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Ser Scot A Ellison

Dresden Files: (Spoilers) will “Mirror Mirror” be better?

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Posted (edited)

Oh awesome, you all are into Dresden Files as well.

Wonderfully enjoyable series. Very silly, but that's somehow part of what makes it such a blast.

I'm unsure why people in this thread are disappointed by the last book. I feel like the first three books were the weakest (the third book being the only Dresden book I actively dislike); then it basically hit a consistent tone of effective popcorn fun and some slick, slow burn world building.

@C.T. Phipps

I generally don't ship couples, and even in this series I'm not terribly invested on that point, but I support you in your Molly-Dresden ship. They have great chemistry, there's good tension in their interactions, and it's an interesting, dysfunctional dynamic. Dresden was her mentor, knew her from childhood, and now she is a demigod to whom Dresden is bound, and who has nearly absolute power over him. Is that a relationship I would support in real life? You bet your skippies I wouldn't. But it's fine in crazy magical Dresden land, and would make for a fun story.

The Dresden and Murphy relationship was a misfire for me. Was it much more functional than the alternatives? You bet. And dull as dishwater. Murphy was awesome as a platonic friend. As a romantic partner...all I can say is I found it a relief that she was fridged, so Butcher could move on to more interesting interactions.

The thing with Lara sounds like it could be full of cheesy goodness.

Can't wait for the next book!

Edited by IFR

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I fully predict that Alternate Murphy will be hostile and non-romantic with Harry before somehow entering the main Dresdenverse.

Thus allowing Butcher to reset their relationship.

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This would not be any different from having Murphy be replaced by Butters, Lara and that Cop whose name I forgot. Actually in my opinion it would be even worse since this would mean that all that development between Murphy and Harry since Grave Peril was utterly meaningless and that only the Murphy of the early was ultimately represents what the character is supposed to be.

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5 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

I fully predict that Alternate Murphy will be hostile and non-romantic with Harry before somehow entering the main Dresdenverse.

Thus allowing Butcher to reset their relationship.

That would be fantastic! I know people heavily invested in the Murphy romance would crushed by this turn of events, and it may very well ruin it for them. But I love the idea of all this effort in building a relationship with Murphy, all those highs and lows she and Dresden had - all reduced to memories Dresden has of her, with the prime Murphy forever dead. It would be a delightful bit of torture for poor Dresden.

And as you said, it would open up other avenues to potential relationships that would be far, far more interesting to read about.

I hope Butcher maintains his self-confidence and doesn't allow criticisms to affect him if he does plan to write a Molly-Dresden or Lara-Dresden romance. People now are totally comfortable with throwing out labels such as "sexist" and "misogynist" like confetti at people they really don't know if the work produced diverges even mildly from their dogmatic perception of gender relations. So Butcher would be hit hard with that reception from a specific but very vocal demographic.

4 hours ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

This would not be any different from having Murphy be replaced by Butters, Lara and that Cop whose name I forgot. Actually in my opinion it would be even worse since this would mean that all that development between Murphy and Harry since Grave Peril was utterly meaningless and that only the Murphy of the early was ultimately represents what the character is supposed to be.

It does seem that Butcher put himself in a bind by seeding all these potential relationships. If he does somehow go the Murphy romance route, it will be disappointing to some of the audience (such as CT Philips and me); if he opts to pursue another route, others in the audience will likewise be disappointed.

And if Dresden becomes a monk and forswears romance forever, there will of course be many of the audience who are unhappy with that approach,  too.

For my part, if Butcher did indeed up preserving the Murphy romance through some Dresdenverse loophole, it wouldn't ruin the series for me since I'm not reading this for the romantic interactions, but it would diminish it slightly because I find Murphy as a romantic partner so boring.

