Feb 14 2013 1:00pm

Hell’s (Wedding) Bells, Harry: The Romance of The Dresden Files

Storm Front by Jim ButcherThere 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.

White Night by Jim ButcherThomas 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 Mallory

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…

Cold Days by Jim ButcherSusan Rodriguez

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 Carpenter

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 Murphy

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?


Christopher Morgan works for and You can find him on twitter as c_morgs65.

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Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
Now that things are heating up in the Dresdenverse, figuring out who will be Harry's HEA, if anyone, is difficult. I used to think Murphy would be it, but now I'm not so sure. I can't wait to find out, though.
2. Torifl
I don't think he'll end up with anyone. *sigh*
Heather Martin
3. CrystalMirror
Harry is my literary crush. He might end up w/ Murphy. Butcher says the ending of the series is not going to be pretty.
Christopher Morgan
4. cmorgan
Well, there is still that Death Curse he has to deal with. But the fire-side chat he had with his dad in one of the books has me hopeful. I didn't include Lash, who was one of the more interesting love interests Harry has had. I'm kind of hoping that she makes a return.

I personally have never been partial to the idea of him being with Murphy. I like the raport the two have as friends. Of the one's I addressed I prefer Elaine. We will see if Butcher is going to give ol' Harry a mutch needed break though...

@Torifl shame on you for wishing poor Harry ill. If Thomas can make it work by god Dresden can.
5. jsmom2
I loved him with Luccio. She was really more his equal in both experience and power than any of the others. And while it wasn't real for her, it was very real for him. The scene where they say goodbye is heartbreaking.

I had Molly pictured more in her mid-twenties by now. While she will always be Michael's little girl to Harry, I really do see her as being the best fit for Harry in the long run, especially with the most recent developments.

Neither Jim Butcher nor I are allowed to die before this series is finished.

I just love Harry.
Christopher Morgan
6. cmorgan
@jsmom I like Molly too. I just don't think it will ever work out. I always expected Molly to wind up with Ramirez.
7. jsmom2
@cmorgan - Good call on Ramirez, I've had the same thought; but, wow, this last book was a game changer.

really great post, thanks!
8. Torifl
@cmorgan LOL I don't wish him ill, I just don't forsee Butcher giving him a traditonal HEA. I honestly see him giving his life in a "save the world-protect the cheerleader" kind of way. :)
Lindsay Beeson
9. lindsayb
I love this series. It's one of my favorites. I think you did a great job describing it without giving away spoilers!
Christopher Morgan
10. cmorgan
Thanks Lindsayb! With how great this series is and how awesome the events are I was really worried about giving away some of the more...interesting developments.
Liz Semkiu
11. Liz Semkiu
Jim Butcher loves to torture Harry, but I hope at some point Harry will get his HEA and I hope it is Murphy. I love this series!
12. pflores
I have a sinking feeling that Harry will end up with Murphy. It's always been Murphy. But I HATE her. Sure she's kick-ass in a fight, and she's a real ball-busting friend (when she feels like it), but I cannot get over how they started out. She was SUCH a jerk. I would love for Molly to have a shot at the prize, but Harry has to suffer and he will suffer with Murphy. Damn it!
13. Shark with Lasers
Oh I heart Harry Dresden! Thank you for highlighting him. This being an Urban Fantasy series, I expect he'll be a serial monogamist throughout the books. But I kinda hope he winds up with Karrin in the end (if an end should have to occur).
Christopher Morgan
14. cmorgan
I'm with pflores, I just don't care as much for Karrin. If I had to pick I'd go with Molly. However. I fear you and Liz may be right Shark, Butcher just loves to torture Harry too much.
15. KnightOwl
I beleive he will end up with Molly. Because both are now in the Winter Court as Knight And Queen.
19. sybilla
well... not Murphy certainly - tthey are too different. And you cannot think of every woman Harry had sex with to be one of his love-interests.

