Mon
Mar 18 2013 3:00pm

The Dresden Files Reread: Book 14, Cold Days Pt. 1

The Dresden Files Reread Jim Butcher Cold Days Book 14 This is it, folks. The Dresden Files Reread has reached the current release, Cold Days, the fourteenth book in the series. In my review of the novel I called it one of the best of the series and a worthy addition to the ongoing story. Why? Well, click through and find out. Because of the amount that happens in this novel, the recap will be split into three parts. And contain lots and lots of spoilers.

As we saw at the end of Ghost Story, Harry awakens on Demonreach island, back in his body which has been kept alive by Mab and Demonreach. Mab ends by saying she’ll take him back to Faerie. Cold Days begins with Harry waking up in a bed having recovered enough to know who he is and what happened to him. Attending him is a beautiful young mortal woman named Sarissa. She verifies that he knows who he is and who she is, and is impressed when he is able to feed himself. Sarissa explains that she’s been sent to oversee his recovery.

Then Mab appears to check on Harry, happy to see that he’s conscious and responsive. She explains that he’s in Arctis Tor, in the quarters of the Winter Knight. She dismisses Sarissa (a changeling, Mab mentions) then moves over to Harry’s bed, and tries to smother him with a pillow. Harry is weak, and only just manages to shift Mab off of him so that he can breath again. Thus begins a new part of his physical therapy, where Mab tries to kill him a new way each day. As Harry says in the book, “Use your imagination. Mab sure as hell did.”

Over the course of 77 days, Harry gets stronger and healthier and fights off Mab’s attempts. When he manages to defend himself against Mab with a shotgun and a violent malk, Mab deems him ready. She has a tux ready and waiting for him in his quarters. She also returns to him his pentacle amulet, now with his mother’s pathfinding stone perfectly affixed to it. She also sends him a malk to aid him, to do as he asks. And not just any malk either, he’s Cat Sith, the progenitor of the malks. Cat Sith makes it apparent that while he will do things for Harry, like get him a Coke, he isn’t happy about it and will do what he can to sour things with the request (like bringing Harry a warm can).

Harry gets tuxed up and waits in a kind of waiting room where there are candies that he pointedly does not eat. It’s not wise to eat things in Faerie, remember. There’s also a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, personally signed to Mab. Sarissa enters, equally dolled up, a knock-out. Harry mentions to her that the fairy tales probably helped keep the Fae more securely attached to the mortal world. Harry asks Sarissa about herself. Though she’s been helping him with his rehabilitation, he doesn’t know anything about her. Why she’s in Arctis Tor, for example. He guesses Mab has something on her. He also mentions that he’s not Lloyd Slate, the previous Winter Knight. Sarissa’s reply is chilling (no pun intended): “Neither was he. Not at first.” Sarissa is cynical and wary, saying she’s lived a third of her life in Arctis Tor. Harry admires her courage and grace, but figures that Mab put her there as a temptation for him. Sarissa tells him there are two rules for the upcoming gathering—don’t spill blood without Mab’s permission, and don’t talk to Mab. Harry refers to it as his first day in the prison yard.

The gathering proves to be a birthday party for Harry. A surprise birthday party. Unbeknownst to him, it’s almost Halloween. The ice cavern is made out to look like his old apartment, if all of his furniture were large and made of ice. After a birthday tune, Maeve stops by to pay her respects. She plays the temptation card as well, and Harry is tempted, but he knows what a psychopath Maeve is, and he remembers what she did for Billy and Georgia’s wedding (Side Jobs, “Something Borrowed”). Harry also realizes this is a play, to manipulate him into attacking, and he’s not amused.

