Who should get the swords Ammoracchius and Fidelacchius?
Warning to Dresden Files Readers – spoilers for Small Favor & Backup
If you, like millions of readers, are a fan of Jim Butcher’s first series of the books, The Dresden Files, then you no doubt are asking yourself the same burning question as the rest of us: who should get the swords. I personally would not be surprised if some enlightened reporter would even ask presidential hopeful Barack Obama for his opinion on the matter. I doubt McCain reads urban fantasy.
Here’s the skinny: Butcher has created a wholly remarkable world where vampires, werewolves, demons and the like are not only real but thriving secretly side by side in the mundane world. It is also a well researched universe because not just the well known Americanized versions of popular culture walk the streets of his world, but monsters from every culture, and every time period.
DUHN DUHN DUHN …And a funny picture of Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher does it right, and with due respect to their source. It was one of the things that hooked me as a reader early on in Jim’s career, as a researcher, I was impressed that someone other than myself knew these myths and legends.
One such example would be the Order of the Knights of the Cross (aka Knights of the Sword). In the Files, there are three knights, each from different walks of life and different faiths, each wielding a sword that was forged with one of the three nails that was used to crucify Jesus Christ to his cross at Calvary.
Each knight has accepted the sword and is sworn to fight the tides of darkness and evil, particularly a sect of demons called the Order of the Blackened Denarians. There are 40 of them, each one bound into one of the 40 pieces of silver that Judas accepted as payment for his part in the betrayal of Christ.
When the series starts, the Order of the Knights of the Cross are at full power, as it were. Each of the three swords was in the hands of worthy wielder.
– Ammoracchius (Sword of Love) is a broad sword that was held by Michael Carpenter, up until the last book, Small Favor. Michael is a long standing secondary character in the books.
– Fidelacchius (Sword of Faith) has been remade into a Katana and had been in the possession of Shiro Yoshimo.
– Esperacchius (Sword of Hope) has been reworked into a heavy saber and was being wielded by a young atheist Russian named Sanya.
As it happened, many a book ago, the wielder of Fidelacchius, Shiro, was slain in an airport chapel by one of the Denarians. Harry was there as the man drew his last breath and was burdened with the overwhelming responsibility of being charged with the duty of passing the sword onto it next wielder. Harry was told only this to assist him in the daunting task: you’ll know who and when it becomes apparent.
So, for a long time fans have been clamoring all over the boards asking each other and then arguing the point over who should get Fidelacchius. Everyone has at least one opinion on the subject. It looked for a long time like Jim was just going to leave this small and seemingly insignificant sub plot on the back burner forever, but then Small Favor was released, the tenth book in the series.
The katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands.
In it, Michael was hurt bad, bad enough that it looked like he was going to die, because in the Dresden Files, that happens sometimes. Folks die, bad things happen, and the heroes must overcome in order to change and grow. As it happened, Michael did not die, but a year later he is a shadow of his former self, physically unable to swing a sword, let alone be the bearer of Ammoracchius.
Now Harry is the guy who has two of the three swords and is under a lot of pressure to find the folks who need to have them. Harry knows that this is an important undertaking and wants to do the right thing, but the bad guys are ahead of the game and pulling forward fast. There is only one Knight of the Cross up and active. There is a lot of pressure from lots of folks for him to pass the swords on, but Harry, who would be the first to admit that he sometimes does dumb and rash things, is making every effort not to screw this up.
So, maybe we can help. Although it is highly likely that the author himself may not even know yet who will get the swords or under what circumstances, let us go over the list of possible characters and see who we can eliminate or at least shed some light on as to who may be a likely candidate.
First of all, it has been established that each of the wielders of the swords are descendant of a royalty. So, whoever the next person is to take up the cause will have to have blue blood coursing through their veins.