I think Harry will die in the end and he will find Susan in some sort of afterlife. So Murphy, Molly, etc - fuck off :)
Christopher Morgan
20. cmorgan
Sybilla, I'm REALLY hoping you're wrong. Like I said before, I know Harry would sacrifice himself in a heartbeat, but I really want that guy to catch a break.
21. sybilla
I liked Susan most.
Saddest story indeed, some wrong choises yes (we all do them, so no criticising unless you are saint!), but still.

So, in my, not so humble opinion, she is the one (still IS, where-ever her soul is).

(And yes, I believe she did not lose her soul when she turned into full-fledged red-court vampire. She was still "herself" when Harry "used the knife".)

At the same time, I am sure Harry needs a substitute. It's a big bleeding wound in his heart and trying to cover it would only be his natural self-defence - every normal human (even wizards, I suppose :) ) tries to avoid most painful and heartbreaking memories. To shut them. For a time being.

Hence Murpy - I am sure they will try it out. It may even last for some time - misery loves company and there's a lot of compassion between them.
As you said, Harry constantly wonders what would happen if they just took that leap - again, it is only natural for male-female FRIENDS to have those thoughts "what if". But that is not the same as true love.

Others ... it is funny to consider Molly or Elaine. It is more realistic that, if it won't be Murphy, he might find someone new (whom we do not know yet - there's still many books to be written) for a substitute.

As for Harrys death - I did not think of it in a bad way. Don't let me be misunderstood, I would like Harry to have a happy life as You do - but considering all, happiness is very unlikely. What we want is, sadly, irrelevant, because as you know - Jim Butcher loves to torture Harry. Death might be much less bad than You think. It might even be the best possible solution given the circumstances - but we will not know until we read and think about it;)

PS: Please pardon my not-so-fluent English. And thumbs up for Harry.
22. reycb
Harry should get it on with Murphy... they have a limited time for romance because she's an ordinary mortal. Molly and Elaine, both being wizards, would yet live for hundreds of years so hopefully, they would still get their chance. I'm rooting for Elaine though because I like the idea that one's first love is also one's HEA...
P.S. I wouldn't mind a few more Harry and Lara Wraith encounters... When they meet, there's no romance... but the sexual tension!
23. Anon
Know this is a zombie thread (lulz)
New to the series, read the first 7 in a week, which in hindsight is pretty masochistic (if you like Harry or Susan). It absolutely is an open wound and as soon as it just barely starts to scab over, a fresh blade is plunged in and twisted.

Agree with sybilla, favorite is Susan. Also, Agree with Afterlife comment too; in my book that counts as a happy ending and an appopriate way to end the series. I might be delusional, but I'm still hoping for a happy ending. Harry can suffer every page at increasingly levels so long as in the end it's works out for those 2. The relief will be that much sweeter. Harry is no saint, so let him suffer, if for nothing more than giving up on a search for a cure too easily, you don't have to obsess but you can still work on it!!. Think about it, a cure = weapons against vampires, *sigh* no one ever claimed Harry was the brightest bulb on the strand.

The guy deserves a break at somepoint though.

I don't think Susan is blameless either, she snuck into the party, and she was obviously utilizing her powers. Sure, maybe it's just making the most of a bad situation, but she and Harry seem as dumb as a box of rocks sometimes. There WERE cures Harry just wasn't quick enough on the uptake to get unless it was spelled out for him. On top of that Harry deserved to know. I wish I could think of any passages that show those 2 were still in love before the finale.

I swear from book three to book 10 I was thinking of ways and reading how many different super powered beings or methods that might have worked. From Book 4 you know there is a magical cure; if mother winter could do it for Anything, then someone with less power could do it for a specific thing.

Plus, how is Jim Buthcer going punish Susan like that? In her most human moment fighting for her child, she loses her humanity? Her only recourse is to die to retain her humanity. I wish her last words had been more direct. Something to Harry and Maggie, but I think the subtext was there, and hey Mr. Butcher seems to really like to see Harry suffer.
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