Butcher, Jim -- The Dresden Files

Eoghann

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Aug 28, 2006
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I think think the Harry Potter thing is just because his name is Harry and he's a wizard. It strikes me as a very lazy comparison really. The Raymond Chandler influence definitely seems present though.

I'm inclined to agree with the Buffy comment. I've mentioned before that the books read to me almost like a season from a tv series with larger story-arc being told over the course of the individual stories.
 

Highlander II

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Dave said:
I finally read 'Storm Front' after Highlander II's persistence.
Who me? :D


Dave said:
It was a who-dunnit in the Raymond Chandler style, and he does get beaten up and knocked out a bit, so I see the comparison. As for Harry Potter, there are wizards in the Harry Potter world who work as Aurors and search out evil wizards, so it is the kind of job Harry Potter might take when he left school. It is also a little Buffy-esque, so not surprising they had James Marsters read it.

I enjoyed it, but it's not really my thing (wizards and magic set in the present day) I never watched Buffy more than a few times. I may read the others, but from this thread book two doesn't sound that good. I'll have to read fast if I want to read them before the TV series though.

I'm not sure what the reasoning behind choosing James Marsters to read was - aside from the ladies at Buzzy really like him. :) I'm sure there was more than that - James is a talented actor and I'm almost inclined to state that he'd make a fantastic voice actor and fare better than on-screen, tho he seems to like the audience, having a theatre background. His look just doesn't seem to be as versatile as some other actors (tho that may have changed since he doesn't have to stay bleached anymore).

"Fool Moon" isn't one of the stronger novels, plus I'm not big on werewolves - one of my least favorite SFF character-types - but "Grave Peril" is DEFINITELY worth getting through FM for!

I like the 'wizards in present day' - when it's done right and Jim's done an impressive job of meshing the two in a way that works. I *like* that the 'average' person more-or-less ignores the magic and magical happenings; I *like* that Harry gets crank calls and people don't take him seriously - it makes the story more 'real'. It works in a 'Stargate' kind of way - it's all happening right under our noses, we just don't know about it b/c we don't *want* to see it.

- btw - it *is* possible to read all 8 books before January... if you can get hold of them all; though, if you don't, it shouldn't detract from enjoyment of the series, b/c they're supposedly working their own angle - tho possibly incorporating aspects of the mythology and history of the novels.


Eoghann said:
I'm inclined to agree with the Buffy comment. I've mentioned before that the books read to me almost like a season from a tv series with larger story-arc being told over the course of the individual stories.
They do seem to read that way. Plus, Jim's said that he plans for the series to be approximately 20 'casebook' novels, followed by a 3-book capstone trilogy at the end.

*keeps buying books to make sure the series reaches it's conclusion*
 

Monkey Man

The Wild One
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Aug 24, 2006
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Hmm..Harry Dresden still doesn't do it for me. The fault is probably mine. I understand the need to have 'human' characters, and that having someone who's indestructible can be boring after a while, but Harry just seems weak all the time. I find it very hard to cheer for him, because he seems so afraid whenever he comes up against a monster. I appreciate that the vampires here are not trendy GAP dressing ones like on Buffy, but surely a Wizard should be familiar with them at some point in their training.

Also, Mr. Butcher does things I find very irritaing. For example, every woman in the book is beautiful - surely not every woman. I find calling the 'other' world 'Nevernever' childish. I do think it could be a great TV show but I really thing the author needs to decide whether the book is for kids, or adults, and write accordingly. Saying that, its not easy writing books and to get a possible series on television means Mr. Butcher must be doing something right.

I feel as if there are no real cool heroes out there in the horror/sci-fi world anymore....Simon Greens Nightside series also disappoints...despite great ideas....where are the tough guys - the 80s heroes....I think I am tiring of the cry-baby heroes....like a schmuck, I'll keep on buying though...
 

Highlander II

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Harry's not 'weak' - he's just not as strong as the evil nasty things he faces. :D

Harry is also very young for a wizard in this universe. If you've read "Dead Beat" - you've seen more of Morgan, who is over 100, and the Merlin - whose age we don't know enough about to even fathom a guess, but he's old. Harry's a 'teenager' as far as his wizard powers go, and while he has a truckload of power (he's one of the 40 or 50 most powerful wizards in the world) he doesn't have the discipline to gain the proper control so that he can work things like Morgan does. Harry hasn't 'honed' his skills as well as he should and part of that could be because of his backstory.

Harry was raised by a dark wizard, taught by a dark wizard and we don't know what Justin taught him and how much, aside from the Laws of Magic, that Justin kept from him. Then, his father-figure turns out to be 'the bad guy' and he has to take him out and he's sent to stay with Ebenezer and he, essentially, has to start his training all over again.


First person - the fact that the story is told from Harry's POV is an important factor when looking at the mythology as a whole - and even just the story points. Harry's just one guy and when he goes to face a vampire or 12 or a demon tree at Wal-Mart, he's doing it on his own. He doesn't have a team to call in for back-up... not directly. Also, factor in his deep-rooted chivalrous streak and that makes for all kinds of weird things that pop into his head - he doesn't give people certain information b/c he feels he has a responsibility to make sure the wrong 'things' don't fall into the wrong hands, he protects people; he fights the good fight and gets smacked down for it at every turn by the likes of Morgan - the fact that he hasn't quit yet is astounding.

The first person thing also clues in to why the women are generally attractive -- how many 'averagely attractive' people do you remember who aren't your close friends? Harry *would* remember the 'hot demon chic' who almost took his head off a lot better than he'd remember the 'average looking woman' at the counter at the drug store - unless the average woman tried to take his head off too - then he'd remember her pretty well.

Though, I will step up and disagree that all the women are pretty - they're not. Susan, from Harry's POV is sexy and hot; Murphy he calls 'cute' - but never to her face; Charity (Michael's wife) is average, she's not unattractive, but she's not a super-model either. And, it is a distinct possibility that Harry subconsciously finds the beauty in people - he is rather prone to thinking people are inherently 'good' until they prove otherwise.

The man (Harry, that is) has problems left and right - this, however, is part of Jim Butcher's 'formula' for how things go for Harry - (the following is Jim's reply to a question from someone on the McAnally's mailing list:

Well, it's really all about adding that one extra straw to the proverbial camel's back -- insult to injury. For instance, in Storm Front, it's not bad enough that a demon shows up to kill him. It's not bad enough that Susan is there too. It's not bad enough that she gets the wrong potion and transforms into a mindless lustbunny while he's trying to save both their lives. He's got to handle it all while naked, unprepared and with shampoo dripping into his eyes. THEN it's bad enough. ;) I try to do most of Harry's crisis situations in much the same way, cause I'm gleefully sadistic when it comes to my protagonists in general.
It's just the way the stories work.

Also - (and this is getting really long, so I'm gonna stop soon, honest) - the books are only a few days in Harry's life. There's all that space between them where we don't see what he's up to - finding lost car keys, rescuing babies from trolls - where he could be finding the 'ugly' people and not getting his ass handed to him by the local demon from the sewer. :)


(( Jim's also mentioned that to grab the female portion of his audience, he has to include additional 'emotional' bits from Harry - which isn't sexist, so much as marketing. *g* ))
 

BelleMorte

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Mar 15, 2005
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well... I would be surprise if Jim didn't have more then 2 words to say!!.. knowing that when he come into his website forum and he answer a question... that guy can't stop!!..
 
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