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I'm actually pulling back on the Molly/Dresden thing because while I tend to think of it in the "Molly is an adult woman closer to 30 than 20" and Harry is a guy who is perpetually stuck in his current age now, I note a lot of readers take it really personally. I was always viewing it in a fantasy lens of immortals and mortals but others are getting reminded of RL abuses of power, sometimes from their own lives. I may also have been channeling given my wife and I met at Horror con (albeit for books) and she was a Goth Girl who reminded me a lot of her. She's also about ten years older than me.

I think Luccio was Harry's best relationship before that ship was torched and burned.

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Lucio and Susan were good. Lara becoming a proper thing wouldn't ruin the series for me but I wouldn't like it. Alt-Murph coming into the main 'verse would be a fucking swizz.

 

Molly, though, yeah, for the reasons CTP raised: it's just ewww. It doesn't matter that she's a grown woman now, he both watched her grow up and was a teacher figure to her in that time - you just don't do that and making a relationship out of it would have heavy echoes of grooming, whether Butcher wrote it as Harry meaning to (obviously not) or not.

 

 

I'm convinced Murphy's going to come back as a Valkyrie by the end, but if not the only pairing I'd really be not annoyed seeing for Harry is Mab. There's no hints of it yet but a potential gender-reversed-Monster-Lover dynamic there.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

Lucio and Susan were good. Lara becoming a proper thing wouldn't ruin the series for me but I wouldn't like it. Alt-Murph coming into the main 'verse would be a fucking swizz.

 

Molly, though, yeah, for the reasons CTP raised: it's just ewww. It doesn't matter that she's a grown woman now, he both watched her grow up and was a teacher figure to her in that time - you just don't do that and making a relationship out of it would have heavy echoes of grooming, whether Butcher wrote it as Harry meaning to (obviously not) or not.

 

 

I'm convinced Murphy's going to come back as a Valkyrie by the end, but if not the only pairing I'd really be not annoyed seeing for Harry is Mab. There's no hints of it yet but a potential gender-reversed-Monster-Lover dynamic there.

Your point about “grooming” is very well made.  Hell, Mab out right said and explained hoe he did it in “Cold Days”.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, IFR said:

It does seem that Butcher put himself in a bind by seeding all these potential relationships.

Butcher put himself into a bind by killing off his second most prominent character for the angst and so that he would not have to actually write Harry being in a relationship that goes beyond dating.

That was my general problem with the PT/BG duology. It feels like the series and Harry are not really maturing and indeed going backwards as far as their development is concerned. PT was promising to put Harry into an unusual and difficult position, that of a diplomat who has to manage the tensions between the different supernatural faction and his conflicting loyalties (Winter Court, White Council and the interests of the ordinary citizens of Chicago), but it ended up being a lesser version of Turn Coat with a less interesting heist at the end.

Bonea was completely disgarded and will probably be relegated to cameo status until the time is right for her to give to give the one specific piece of information that the plot she alone can deliver. The rest will handled by Bob as was the case for most of the series.

Maggie as we know will be shipped to their version of Hogwarts so the Dresden does not need to be weighed down by having to be a full-time parent.

Instead of actually resuming greater responsibility in the White Council (and balancing that with his obligations to Mab) and helping his allies there to combat the influence of the Black Council, Harry is now more or less in the same position that he was in at the start of the series.

The masquerade is also still firmly in place.

He even got his old home back, but new and improved.

EDIT: I also have to say that Dresden magical demonstration throughout BG do not really impress me. It was mostly just his usual brute force approach which gets rather boing when he see Carlos using straight up disintegration.

 

16 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Your point about “grooming” is very well made.  Hell, Mab out right said and explained hoe he did it in “Cold Days”.

Well to be fair, I read this as Mab misinterpreting Harry's actions because of her own twisted views.

Edited by ASOIAFrelatedusername

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10 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

The masquerade is also still firmly in place.

 

People keep saying this. IDGI. To the wider public outside of Chicago, yes, but to the US government it doesn't seem to be and to the public in Chicago, obviously not. That's why Chicago was made a no-man's-land at the end of the book.

 

11 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

He even got his old home back, but new and improved.

