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Growing irritations w Dresden series Spoilers ALL BOOKS SPOILERS

#41 User is offline   HiddenOne 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 11:52 AM

View PostAbyss, on 21 August 2014 - 09:09 PM, said:

View PostHiddenOne, on 21 August 2014 - 08:59 PM, said:

I heard about a guy named Spock once that was just that kind of hero


I remember that guy. His album was breathtaking.
Spoiler



Guess what I am listening to at this minute. Well done.

Edit: I can't take it anymore. I should have known this wasn't going to be the juicy plum I expected. You got me

This post has been edited by HiddenOne: 22 August 2014 - 12:08 PM

HiddenOne. You son of a bitch. You slimy, skulking, low-posting scumbag. You knew it would come to this. Roundabout, maybe. Tortuous, certainly. But here we are, you and me again. I started the train on you so many many hours ago, and now I'm going to finish it. Die HO. Die. This is for last time, and this is for this game too. This is for all the people who died to your backstabbing, treacherous, "I sure don't know what's going on around here" filthy lying, deceitful ways. You son of a bitch. Whatever happens, this is justice. For me, this is justice. Vote HiddenOne Finally, I am at peace.
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#42 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:20 PM

View PostSilencer, on 22 August 2014 - 11:42 AM, said:

Wasn't it explicitly mentioned at some point that potions have a rather short use-by date?

I initialy thought that this was the case, but now I don't think so. I don't have my books with me, all I could find that in the Fool Moon Harry makes two potions in chapter 7 (I think) and uses them in chapters 17 and 21. I don't know how much time passed between the chapters, but I would say that enough to make brewing the elixirs worthwile. At least untill he gets some more magical power ups.

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If there's one thing in the Dresden books which I thought was pretty well covered,it was the fact that potions were not the best solution to most problems

And setting everything on fire is? :)
Potions seem damn useful, even if we agree that they aren't Harry's strong suit (though I remember him saying sth about brewing being his hobby) and that the risk is great. Doesn't make any sense why he wouldn't make some as a last resort weapon when his every other job is a suicide mission anyway.
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#43 User is offline   Silencer 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:49 PM

Except they aren't.

He takes one job like that a year. Not usually with "suicide mission" as the premise, that's just where they end up.

Plus I disagree with the time investment-to-use in Fool Moon. That was pretty quick. Any less than several weeks of storage doesn't really justify the time and effort going into making them, imo. That's also disregarding the potential for failure/horrible side effects.

As for it being a hobby...didn't he specifically state that the only reason he's any good at potions is Bob's knowledge, which also speeds up the preparation significantly?
(Besides, he's meant to be a lot better at small ritual magic and stuff than evocation, but he still seems kind of average at anything other than evocation...so I'm not taking his word on what his competence is at potions XD)
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#44 User is offline   Silencer 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:51 PM

View PostSecond Sword, on 22 August 2014 - 12:20 PM, said:

And setting everything on fire is? :)

Also, yes. It is the best solution to all problems. Yes, even when fire is the problem. XD
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<Vote Silencer> For not garnering any heat or any love for that matter. And I'm being serious here, it's like a mental block that is there, and you just keep forgetting it.



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#45 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 01:30 PM

View PostSilencer, on 22 August 2014 - 12:49 PM, said:

Not usually with "suicide mission" as the premise, that's just where they end up.

He really should get better at spotting the patterns... :)

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Any less than several weeks of storage doesn't really justify the time and effort going into making them, imo.

Why? It's not like he has better things to do most of the time. Given that from a certain book (and even before the main series starts) he is being hunted by monsters out of his league, it doesn't make any sense not to prepare for ambushes. Imho, if the potion doesn't expire in 2-4 days it is worth brewing.

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didn't he specifically state that the only reason he's any good at potions is Bob's knowledge, which also speeds up the preparation significantly?

