WoJ on Other bad guys, beyond the Outer Gates, + Demonreach

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Cowl & Kumori + darkhallow stuff

(PS–Murphy can’t be Kumori, obviously.  Kumori is a powerful and dangerous necromancer with the personal will to hold a knife to a wizard’s throat.  And more to the point, she was TALL ENOUGH to do it.  If she was 5′ 0″ Murphy, she’d have had to be wearing freaking STILTS to hold a knife at 6′ 7″ Harry’s throat from behind.  To say nothing of the fact that Harry has touched Murphy’s skin on multiple occasions and never picked up a ripple of /any/ of the aura of a practitioner, much less the utterly obvious one of a fellow heavyweight.  I try to follow my own rules, guys. :) )

2009 WoJ forum post:
5. cowl with darkhallow – really? just a bunch of spirits…
If he’d succeeded, he’d have had the collective power of all of those supernatural beings and then some.  He’d have been clearly stronger than the Ladies, and a full-on equal to Mab.  I mean, why do you think the Erlking was summoned as part of that ritual?  Because that’s how the big E got so boss in the first place.  :)
For that matter, how do you think the Mothers and Queens and Ladies established their original base of power?  That big old sacrificial, power-sucking stone table in Tir na noth isn’t there for its primitive decorative aesthetic.
y doesn’t cowl do the darkhallow thing on a remote island or in the middle of the sahara desert or something…same with hag.  just a question that’s been bothering me…
Cause you need people around to fuel the fire.  :)  Had Cowl been successful, his ascension would have exterminated every source of life for several miles–and the more who died, the more elevated he would have become.  Think of them as a big old batch of human sacrifices.
The hag’s ritual was a far more primitive version of Kemmler’s rite, and wouldn’t have done nearly as much for her as the Darkhallow would have for Cowl–but it still would have sparked off massive violence, plague, ill-fortune and general chaos for miles all around.
2010 Lee’s Summit signing:
Q:  Is Cowl still out of Harry’s league, now that Harry has this additional power?
A:  I don’t know.  Remember that Harry was outrunning the Ick
2011 NYC Signing Q&A
Are we going to see more of Kumori? (edited for context)
Yeah, we can’t get rid of her yet.
2012 Reddit AMA:
domino7: 1) About Cowl. Does he wear that hood because he KNOWS he’d be recognized without it, or does he just think they’re terribly comfortable, and in the future everyone would be wearing them? Were we to see him without it, would the readers recognize him? Would Harry? Or is he just the guy who runs the omelet station at Edinburgh, and nobody pays him any attention?
Jim: 1) Seriously? You just want me to answer that? :) Dude, have you seen the way I torture readers with that stuff? I will say, however, that the longer you’ve been around the wizardy world, the more paranoid you are about giving away information. /Any/ information. Your identity is a /huge/ and valuable piece of information to any wizardly foes, and if you’re smart and you anticipate going up against them, you make damned sure you don’t just give it away.

Ghosts of enemies past (Kemmler, Justin, other “historical” enemies)

Look at it this way.
The entire council banded together to kill Kemmler.

All the Wardens did, and the Senior Council, and several of the more responsible/combat-capable wizards who weren’t either of the former (like Ebenezar, Klaus the Toymaker, and the Germans).  But it wasn’t literally the entire Council.  Plenty of the wizards there have got precious little gift when it comes to actual combat magic–like Ancient Mai.  Their strengths simply lie in other areas.  Others . . . just aren’t suited to it, mentally, and could probably prove to be more of a liability than an asset.  Some of them are just plain chicken.

But it was a more sizeable chunk of the Council than had, at that point, ever been all together in one place to take on /one/ guy.


They murdered, with magic.
They broke the laws. Are they all tainted?

Technically, they didn’t actually kill him with magic.  They rendered him helpless with magic and then found other ways to execute him.  (Swords are the usual.  For Kemmler, they also used guns, axes, shovels, ropes, a flamethrower, and a number of other extremes.)  It’s a semantic difference, in some ways, but an important technical distinction in others.

