Towards the end of the Battle Ground, Harry travels in a boat towards the Demonreach island - a place that is a supernatural prison for even godlike beings. Yet, when he discovers that his passenger is possessed by Walker, he decides to jump overboard and orders the island to push the vessel away.

Why would he do that? On Demonreach, Harry has almost unlimited power. Not only can he control the environment of the island, but he also has the help of a powerful spirit (that he calls "Alfred"), who could withstand the prolonged attack of two Fairy Queens. So wouldn't it be smarter to lure the Walker to the island and imprison both the Outsider and the human it has possessed?

  • Harry is aware of the environment, via intellectus; he doesn't have any particular control over it.
    – chepner
    Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 22:50
  • 1
    @chepner yes he does! He was able to turn ground into a quicksand with a thought in Peace Talks or make tree to swing a Valkyrie back into the water. it is definitely more than just awareness.
    – Yasskier
    Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 1:40
  • I may have misread that part; I was thinking it was standard magic, though using intellectus to know which ground to turn to quicksand. (Or splitting hairs too finely, Harry can request that Alfred take particular actions.)
    – chepner
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 17:46
  • He can do that through intellectus : - knowing where everyone stands - tapping on the ley lines power generated by the island. Sorry I won't find the exact reference in the book, but it is written.
    – tharibo
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


Because Harry's out of gas.

Just entering a contest of wills to force Nemesis to say its name caused him to collapse. He doesn't know what Nemesis might be capable of once on the island. Alfred should be able to bind anything once on the island, but it's not invincible, and it's not prepared for a parasite that seems to be able to jump into anything. Possibly even Alfred itself.

He has nothing left to bind it himself - if that'd even work, considering (spoilers) someone he wants to save is there somewhere. All the ambient magic that was fueling the craziness the rest of the book was neutralized. He can't use Demonreach until he's on it, which is what Nemesis wants, so that's already really risky.

So Harry takes the only option he has - foil step 1. Arriving with him, and under invite, would bypass the outer defenses. Ergo, off the boat he goes.

I'll also note, my assumption from the reading was that he called out to Demonreach to save him from the water, and the Outsider. The Water Beetle was found sunk - next to shore, yes, but sunk. I don't think Harry told Demonreach to push the boat away as much as he let Nemesis feel the consequences of the island's wrath.

  • 5
    Exhausted, yes. But I think it's actually that he was unprepared. The Walker had prepared thoroughly to be in that exact spot, and Dresden had just caught on. Wizardry is fundamentally about foresight and preparation, so why give his enemy exactly what it wants when he's unprepared to deal with it? Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 16:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.