Battle Ground – REACTION/THOUGHTS (ENORMOUS SPOILERS)

Presented in mostly chronological order.

– Talk is cheap. It still goes to say: Marcone is The Man. I love Marcone.
– Mavra’s back. As a henchman. To Drakul. Eh.
– DRAKUL IS A STARBORN.
– Who refuses to tell Harry anything about what it means, naturally. Gah.
– “At this point of conversations like this one, I often offer the dark gift of immortality to someone in your position….but honestly, five minutes of you in my life has been quite enough.”
– Wild Bill dies and so does Yoshimo, probably also Chandler. 😦 For people with hardly any screentime, it’s…unexpectedly sad. That being said, screw the Black Court, seriously.
– That being said, there’s something of a disconnect between: mortal humans have all but eradicated the Black Court because of Bram Stoker’s instruction manual, and “the Black Court is THE STRONGEST kind of vampire, hands-down, no contest.”
– Einherjaren vs jotuns = lots of people screaming and looooooots of blood.
– MURPHY’S CALLSIGN IS VALKYRIE COME ON PEOPLE.
– Jim Butcher is a genius. When the hero gets a last-minute infodump from a literal talking head in the middle of a battle, it feels completely natural and realistic to learn that the stakes of the battle is actually the nature of reality and the reality of human existence.
– “Defilade the crap out of them.” “No, we want to be in defilade. You want them to be in enfilade.” “Whatever.”
– The Winter Knight mantle is actually not just the cloak of a thug…it’s the banner of a General. With all the responsibilities that come with it. (poor Harry).
– Murphy.
– Damnit Butcher.
– Murphyyyyyyyyyy
– Valkryrie she’s gonna be a valkyrie damnit damnit damnit. Damn you Butcher.
– No one in the Dresdenverse has a son. Everyone has daughters, everyone. Why?
– What the heck is Listen? He’s a mortal and yet he’s got Ethniu’s ear and he’s way more competent than King Corb. (although that’s not particularly difficult when Corb is supposed to be a sniveling, malicious, snidely-whiplash type villain).
– “And that’s how maybe two hundred and fifty fae charged five thousand Fomor at the Battle of the Bean.”
– NO I LIKED THE ERLKING WHY IS HE GETTING WHALLOPED
– (Marcone has upgraded from one flintlock pistol to MANY FLINTLOCK PISTOLS.)
– “We didn’t charge into the fray so much as aggressively shamble. But into the fray we went.”
– HENDRICKS
– OH WAIT OH WAIT GARD WORKS FOR ODIN NEVER MIND HE’LL BE OKAY. HE’LL BE OKAY RIGHT? RIGHT?
– Lara?
– OH FUCK MARCONES NECK GOT BROKEN SCREW THIS
OH FUCK HE DID IT. HE’S THORNED NAMSHIEL GODDAMN IT MARCONE. NO. I LIKED YOU SO MUCH BEFORE THIS. I mean, it’s one thing to have a mortal who has the guts and intelligence to stand up to supernatural threats and it’s one thing to have a mortal who is in thrall whether they know it or not to a literal fallen angel.
I do not appreciate this. So much for my theory about Good King John Marcone. Damnit.
– “No I don’t have any gopher wood. No one has any gopher wood. I’m not even sure it exists anymore.”
– OH HE WAS TRYING TO BUILD AN ARK AAAAUUUGH LOL
– Thomas??? JUSTINE??? GOODMAN GREY??
– OH FUCK IT WAS JUSTINE. DAMNIT. IT HAS ABSOLUTELY NO EMOTIONAL IMPACT AND IS RESOLVED/solved, anyway, WITHIN A SINGLE CHAPTER. DAMNIT BUTCHER. THAT IS NOT GOOD WRITING IT IS JUST SLOPPY.
– Murphy and Hendricks are Einherjar. But they aren’t coming back until all mortal memory of them has been lost.
– Michael Carpenter on the White Council of Wizards: “Those fuckers.” [redacted] “I’ll be happy to do penance, Lord.”
– The Feds are the Librarians….the Librum Bellum. Also known as the Men In Black. Heh.
– Is…is Lara a Harry/Marcone shipper….???????? Ew.
– GODDAMNIT NO NOT HARRY/LARA I SWEAR MURPHY IS NOT EVEN FREAKING COLD IN HER….VALHALLA….WHAT THE HELL NO. MAB NO.
– At least Molly got to go home.
– This one also only took me about three hours to read (5:00-7:49 a.m.) I feel distinctly cheated. I also had to *actually pay* for this one. My Russian Bot friends have let me down!