Karrin Murphy – For starters, she has already held and used Fidelacchius, was offered the job by Harry, and she turned it down. Not to say that things or circumstances may not change, but Murphy is not a wishy-washy gal. Is she a candidate for Ammoracchius? I say not. Royalty notwithstanding, I feel that Karrin is looking forward to the day when she can retire from the police force and walk away from all the weirdness in her life. It’s what killed her father when he was on the job, and Karrin has had a number of close calls and lost a partner to it herself. She fights now because she can, but I think she will hang up her hat one day. If she wanted anything permanent with the supernatural, she and Harry woudda hooked up when the chance for that existed. I feel she doesn’t want that level of involvement.
Thomas Raith – Harry’s half brother and a vampire of the White Court. For practical purposes, Thomas is an incubus, but that alone would not be an automatic disqualifier to being a Knight of the Cross. After all, Sanya was once a member of the Order of the Darkened Denarians, broke free of them and was personally handed his sword by the archangel Gabriel. Sanya is a devout atheist. Thomas would be a contender for Ammoracchius I think. It is the Sword of Love, and Thomas is an incubus who is in love with his longtime girlfriend, Justine. He also happens to uses a Civil War calvary sword in combat when the occasion calls for it. Thomas is currently deeply involved in the shadow wars that vampires play, vying for power and trying to undo each other. So, working on the QT and alone is something he is quite good at. Thomas is driven by his loyalty to his family. He is protective of Harry and in a short story that featured Thomas, he goes to great lengths to help his brother solve a case without him knowing that he was helping at all. He periodically works with his sister, Lara, who is the Queen of the White Court. The Swords cannot be touched by “unclean” creatures, but I feel that Thomas although a vampire, is basically a “good” person and could handle a sword. However, that remains to be seen, as he has never had opportunity to touch one.
Billy Borden – he is the alpha male werewolf leader of The Alphas, Chicago’s resident werewolf pack. He and his are usually called on by Harry to be heavies or run back-up. Billy is also the GM of the gamming group that Harry plays in when time allows. Harry has been a friend of Billy’s for some years, was even the best man at his wedding. He is a good man, faithful and loyal to Harry, he was there for him many times when other folks were too afraid or unwilling to confront Harry back during his depression. Because of his proven loyalty to Harry, and his protective nature to his pack members, Billy is a potential contender for Fidelacchius.
Bob – He’s an air elemental of knowledge, and resides in a human skull. He’s sortta like Harry’s lab partner. Without a physical body, I would have to say that Bob is the most unlikely candidate for any sword. It’s all he can do to read porno magazines and romance novels.
Butters – the night shift ME for Chicago, and Harry’s doctor. I love this character, he’s like Joe Everyguy. He is curious and properly afraid, but in a clinch, not only does he man up and help Harry, he keeps his cool and saves lives. Of all the characters in the Dresden Files, I really associate to him the most. He asks questions that I think I would ask if I were in his place. I could make an argument for Butters to get a sword, he’s most like “one of us” but he has been such a minor character throughout the series, except for in Dead Beat, that I feel he just doesn’t have a chance to jockey for position in the pack of contenders. He has proven his loyalty and willingness to commit; he has fought against his fears and zombies and stood by Harry’s side in battle. I see him a sort of modern day Bogatyri, a champion for the people.
Gard – she is a Valkyrie and the personal bodyguard for John Marcone. She seems to prefer an axe in close quarters. She certainly has all physical prowess down, but her motivations are at best unclear. She works for Marcone through an agency that operates out of Norway, and seems to be glamorized hired thug. That may be all that there is to her, but if memory serves me correct, Valkyries are minor female deities so perhaps could be considered as nobility? She is a potential, but low on the totem pole.
“Gentleman” John Marcone – Chicago’s mob boss and a member of the Unseelie court. Marcone would be all about accepting a sword, any sword, because of the power that would come with it, but I doubt that he would be willing to work for someone else, which would be a requirement. Marcone does not like to take orders, he gives them. I can’t see him using the sword without quickly unmaking one of them. Although he has shown some sense of genuine concern for his mistakes, he goes about correcting them in the wrong way. For instance, in his youth Marcone was responsible for turning a little girl into a vegetable during a drive-by shooting. In an effort to help her, he arranged for the Shroud of Turin to be stolen and placed over her to see if it would heal her. It was more important to him to free himself of the guilt of his action than it was to preserve a holy artifact. He was driven by his guilt, his weakness. I think that aside from being a murderer, even if there was a glowing neon sign over his head that read “next sword bearer here” Harry would not give Marcone the sword. He has seen the soul of the man and knows him perfectly. I feel that Marcone would be a destroyer of the Sword should he ever come into the possession of one.
