Friday, May 23, 2014

Why I love the Dresden Files

So, for those of you that may or may not know me, I am a HUGE Jim Butcher Fan. Especially the Dresden Files (although I also love the Codex Alera as well). 

But occasionally, I get asked why I am a fan of them. I was asked this just a few days ago.

Well, it is never an easy thing to explain why you love something so much. About 3/4 of my life, my favorite books were the Lord of the Rings. They shaped me in a way that few other things in my life ever have. I still love them, but as I get older, they are just getting harder to read (I have a thought on this, but that is for another day). I still read them, and still love them. But I was introduced to the Dresden Files by a couple of friends of mine, and I have never looked back. 

So, why?

It starts with Harry. I am a smartass, and I can relate to him. His mouth gets him in trouble, and he has to fight his way out of situations because of this. Still, my love of fantasy comes from characters doing the right thing...regardless of the cost. Now, a lot of us wish they could be that way when the darkness comes...and throw snappy one liners at them! Ha!

But that isn't just it. The books tell a story. Of good people fighting the fight. It isn't just Harry. There is also Murphy, and Butters, and Elaine. Molly, and Michael, and Thomas. I could go on and on naming each character I love. :) You see, I am a character driven reader. Yes, writing style, plot, and setting are important. But I read to connect with characters. I did from the beginning. Now the first couple of books are not great, but things picked up at the third book, Grave Peril.  Then again at book seven, Dead Beat. From that point that series is amazing. Hell, once Harry rode a zombie t-rex into battle, it was pretty much over for me. 

But I sit here reading White Night, and a scene explains why I love this so much. You see, Harry is getting together with Ramirez, and they are about to go take on the White Court. In comes his apprentice Molly, who wants to help, but has repeatedly not listened to Harry. He has never been worried about her power, but her not understanding the consequences. 

Here is the text.

“But… all I said was that I was scared." 

After what you got to experience? That's smart, kid," I said. "I'm scared, too. Every time something like this happens, it scares me. But being strong doesn't get you through. Being smart does. I've beaten people and things who were stronger than I was, because they didn't use their heads, or because I used what I had better than they did. It isn't about muscle, kiddo, magical or otherwise. It's about your attitude. About your mind." 

She nodded slowly and said, "About doing things for the right reasons." 

You don't throw down like this just because you're strong enough to do it," I said. "You do it because you don't have much choice. You do it because it's unacceptable to walk away, and still live with yourself later." 

She stared at me for a second, and then her eyes widened. "Otherwise, you're using power for the sake of using power." 

I nodded. "And power tends to corrupt. It isn't hard to love using it, Molly. You've got to go in with the right attitude or…" 

Or the power starts using you," she said. She'd heard the argument before, but this was the first time she said the words slowly, thoughtfully, as if she'd actually understood them, instead of just parroting them back to me. Then she looked up. "That's why you do it. Why you help people. You're using the power for someone other than yourself.” 

This sums it up for me. That scene makes me tear up every damn time I read it. Her realizing she wanted to help, even if it was in the smallest way because she could not sit at home and do nothing. God, I love that shit! :) Every damn time. 

Yes, there are other reasons why I love the books. But the main reason? They touch me in a way that most novels do not. I love that and live for it. 

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