2006 Buzzy Multimedia Interview: (first question on video)
Okay, I just wanna say I finished reading Proven Guilty  just a while ago and I have a real quick question before the serious interview:  “Justin’s behind everything, isn’t he?”
Justin’s dead…look, look…he’s dead, he’s dead.
Dead, dead?
Jim:  He’s dead!
Very dead?
Jim:  D-E-D dead.
Are you ever gonna change your answer, dead?
Jim:  Dead.
2010 Bitten by Books Q&A:
#245 “How dead is Kemmler? About as dead as Justin, maybe?”
Oh, at least that dead.
2014 AMA
We were told in Dead Beat that Kemmler was finally killed in 1961. Looking online, I found that the Tsar Bomb (largest man-made explosion ever) was detonated on Halloween eve, 1961. Is this a coincidence, a coverup by the various authorities of the showdown that took place, or the direct result of Kemmler’s Death Curse?
You read too much. :)


Anyhow. Did we ever decide who “hired” the skinwalker? Assuming, of course, that a semidivine immortal can be “hired”.

Mab “hired” Harry, didn’t she?  Okay, it wasn’t as simple as paying in cash, but nonetheless a transaction took place, or rather, is in the process of taking place.  And Harry isn’t just some schmuck whose services are available to the highest bidder.  That said, when Mab whistled, he came running.  It’s not about money, but about a complex transfer of obligations, created over Harry’s entire lifetime, and to some degree over the lifetime of his mother.

Even in the real world, obligation is something that you run into more and more as you get older.  And something as old as the naagloshii has had a LONG time to acquire markers and to put a few of its own into circulation.

Of course there’s also the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there are some things in the world who see something like the naagloshii as cheap muscle.  And they finally noticed the annoying twit in Chicago.  8)

though in mythology a skinwalker is a human who can take animal shape

In mainstream Western academic mythology, which was mostly established at a time when everyone automatically assumed that the Native Americans couldn’t possibly have had anything original in their mythos, (and when Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show was drawing big crowds by claiming to present the “true” West) yes, a skinwalker is the same thing as a European gothic-witch/werewolf.  :D

I’d advise anyone to at least read something that was written by someone who /talked/ to a Native American at some point, though. :)  Preferably one of the Dine’, though it is not a matter of open discussion among the tribes, even today.

They aren’t the same.  They share some similar capabilities, but they are not at /all/ the same.   8)




Ick Vs Shagnasty

The biggest difference is that Shagnasty is /intelligent./  The Ick was mostly just mean.

And yeah, it wouldn’t even be a contest.  The naagloshii wouldn’t even bother to take notice of the Ick under most circumstances.  That’s something for minions to deal with, and Shagnasty is no one’s minion (any more).  If Shaggy did decide that the Ick needed personal attention, it would either nuke it from orbit or, if there was time, spend half an hour making it look stupid and hurting it for fun before executing the thing. :)

According to another thread that I read last night, my hunch about Mr. Ferro hiring Shagnasty appears to be incorrect.  There’s a WoJ stating that the person/thing/organization that hired him has been talked about, but we haven’t yet seen her/him/it/them onstage.  The quote didn’t provide a date, but it was obviously after TC and before GS.

Actually, my original statement in this thread has been wildly misinterpreted. :)

Shagnasty and his ilk (I love that word) don’t minion for anyone, is what I said, at least not since they stopped minioning for the Holy People.

Now they /do/ trade favors.  That can look a lot like minioning, but something like Shagnasty has no use whatsoever for paltry things like money or physical goods or slaves or magical gadgets or tech or human influence.  That stuff, it would regard as insulting if it was offered.

The real currency is /favors/.  And it had a mission while it was onstage in Turncoat.  But honesty, just hurting the people who were trying to protect and aid Morgan was more than enough motivation for it to be there.

See, the flipside to the major currency being favors is that there is also an enormous trade in /grudges/.  And something like the naagloshii doesn’t just carry a grudge.  It cherishes it, feeds it before it cares for its own progeny, and breeds it with other grudges to produce newer, stronger, more deeply malicious grudglings.

Yes, Shaggy was there at the behest of someone else.  But mostly Shaggy was there because it was an awesome way to torment more-than-merely-mortals who couldn’t just smack his ass down like the folks back at home. :)  It didn’t flee LtW because it was afraid it would lose.  It fled because it couldn’t easily /win/.  That’s an important distinction.

