different order, what role do you think Molly would have played in Dead Beat (Editor’s note:  7&8’s planned order got switched due to the desire to have Sue in the first hard cover book #7)
Well she would have been Harry’s locked down apprentice at that point, official apprentice.  She would have been inducted into the wardens as well at that point.  Harry would have demanded a cloak for her as well so she would have had warden time under her belt.  Ramirez probably wouldn’t have gotten the role he got because Molly would have been filling it at least to some degree.  And she might have gotten horribly hurt somewhere, broken an arm or something like that.  Because, the closer you are to the center of my story, the more likely you are to, you know, attract my attention.


Don’t know whether this might turn out to be a plot point or not, but who was the original “owner” of the skull Bob lives in ?

Bob doesn’t know!  Etienne the Enchanter picked it up on the cheap, back in medieval France, and skulls weren’t exactly uncommon.  Etienne himself probably had it for the reason that so many writers and sages had skulls hanging around–to make their office look cooler.

Etienne, though, is the one who originally laid out the enchantment on the skull to enable it to be a little home-away-from-home for Bob, and he’s been passed down, wizard-to-wizard, ever since. :)


2009 Whisper radio interview @1:12:14
About Bob:
He’s a thousand year old being, he’s not in a hurry
2010 Bitten by Books Q&A:
#296 “Is it safe to say, that since Bob is a romance addict, he was a womanizer back when he was in his human form?”
Bob never /had/ a human form. :) He’s a spirit of intellect (which gets confused with “air spirit” in some writings, I believe because air was the element that symbolized the intellect, intelligence and logic).
The SF Site interview, 2004:
What in the world possessed you to create Bob? 
Bob’s origins are the subject of upcoming storylines, so I won’t get too far into them–but he’s always been a being of spirit, never mortal.
Bob started off as an inside joke between my writing teacher, Debbie Chester, and myself. I needed a device to get the rules of magic across to my readers, so that they would have a point of reference for the laws of my story world. I talked with Debbie about maybe designing a character whose fundamental function was to have conversations with Harry about the nature of magic, so that the readers could all understand what was going on. “Sounds fine,” says Debbie. “But whatever you do, don’t create some kind of talking head.”
In story craft terms, a talking head refers to a character whose purpose in life is to dispense information. Talking heads will wander onto the page, blurt out exposition without bothering to display much in the way of character or motivation, and promptly exit. So when I designed Bob, complete with his little obsessions and quirks, I decided to make him a literal talking head, while avoiding the traits that add up to a story-craft talking head.
2009 Dayton Book Signing @0:29
Why is bob increasingly less and less in the books
He’s not increasingly less and less in the books, he’s just had less of a roll lately.  Actually I think we will end up with bob as the main side kick not in the next book but in the book after that.  Book 13, that’s kinda appropriate actually.
2009 Ann Arbor Signing
Why is Bob the way he is and will we find out why he’s hated so by the Fey
Jim mentioned that Bob takes on some of the personality of his “master” so when he came to Harry. Harry was about 16 years old.  Sooo that’s why he’s so smart alecky and into girls so much.  As for the Fey comment mentioned we will find out in later books.
2011 Bitten by Books Q&A
It’s been a while since I re-read Changes, but my last recollection of Bob’s whereabouts were hidden on the Water Beetle. How’d Butters get his hands on the skull?
From Murphy.  :)
How did Harry explain to Molly the shelf in his basement with the skull and all those well-read steamy romance novels, and did she believe his answer?”
He didn’t. You might not have noticed this about Dresden, but he is often cryptic and unwilling to come across with random bits of information. :) Molly spent years staring at the damned thing, thinking it was some kind of obscure test.
Are there any other powerful spirits in the world like Bob who could contend with his experience and council?
Indeed. >:)
2014 AMA
Does Harry know Bob’s Name? Would knowing it give him anymore hold over it then possessing the skull?
Well, he GAVE Bob a name. And yes, it does give him more hold over him than he would have otherwise, though not more than actually holding the skull would.
2015 AMA
Why does Bob have to obey whoever owns his skull? Is it because of the enchantments on the skull, or is it just that all spiritual entities must obey whoever controls their sanctum?
It’s the bargain Bob made to be who he is, basically. The skull is essentially his contract–shelter in exchange for service.


So, to start:
Can Murphy actually use the katana set she has on her mantle?

Yes!  Murphy is a fairly serious traditional aikidoka (though that isn’t the only art she’s studied or employs) and she’s leaned quite a bit of jo technique, which largely carries over to katana technique.  Her knowledge, though, is kinda academic.  She isn’t a kendo practitioner, and it’s not as though you can just go a few quick practice rounds with swords to keep your reflexes in shape.  So when it comes to large choppy-slashy blades, she’s never used it in life.

Well.  Except for this really extreme moment in Hawaii . . .