The Prince Commands – Andre Norton (Repost)

“Did you know Andre Norton wrote historical and alternate history, too?”
“Oh?”
“Yeah, she wrote a couple of Civil War novels, and this one I got at the giant booksale last year. It’s really nice. It’s like a boy’s adventure story. It’s awesome!”
“What’s it about?”
“It’s about a secret heir to the throne, and bandits, and cavalry charges, and secret passwords–and horses–y’know, more books ought to have horses. That’s the reason fantasy literature has declined, it’s ’cause they don’t have enough cool horses in them. Or dogs. There should be more dog books. And, oh, there’s winning your spurs, and, oh, oh, oh, fighting Communists! And it’s really nice. It’s a good book.”
“It has Communists?”
“Yeah, they came in from Russia and set up shop and tried to overthrow the old King, but everybody is actually really lotal to the monarchy and just laughed at them until they assassinated him, but that actually backfired on them and they had to go underground then.”
“They came from Russia? This isn’t science fiction?”
“No, it’s set in Prisoner of Zenda-land. You know, somewhere in eastern Europe, still got a King and an Archbishop and a cathedral, people still ride horses, there’s only one airplane in the whole country–”
“Andre Norton wrote this?”
“Yep! And it’s a really good book! The hero is like, just a boy and then he shows his worth and wins his spurs and becomes Prince–”
“That’s a ripoff. He should become King. That’s the Zelazny way. Cheating your hero out of their comeuppance so you can use them in more books. Andre Norton was trying to set up a sequel.”
“No! He wasn’t the first heir! They had him concealed in America and he was kept ignorant of his heritage, but then the Council tried to assassinate the real heir, and then they needed a puppet in a hurry so they called him in and bandits attack the train and he escapes. And then he has adventures. And they’re fun and exciting and…see, the foreward to the book is her talking about how she wrote it for a kid she knew. And it shows, because she wrote this book to be a good book for that kid to read. So it’s completely exciting and completely interesting and completely wholesome and worthwhile. It’s a really good book! I like it a lot.
“A sequel would have been nice, though.”

Dreden Files: Pre-Battle Ground predictions

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Art via zirofax.deviantart.com

(General spoilers)

– Justine is not Nfected–mostly because it wouldn’t have very much emotional impact if she did. She and Harry have hardly ever interacted, except wayyyy back in Grave Peril; and when she does have screentime (such as: Bombshells), her only defining character trait is bone-deep love and loyalty to Thomas. Placing Justine (and Thomas 2.0) in peril = drama. Justine Was The Mastermind = no setup and therefore no drama.

– Goodman Grey has been already hired by someone and has been seen impersonating a different character in Peace Talks (possibly Ramirez). My theory? He’s been hired by Future Harry.

– River Shoulders mentions that he knows a lot about the Starborn but can’t tell Harry right now because he promised not to.–the most aggravating and transparent tactics a hamhanded and inept author can use to maintain tension. Unless…the person who asked him to keep mum was also Future Harry.
Mirror Mirror’s the next book, that’s all I’m sayin’.

– Harry Dresden, wizard, has never been (or at least wasn’t at first) the target. Remember way back in the day when Gentleman Johnny Marcone was being attacked by two-bit sorcerers pedling magical drugs? Remember when Nfected FBI agents with wolf belts were trying to take down the big-time Chicago gangster? Also, remember when Lucifer himself helped break into Marcone’s saferoom in order to kidnap him?
Harry has never been the target of the various Chicago-centric plots. The enemy has always been targeting Marcone.
Why?

– MARCONE IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT KING ARTHUR AND HARRY IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT MERLIN.

– Murphy -> valkyrie….I’m on the fence for this. Jim Butcher had answered a fan question to this effect earlier with the info that there would be “no more powerups for Murphy.” Does it count as a power up if it restores her to merely 100% of her pre-Skin Game abilities?

– I have a theory about Tam Lin, escaping the Winter Knight mantle, and the fact that Harry and Murphy were unlikely to have been using protection when they, uh, finalized their relationship.

– I also have a theory about Rudolph: the guy we first see in Fool Moon as an out-of-his-depth rookie, but then also in Grave Peril as still-out-of-his-depth, resentful, in-denial of the supernatural–but staunch defender of his boss, Lieutenant Karrin Murphy. He even gives Harry a freaking, “if you do anything to hurt her.”–only to suddenly, at his next appearance, be a hated, conniving, snivelling weasel who weasels, cavils, exists to make things harder for the heroes, and is treated with contempt by every professional who has the misfortune to work with him.
I think that Rudolph is a hero who has been fighting this entire time to keep Murphy and Special Investigations safe. I think Rudolph has been either touched by the Nemesis (but still kind of in control of himself), or has been in direct contact with whomever it is is pulling the cops’ strings behind the scenes and been desperately running interference from there.
I think he’s going to have a death scene where this all is tragically revealed, a la Martin, and then Harry will feel very bad about it.
Anyhow, I hope so. So far, unlike in some of Jim Butcher’s works (SUCH AS Codex Alera and Cinder Spires), there haven’t been any characters who particularly exist just to be an audience hatesink.

Anyhoo.