In Cold Days from the Dresden Files there is this small exchange:

"Okay, come on" I said "You're going to buy me a lawsuit, Bob"
"Hush Harry. Or you'll go to the special hell"

Harry doesn't get the reference and neither do I. What 'special hell' is Bob referring to?


I haven't read Cold Days, but it's almost certainly a reference to the Firefly episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds". It has these two dialog snippets:

Book: [to Mal] If you take sexual advantage of her [Saffron], you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.

and later:

Saffron: Leave me at the nearest port, never look upon me again. I'll make my way with the strength that you've taught me, only let me have my wedding night.

Mal: Oh, I'm gonna go to the special hell.

It's a fairly common reference; see, for example, this Urban Dictionary entry.

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    Well that would make sense then, prior to Cold Days Bob has been watching a lot of TV and internet, something that Harry can't do. So if Bob uses a TV reference then Harry wouldn't get it. – user11154 Dec 10 '12 at 18:27
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    Firefly certainly popularized the phrase recently, but 'special hell' in this sense goes way way back, e.g. Saki 1924. – Mark Beadles Dec 12 '12 at 16:46
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    While you're right that the reference goes back further, Mark, the context of the Firefly quote ("...and people who talk at the theater"), and the fact that Harry is interrupting Bob's impression or a movie projector, makes me think that the Firefly reference is the intention. – scubbo Nov 21 '15 at 21:10

It is a reference to FIREFLY, which Harry Dresden didn't catch, due to his impairment with technology. It was a rare moment for his friends, being able to catch him off-guard with a sci-fi pop culture reference he didn't know.

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