At the gathering, Harry meets up with Eldest Gruff (last seen in Small Favor), the Erlking (last seen in Changes) and a man named Kringle who it’s clear is the original version of Santa Claus. Only he hunts with the Erlking. Harry is distracted from the conversation by the sight of a Sidhe gentleman with a red baseball cap pulling Sarissa, painfully, onto the dance floor. We know how Harry gets with damsels in distress. He goes after her which gets her dance partner angry since Harry hasn’t claimed her and since she’s just a mortal that he can do what he likes with. Harry figures out that the Sidhe is a redcap. No, The Redcap, the redcap insists. And he has friends, a rawhead, a huge creature assembled from cattle parts and a furred ogre/yeti creature.

Then Mab appears, and it’s clear that Harry is on his own. It’s also clear that this is yet another ploy by Maeve to fuck with Harry. Harry decides to use the Faeries’ weaknesses against them. He suggests upping the stakes. If Maeve’s side wins, she gets Harry. If Harry wins, Sarissa goes free. And rather than spill blood, he throws his tie down and it’s a race for the tie. With no magic.

Harry’s new power has made him fast and he grabs the tie only a second after the Redcap. They then begin a fight/dance, each one holding one end of the accessory. The Redcap dislocates Harry’s shoulder, but then Harry smashes the Redcap’s knee and steals its hat. They continue to fight and Harry catches sight of Sarissa, in the grip of the yeti/ogre, getting her hands on one of her hair chopsticks. She breaks one, revealing iron in the middle and slashes at the yeti. It hits her and breaks her lip, and a drop of blood falls on the ground, sending everyone quiet. Mab’s rule has been broken and she’s less than pleased, asking Harry to deal with it. He knocks the yeti down with magical force, freezes it with his Winter Knight mojo, then follows that up with another blast of magical force shattering the frozen creature into tiny bits. Harry then addresses those assembled saying that if he sees them abusing mortals, the same will happen to them. Subzero tolerance, in his words. When a Sidhe steps forward to ask a question, Harry does the double tap again as a lesson.

Mab is pleased with Harry, but not with Maeve. She orders her to leave. Then Mab dances with Harry, telling him to improve since Sarissa won’t always be there to help him. She also tells Harry what she wants him to do—kill Maeve.

Harry leaves the party with Sarissa before things get...sordid. Harry is beginning to feel urges, but he’s not giving in to them. He invites Sarissa into his room just to talk since they don’t know much about each other. They play a question game and Sarissa asks Harry about the people he’s killed. It brings up Lloyd Slate and Susan. Sarissa explains that she’s with Mab because she has a form of congenital dementia which affected her older sister and Mab can help with it. Sarissa’s deal is that as long as she’s herself and sane, she works for Mab three months out of every year. She’s been helping Mab to better understand humanity by going to movies, concerts, shopping, etc.

When Sarissa leaves, Harry returns to Mab’s request. He tells Cat Sith he needs to go to Chicago and the malk opens a Way through the Nevernever in Harry’s closet. Mab had it made for Harry and Cat Sith mentions that it’s the only way in or out of all of Faerie until dawn. Harry crosses over into Chicago and Cat Sith gives him a car as well, a post-WWII Caddy with a flame job. Driving it are Toot-toot and other members of the Za Lord’s Guard. Toot tells Harry that Lea kept the pizza coming in Harry’s absence.

Harry breaks in to Butters’ apartment to get Bob. Bob talks to Harry, essentially stalling him until Harry is attacked by a big furry creature. A wolf, which eventually changes into Andi, the werewolf. She’s understandably shocked to see Harry alive. Harry is overcome with violent impulses, wanting to attack Andi. He grabs for the skull and Andi pulls a gun on him. Andi knows about Bob because she lives with Butters now. She forces Harry to explain. Harry needs Bob. If he takes Bob, then Butters and her are victims and not accomplices, and not at risk for helping him. She lets Harry take Bob and asks if she can tell Butters. Harry says yes, but not anyone else yet.

