I wrote this up for some friends. This is less a transcript and more a paraphrasing, but if you don't have the time to listen to the Q&A or can't for some reason, hopefully this helps. There should be nothing here that would be Battle Ground spoilers. There may be Peace Talks and Brief Cases references.
- Q: Can a wizard's Sight see monsters which normally can only be seen by children?
A: Not unless the wizard had a childlike mind, if he was not in contact with his inner kid/had a good relationship with his own imagination. Not many wizards have enough connection to that sort of childlike mischief/adventure, it's rare.
- Q: How many people on the White Council are even aware of monsters like this?
A: Maybe a dozen or so? And the ones that are
aware have probably talked about it and been considered wackadoos by everybody else.
- Q: Are the children of wizards shielded in any way from soulgazing their parents? Also, what would happen if you soulgazed an infant?
A: The kid would probably not react to a soulgaze until some sort of moment where their personality really coalesced, sometime around the age of responsibility/maturity. Souls are very tied up with free will, but it's different for everyone. He says parents tend to recognize it, sort of the point where the kid becomes their own person and not just an amalgamation of whatever he's run into or seen on TV/classroom/here at home.
- Q: Did Molly ever soulgaze her parents?
A: She probably did with her dad at some point, which would be why she's so worried about disappointing him.
- Q: Anything you can tell us about Elaine's parents?
A: I haven't thought about it too much.
- Q: What's Kincaid been up to since Changes?
A: After Kincaid and Ivy had a falling-out (Microfictions), he's been drinking a lot and kinda stalking Ivy/trying to protect her from the shadows, because he's bad at boundaries and so is she, it's a very broken relationship. [Oof.]
- Q: Who was the Warden of Demonreach before Harry?
A: I know who it is, and who the guy before that was, but the guy before that
[three Wardens back?] was Kemmler. [WTF] So, yeah, half of that entire thing was just the White Council trying to keep Kemmler from getting back to the island and cracking it open, which is why they had Wardens chasing him all through the Wild West. Kemmler is sort of, in the Dresden universe, sort of the equivalent of WWI where it was the biggest and most epic conflict the world has ever known, but we're all used to WWII because they got some of it on film even though WWI was so much larger.
- Q: In terms of how long someone is a Warden [presumably of Demonreach], how long does that job last?
A: Kinda depends on how long it takes to get you killed. (Is that the only way out?) I would say that's the only way out. You can walk away from it or be driven away from it, and if someone comes along and challenges Demonreach they can take it, but by the time Harry got there nobody who was "in the know" was crazy enough to do it. Butcher says that if someone on the Senior Council claimed the Warden post, everyone else on the Senior Council would be pointing at them saying they'd gone over to evil, but when Harry did it they were too busy trying to figure out if he was evil or dumb, and kinda settling on dumb.
- Q: Did Kemmler's Wardenship end when they killed him in WWII?
A: It ended one of those times. They killed him a bunch of times.
- Q: Will we meet the actual Merlin from King Arthur?
A: Are those public domain now? Maybe so if I won't have to pay anyone to use them! (bit of chatter) I have to say that's one of my favorite crack theories I've heard, that Harry Dresden is the original Merlin and that the Dresden Files is essentially Merlin's origin, and that just gives me way too much credit.
- Q: Any other crack theories you enjoy?
A: Always a lot of them, but when I get asked that question I can never remember any.
- Q: Which Hogwarts house for Dresden?
A: (Thinks about it a bit) He seems to figure that the Sorting Hat would have a lot of trouble with that one. Jokes that Harry would wind up Sorted into House Janitor's Closet.
- Q: What's Harry's D&D class and level?
A: At this point Harry's not doing teleportation stuff, so that's gonna put him around 10th-11th-12th level wizard, somewhere in that. Middling-high-level wizard. He also says this is thinking more along the lines of OD&D standards.
- Q: Why Jim? Why? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
A: You all love it, don't act like you don't. I do what I do and if y'all didn't respond to it in the most sincere way possible, with your dollars, I wouldn't do this. I'm a mirror for the audience, that's all.
- Q: What is the Summer Mantle like for Fix?
