At the very end of Cold Days, Molly

is made the Winter Lady.

As far as I can remember there's no information on Molly not being Michael's daughter. Is this somewhere in one of the books? Is Molly's father someone else? How is Molly of fae origin?

  • She doesn't have to be anyone else's daughter: that's Michael as in archangel Michael, innit?
    – Martha
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 18:51
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    @Martha no; just Michael Carpenter
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 18:51
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    @Martha except we've seen real archangels in the Dresden-verse and they aren't anything like humans.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 19:03
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    Molly is fully human.
    – user8252
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 23:12
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    @Martha They are referenced a bit in Small Favor (including a cameo at the end) and one shows up again in Ghost Story. I think we even hear about Michael in a way that makes it clear that it's not Michael Carpenter.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 1:49

8 Answers 8


As far as I know, there is no explicit requirement that the Queens of the Faerie Courts actually be born fae. In fact, the opposite is true: Mab explicitly admits to Harry in Cold Days that she was once mortal. Thus, we can only assume that taking on the mantle of a fae Queen will make you into a fae. (It also means that the claim that the Faerie Mother is the mother of the Faerie Queen, who is the mother of the Faerie Lady, is either not literally true in all cases, or else has some meaning that is different from "female biological parent.")

Although we have very little information on what, exactly, the mantles are, we are fortunate enough to have seen the passing of the Faerie Lady's mantles several times on-screen, and to have known their many bearers before hand. Prior to becoming Summer Lady, Lily was a changeling that intended to choose to remain human instead of become fae. However, she was the "nearest suitable receptacle" when Aurora was killed, and so automatically became the new Summer Lady. By Cold Days she appears to be fully fae, though she never explicitly "chose" that path.

The only other fae mantles we've seen passed around are the knights. We know that pure humans can take up the mantle of fae Knight (the current and previous Winter Knights were both human). We know that being a fae Knight changes the bearer, effectively "turning them into" a fae-like creature. They have significant power that they would not otherwise have, including losing their "humanity" and beginning to think and act like a fae. Of course, there are some differences -- in particular, the mantle of a Knight doesn't pass on automatically, and can be given by the Queen to anyone, so it's not clear how applicable any of this is to the Lady's mantle.

You'll note that, just before it happens, Mab reveals that the Leanansidhe's training of Molly (as the Ragged Lady) was in large part meant to prepare her to accept the mantle. This brings up the question of exactly what it means to "be fae". We do not know what Lea did to Molly to "prepare" her to become Winter Lady, nor do we know how that will change her. I assume this will be a significant part of the subsquent novels.

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    It is explicitly stated in the book that you only need to be in close association with the Fey to be made suitable. Location 9251 of the kindle edition. Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 19:57
  • @sarge_smith I thought so but I don't have my copy handy. I'm also trying to remember if any of the previous books ever said anything that implied that Faerie Queens had to be fae.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:13
  • There isn't anything to my knowledge. It wasn't explored anyplace earlier. Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:35
  • hmm, I was under the assumption that you have to be at least part fae (like a changling) in order to gain the mantle. guess i was wrong.
    – DForck42
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:53
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    Knights are not Fae - they are fully human with additional powers granted by the Mantle of the Knight. These powers are cut off by the presence of iron (as they are Faery magic) but the bearer of the Mantle is not Fae - the iron does not poison them.
    – Jeff
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 0:26

So I see two powerful factors in the Dresdenverse potentially at work: knowledge, and bargains with the Fae.

First, knowledge. Mantles are explored a lot during Cold Days. One of the big points is that power doesn't come with the knowledge of how to use that power - it might come with urges, it might come with instincts, but it doesn't come with an instruction manual. Being able to invest your soul in your magic doesn't mean you know your limits. Being able to wield magic doesn't mean you do it wisely - in fact, there's a name for doing it evilly, and it's "warlock". Being able to lie doesn't mean you know how to do it well

Lea has been training Molly. She's been teaching her to fight, teaching her all about illusions, and teaching her about why to fight, as Lea sees it. Knowledge is power in the Dresdenverse.