Harry tells Bob what Mab asked him to do. Bob tells Harry that it would be impossible to kill Maeve. She’s immortal. She would come back from anything he could do to her. But Bob apparently knows something he doesn’t want to tell Harry. He knows how to kill an immortal. Bob expects he’s survived for so long by keeping it to himself. Tell Harry and he makes himself a target. Harry kicks out the Little Folk and tells Bob that Mab was probably expecting Harry to go to Bob so that it’s okay for him to tell. Bob agrees to tell Harry if Harry makes Bob a backup vessel.

Bob tells Harry that immortals can be killed on Halloween night. Everyone and everything standing in this world on Halloween is mortal. Halloween is also the only time that their immortality can be changed, where they can add new power or steal it from others. And most of the immortals that are awake are in the mortal world on Halloween night. It gives Harry a deadline of just over 24 hours. So Harry knows how to do it, but not why it needs doing. And Bob tells him that killing Maeve will just create a new Winter Lady when the mantle is passed on.

Bob also tells him that the mantle of the Winter Lady will change whoever inherits it (pay attention to this). In the same way that the Winter Knight’s mantle can change him. Bob theorizes that Harry is Mab’s missile—she points it at Maeve and waits for the boom. Bob then gives Harry shit for not contacting his friends and for keeping to himself. Then something falls on the ground in front of the car and a bomb goes off.

Harry gets out of the car and moves, but gets nailed, literally, by a nail gun. He is attacked by evil Little Folk who are then intercepted by Harry’s Za Guard. They skirmish for a while and Harry uses an arctic blast of wind to send some of them off course. Then Toot takes on the leader of the evil Fae, Captain Hook, but is unable to defeat him. In the end, only the appearance of a number of cats sends the little Fae packing. Only they aren’t real cats. They’re illusions, cast by Harry’s once-apprentice, Molly Carpenter.

Harry asks Molly to drive, even though the Caddy is stuck. But Harry uses his special Winter Knight strength and gets the car out. They drive. Harry points out that he had given Bob standing orders to be mute any time Molly was around. He seems to have feared their joined talents. Molly explains that she’s veiling the car which shows that her power has grown even more. Molly looks better than she did in Ghost Story. Much better. She takes Harry back to her place, in a fancy, secure apartment building. Which she bought from Swartalves. With Honor.

Harry helps fix up Toot-toot, then Molly helps patch up Harry. She explains that she knew Harry was alive, courtesy of Lea. She asks about what Harry’s up to and, amazingly, he tells her the truth. Minus the bit about Halloween. Wow. Growth. Harry. I guess the last book really did change him.

Harry takes the opportunity to apologize for Chichen Itza. Molly agrees that they both made bad choices there, but that it’s in the past. Molly mentions that she has clothes and a room for Harry if he needs it. Then she tells Harry that she’s been visiting Demonreach and that there’s energy building up there. She says she thinks it will explode in the next few days and take most of the Midwest with it.

Harry goes to change and the guest room is decked out like his old apartment. He grabs some clothes and chats some more with Molly. Harry mentions that the fact that Molly hasn’t had trouble with the White Council means that people, specifically Ebenezar and Ramirez, are pointedly not looking for her. Then, based on the energy build-up at the island, Harry decides to check it out immediately (seemingly yet another new thing—usually Harry deals with things later).

Harry and Molly head to the Water Beetle, thinking to take it to Demonreach, only Thomas is on board. And as far as he knows, Harry is dead. Molly confirms it really is Harry and then Thomas rips into Harry for not contacting him. Harry explains that he sold out, that he was ashamed, but Thomas is having none of it. He knows what it’s like to have a dark side, to have to try to resist it all the time. Harry should have recognized that and Thomas could have told him that they’d get through it together. Thomas’s rage burns out though and ends in a tight hug.

On the way to Demonreach, Thomas asks Harry if he has seen Maggie (he hasn’t) and asks if he learned nothing from his “little adventure in the lake.” He’s also talking about Murphy, urging Harry to tell both of them that he loves them. He also tells Harry that Justine’s compromise, seen at the end of Ghost Story, seems to be working for him. He feels balanced.