A: Much different experience. Fundamentally a force dedicated to creation, but unlike the winter knight mantle where that urge is focused purely on reproduction--go make more soldiers--the Summer Mantle's output is much more attached to art and beauty. Fix finds himself desperately painting things or fixing up cars, not just fixing them up but making them beautiful. Those are the sorts of pressures he has to deal with while Dresden is on the beach with the 225lb weight vest, like having a day where he's like "SORRY I JUST HAVE TO CREATE TODAY".
- Q: Can Harry's new blasting rod channel Winter ice in addition to fire?
A: No reason it couldn't, the reason it hasn't is because it's alien to his thinking. He does fire
and ice is completely separate. It's just never occurred to him to whip out an ice blasting rod. If it did, he'd probably make a device that'd get him in all sorts of trouble and probably just flood places, since he could switch between fire and ice and the middle's just... wet... So much havoc in that, I have to do it now, damn you sir.
- Q: How much time did the Merlin spend swearing when he learned Harry had returned?
A: Not gonna answer that, you'll see later.
- Q: Do you ever lurk on the Dresden Files sub and pose as someone else, stir things up?
A: I'll read and lurk sometimes, and that's where I see the occasional crack theory, but I don't go stir things up. So Far. Now that you're talking about it... I dunno, that could be fun...
- [Anecdote from Priscilla about how Jim had specifically stayed up late watching for her to come online before he sent out the last chapter of Changes to the beta readers so he could get her live reaction. The evil bastard. Priscilla says her exact words were "WHAT THE EVERLOVING CRAP WAS THAT"]
- Q: Favorite Spencer novel?
A: Maybe Looking For Rachel Wallace? [rambles for a bit, names a bunch of books] "Anything Robert Parker has done is worth reading."
- Q: Other authors that kinda have that Dresden influence?
A: Zelazny's Amber series, Fritz Leiber, Naomi Novik, Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International books, David Weber's Honor Harrington books... all folks who either had an influence on or were influenced by the Dresden Files.
- Q: If Uriel became mortal when he gave up his Grace, how did the Fallen retain their immortality?
A: Uriel's Grace was not something that was taken from him. He elected to give it up, and what was left behind was essentially this pure human who hadn't done anything. He could still act as a mortal. The Fallen, their Grace was taken
from them, and all that was left was a sort of shadow of the angel that had been, they didn't have their own body or free will that they could lose. The hard part of being a Fallen is being this creature that's sorta writen in indelible ink and really can't recover in many ways. that's sorta the great tragedy, they have to be who they are or the balance falls apart.
- Q: Can you explain why Maeve kept trying to seduce Harry, with the limits of the Lady mantle? Was it an assassination attempt?
A: That would have been fun, yes! Or it might have also forced Mab into grabbing Dresden sooner. She also felt enough toward Lloyd Slate that she wanted to get him killed sooner rather than later, because she knew he was being tortured and eventually he might go crazy and turn into a real monster that Mab might turn loose on her. She wanted that taken care of. [Goes on a bit about how broken Maeve was, how little of that we actually got to see beyond the really big acting-out, and how different it is showing Molly easing into that role.]
- Q: So Maeve wasn't brought along for the Disneyland visits?
A: No, no, no, no, no, Maeve was not allowed around Sarissa. That would not have been a good idea. That was one of those things where Mab was, like, no, you know what, even if walls of ice
have to appear to make it happen, we're going to keep those two apart.
- Q:If someone with multiple personalities or mantles, like Kringle, were imprisoned on Demonreach, could only one part of those be released and the others left imprisoned?
A: That's a good question! Theoretically that'd work, especially that'd work really really well if the Warden was using that to get specific services out of somebody. If Harry captured Kringle he might want to send him out as Kringle or as anything but Kringle. He could, for example, set Odin free while keeping Kringle imprisoned [apparently Kringle is the source of Odin's immortality at this point, from what Jim says, which makes a certain sense], and tell him he can come pick him up for Christmas Eve and then bring him back. Meanwhile you can be free but I've still got you. That's the kind of thing you can get away with as the Warden of Demonreach. To do it, you've got to go fight him and win, though. You don't
want to be the guy who tries to trap Odin and misses.
- Q: Could Harry use that to shed the Winter Knight mantle?
A: That's a potential way. Now walk off the island and leave that part of you here, what does that do to a person? That's some delicate surgery there, I dunno if you want Harry Dresden performing that.
- Q: Is killing the Winter Knight the only way to withdraw the mantle?