Well then, if bob speeds things up significantly... even better for Harry

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(Besides, he's meant to be a lot better at small ritual magic and stuff than evocation, but he still seems kind of average at anything other than evocation...so I'm not taking his word on what his competence is at potions XD)

Hard to disagree with that :) It's not a big stretch to assume that Harry is an unreliable narrator.
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Posted 22 August 2014 - 01:54 PM

Re Potions


The books are not entirely clear and that might be deliberate or just author omission over time, but i think that the bottom line is that potions are unreliable and having the right potion on hand for whatever presumes Harry having time to brew it, which is rarely the case.

On a reader level, i think that Harry always having the right potion on hand for whatever would be boring, take a lot of the fun out of the books and become a tediously convenient plot device.

Re infallible

Harry is fallible. He is very much fallible. He gets things wrong all the time, he isn't always on time, and people die. Sometimes just because they're near him. It's part of why he's such a great character... he loses, pulls his shit together, and pushes through.

He also evolves as the books proceed. Harry in DEAD BEAT, facing down Morgan, gaining Lucio's trust, taking control of the battle and riding an undead T-rex into a fight with three necromancers (aside FUCK YEAH POLKA WILL NEVER DIE!) is most definitely not Harry in FOOL MOON, beaten, exhausted, under investigation and running from confrontation to confrontation before being captured and having to work with Marcone to survive. This continues on into the future books but the OP is at DEAD so i won't go any further with the point.

Re Harry as narrator

Up to DB, he isn't so much an unreliable narrator as a subjective one.

Re fire

Oh hell yes.

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#47 User is offline   Silencer 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 01:55 PM

I guess I got the impression when I last read one of the books with potions that they literally take several hours to do the initial prep, and then take further time for 'cooking', even if that's mostly unattended.

To me, that's a huge investment of time for something which may not even work, or might backfire.
He's better off spending that time upping the defenses on his duster etc if, as you seem to imply, he needs to spend every waking minute preparing for encounters which are rather unlikely and somewhat easy to see coming (bearing in mind that as a wizard of the White Council, he technically has multiple 'legal' protections, plus the threat of his death curse, general power level, and the threat of post-mortem Council-based retribution).

I guess it's also hard to keep those potions coming when he is basically unable to pay the rent on his basement flat with no electricity. XD even the cheap ingredients would add up if he's brewing, say, almost 200 potions a year (52 weeks by two types of potion, at least), and not all potions are that easy to make.


Plus that would be at the expense of other activities which either pay bills or improve his other capabilities. Plus it's essentially destroying any semblance of normal life he may have (which I think he might not be too keen on).


It just seems overkill to me. It's bordering on the crazy-prepared level of dedication without any of the versatility and a lot of sacrifices for it. When realistically he's not in that level of life-threatening situation very often. And he usually has some time to prepare.


Don't get me wrong. If the potions have no expiry date (or it's very long) and there's not a huge chance of them failing, I agree. He'd be an idiot not to keep a couple to hand. But I don't think that's the case, if I'm recalling correctly. And when I said that Bob makes it quicker, I meant brings it down to several hours, rather than full days. Again, iirc.

For sure, you would think he'd learn by now the pattern of his adventures, but it IS a serial. If he got too genre savvy there'd be no books any more. XD
And to be fair, the later books do address this a bit. In that he finds himself increasingly out of his depth and militarizing accordingly. XD so it's not like it goes completely unaddressed.
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<Vote Silencer> For not garnering any heat or any love for that matter. And I'm being serious here, it's like a mental block that is there, and you just keep forgetting it.



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#48 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 02:37 PM

View PostAbyss, on 22 August 2014 - 01:54 PM, said:

The books are not entirely clear and that might be deliberate or just author omission over time, but i think that the bottom line is that potions are unreliable and having the right potion on hand for whatever presumes Harry having time to brew it, which is rarely the case.

I think that I've read somewhere that Butcher ignored them because he didn't want them to be gimmicks solving the case every time. I don't know if that is true, but it does make sense overall. Though I would like to have a better in-story explanation for that.

Quote

On a reader level, i think that Harry always having the right potion on hand for whatever would be boring, take a lot of the fun out of the books and become a tediously convenient plot device.

