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The Dresden Files Book Club - August - Storm Front

Discussion in 'The Dresden Files' started by Josh, Aug 1, 2016.

  1. Josh

    Josh Second Year

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    Welcome to the First probably book club for The Dresden Files on the Dark Lord Potter Forums.

    Please use this thread to discuss Storm Front. Again I want to thank you all for taking the time to try and read the whole series in just a few short months. This is going to be epic.
     
  2. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    OK so I guess I'll start, I read Storm Front over the weekend and actually enjoyed it a lot more than I did the first two times around, maybe because I was being especially vigilant for deeper details or because last time i read Storm Front was before Changes I think. With all the world building done since then I feel the universe is richer and that ripples back to all the older books.

    Before I start with quote and notes from my reading I will say a few general points.

    You can very much tell this was Jims first book, his writing is a lot less refined, it is rather formulaic (I can almost see him checking "How to structure a novel" in certain parts).

    The one thing that stuck me very hard in this book, and from memory it is in a few other books but does get a lot less as time goes by. Dresden seems in parts a very self insert character, the part more than any other is his "I have old school values and treat woman like they should be treated". I cringed in the 3-4 places it was shown, the latter books have a few bits like this, or the uber nerd references (Star Trek mind palace, Lord of the Rings chat in Changes), but this for me is the most agregious. But then again, considering it is shown strongly here and lesser in each book, it does go towards Dresden growing as a adult (In this book he is 24/25).

    Over all I enjoyed the plot a lot more than I remember, I think everyones talk about the first few books being the worst had skewed by memory of them.

    Now for the quotes and observations:-

    This has been brought up before by many poeple, but it is very telling than quite leterally the first thing we get in the books is his full name, given my himself, this book states several times the power in names, a theme which is expanded on during the series.

    Also this book is written in the first person, as the series is, but once or twice latter on I see it slip.

    Are we supposed to believe this is his journal/memoirs that he wrote at the time, or much latter? I had always assumed it was essentailly his journal written at the time but at times it seems he is talking backwards.

    His mail in the first chapter, here and in another place he mentions his landlord and his appartment complex with numerous tenants, where latter we see its just him and two other elderly tenants.

    An example story details changing, not unreliable narrative so much as just retconing?

    Ties back to the giving of his first name.

    As I said at the start, this combined with several other points like it are some of the worst in the series for me.

    This I think is one of the most important lines, I think this is a key example of unreliable narrator. I think we have a WOJ that Harry has some fundamental flaws in his understanding of magic and some things, some have been resolved or refined already, some are yet to come.

    I think this is a big one. I think what Harry thinks of magic here is just quite simply wrong, or at least not the whole picture, infact in Deadbeat we learn for a fact its not the whole picture.


    Like above, here I think he is wrong, maybe its true of him, but its not a universal truth.


    Ha well we know for a fact this is wrong, and considering when he meets with Bianca he says he has never seen a vampire before, this is a rather ignorant statement to make.

    I wonder if this is just him putting humans on a pedistal, or deliberate misinformation given to him by McCoy who is said it hate vampires and who had him for a few years.

    Our first example of a soul gaze. Latter we learn the secret, which I always found odd, this man must have some serious blood on his hands, some for more cold blooded than what happened here.

    Also his reaction to Harry is the most calm we get.



    Here we go. Given what we know about the grand conspiracy, what we know about Nemesis and that this is seemingly a part of it. I think this sentence is important.

    Victor was apparently a True Mage, powerful, natural, but untrained. He didnt get into it until latter.

    Victor somehow, someway got into magic, got training and was given access to knowledge far beyond what we would assume he would get any other way. Someone from the Black Council was helping him.

    Who?

    He wasnt a orphan, but seemed to hate or distance himself from his family, similar to Harry.

    Also he used the power of stroms for his magic, lighting and storms, the domain of Odin, also the domain of the Faery courts, It was spring, where the power changes from Winter to Summer.

    We have very little to go on so far, but someone trained and gave Victor knowledge, all we have to go on is the nature of that knowledge, shadows, lust, rage, a demons name and lighting powered exploding hearts like the one used by the Red Court.

