Harry Dresden?


Dogs win, every time.
Jun 12, 2007
My original blog was suspended. The new one is loc
Just finished 'Storm Front.' Now I've got a little problem. Every review I've seen about the series, and partially from some of the characters in the book itself, there seems to be an underlining current of chauvinism. I don't understand this thinking.

If a man was willing to hold the door open for me, I'd be touched. If he pulled the chair out for me, I'd be impressed. If he thought that women deserved to be treated right, I'd snatch him up and fight any other woman off with a stick. It kind of proved to me that chivalry wasn't dead. I can't be the only woman that feels this way, can I?

What's the problem with how Harry treats women?
I read the first couple of books without concern -- I didn't consciously think he was old-fashioned in his ideas, and I just accepted it as part of his personality. However, I think it would begin to grate on me if I read much more (I stopped after the third book) and I can see where critics are coming from.

I do like to have a door opened for me -- but because I'm a human being, not because I'm a woman. I do like to be treated right, but not on a patronising "She's a little woman" way, but because as a person I'm entitled to respect. The problem with this kind of so-called chivalry is that it is seen as a way of keeping women in their place. I think I've mentioned on here before that my sister was told by a man, in all seriousness, that in his culture women were prized like rubies, and as a result they had to be kept indoors and protected ie imprisoned and treated as possessions.

Obviously, Harry isn't as bad as that, but there's still perhaps more than a hint that women are valued more for their looks and their figures, than for their brains and determination. I can't quote anything as I've given the books away, but even the cop, who is meant to be rough-tough etc, has to be small and petite and pretty, and treated as a girl by him.
Okay, just finished the second book and about halfway through the third. The problem I'm having with Harry isn't the way he treats women. It's the fact that he seems to think higher of himself than he ought to.

I'll probably continue the books, if Murphy mellows out. Her lack of trust is really grating on my nerves.
I have read nearly all the books of this series and I get ticked off with the cirticism aimed at them. These books are not meant to be anything apart from Noir.

Harry is a man out of his time, he is a self confessed anarcronism, he dosent think a woman cant do a dangerous job, he is just very protective of women. Like most people his views change, of course once you get to book five or six you will see how much Harry changes and how much he HAS to change.

I am saddened to see you gave up at book 2 Judge, they take a bit to get into the swing of the series. One has to take them as what they are supernatural noir, the story is huge and will take another 8 books to finish. Harry has female allies, strong female role models that come in later, and when you find out what Harrys back story is you realize why he is like that.
I didn't give up because of his character, Ice fyre. I did enjoy the first and second books, though I didn't think they were quite as good as I'd expected from all the praise they'd garnered, but the third left me dissatisfied. Which is perhaps strange as I've read other reviews which said it was only in the third book that the story took off. Perhaps I was looking for something different. I meant to do a review of the three of them together, but never got around to it, and I can't recall much of them now -- the brief comment I made after reading the third was that the adventures were starting to feel repetitive, and I disliked the heavy-handed use of Roman Catholicism to equate as perfect goodness in fighting evil.
Of all the books book 3 is the weakest, I felt the series hits its stride as it goes on. I understand your concern about the way the Catholic church is portrayed, but events later in the series prove the counter ballance. I would argue that the books tend to simplify things into good/evil, as I say this is Noir, Father Forthill is the tough inner city priest from Sleepers (if they filmed it I would expect Robert De Niro to get the part) They are charactures of people not believable character's. All I can say is I urge you to stick with it, give book 4 a go. If you dont like it fair enough.:D
I'd say that the early books work on the dynamic between Murphy and Dresden. She challenges him to reassess himself constantly, as a strong female character. His mother is another strong female character, though off-screen. Then there's his fairy godmother, Bianca, and Susan, who are all strong females in their own right. It's a first-person narrative, so we do get Harry's filtered view of what's going on.

As for the Catholic angle, Butcher is pulling on Catholic mythology (in particular the nails of the Crucification), so I didn't see a problem with it. I don't see that he's giving the Catholic Church the exclusive high ground for representing Good, but only as an organization with a lot of experience and protocol for dealing with certain kinds of baddies.
Do the rest of the books get better after Storm Front? For a wizard he seems pretty useless so far. He needs physical weapons and magic doesn't really help him, or so says Dresden himself. I also noticed that Harry is a bit in love with himself, is that just his character or is that a writing flaw?
The series improves steadily, biodroid. The cast of characters grows, with some great additions, and Harry changes, too, as he 'grows up' and we start getting more backstory. It keeps getting better and the last couple of books, in particular, were very good, in my opinion.
Just getting into this and am finishing up book 3 - something does feel off with this book but I feel a lot of the important back story should have been in the book and not happening off-set, so to speak. Because of that, it feels a tad detached.

I'm enjoying the series and have no problem with Harry's view of women. That's just the way he is. He's not demeaning, just being polite. I suppose you could look at it as though he's treating women differently in a negative light. I don't get that from the stories, but some might. Such is the nature of readers to project their own thoughts and feelings into a book.
read several books a few years back. I'll agree that its a niche type story, more pulp fiction than anything else. Fell off after a few books though. Seemed like he kept having the same problem, his magic/stamina runs all the way out and he's limping along in the story for a while..... Got old as it became apparent it was a common theme.
The first few books do follow a similar 'layout'... but if you chock that up to 'first time writer + first book series', you can see Jim growing as an author through the first several books. There are some stumbles and probably things Jim would do a little differently if he had the chance to write book 1 again, but it all works out and the stories get better and Harry, while he does still have 'running out of juice' problems, there are other things going on too.

The other reason the 'running out of magic' thing is a theme is b/c it's part of how Harry works. He sort of runs in, throws some big punches, then goes 'oh sh*t' when he realizes there's something else to take on after the big guy he took down. He does get a bit better at this later. =)

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