The point is that it doesn't have to be a right potion. It's even more realistic if he has a wrong one, or is unable to use it. But it would be nice if a grown up man prepared for emergencies.

Quote

Harry is fallible. He is very much fallible. He gets things wrong all the time, he isn't always on time, and people die. Sometimes just because they're near him. It's part of why he's such a great character... he loses, pulls his shit together, and pushes through.

But he rarely learns from those experiences enough to try a different approach. Again, better in the last few novels, but still.

View PostSilencer, on 22 August 2014 - 01:55 PM, said:

When realistically he's not in that level of life-threatening situation very often.

What about when he becomes a number one target for vamps all over the world? And there are things from his past that he should be concerned about. Moreover, with his innate ability to make enemies out of everyone, he should have something to back up his words (basically, a 'yo mama so fat' to every monster he sees)

Quote

And to be fair, the later books do address this a bit. In that he finds himself increasingly out of his depth and militarizing accordingly.

That is why I like those books more
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#49 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 03:02 PM

View PostSecond Sword, on 22 August 2014 - 02:37 PM, said:

... it would be nice if a grown up man prepared for emergencies.


That's where the rod, staff, amulet, rings, bracelet and magically invested duster come in, plus some other stuff that's RAFO.

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Quote

Harry is fallible. He is very much fallible. He gets things wrong all the time, he isn't always on time, and people die. Sometimes just because they're near him. It's part of why he's such a great character... he loses, pulls his shit together, and pushes through.

But he rarely learns from those experiences enough to try a different approach. Again, better in the last few novels, but still.


RAFO.

Quote

View PostSilencer, on 22 August 2014 - 01:55 PM, said:

..., the later books do address this a bit. In that he finds himself increasingly out of his depth and militarizing accordingly.

That is why I like those books more


HUGE RAFO.
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Posted 22 August 2014 - 03:27 PM

View PostAbyss, on 22 August 2014 - 03:02 PM, said:

That's where the rod, staff, amulet, rings, bracelet and magically invested duster come in, plus some other stuff that's RAFO.


So he exchanged one gimmick for another, instead of using both. Though I admit that items are more useful.

Quote

RAFO

I've read through all of them. And the most common tactics is a charge, followed by forzare, followed by fuego, followed by getting overpowered by the enemy.
Things get better in later books, but that is sort of expected after so many volumes.
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#51 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 04:02 PM

View PostSecond Sword, on 22 August 2014 - 03:27 PM, said:

View PostAbyss, on 22 August 2014 - 03:02 PM, said:

That's where the rod, staff, amulet, rings, bracelet and magically invested duster come in, plus some other stuff that's RAFO.


So he exchanged one gimmick for another, instead of using both. Though I admit that items are more useful.


They have their limits (charging, breaking, one use, etc) but overall they seem more reliable than the potions ever did.

Quote

Quote

RAFO

I've read through all of them. And the most common tactics is a charge, followed by forzare, followed by fuego, followed by getting overpowered by the enemy.
Things get better in later books, but that is sort of expected after so many volumes.


Right, sorry, mixed you up with the OP. But if you've read them all, without going spoilers for the OP, you know it's more complex than that, specifically when he's up against an enemy he knows is more powerful.
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#52 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 04:21 PM

View PostAbyss, on 22 August 2014 - 04:02 PM, said:

They have their limits (charging, breaking, one use, etc) but overall they seem more reliable than the potions ever did.

That is true. What I didn't like about them is that generally they reinforce Harry's already strong offensive powers. I liked the idea of elixirs because they offered him completely different tactics to tackle monsters, as well as an option to avoid his chronic 'getting captured by the enemies' disease.

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you know it's more complex than that, specifically when he's up against an enemy he knows is more powerful.

Yeah, I know. And despite my ramblings, it is a great series (though I have more issues with Butcher's writing). Harry does step up when he needs to, but I would prefer somebody more paranoid (in a good way) with all this stuff that is happening to him.
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#53 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 05:07 PM

View PostSecond Sword, on 22 August 2014 - 04:21 PM, said:

View PostAbyss, on 22 August 2014 - 04:02 PM, said:

They have their limits (charging, breaking, one use, etc) but overall they seem more reliable than the potions ever did.