As they reach the island, Harry asks how Thomas knew to be on the boat and he says that Molly called him, only she didn’t. Harry mentions that he and Thomas built a dock on the island before he got shot. Harry steps onto the island and his connection with the island gives him back total awareness. He realizes there’s no one else on the island, but Molly figures that Demonreach doesn’t want anyone but Harry there. Molly and Thomas are stuck on the dock.

Something is going on, Harry realizes. Many of the animals have left the island, leaving behind only those who can’t. Harry heads to the top of the island and the cottage there where a fire is already burning for Harry. Harry removes Bob and asks him to take a look around (keeping his knowledge confidential if he goes back to someone else). Bob has difficulty with just the top layer of spells in the cottage. Bob doesn’t even know what the symbols are. And Bob knows everything.

Bob seems to think that there are hundreds of layers on each stone. And the magic predates wizardry as they know it. Demonreach appears and speaks. He tells Harry his help is needed below. And to bring the Skull. Demonreach also refers to Harry as Warden, which is interesting, because he hasn’t worn the grey cloak in a while.

They go down a fair way, over eleven hundred feet straight down, below the bottom of the lake. Demonreach tells Harry that Merlin created the place. The Merlin, the person not the office. Demonreach shows Harry the kind of security code needed to pass beyond and they visit the chamber where Mab and Demonreach brought him back from death. Then Demonreach shows him a place where there are six, count them, six naagloshii, stored in crystal prisons. Demonreach calls these “the least.” There are plenty more creatures, worse than the naagloshii. “Nightmares. Dark Gods. Nameless Things. Immortals.” The island is a prison. And the significance of Demonreach calling Harry “warden” is now made clear.

Harry realizes that this is a lot of trouble he’s inheriting, and how the White Council will probably not be happy about it. Then he feels one of his massive headaches coming on until Demonreach growls and the headache disappears. Demonreach explains in not so many words that it’s the parasite causing it, the one mentioned at the end of Ghost Story. Apparently Demonreach can’t talk about it, the price of having it save Harry’s life. It will be dangerous to Harry in time, burst forth from his skull. And Molly can help get it out apparently.

Harry puts that on the backburner, though, to deal with the prison problem. Demonreach can’t explain to Harry, so Harry has him use Bob as a translator. It takes Bob a little while to get it, then he plays a movie for Harry. It seems that Merlin built the prison, but not just in three dimensions. In four. He built it in five different times at the same time. Bob also explains that the danger is that someone figure out how to unravel Merlin’s spells. Which will trigger a failsafe which will kill the prisoners, which will release a shitload of energy. It’s set to go off the next day, but Bob explains that the attack is coming from the future. The rock will hit on November 1, but Harry has to stop someone from throwing it in the first place. In addition to dealing with the parasite in his head. And killing Maeve or dealing with Mab. In the next 24 hours.

It’s dawn as they leave the island, meaning the Ways to Faerie are opened again. As the Water Beetle returns to Chicago, Redcap and his buddies start chasing them on jetskis. And armed with guns. Harry has Molly whip up some illusory mist then has Thomas slow down. It brings the faerie thugs in closer so that they can take them out, Molly and Harry using hexes to play havoc with the jetskis. As they head back to dock, Harry asks Thomas to help him save the world and Thomas says yes.

Only how will they do it? And will Harry kill Maeve as commanded? Check back in next week for Part 2.


Rajan Khanna is a writer, blogger, and narrator who is bound to find the wait for the next Dresden book to be agonizing. In the meantime, he will likely concoct grand scenarios to explain some of the ongoing plot threads. His website is www.rajankhanna.com and he tweets @rajanyk.

