There is this wizard, you may have heard of him. I mean, he is in the book and all, AND he is the only professional wizard in Chicago, so you shouldn't have that hard of a time finding him. You can also find him in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. We here at H&H have talked before about why Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden happens to be pretty great Boyfriend material. Even though his chosen profession may not be all that easy. But what about the series makes it great for Romance readers?
That question is surprisingly easy to answer, really. Because even though Harry's life is incredibly hard and Harry really isn't someone to be all that envious of in terms of living a life free of stress, he is surrounded by love of all kinds. So, dear romance readers, why should you read The Dresden Files? It's all about the love, of course.
Michael and Charity Carpenter
You can't really talk about The Dresden Files romances without mentioning Michael and Charity. Michael and Charity are the closest to a fairy tale romance as you can get in Urban Fantasy. For Pete's sake, the man is a Knight and saved his wife from the clutches of an evil dragon! They are the comfortably and successfully married friends that Harry has and he would do anything to preserve the happiness the two share. He has even been known to throw himself upon the sword (yep, I went there) when he feels that he is needlessly endangering one or both Carpenters.
Michael is one of three legendary knights of the cross. Each knight wields a sword forged from one of the three nails used to crucify Christ. Michael's sword is named Amoracchius and has a bit of storied past. A carpenter by trade, Michael is often “called” away by...the powers that be, for certain emergencies. Charity is a housewife, devout Catholic, and master blacksmith. She has a kind of strained relationship with Harry, but she knows he is one of Michael's best friends. Michael and Charity are a constant in Harry's life, and he probably wouldn't have survived half of his “cases” if not for the intervention of one or both of them.
Thomas Raith and Justine
Where Michael and Charity are the most idyllic relationship in Harry's life, Thomas and Justine are perhaps the most tragic. Thomas is the son of Lord Raith, leader of the White Court of Vampires. The thing about the White Court is that they are a kind of psychic vampire that feeds off of human emotion, and the Raith family in specific feeds off of lust. Being from a family that is essentially Succubi and Incubi, Thomas is insanely good looking and has a natural ability to make himself supernaturally irresistible to anyone in a room. Thomas's longtime food source is Justine.
Initially just another club girl-turned-food source, Justine and Thomas slowly grew to really appreciate and love one another, moving beyond the addictive nature of being fed on by a White Court Vamp and into genuine affection. The problem is that true love is pretty much deadly acid to a member of the White Court. When a member of the White Court makes any kind of skin-to-skin contact with an individual that is truly in love, no matter the person that happens to be the target of that feeling, they get horribly burned. So you can imagine that it would get a little frustrating having your primary food source being in love with you. Despite the whole burny-touch thing, Thomas remains hopelessly devoted (boom, Grease reference +10 points) to Justine, and just like Michael, Thomas has saved Harry's bacon more than once. And Harry has brought Thomas down from going full-on creature of the night a time or two by keeping the reluctant vampire focused on what matters most.
Harry Dresden and…
So where does that leave Mr. Dresden? It seems that his two closest friends and wingmen are pretty settled when it comes to finding a significant other but what about the main man himself? Well, that is a bit of a story. Harry has had a few opportunities at happiness, and they very rarely work out.
Elaine was Harry's first real love. A fellow wizard for hire, Elaine and Harry met when they both were students of Harry's uncle Justin DuMorne. Being a teenage guy and girl working in a closed and very close environment, things predictably happened. But Justin, being not quite that stand-up of a wizard, attempted to use the relationship that developed between Elaine and Harry against Harry, hoping to turn him to black magic like himself. Harry was able to defeat Justin and free Elaine from his influence but their relationship was irrevocably changed, until of course Elaine showed back up in Harry's life, helping him set up a national network designed to assist minor magic users…
Susan is a normal, non-supernatural human who met Harry while working for a small-time local Chicago newspaper called The Midwestern Arcane. Harry and Susan developed a kind of Lois Lane/Superman relationship, Harry being the man behind all of Susan's big paranormal scoops. Their relationship looked like it was one for the history books right up until Susan was turned by the Red Court of Vampires. Susan quickly left town, hoping to find a cure for her new condition, signaling that her's and Harry's relationship may be at an end. But then, any relationship where your boyfriend is willing to start the magical equivalent of a World War to defend you isn't ever really over—is it?
Molly is many things. She is a wizard new to her powers, Harry's apprentice and “padawan,” and the 18 year-old daughter of Michael and Charity. Needless to say, Harry is terrified of this relationship. Molly's love for Harry is a bit unrequited, which is certainly reasonable. Harry is scared of getting any where near one of his best friend's daughters. Knowing that there is nothing he can do to discourage Molly's feelings, Harry has accepted the fact that the girl is an adult and can make her own choices. But the question is, will Harry ever feel the same way?
Karrin is a cop's cop, and Harry's primary employer during his lean times. They have a bit of a rough beginning, going no more than professional in their interactions. But over time, Harry and Karrin come to rely upon one another the same way that Harry relies on Thomas and Michael. Even though the two have agreed that it would best to keep their relationship safely in the friend zone, Harry constantly wonders what would happen if they just took that leap. We are yet to see them take that step, which ensconces Karrin and Harry as Urban Fantasy's unofficial Moonlighting couple.
There you have it, the various relationships that drive Harry Dresden through most, if not all, of his cases. The questions remaining are, will anyone get a truly happy ending before this whole thing is over with? And, who do you think Harry is going to wind up with?