Most predators tend to take the sure thing whenever they possibly can.  Why gamble on taking a beating when you have infinite time to come back later and kill someone properly, with lots and lots of foreplay? :D

2009 Independence signing:
Q:  Will we run into whoever hired the skinwalker? 
A:  They have been mentioned, but they’ve not yet been onscreen.
Q:  How and why did the skinwalker take Thomas? 
A:  Thomas was distracted by Binder’s minions and the skinwalker saw the opportunity.  It knew that Thomas is important to Harry, but not necessarily that Thomas is Harry’s brother.  The skinwalker exists in more than one dimension at a time and it has its own kind of intellectus when it comes to evil – it knows what will hurt you and scare you, even though it may not really know why.  It took Thomas because he knew it would hurt and scare Harry.  How it tortured Thomas wasn’t part of any direction it was given to turn Thomas back into a monster, it was done because the skinwalker knew what would hurt Thomas and torment him, more than just physically.

Ferrovax and Dragons

2009 WoJ forum post:
6. ferrovax – is this because he’s the OLDEST dragon? (i thought it was an empty boast) or because he’s a dragon?
Ferrovax feels absolutely no need to boast.  It’s because he /is/ a Dragon, large D, an elemental force of the cosmos.  He isn’t some kind of Smaug hanging around a nice apartment.  He’s a Dragon in a more Asian sense of the concept, a semi-divine being who was once given authority over various portions of the mortal universe, and who was responsible for their orderly procession.  There /are/ Smauglike dragons (though not nearly as many now as there have been in the past, thanks George!) but they are essentially nothing but emissaries and servitors created in the image of the real thing.
Regardless of big D or little d, dragons almost universally resent humanity for usurping the balance of power in the world.
2009 Independence signing
Q:  Will we see Ferro again? 
A:  Yes, he’ll be back for the apocalyptic trilogy.
2010 Bitten by Books Q&A:
#189 “Was Sirothrax a major dragon like Ferrovax or a minor dragon?”
He was the real deal, though he was in some ways the weakest of the remaining great dragons.
Ferrovax wouldn’t have given a damn about some nobody minor dragon being slain. :)
#228 “Is the Eldest gruff ever going to make another appearance? And in a match of Him and Lea vs Ferrovax, who would you bet on?”
Ferrovax would crush them both, if they had time to get ready, got to pick the time and place, and pulled out every resource at their disposal. It would be brief and brutal, like watching Tyson in his prime, when the fights were all 30 seconds long, except replacing his opponent with a 15 year old blind girl.
There’s just no comparison, there. Lea and Elder gruff are deadly beings. But Ferrovax is a force of nature. MAB would be loathe to take on Ferro, at least head-on.
2011 NYC Signing Q&A
When are we going to hear more about drakes and dragons?
like Ferrovax? Ferrovax will probably come in real late in the case books and we might see some dragon action about that. I’ve got a good idea for it and it is suitably cool.  But we’ll get there at some point. I hope so. I’ll be terribly disappointed if it isn’t, and (little fake shake to his voice) everyone will yell at me on Twitter.
2011 Atlanta Signing
You mentioned that Mister Ferro won’t be back until the Apocalyptic Trilogy, right? [Jim: Probably not.] Will we see other dragons before that?
A: How many dragons do you guys want? [audience: “All of them!”] Actually, we’re darn close.  There’s only like three or four of them left in the world. Which is why killing one is kind of a big deal. Also, its going to totally upset all kinds of things if that happens.  So: of course. You can’t just go ‘I slew a dragon!’ ‘Greaaaaat. You did what?  You did what?’ That’s the kind of reaction you garner, especially from people who are defenders of the status quo, which is pretty much everyone.
2014 AMA
1) What ever happened to Siriothrax’s hoard? Did any of the magical powerups in the series we’ve seen so far originate there?
1) Heh, it’s still right where it was. NO ONE wants to pick up anything from a Dragon’s hoard. Talk about Death Curses…
The other dragon still walking the earth is named Pyrovax
Once & Future Podcast @~60m
Dragons are the kind of forces that you put in charge of things like..
“It’s time for another ice age, you- go handle that.”
“We really need this continent to be split by a giant river, arrange it.”
That’s the kind of thing that Dragons would be doing
2016 DF Reddit podcast Q&A
What did Ferrovax receive at Bianca’s party?
He got gold and gems.  Not like a ton, it was several million dollars worth.
Was it infected?
Come on!  Please.

The Outer Gates and Beyond

This posits the question.  Besides are reality and nevernever on the other side of the veil, is there anything else?  If nevernever is the biggest place, does it encompass all that isn’t our world, our reality?  I was assume no because I don’t think that Mordite (the stuff that the Archive brought to the duel) comes from Nevernever, but from outside everything.