14 comments
Emmet O'Brien
1. EmmetAOBrien
My strongest reactions to this volume want to wait until later in the reread, but from this much of the book, my thoughts were basically;

a) the prison and related stuff make for an interesting change of scale compared to the pre-Changes books, and it will be fascinating to see where Butcher takes it from here and how he handles it.

b) this is the first time we've seen any significant amount of Thomas since the end of Turn Coat, and the focus didn't seem quite right on how that might have changed him.

c) I gather there's a not-yet-published Molly story between this and Ghost Story, and that feels like another chunk of something important that hasn't been shown on screen

d) most of what we see is at such a pitch of urgency that we're not really getting to see Harry apply any of the lessons of the thinking things through he did in Ghost Story and that was a bit disappointing.
George Brell
2. gbrell
@1.EmmetAObrien:

I agree strongly with a) and d), though there is a suggestion at the end in Harry and Murphy's conversation that the Winter Knight mantle is going to force him into the same kind of introspection.

Re: b), I've always thought the "solution" at the end of Ghost Story re: Thomas was weak, so I may have mentally glossed over him a bit in Cold Days. Something to pay more attention to in my reread.

In response to c), I believe Butcher's upcoming story in George RR Martin's collection Dangerous Women, entitled Bombshells, covers this plotpoint. And that's the price you pay for having a first-person series.
TomT
3. TomT
One of the things I like with Cold Days is we get to see Harry learn much more about what is really going on and why a number of things are the way that they are.

We also see good reason though in part 2 of this book for him to keep the Winter Knight gig. That being part of the things revealed.

But to stick with this half. Just learning about the true nature of Demonreach is impressive. Harry has made himself the prison warden of the biggest and nastiest supernatural prision on earth. And there are beings who want to free and use the prisoners. So yess Harry's scale of power has increased dramatically but so has the scale of problems he can be called on to deal with.

That is something that so far Butcher has been handling fairly well. Harry's scaling power over time.
David Betz
4. RDBetz
This was unquestionably my favorite book of the series so far. And the ending (no spoilers) - Holy Crap! The only thing I didn't like about it was that it ended, and now I have to wait a year+ to see what happens next.
TomT
5. Kasiki
So much of the humor is removed from the re-read and early on there are so many funny moments. If ever this book was put on film the opening sequence of how many ways can you try to kill a guy would be lol awesome.

Thomas takes Harry's "death" the hardest. In many ways Thomas was closest to Harry. He pulls back and is basically willing himself to die by not feeding. Justine finds a way to be with him by having a three-some at the very end of Ghost Story. The explination here is that Justine's special diet is getting women with specific emotional traits to help Thomas get a "well rounded diet".

I supose the question to ask startiing now is how much of the "evil " influence is the parasite and how much is the Winter Mantel?

Anyone have a date on Bombshells? Butcher said he had the Molly short story done a while ago and all they were waiting on was the George RR Martin story before sending it of to be published. Martin though aparently does things on his own time... so the anthology just keeps getting pushed back even though there are shorts from several different series people are intersted in already complete. I haven't heard an update since January.
matt
6. graftonio
Why do I get the sense that sometime in the next few books Walter Peck is gonna pay a visit to Demonreach.



"I'm Walter Peck, from the Environmental Protection Agency, the third district."

"Oh hi my names Harry Dresden this is my place"

"And what do you do here?"

"I Catch ghosts"

"And how many ghosts have you caught, Mr. Dresden?"

"I'm not at liberty to say."

well anyway it ends with a giant marshmellow man.
TomT
8. Kasiki
@6 graftonio

First- a nightmare after seeing some of the things in Demonreach and one turn out to be Zuel like or the Gate keeper/keymaster type being. It would be a hilarious opening/mid book dream sequence Harry seems to have every few cases.

How come i now can see butcher putting in Harry saying to someone... When someone asks if your a god, you say YES!!!!