A: I don't know if she could do it without hurting him. Maybe? It's one of those things, power is one of those gifts, once you gift it away, you don't get it back. It belongs to somebody. Maybe Mab could go get it back, but it's really messy, maybe she has to send the Mantle off to the spiritual dry cleaners.
- Q: Did Butters ever get into the ring with an Einherjar?
A: Give it time, I've gotta set it up. I've gotta do that.
- Q: Bit of backstory that won't make it into the books?
A: There are gods and stuff around, still functioning in our world, posing as mortals because they're getting way more play as rockstars and pro wrestlers than they ever did as deities. Not really allowed to do anything but hang on and watch and observe. They tend to be a lot of smoke and mirrors and thunder and not a lot of things happening, unlike Odin who's actually involved in the world. [Boiled down, at some point basically all these old gods came to a point where in order to keep being involved in the affairs of humanity they had to accept mortality. Most didn't, Odin was one of the only ones who did. He had to take on extra Mantles to keep immortality.]
- Q: How much of you is in Harry?
A: Harry is the guy I like to think I would be if I was handed his power, though I think I might be one of the giggling villains. The guy who genuinely cares and who is genuinely good. (Priscilla picks up and points out the Slytherin mug Butcher's been drinking from this entire time) In real life, perhaps not...
- Q: How much time do you spend choosing names?
A: Some names just come to me, some names, there's research that goes into it. Most are puns on some level about what their function in the story is.
- Q: As Harry grows, he starts to use magic as a conduit to manipulate energy with respect to conventional physics. How would magic interact with quantum mechanics?
A: I'd have to know more about quantum mechanics to give an answer that makes sense. That said, it'd interact first and foremost on the level of human emotion that gets involved going into it. [Goes on a bit, didn't want to transcribe]
- Q: Is there a key difference between how air and water magic work in the Dresden Files?
A: Yes! Water magic is, of the four major elements, water magic is very different. Much more Eastern understanding of water, water magic is involved in healing, emotional connection, empathy. Your interaction with the natural physical world. Wizards who are water mages tend to be very different from Dresden, who's a very linear guy. Water mages are guys like River Shoulders/Listens to Wind, and they're very different in how they solve their problems, and tend to be more empathetic of misunderstood types. This is also why Carlos Ramirez, among the Wardens, is closest to Harry, as a water mage. All about connections. And taking those connections apart when you need to, which is where Carlos's disintegration magic comes from. Ramirez is a much more spiritually alert guy than most Wardens. Lot of pain, too.
- (Priscilla requests a Ramirez PoV story, Butcher says maybe)
- Q: What would Thomas look like if he became the backup Knight? Can the White Court feed off Fae?
A: Oh my god they CAN, and it would be such a nightmare. Here's the thing about being in Fae. You are what you eat, that's one of those lines in the Dresden Files. When you're in Fae, the reason you don't accept food from faeries is because the food you're getting isn't actually food, it's the stuff of the Nevernever, but your body will take it in, but when you leave Faerie, it turns back into ectoplasm and goes away. So if you've been in Faerie for a month eating food, you're gonna have a month's worth of your body just slough off because even though you ate the food, it wasn't ever actual material, just Nevernever material. They had to import real mortal food for Harry during his rehab. That's why you don't eat food in Fae. If thomas did that, he'd be devouring essentially false emotions, so when he went back to the mortal world, and that stuff "peeled off," that'd just leave him bonkers insane when he got back. He'd be a monster if that happened. Mab'd be in favor of that, so she'd be into that. She essentially gets the Winter Soldier, as soon as he leaves he turned into the Terminator, then when he gets back she can fill him up with whatever he needs.
- Q: Why didn't the Archive interact more with Dresden?
A: Character reasons, might find out more later. For one thing, the Archive doesn't want to interact real hard with anyone, it's there for everyone so she's not really supposed to be heavily involved with any one being or one cause. She's got to have a big cause before she'll pitch in on it.
- Q: How does it feel knowing that Mandalorians follow the Way from Cinder Spires?
A: The Mandalorians would be welcome. [Sorry, I haven't read Cinder Spires so I don't know what they're talking about]
- Q: Are there any beings that Demonreach is incapable of holding?
A: Demonreach is incapable of holding, at least forever, any being with a free will. (Does the Brit have Free Will?) That's a fair question.
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