In fact, being inexperienced in the the power of a mantle got


killed, and nearly got


killed. So suddenly we have Molly,

Winter Lady

trained by Mab's own right hand Sidhe! That's a big leg up, if we're assuming that pretty much anyone who has recently associated with the Fae is qualified.

But, that may not be enough. We're told several times over the course of the series that bargains with the Fae have power - it's why Mab was able to stab Harry with a letter-opener so many books ago, and why Lea was able to threaten him with unwilling transformation early in the series. Molly inherited the bargain from Harry when Lea assumed that Harry would want Molly trained. Perhaps the bargain is a conduit for power, or perhaps it makes Molly a retainer of Mab's of sorts - just like how capturing a Fae makes them halfway between a guest and a vassal. Perhaps that actually made Molly one of Mab's citizens, allowing

Molly to be made Winter Lady when the Mantle was passed.


(Quick answer while I can, will try to flesh it out later)

I can think of a few prior associations to the Fae.

  • Proven Guilty - Molly is taken by the Phage to Arctis Tor. Dresden and crew mount a rescue, and find all sorts of interesting things have taken place. To date, we haven't been told exactly what happened to Molly while she was there, however we know Lea and Mab we're both present (though one was was pretending to be a statue, and the other was a Fairy Popsicle), and that Arctis Tor is the 'Wellspring' of Winter.

  • Molly spent a great deal of time (at least a year) being trained by Lea (The Leanasidhe) in Ghost Story, when Harry..wasn't around.

By the time we reach Cold Days, Molly is fairly self sufficient, having made her own deals with the Fae (and unlike Harry, seeming to get a good deal). This indicates she has an understanding of how the Fae think.


Now Mab claiming she was mortal doesn't mean she wasn't a Changeling. If I'm not mistaken on this she's the Daughter of the Winter Mother Queen. So that would suggest that she was part Fae part human. So maybe for the mantle to be find a host either you have to be Fae, half Fae, or a human who's has spent a lot of with the Faeries or spent a lot of time in the realm of the Sidhè.

  • Is this really meant to be a separate answer or can it be edited into your previous answer?
    – Null
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 20:53

If I'm not mistaken to receive the mantle of one of the Faerie Queens you either had to be Fae or a Changeling. If I'm not mistaken this was mentioned in Summer Knight. I also wondered why the mantle went to Molly.

Now Mab briefly mentions that one of the reasons she's been having Lea train Molly while Dresden was away was to develop a relationship with Sidhè. Now I don't know if this is the explainer that Jim Butcher wrote to explain why the mantle went to Molly or not, but if I'm not mistaken (and I've read this series probably 30x now, actually listening to Cold Days audiobook as I type this, best series EVER!) this was mentioned in Summer Knight that when an immortal queen is killed on the Stone Table the mantle immediately searches for the closest Fae or Changeling it can find and if I remember correctly is specifically mentions Fae or Changeling only. Maybe it says they have to be intimately connected to the world of Faerie.


It might also have to do with the day it was the one day of the year the fae where human. So maybe someone with magical abilities would be fae that day as well. Or

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. It looks like you haven't completed your thought? You can edit your post if there's more you want to add. If the Fae were (functionally) human, then it doesn't make sense for a human to be effectively Fae, since there are no Fae to be like...
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 3:54

Molly is fully human, daughter of Michael:

Lea made a face. “Faugh. Just so. Holy.” Her smile turned sly again. “But there are others whose lives you hold and can bargain with. You have children, do you not?” She shivered again and said, “Mortal children are so sweet. And can be bent and shaped in so many, many ways. Your eldest daughter, I think, would—”


I would say its because she was granted citizenship by the svartalves. I think her citizenship made her fae.

  • 1
    Can you provide any evidence for this? Your answer seems a bit bland.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 14:44
  • This answer would be vastly improved by sources.
    – amflare
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 14:47

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