Giving Up on Jim Butcher

I just cannot read anymore Jim Butcher. Seriously, that guy.

I suppose I should preface this rant by saying that I like the show. So now die hard Dresden Files fans can stop reading because they already ardently disagree with anything I’ll have to say. I understand that the show and the books have little in common and, as a general fan of books, I do understand why that’s annoying. But, aside from being a very loose adaptation, the show was well cast and entertaining. The special effects were even okay-ish.

Now, back to the books.

What’s the male version of the impossible Mary Sue? Harry Sam? Henceforth, that is what I’ll be referring to it as.

Harry Dresden is an EPIC Harry Sam. He’s young in the world of wizarding but so naturally gifted that people are constantly giving him begrudging respect. He’s such a self-proclaimed and widely acknowledged smart-mouthed-d-bag (a trope I enjoy within reason) that people should hate him but, again begrudgingly, instead they fall in behind him even though he keeps endless – and often dangerous – secrets and treats absolutely everyone he knows like a child. Example, you say? Why sure. The werewolves who he only comes to respect after he gets one of them killed by keeping important information a secret and then they are never mad at him. Somehow he’s a horror to look at (again self-proclaimed, although his melted hand does sound unpleasant) but his machismo makes all the ladies swoon. All of them. Murphy? Yep. Luccio, who is hundreds of years his senior and very un-romantically inclined? Yep. Random passerby in the street and characters who never return again? Yep. JUST UHG. I’d also like to make a quick complaint about how these books treat their female characters in general. I’ve never read the male gaze* written so obviously. He describes women entering a room by their boobs, then hair color and then name. Like “A pair of perky C cups walked into the bar with lovely blonde hair. Oh, hey, it’s my apprentice Molly.” (Full disclosure: that is not a real quote.)

Dresden is just not that good. He messes up all the time. He makes bad choices. He suspects the wrong people (often his friends who instantly forgive him). His plans aren’t actually plans he just thinks Well, if we are all in the same place it’ll be obvious who’s guilty, I guess. But he’s always the hero. Always. He always does a lion’s share of the fighting, even though he’s mortally wounded (always) and there are other, stronger people around (who are randomly unconscious or inexplicably absent). He goes into every fight thinking Well, I’m gonna die. I don’t have a chance. Then he gets really tired tired and hurt (somehow these both occur every single time) and then wins.

He also looks exactly like Jim Butcher. Seriously, check out that author photo. It’s lazy and obvious Harry Sam-ing.

While the world building is interesting, it’s just not worth it to fight logic and reason on behalf of Dresden’s miraculous heroics anymore.

*By which I mean the term used to describe movie and TV shots that attempt to put the audience in place of a male character by only showing one, sexualized aspect of a woman. I think actual human males are better than that.