    I dont think its the red court as we know Bianca didnt support this and she got her marching orders from up high.

    Odin seems unlikely.

    The White Court King is a maybe, he is local, knows magic and seems to be in on the darkside.

    No one else fits nicely into these powers and knowledge that I can think of.


    A few things on the killer Scorpion. The only Mage we have seen use magic constructs is Ancient Mai...

    The scorpion is native to the American South west, Listen-To-Winds stomping ground...

    Also Dresdens inability to tell if its magic seems odd, surely he should be able to sense if its magical or not?


    First mention of Third Eye which Victor Shadowman was making, we know the exploding hearts become relivant latter, I think this may as well.

    It is by far the most impressive sort of potion we have ever seen, doing something Harry thought impossible infact, although thats not saying a lot at this early stage.

    But since we know it does infact give the thrid eye, that supermarket is indeed going to blow up, sounds like something Dresden would do? Although I cant remembe him burning down a supermarket...


    Someone else mentioned this, but year, seems like a big deal. Maybe this is one of the things that lead to the signing of the accords we are revisiting in Peace Talks?

    Ok this annoyed me, here and in another place we have examples of a circle, broken or covered by something and still working. That simply should not be te case. And in this very book he says how important it is to have a clean circle.


    Recipe for the Escape potion. Jim said the reason Harry doesnt use them as much or at all anymore is because he used them as a crutch, and as he got more confidence in his powers he needed them less, would also explain whywe dont see older Wizards using them.

    The love potion was Tequilla, Ground diamond or cut up money, chocolate, perfume, a burnt page of a romance novel and a sigh from a jar, shredded lace, candle light.


    Unreliable narrator or Harry just being ignorant. Morgan is closer to 100 than 50.

    Also Morgan knows his true name. Maybe he was forced to give it at his trial, as it seems unlikely he would give it away for any other reason.

    Also he says Morgan was about as tall as he is. Now its not until much much latter than we get his true height, only that he is very tall, so I imaged him a few inches above 6 foot. Which seems fair, but latter he hear he is pushing 6 foot 8, which we know Morgan isnt. I think this is just a case of Jim tweaking numbers as he goes.


    The moment Harry learns one of his greatest bits of knowledge, is all seriousness, with out that bit of knowledge, the series would be a vastly different place.

    We learn why Harry is on probabtion, and that the First law at least is not cut and dry, you can kill in self defence. Which seems odd, if killing corrupts, killing in self defence is just as bad as killing for fun.


    Following on from the earlier quote. It seems Jim changed the type and style of Harrys boarding house.

    Welcome Mister.

    Another example of an imperfect ciclre, the u-bolts should destroy the circle.

    Welcome Bob.

    I'm fairly sure latter on he gets a mirror, either proving this untrue, or he finds a way to block them, which seems unlikely.

    Guy on third eye proving it is the real deal.

    This seems signifigant, if its true it will come into play latter on, maybe when the Black Council fuck around the the Trilogy or somewhere else.

    Also didnt the Grey Council have 13 members at the Red Court smack down?

    Or Harry could just be wrong... again.

    Here we have two things wrong.

    Eitehr Bob can throw something through the circle which would break it and allow the Demon to kill them, or as a spirit with our will he can't. We know spirits from the Never Never like Binders and Demons cant break a circle, so how does Bob do this? If he can do this, the demon can pick up a table and throw it at Harry.

    Latter on we get Harry throwing the little film canister through Shadowmans circle instantly ruining the spell...


    Showing that Victor wasnt that well trained. Also that Harry knows of these things and that they apparently exist,


    Harry as unreliable narrator again? Latter on we learn a little more of the sight, that it is different for everyone ect.

    Once again, what Harry knows or believes?


    This is very interesting. We see the corrupting power of Black magic, the hold it has on Harry already.

    Also we see the amulet. Do we think that it is simply a calming force, or did his mother instill some special force onto it, to help him resist?

    What are we supposed to thinkof the femine hand? Is it just his personal perception, or something greater?