 

 

Harry lives in Camelot now. That's not a step back, that's a step forward in the hints about Merlin- the OG Merlin-  eventually coming into play in the series.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

 

People keep saying this. IDGI. To the wider public outside of Chicago, yes, but to the US government it doesn't seem to be and to the public in Chicago, obviously not. That's why Chicago was made a no-man's-land at the end of the book.

Well it was my impression at the end of BG that nothing much has changed in that regard. Chicago is getting rebuild and I do expect that most people will continue to ignore the supernatural problem and that at most the Paranet is going to grow a little.

8 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

Harry lives in Camelot now. That's not a step back, that's a step forward in the hints about Merlin- the OG Merlin-  eventually coming into play in the series.

Well if you think so. For me it the only real difference between this and his old apartment is that his new home is going to be much bigger. Since Maggie will probably shipped of to Hogwarts, he is again going to be a bachelor living on his own with only Bob and maybe some of the fairies of his guard as his company (mythological references aside).

Edited by ASOIAFrelatedusername

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, C.T. Phipps said:

I think Luccio was Harry's best relationship before that ship was torched and burned.

I thought that relationship was perfectly fine. The twist at the end made it significantly better.

1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

Lucio and Susan were good. Lara becoming a proper thing wouldn't ruin the series for me but I wouldn't like it. Alt-Murph coming into the main 'verse would be a fucking swizz.

 

Molly, though, yeah, for the reasons CTP raised: it's just ewww. It doesn't matter that she's a grown woman now, he both watched her grow up and was a teacher figure to her in that time - you just don't do that and making a relationship out of it would have heavy echoes of grooming, whether Butcher wrote it as Harry meaning to (obviously not) or not.

I don't evaluate behaviors in a fictional narrative as far as whether it is something I would endorse in real life. I wouldn't endorse a lot of the actions Dresden and other characters engage in. My concern is whether it makes for a readable drama (or comedy).

But putting things into the consideration of real world power dynamics, I would think the Lucio and Susan relationship were deeply problematic. Lucio is far older than Dresden, she becomes his mentor, and during the relationship she was his boss. That's quite a power imbalance. Even worse, it turns out that Lucio was brainwashed, so the entire relationship was nonconsensual.

And as far as Susan goes, initially the relationship was fine, but the moment she became a vampire there was a power imbalance introduced. Her lust for blood could be considered a serious disability, one which removed the power equivalency in their relationship, regardless of how well she had her compulsion "under control." There will be a similar problem with Lara (with regard to her compulsion towards carnality).

But I really don't think it's helpful to evaluate fantasy land from a realistic perspective. These characters are larger than life. It would be like refusing to read about Zeus because of his less than progressive actions.

33 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

That was my general problem with the PT/BG duology. It feels like the series and Harry are not really maturing and indeed going backwards as far as their development is concerned. PT was promising to put Harry into an unusual and difficult position, that of a diplomat who has to manage the tensions between the different supernatural faction and his conflicting loyalties (Winter Court, White Council and the interests of the ordinary citizens of Chicago), but it ended up being a lesser version of Turn Coat with a less interesting heist at the end.

Possibly. The characters in Dresden are hardly drawn with the same sophistication as something out of Steinbeck. So it doesn't bother me if character evolution is not a smooth arrow to a constant increase in maturity.

But I can see why this would be disappointing for you, and it is a fair complaint.

Edited by IFR

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3 hours ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

Well it was my impression at the end of BG that nothing much has changed in that regard. Chicago is getting rebuild and I do expect that most people will continue to ignore the supernatural problem and that at most the Paranet is going to grow a little.

 

The Accord signees had a big meeting about what to do because the Masquerade is coming down. They conclude that the govt may be able to convince the rest of the country that it was mundane terrorism, but not within the city, which is why they're closing off Chicago from unauthorised access. Marcone makes the point that they may cling to normality by day but really, underneath, they know and will react: Harry acknowledges this and that's why he suggests the Accord powers should provide aid, not openly openly but so that people's second impression of the magical world is good since the first was so bad.
They also discuss the Librarians, aka the men in black, getting involved, and how much they may already know. The authorities know something is out there.