Whedon interview:
W : So Murphy is…
JB : Murphy was actually based on somebody I saw give a karate demonstration, an aikido demonstration. She was a little 5’ tall, she looked like somebody’s favorite aunt ; a little cheerful woman and they had three 250-lb. guys start trying to tackle her. They were told, “All you have to do is try and hold her down.” And she just tossed them all, left and right, for like five minutes…
And it was funny too, because she was just a little old lady ! So that’s where Murphy came from, but yes, in my fantasy casting of the show, I was like, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll have Sarah play Murphy. Why not ? She probably didn’t have anything better to do. She can play Murphy.”
Amazon.com reply
“On another note did you notice how at the very, very beginning he was calling her Murph. Then as soon as she said she had his back for his child he always called her Karrin from then on?”
God I love an observant reader. :)
2011 NYC Signing Q&A
About Murphy’s dad and how he killed himself in the books…was that despair forced on him?
Who says he killed himself?  (lots of audience reaction) You know, they just found him there and it, you know, looked like a suicide.
2011 KC signing
Will the history of Collin Murphy – how he killed himself, et cetera – turn out to be important in any way?
Well, no. Because that would require that he actually killed himself. So I’ll just leave it at that.
2015 Grid Daily interview
Even though you write all these characters, have you ever had one that refused to do what you wanted it to?
No, because those people work for me.  There are times when the characters don’t seem to be going as easily in a direction I want them to go.  Often I will have to stop and take a look at what I’m doing since maybe the story has squirreled off in the wrong direction.  Which is sometimes the case and I’ll have to rewrite.  Often what I will do is I’ll go back and I’ll play Time Lord and go back and retool the character’s past to give them a good motivation to do what I want them to do.
Murphy was continually too much in the way in Fool Moon, for example.  She kept trying to participate in what was going on and not in the adversarial way I needed her to, because she was essentially a minor villain in Fool Moon.  It was not working out at all until I went back and tinkered with her backstory and Murphy has a paralyzing fear of big dogs.  That was changing her opinions and put enough brakes on her that I could get her to slow down enough to let other people get killed instead of her.
But it also means that she wasn’t too sure about Mouse the first time she met him.  She’s OK with him later on, because he’s a big dog that she doesn’t have to be afraid of, she trusts him despite that fear.  But that’s all under-the-table stuff that I can’t write about because Murphy is not going to go up to Dresden and say, “I’m terrified of big dogs.”  Because Dresden would make fun of her for being short and it’s not going to happen.


2009 Kansas City Q&A @39:35
Which character relationships did I want to keep going but had to kill through plot line?
I originally hadn’t intended for things with Susan to work out the way they did.  But then I realized part way into book three that Susan Rodriguez was going to turn into Lois Lane, which I didn’t want.  I didn’t want Harry to be rampaging around rescuing her.  So I wound up “killing” her sort of.  In terms of what she had been in terms of the story before then she was certainly dead.  She deserved to be, but I got to give her some cool neat stuff that she could do later on.  That’s the only time it’s happened but that’s because I haven’t really scripted out Harry’s love life.  I wanted it to be something that was organic, and what I found out is that [snark]apparently, if you love somebody, it can sometimes effect other portions of your life too.[/snark]
Amazon.com Jim Butcher comment
Did anyone else note that the costume that Lea gave Susan was sacrificial robe to Harry’s conquistador?

The Alphas

2009 Independence signing:
Q:  What happened to the other Alphas? 
A:  Like happens with a lot of kids after college, they graduated and went their separate ways.  Some of them wrote off the whole experience as the result of taking drugs in college.  One ended up super religious.  One ended up institutionalized.  Given Kirby’s death, Billy is going to try to track down some of the group.
2010 Lee’s Summit signing:
Q:  Harry seemed to be gathering every powerful ally he could – why not Elaine, or the Alphas?
A:  There are only so many characters I can keep straight.
2011 Bitten by Books Q&A
Does the DFRPG actually get published within the Dresdenverse, is it as successful as it is in the “real world”, and will it ever get a cameo appearance within the books?”
I’m not sure if I’m gonna get quite that incestuous yet.  The causality loop of something like that could tear a hole in spacetime, and I’m not sure that would be good for the environment.


2007 Huntington Beach B&N Q&A @40:53
Where did you pull Butters from?
Butters was supposed to be a one op character that was supposed to be in one little scene in Death Masks.  That was all he was planned for.  But he was inspired mostly by the M.E. in The Prophecy.  The M.E. who has to dissect these dead angels in The Prophecy and who gets to deliver those lines to the guys playing the cop.  Just the fact that he had the organ weighing hanging up there and he put a smiley face on it.  I was like ok I need a character that’s vaguely like that so I made up Butters, but he’s only gonna be there for like one show but he’s like so much fun that I was like no, no, I absolutely need, when we’ve got walking corpses running around, the perfect side kick to have is the medical examiner!  Because there’s just something so wrong about that and that’s what I need for Dresden so I promoted him to side kick.
Kiama, Australia Q&A, 2014
Butters, why polka?
Why polka on Butters? Because my main writing — okay, every time, I make basically a new mix tape every time I start writing a new Dresden novel. And the mix tape for Dead Beat — or the mix tape for the book that had Butters originally in it, which I believe was, it was the fifth one, Death Masks, that one had a load of polka, Weird Al’s polka music on it. And so, why not? I’ll have him like polka. I can do that. So, in my head, basically Butters is being played by about a 1984 age or by a 1990 age Weird Al in my head. In my head, that’s who plays him.


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