Justine – Thomas Raith’s lover and personal assistant to Lara Raith, Queen of the White Court. Justine is motivated by her love and loyalty for Thomas. This makes her a candidate, but she is a physically small and frail woman. Although she would have the heart and drive to carry a Sword, especially if she thought it would help Thomas, she would lack the physical ability. Perhaps for that reason, she would be more suited for Fidelacchius as it is a Katana, a light and fast weapon. I could buy her doing this, there are lots of strong female characters in the Dresden Verse, and I think Justine would be a good addition.
Luccio – She is the former captain of the White Council, a calm and level headed woman. Again, I don’t think that this character has been developed well enough to have a chance of gaining a sword. Maybe in future books she will come more into her own and will learn what drives and compels her, but as it stands right now, I wouldn’t give her one, we really don’t know enough about her.
Ivy – also known as the Archive. Basically, this nine year old little girl is the physical living embodiment of all knowledge and wisdom that has ever been written or recorded in some fashion. She is a member of the Unseeilie Court and has access to mega amounts of magical power. Her position of power and knowledge was inherited from her mother. One day she is going to have a daughter, and at the time of her death the accumulation of all of Ivy’s power and knowledge will pass to her daughter. Ivy is not in my opinion a variable candidate. Harry, in my humble opinion, is just mentally incapable of handing over one of the swords to her because she is a child. Harry has a personal hang up with the protection of children because of his own crapy childhood. No matter how powerful Ivy is, or how capable, I don’t see him ever giving a little girl who likes to make macaroni art one of the Swords of the Cross.
Molly Carpenter – Daughter of Michael and currently Harry’s apprentice, Molly also obviously has blue blood running through her veins, as her father was a wielder of one of the swords. She is developing into a powerful wizard in her own right, but so far has not really displayed interest in Fidelacchius which has been in an umbrella stand in Harry’s apartment for the last several years. As someone who grew up in a household where Ammoracchius’ call more or less dictated how life would be, Molly again has shown no interest in carrying on her father’s legacy. That is not to say she cannot, but like Karrin Murphy, she doesn’t seem to want the job.
Morgan – Field Commander of the White Council. Think “burnt out cop” meets the “embittered war vet.” Only recently has Morgan come to accept the fact the Harry is not a force of evil. He is not a man of particular faith or love or devotion. He is driven by tradition at this point, fueled by his deep hatred of black magic. I don’t feel that Morgan is a deep enough person or well developed enough character to take on the responsibility of a sword.
Susan – ex-girlfriend of Harry Dresden, she was taken and attacked by the vampires of the Red Court. She has not yet taken a human life, so she is considered a half vampire as she has some powers and supernatural abilities. She is currently a member of The Fellowship of Saint Giles, a place for people who have been cursed by magic or other things that go bump in the night. She still loves Harry, and because of this I can see her as a candidate for Ammoracchius. Although a very minor character in the books, she has grown and developed more than most of the “regulars.” She is driven and committed to fighting against evil. For that matter, she is as viable a candidate for Fidelacchius. If royalty can be believably delivered, I say give her a blade!
Well, I hope that you have found this to be helpful and a little insightful. Although I have cast my opinion out there as to who I think would be viable candidates to receive a sword, I do not want you think that this is what I hopes happens.
Currently, we are only up to book 10 in a 25 book story arch. We may not have even met the characters yet who will receive the swords. But I do know this, whoever gets the swords, or whatever happens to them, I trust Butcher to write a good story. He’s been brilliant up to now and I don’t see any kinks in his armor. I know that fans want what fans want, but that is seldom, if ever, good for the story line. This is why so much fan fiction, albeit occasionally well written, is good or can be maintained for long.
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