    This makes we think it is something more than just a calming influence, either his mother or his faery god-mother did something.

    Reinforcing what we know of Victor.

    Such a small line with so much potential, this is what makes ne think this is writen quite long after the fact, it is one of the very few places the narrative is not in the present tense.

    The ingredients for Third eye.

    Absenthe seems logical.

    What grabs my attention.

    Peyote, yet another tie to Listen-To-Winds home town. Other substances cause hallusinations, muchrooms jump to mind and are more European, I think it telling that he uses something so enheriently Native American.

    Also... Anti Freeze... the opposite of Winter? The guardians of the outer gates?

    The Alum is a odd choice as Alum can be used in many things, it makes blood clot, it is used to purify water, its used as a deoderant, it can be used as a preservatice in pickling, a flame retardant which is especially ironic although like the antifreeze it block one of the faery courts.

    Glitter? No idea why.

    He must of had a reason for these ingredients as early he spent a chapter on potions, how to make them and what they do. So I think here is a rather big clue.

    So who ever taught him this spell used an ancient language. In Turn Coat the Phone Binder gives Harry has number in it for a phone from Egypt in it. the only connection I can think of. Its not etruscan which goes towards ruling out the White King.

    I doubt Victor knows to much about Harry himself, so it seems someone told him this, someone who had considered converting Harry and realised he couldnt... Justin?



    Well thats all the points of interest I found while reading. I went in order to how they appeared in the book rather than grouping them in terms of their relation to the story.

    Like I said, I enjoyed the story a lot more this time and really enjoyed reading it in detail. Looking forward to the other books now.
     
  3. Josh

    Josh Second Year

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    Two things I wanted to ask about from your post.

    1. You think Listens-to-wind is a possible dark council bad guy? You've pointed out just a few things so far that point fingers at him. So is someone framing the guy all the way back in book 1, or is he evil.

    2. Margaret's Amulet. I can totally see her imbuing the amulet with something of her presence. Is that such a hard thing for a wizard to do? He called it a "ancient sign of white wizardry," If anything were to be imbued against dark magic this would be it. A sudden weight, the feeling of a feminine hand forcing him to grasp the amulet, even a whiff of perfume.

    I don't remember too many times something like this happened, but it feels vaguely like reading about him sitting with his dad around a fire in his mind to me. I doubt there is any long-reaching story mechanism here, just a cool moment where he was able to regain his control.
     
  4. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    I'm not sure on Listens To Wind, I would assume he is not bad by his character in general. But we know there are people high up who are double agents. Everyone is possible and I was just looking for clues to who it might be. The fact his people were wiped out would leave him with a lot of rage.

    The amulet, I think it is likely infused somehow with something, but I think at that moment something bigger, or more specific was happening.
     
  5. Josh

    Josh Second Year

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    It may have been Uriel. The adversary could have been taking an interest in Harry early on. It's clear that for Angelic beings time means nothing. They don't think linear. It's possible that an angel made sure he had time to make a choice. I don't know.
     
  6. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    It's possible but I doubt it. The Angels don't play around willy-nilly. We usually see them balancing the board.
     
  7. Josh

    Josh Second Year

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    So then the most likely story is Lea, except I don't think she would care if he went dark. His mother would have had to make it part of her bargain for it to matter to lea. I doubt it was her doing, most probably some whisper of Margaret's power was activated. I don't remember any other instances exactly like this one in the rest of the books.
     
  8. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    I think it could be Lea. And I'm pretty sure she doesn't want him dark as that way leads to madness, and they need him.
     
  9. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    There is another option that we saw in Changes; the goblin who slunk away from the Erlking's hall. This kind of spell would tick a good few boxes in the Wyldfae methodology, a goblin's especially.
     
  10. Josh

    Josh Second Year

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    Aekiel, it's your responsibility to go over this tidbit when we get to changes :sherlock:
     
  11. LittleChicago

    LittleChicago Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    My re-read got off to a slow start - I was out of town with The Wife this weekend - so I'm only a couple chapters in. The only realization I've had is that I really miss Dresden having an office and taking clients. The whole PI angle was a lot of fun, and honestly was part of the reason I picked the series up in the first place.