Typical Butcher
Emmet O'Brien
9. EmmetAOBrien
gbrell@2: I actually rather like Thomas' solution at the end of Ghost Story, in that it's one of the very few times in the series someone intelligently makes use of the logical consequences of the rules of this universe's magic to attain a goal that they seem supposed to prevent. I just don't find any of his post-Turn Coat emotional development solid, and that's more notable to me with the screen time he gets in Cold Days than previously. Also, I don't see that it being a first-person series prevents putting clues enough in there to make things work for the reader, even if Harry is not paying attention, rather than quite such visible gaping holes as that.

Kasiki@5: I found the supposed humour at the beginning really forced and unfunny for the most part, and was glad to get it over with.
George Brell
10. gbrell
@9.EmmetAOBrien:

I think my objection to Thomas' solution is that it doesn't follow the rules of the universe. We know that it is physically painful for the White Court to touch items that are imbued with love. The examples given are things like a wedding ring or a gifted rose. We also know that sleeping with someone you love gives you protection (as Susan did for Harry up until Luccio), but sleeping with someone you do not voids that protection (again, Luccio). Whether these examples are the same principle in two different ways or different isn't entirely clear.

We have this paragraph from Turn Coat:
"The touch of honest love, real and selfless love, was anathema to the White Court. Thomas had told me about White Court vampires who had been badly burned by the touch of some wedding rings, or the brush of a sweetheart's rose. But most dangerous of all to them was the touch of someone who was loved and who loved in return."

We know that Lara values Justine partly because she's protected from the other White Court vampires. This seems to be protection of the first sort, that she gained by sleeping with someone who loved her. Presumably, she loses that when she "enjoys" Thomas' meals, but then regains it when she sleeps with him again.

The problem with this is that Justine's protection is implied to be more than merely the first kind. It matters that Thomas' loves her and that she loves him (although it's possible that the protection requires bi-directional love to come into effect); it's what alluded to in making her more dangerous than the wedding rings. So even if she forfeits the first protection by sleeping with another, wouldn't Thomas' love for her keep her anathema? (This has led my mind to spin off elaborate theories about when inanimate objects would gain/lose their abilities, such as re-gifting a lover's rose or voluntarily removing a wedding ring).

The other problem is that she's either forfeited her protection completely (in which case her use to Lara is what exactly?) OR her protection is restored every time they re-consumate their love (and if we go by tradition, as in Something Borrowed, I would assume that the protection kicks in at climax - though not clear if it's his, hers or both). So is Thomas being burned (in a very sensitive location) at the end of every encounter?
Emmet O'Brien
11. EmmetAOBrien
gbrell@10:

We know that it is physically painful for the White Court to touch items that are imbued with love. The examples given are things like a wedding ring or a gifted rose. We also know that sleeping with someone you love gives you protection (as Susan did for Harry up until Luccio), but sleeping with someone you do not voids that protection (again, Luccio). Whether these examples are the same principle in two different ways or different isn't entirely clear.

I have been taking the imbuing, in either case, as working as a switch, that an item or person in the right context gets charged with that degree of anathema to the White Court (at least to House Raith; it would be interesting to see whether there were different appropriate protections from the other two houses, and how that applied in the case of cross-feeders like Madrigal.)

This seems to be protection of the first sort, that she gained by sleeping with someone who loved her. Presumably, she loses that when she "enjoys" Thomas' meals, but then regains it when she sleeps with him again.

That is how I read it also.

So even if she forfeits the first protection by sleeping with another, wouldn't Thomas' love for her keep her anathema?

I don't think so, because to my mind the on-switch condition is "have sex with person who truly loves you at that particular point in time" and the off-switch condition is "have sex with person who does not" - there is nothing to suggest that the protection Harry derived from Susan would ever have an expiry date other than Harry having sex with someone else, or depend on Susan continuing to truly love him (whatever that actually means in this context; participating in setting him up in the duel at the end of Death Masks would not strike me as fitting the suggested scale of altruism). Nor am I recalling anything to say that the danger inherent in a wedding ring or a gifted rose has an expiry date if the love between whoever exchanged it should fade.