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19 hours ago, polishgenius said:

The Accord signees had a big meeting about what to do because the Masquerade is coming down. They conclude that the govt may be able to convince the rest of the country that it was mundane terrorism, but not within the city, which is why they're closing off Chicago from unauthorised access. Marcone makes the point that they may cling to normality by day but really, underneath, they know and will react: Harry acknowledges this and that's why he suggests the Accord powers should provide aid, not openly openly but so that people's second impression of the magical world is good since the first was so bad.
They also discuss the Librarians, aka the men in black, getting involved, and how much they may already know. The authorities know something is out there.

Well we will see how that will turn out in the next novels. However I still maintain that, considering 60.000 people died (in order of magnitude higher than 9/11), what we got was extremly disappointing in terms of consequences for the masquerade and it did not really have to be that way. Butcher himself did choose to excalate it to those scales.

On an different note: I have come to disagree with the people that say that PT/BG should have been one book. I my opinion that would have been worse than what we actually provided that the basic story and plot stay the same for both PT and BG. In that case we would still have a book that mostly consists of Harry trying to figure out Thomas' motivation only for then to fight in a battle with a villain unconnected with that plot (yes both Ethniu and Justine are like controlled by the same sinister forces, but I seriously doubt that Ethniu would have attacked Chicago if Thomas had not done what he did). We would have had a book were the first 2/3 have nothing to do with the last 1/3. Imagine if that instead of saving Molly at the end of Proven Guilty and having to deal with her trial, suddenly the Denarians attacked. Yeah the duology still has that problem, but at least splitting it into two could have given both the Thomas stuff and the Battle of Chicago the time they deserve (whether or not that worked is another question).

Ultimately I think it would have been better to further separate those two books by having Ethniu and the Fomor actually attend the titular Peace Talks in good faith. Then something could happen that makes them decide to end the talks and attacked Chicago instead. That sommething should not be Harry related though as we already have him starting a war during a diplomatic meeting.

That could in my opinion accomplish three things:

1.) If Thomas' action directly or indirectly lead to the Fomor leaving the talks, there could have been something two tie the story threads together (as it stands it is only pure coincidence)

2.) With the talks actually being held, Harry could have been involved in the procedings providing him with a challenge outside of his comfort zone.

3.) With the Fomor being less or not prepared to immediately attack Chicago, more pages in BG could have been dedicated to non-fight scenes as both sides would have the time and the need to prepare.

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1 hour ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

Well we will see how that will turn out in the next novels. However I still maintain that, considering 60.000 people died (in order of magnitude higher than 9/11), what we got was extremly disappointing in terms of consequences for the masquerade and it did not really have to be that way. Butcher himself did choose to excalate it to those scales.

 



I'm not really sure what it is you want Butcher to have done. There was a massive battle and then the book ended. He'd have had to add a whole extra stretch of plot to deal with it, and why would he do that here instead of future books?

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1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

I'm not really sure what it is you want Butcher to have done. There was a massive battle and then the book ended. He'd have had to add a whole extra stretch of plot to deal with it, and why would he do that here instead of future books?

I have the suspicion that Jim Butcher planned to end the Masquerade in Battle Grounds and then move to the final apocalyptic events but then realized he had a bunch of more grounded stories still to tell.

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If that had been the case he'd just have... changed the order? Butcher's had this planned out for years, we know that, he's not completely freestyling here. 

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1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

If that had been the case he'd just have... changed the order? Butcher's had this planned out for years, we know that, he's not completely freestyling here. 

Yes, but he's added like three books since then.

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46 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Yes, but he's added like three books since then.

I don’t understand how the masquerade can still exist after the events of BG.  That is one of the most unbelievable things JB has ever tried to pull off.

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