 Remember that everything Harry tells you is from Harry’s point of view. :)  As far as Harry knows, that’s the way it is–with the clarification that yes, there is an Outside (where Outsiders originate) and it is a Very Bad Place.  The mordite is, quite simply, matter from the Outside.

I’m not saying “that’s all there is, there ain’t no more.”  But as far as Harry knows at this point in the books, that’s pretty close.


2010 Bitten by Books Q&A:
#413 “In the Dresdenverse, was HP Lovecraft On To Something like Bram Stoker, or was he just an author with a thing for odd adjectives?”
He was onto something. And, like Stoker, it got him killed. :)
2010 Powell’s books Q&A off of Youtube @1:10
Exactly what are the Outsiders?  Are they like the fae, or are they something else entirely?
They are something else entirely.  All the fae are part mortal.  There is some bit of mortal in every single one of the fae.  The Outsiders are something that comes from way beyond that.  They’re more the generic Hellboy fangs and tentacles crowd.
2015 Grid Daily interview
The Gate seems like something that, if it didn’t start with a consciousness, would develop it over time.  Is that the case?
It probably is, but the consciousness of an inanimate object like that is mostly like that of a mountain.  “I AM HERE.”  And it’s just increasingly aware of its here-ness.  The Gate actually exists very differently than what Harry saw, but that’s how Harry has to interpret it because it’s far out in the Nevernever.  Your mind has to put things into terms it can understand or you go squirrely.  Harry’s got a very good mind for reducing things to simple ideas.  Which most of the Senior Council would say with a roll of their eyes.
2015 San Francisco signing (Coopersfield Books)
I’m pretty sure the outsiders are the outsiders and they just sort of look different depending on which universe they are trying to get into and destroy.


4. Fought him Three times (wind, earth, and fire met with water)

Four times.  Defeated Demonreach’s attack with water, and after that punched back with fire.

5. Gave him a name, and honored him again

Gave him a name and /blood/.

Demonreach may not be friendly to humans but he is not violent to others. All the animals on the Island are welcome and make their homes there. While he may have a dark nature, nothing on the Island is corrupt or foul.

Two of these three sentences are precisely, absolutely correct.  One of them is lethally half-right. :)

2009 Lexington signing:
Q:  Will Demonreach turn out to be good or evil?
Depends on your definition of those terms.  But Harry will regret every having set foot on that island.  Of course, Harry regrets just about anything he’s ever done.
2009 Independence signing:
Can you tell us more about the runes on the cottage and the lighthouse? 
They were not put there by Demonreach; they have been there a very long time.  They are pre-Council.  They’re a prehistoric script, actually.  Harry could have figured out the script if he’d had the comic book. NOTE: I think this has something to do with runes on a wall in Under City seen in Welcome to the Jungle
Also, people have a few things wrong about the Gatekeeper and the island.  The Gatekeeper did not hurt Demonreach.  Gatekeeper has been on the island a couple of times, and it’s never gone well, but he didn’t cause Demonreach’s limp.  That’s the work of the glacier that carved out Lake Michigan.
2011 Marscon
At what point in the series are we going to find out about Harry and the island of Demonreach?
In the last chapter of Ghost Story.
2011 Naperville Signing
How strong is Demonreach compared to Mab, Nicodemus, and all the other antagonists Harry faces?
That’s depending on where you stand. Like literally your GPS coordinates. If you’re in the right spot, don’t mess with Demonreach, and if you’re not, who cares. He’s one of those situations. If you want to go out to that island and play, you better bring your A game, is the way it works out.
2012 Reddit AMA
Sarks: What did the Gatekeeper do to Demonreach to make it hold a grudge?
Jim: 2) He focused the tank. Oh, wait, no, it’s a little more complicated than just a positive-negative situation, and while I don’t go into the specifics, yet, you get all the pieces you need in Cold Days.
2015 DragonCon
Is Loki in demonreach?
He is not in Demonreach.  There are no snakes dripping venom in there, and Norse gods are awfully literal about that sort of thing.  I don’t know if we will hear from him or not… Well by the end, we are going to get Wagnerian by the end.  Wagnerian for you opera fans.

Other Nasties

Amazing 2000 LKH fan board post Jim made about the historical Vald the Impaler

As far as I can tell it’s a reference to Dracula, which means “The son of the Dragon”. Vlad Tepes (the real one) ‘s father was known as the Dragon. and that is where it originally came from.