The other problem is that she's either forfeited her protection completely (in which case her use to Lara is what exactly?) OR her protection is restored every time they re-consumate their love (and if we go by tradition, as in Something Borrowed, I would assume that the protection kicks in at climax - though not clear if it's his, hers or both). So is Thomas being burned (in a very sensitive location) at the end of every encounter

I would believe that the protection is being restored, and that fairly stringent safe-sex practises could avoid burns (in some manner analogous to Thomas wearing gloves in order to wear a scarf she made him in Turn Coat.)
George Brell
12. gbrell
@11.EmmetAOBrien:

I would believe that the protection is being restored, and that fairly stringent safe-sex practises could avoid burns (in some manner analogous to Thomas wearing gloves in order to wear a scarf she made him in Turn Coat.)

And that took a turn I didn't expect...

I think the problem I have boils down to the fact that it feels cheap to spend 7 books (everything post-Blood Rites) lamenting that Thomas can't be with Justine if the solution is really as simple as it turns out to be. I also think it feels contrived when Madeline Raith suggests the exact solution explicitly in Turn Coat and it takes another two books to be acted upon:

"Some night, perhaps I'll come to you with some beautiful young buck and whisper pretty things to you until you're mad to be taken. And after he has made use of you, little doe, I'll take you in one big bite."
Emmet O'Brien
13. EmmetAOBrien
gbrell@12: I think the problem I have boils down to the fact that it feels cheap to spend 7 books (everything post-Blood Rites) lamenting that Thomas can't be with Justine if the solution is really as simple as it turns out to be. I also think it feels contrived when Madeline Raith suggests the exact solution explicitly in Turn Coat and it takes another two books to be acted upon

I don't think of that as cheap, but as an authorial indication that emotional idiocy runs in the family; Thomas not being open to a magically required form of open relationship when it involves talking with Justine like an adult, while perfectly able to face shallow meaningless feeding on people other than Justine, is not to my mind a million miles away from Harry's general cluelessness and, come to think of it, direct refusal to consider his feelings as "not a guy thing" - taken to the extent that hsi own subconscious (if that's his subconscious) has to call him on it. I suspect authorial critique - and possibly also satirical intent aimed at the incredible frequency of "non-normative sex thing X is Wrong and I couldn't possibly do it because I'm a good girl but circumstances are going to conspire to kill innocents unless I do it so I have to do it" as a plot element in Laurell Hamilton. For that solution to have worked reads to me as Thomas finally doing some long-needed growing up, with not seeing it as a having to be the kind of horrible thing Madeline is hinting at being a major part of that.
TomT
14. Kasiki
A question to be asked is has a White court Vamp ever fallen in love before? and if so actually tried to make it work?
It might be a case where Thomas has been slowly weakening the hold of the demon inside of him.

On being protected...Harry stays protected for so long because the act of sleeping with someone that you don't love/ doesn't love you finally cleanses him. I thought of it like a threashold but for a person. You share that kind of love and that love keeps building the threashold power around you. On some level Harry still loved Susan enough to not sleep with anyone else. Butcher is big on physicl acts breaking Magical links. So until he found someone else romantically, harry's love (while strained and hinden and a fraction of what it was) replenished his protection. The physical act then represented the emotional one and broak the spell/ threshold protection.

In the case for Thomas it gets more confusing and i would wager that At least one book will dive deeper into it.
Debbie Solomon
15. dsolo
re: Thomas and Justine, perhaps Madeline's comment is what gave Justine the idea. Of course, it was shortly after that he was kidnapped and abused, so he wasn't exactly himself. Desperation probably drove Justine to try Madeline's remedy, but with her own unique perspective. I think you're correct in describing it as a threshold for a person. JB has always shown us loopholes for magic - open water, sunrise, etc. Before his torture, I think Thomas was trying to be noble, and stay as human as possible. His experiences horrified him, because he enjoyed them and probably kicked his self loathing into high gear. Justine had to come up to a solution, and she's already proved that she's a clever girl.

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