That is true. What I didn't like about them is that generally they reinforce Harry's already strong offensive powers. I liked the idea of elixirs because they offered him completely different tactics to tackle monsters, as well as an option to avoid his chronic 'getting captured by the enemies' disease.

Quote

you know it's more complex than that, specifically when he's up against an enemy he knows is more powerful.

Yeah, I know. And despite my ramblings, it is a great series (though I have more issues with Butcher's writing). Harry does step up when he needs to, but I would prefer somebody more paranoid (in a good way) with all this stuff that is happening to him.



SPOILERS FOR DEAD BEAT

Spoiler


Another point is that the villains are mostly cold planners, whether it be Nicodemus, The Fairy Queens,The Vampire lords and ladies, Marcone etc. If Dresden had been cast in the same mold what you would have is a series where all the main characters lurk in shadowy lairs, talk and plot in sinister voices, and pull strings of intricate schemes. But rather a magical Machiavelli, you have Dresden who sets fire to said shadowy lairs, yells insulting things in answer to the whispers and half the time does not grasp the full iplications of the plot anyway, but by then it doesn't matter, cause everythings blown up/burnt down. His hot impulsiveness is a necessary foil to the villains.


SPOILER FOR POST CHANGES EVENTS
Spoiler

This post has been edited by Abyss: 22 August 2014 - 05:11 PM
Reason for edit: to protect the weak

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#54 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 05:13 PM

Agreed his lack of subtlety is part of the character's charm, as is the points later where he starts to develop it. To a degree. That's evident even in DB whre he works with Marcone rather than against him on principal.


(@ANDORION - a word with my modgod hat on, i edited your spoiler slightly to protect the weak willed among us).
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#55 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 05:15 PM

View PostAndorion, on 22 August 2014 - 05:07 PM, said:

His hot impulsiveness is a necessary foil to the villains.

That is an excellent point. Though I still wish he picked up things from them quicker in a 'when in Rome...' kind of way - then he wouldn't have to rely on luck, which I personally dislike. As much as I hate to admit it, 'when in Rome, burn the Rome along with the Romans' has certain tactical advantages :)
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#56 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 05:36 PM

View PostAbyss, on 22 August 2014 - 05:13 PM, said:

Agreed his lack of subtlety is part of the character's charm, as is the points later where he starts to develop it. To a degree. That's evident even in DB whre he works with Marcone rather than against him on principal.


(@ANDORION - a word with my modgod hat on, i edited your spoiler slightly to protect the weak willed among us).


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#57 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 05:37 PM

View PostSecond Sword, on 22 August 2014 - 05:15 PM, said:

View PostAndorion, on 22 August 2014 - 05:07 PM, said:

His hot impulsiveness is a necessary foil to the villains.

That is an excellent point. Though I still wish he picked up things from them quicker in a 'when in Rome...' kind of way - then he wouldn't have to rely on luck, which I personally dislike. As much as I hate to admit it, 'when in Rome, burn the Rome along with the Romans' has certain tactical advantages :)


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#58 User is offline   Mcardle 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 06:04 PM

His hot headedness hasn't really bothered me, its a character trait in fine with, About 14 Chapters into Proven Guilty now, think I have guessed the book mostly due to some heavyhanded foreshadowing, Molly will be responsible for bringing these movie killers to life somehow and to save her from the council Harry will take her on as a apprentice or something. Not sure where the Fairy angle works in but guess its connected to the hit and run? Listening them to them as an audiobook so rattling through them !
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#59 User is offline   champ 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 06:15 PM

It was in a Q&A that Butcher admitted he put potions on the back burner as they could have been an easy out.

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#60 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 11:22 PM

I'm pretty sure the utility belt is the main reason why the Adam West Batman is the most respected iteration in the franchise. Surely it can't be that hard for Harry to make (for example) a fresh shark repellant potion every 3 days or so, just in case.
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