It might also refer to Vlad’s father himself, who was also not a cheerful, happy guy (since Vlad’s name means, literally, ‘the little dragon’). But I don’t think he got the good press agent and groupies Vlad managed. ;)

Vlad Tepish is an awfully interesting figure in history, though not horribly vampiric. In his own land, he is considered something of a national hero and powerful military leader, rather than as one of the triumverate of movie monsters primeval. He fought a guerrila warfare-based plan of battle against… heck, I forget which Empire it was. Turkey?  There was a Sultan in it somewhere. In any case, he was Eastern Christendom’s first and last line of defense against the heathen empires of the East, and he was the ruler of a comparatively tiny country on the border of a large and powerful nation.

Vlad successfully filled the power vacuum his father had left behind when he took the reins of the country (by betraying and murdering every rival noble in it, inviting them to a feast and then locking them inside it while he burned them all alive). Vlad took up a campaign of agression, guerilla tactics, and intense psychological warfare so effective that he is probably literally one of the key figures of history from that era, staving off a lifetime of assaults by eastern powers and helping the Byzantine empire to keep from falling.

But he paid for his success in blood. Unable to risk domestic dissension, Vlad had a simple domestic policy: Anyone who broke the law was impaled. Murderers, petty thieves, it didn’t matter. If you broke the law, they spit you on a pike (there were a number of pike-spitting variants) and put it in the ground, leaving you hanging up in the air until you died.

At one point, when (I think it was) a carpenter made a cabinet that had particularly pleased Vlad, he saw the man’s threadbare clothing and asked to see his wife. When she was brought to him, Vlad had her impaled while the man had dinner with him. Vlad then turned to another woman, said ‘You are now this man’s wife. See to it that he is better treated.’ Then married them while wife #1 was still shrieking out her life on the pike a few yards away.

But hey. It cut down on crime. :) At one point, one of Vlad’s nobles asserted that a virgin draped in gold could walk from one side of the country to the other in total safety. As a test of his people’s loyalty, Vlad would sometimes put a gold cup near the well at the center of town.  When he would come back for it the next day, it would be there, untouched.

And if it wasn’t, the town got impaled.

Vlad treated the Turks even worse. When a messenger forgot to take off his hat, Vlad asked him if it was nailed to his skull–at which point, his thugs nailed it to the man’s skull. Rather than following the common practice of taking and ransoming prisoners, Vlad simply impaled them. At one point, when Vlad’s forces had defeated the vanguard of a Turk army being led by the Sultan himself, Vlad impaled more than thirty /thousand/ enemy soldiers, leaving them hanging along the road towards his lands, on either side of the road. They stretched out, according to Turkish records, as far as the eye could see on either side of the road and forward, and the road stank of the rotting bodies and was haunted by the groans of those not
yet dead.

Reportedly, the Sultan rode less than an hour before the quote: “What kind of a monster is he?” was historically attributed to him. He took his army
and went home.

Eventually, though, word of Vlad’s seeming insanity and atrocities reached the Christian nations he was defending, and he was decried by pretty much everyone. After fifteen or twenty years, he fell from power, was locked into a tower cell, and eventually died of pneumonia or something. Stock in impaling-pike manufacturers plummeted.

Vlad is buried at a shrine maintained in honor of his memory in Romania today. Legend would have it that his grave is empty, and that his bloodthirsty ghost still occasionally walks the land, looking for wandering travellers to lift up on pikes, and watering the mountains of his beloved Romania with the blood of her enemies.

(Our Mad Bibliographer will doubtless correct me on the little details–I /think/ it was the Turks, there was definitely a Sultan in there somewhere–but that’s the history of the man as I remember, and it’s reasonably accurate to what has been recorded.)

So. Enjoy your breakfasts, everyone. ;)


2010 DragonCon (first question in vid)
Where did the “Ick” come from?
I needed a monster that fit that outline.  And then I looked up enough old Mayan words to find the word for “dark” and the word for “eater,” and “Ik’k” was dark and “uox” was eater.  I just put it together from that, “Ik’k’uox.”  The heartbeat getting louder thing, I’m sure I read that in a game book somewhere, it mighta been chill had a monster that way.  I really loved it that you could hear its heart beating so loud that you could hear it getting close.  So I kinda put it together on the fly, that one.  Like “I need a monster that does this and is like that, Ok. Alright.  Now quick, go and find a good excuse for what to name it.  And then figure out how to pronounce it.  And then forget how to pronounce it because Dresden’s just gonna to call it the Ick.
2011 Bitten by Books Q&A
Will we be seeing Drakul at any point?


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