    There's an echo of this in the more recent books, once he takes up the Mantle, in the sense that he could be construed as a PI on Mab's retainer. But being freelance, there were just so many storytelling possibilities. I've read quite a few fics that start with Harry getting a call or already working a case. It's just a great hook.

    Anyway, only other thing I've noticed is that Dresden's temper is even closer to the surface than it is later on, which I guess is just good long-term characterization.

    In terms of the writing quality... Jim is skipping over chunks of dialogue, having Dresden explain the conversation that happened instead of actually running through it.

    I've dropped a long rant about telling versus showing in another thread, but the gist of it was DON'T FUCKING DO THAT.

    One other thing that will probably come up later when the scorpion makes its appearance: Jim has said a few times in Q&As that Murphy isn't a protagonist in the first two books, but rather a minor antagonist; she exists to be a stumbling block.

    I have a feeling that's part of the reason her character is so awful in this book. She's inconsistent and basically emotionally unstable, doing only what is required to make Dresden's life more difficult. I simply don't like her in this book, and that's saying something, since long-term she and Thomas are my favourite secondary characters.
     
  12. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    Well I agree she is obviously unlink able from our point of view. Taking a step back she is perfectly professional and objective in this case.

    Now as readers we know she is wrong, but from where she is standing, if anything she hasn't done enough to stop Dresden killing again.
     
  13. Josh

    Josh Second Year

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    I love Murphy. Seeing her like this, it really hits home that it's all Harry's fault that their relationship is like this. He talks about getting a good feel for her, and knowing her pretty well. If that's true then he's lying to himself. He should know that without all the information reguarding the white council, the fae, and anything else he's dealing with Murph is going to end up treating him like a bad guy.

    Again, if he'd explained everything early on we'd have had cool understanding Karrin from the Getgo, but this is honestly more entertaining and great for building her character.
     
  14. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    But Dresden does have a point, he would be putting her in danger by simply telling her.

    Ironically in the start of Fool Moon we see her doing exactly the same thing to him, not telling him stuff to protect him, and her.

    So while her actions are understandable, so are his somewhat.
     
  15. Josh

    Josh Second Year

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    I had a slow start as well LittleChicago, but right now I'm in the pub with Harry and Mac. I really want a steak sandwich and some ale.

    Enter Mac, the Watcher, the guy who's "out."

    Mischievous Grin huh! I wonder why Jim, probably because he's some old god or something?

    Jim always says to research things to try and figure out where he came up with story ideas. I think someone said they thought Mac was Heimdal. He could Also be Aegir. Hell Aegir could be just another mantle for Heimdal to wear. From what I'm reading, I am beginning to think whomever said this was the real identity of Mac, they are right. The watcher for Ragnarok but decided to quit and let the Fae take over? I dunno.

    If we liken Ragnarok to the outsider's breaching our world... hm. It's all speculation at this point though. I've been looking up Norse gods and alcohol, and things are kinda matching up for me... :sherlock:
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
  16. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    If he gave up his mantle, who picked it up? The gate keeper?
     
  17. Josh

    Josh Second Year

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    I don't know if mortals can take a god's mantle (beyond using the dark hallow, which by any means isn't the same thing as taking power from a norse god that could see and hear as far and wide as he could. Seems like he might've had to die to pass that on, yet he's still tending bar. :confused:
     
  18. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    Just thinking back to Harry's apartment, they always said it was kinda small.

    But he has the basement the the whole boarding house, shouldn't his square footage be fairly massive?
     
  19. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Depends on whether the basement was sectioned off into separate apartments as well Could be there's another guy living in a mirror image of Harry's basement on the other side of the wall.
     
  20. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    Nope, in multiple places he says he has basement all to himself, on top of that we learn there are only two other tenant. 1 widow who owns the place and a elderly couple.

    Also he clearly states he has those small sunken Windows on all 4 walls which means the basement is at least the same footprint as the whole house.