After reading the Hollows series by Kim Harrison, I've picked up Storm Front by Jim Butcher, the first book in the Dresden Files series (I understand there is/was a TV show at some point, but have never seen it).

How prevalent is the supernatural in the series? I ask because a vampire fears Harry for being the only one in the city/region who could have worked the magic that was done earlier.

This tells me that either Harry is insanely well known, or that the magically aware population in the Midwest (or at least Chicago) is so small that it's possible to know everyone else in it by reputation.

Obviously, then, the magical population is nowhere near as dense as in Harrison's books, but how dense is it?

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    Something to remember about Storm Front; it was a frustrated attempt at showing what Butcher believed would NOT work: From a 2004 interview with him "When I finally got tired of arguing with her and decided to write a novel as if I was some kind of formulaic, genre writing drone, just to prove to her how awful it would be, I wrote the first book of the Dresden Files." -- So, although it taught him something about what could sell, don't take it as indicitive of the rest of his works, or even the rest of the series.. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dresden_Files for more info.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 20:47
  • The reason Harry was the prime suspect in that particular murder (from the supernatural community's point of view) wasn't that the supernatural is particularly rare, but that the attack in question required a ridiculous amount of power. Other than Harry, none of the known practitioners in Chicago could have pulled it off. Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 3:37

3 Answers 3


I agree with @apoorv020's post, but think it could be expanded upon.

Having read both the Hollows, and the Dresden Files, one of the biggest differences (in terms of human-vs-supernatural), is that in the Hollows, the supernatural denizens are public. Everyone knows there are witches, vampires, werewolves, etc, whereas in the Dresden Files, they are highly secretive. The general population goes out of their way to ignore any attacks or weird occurrence, with the authorities always willing to find an excuse for things ("it was a gas leak/biker gang/escaped zoo tiger") that do become public.

And yes, there was a major population difference - in the Hollows, after an epidemic wiped out nearly half of humanity, the witches/werewolves/vampires, etc, came out of hiding, to the point where they had (roughly) equal numbers. In the Dresden Files, most of the supernatural world is also predatory (unlike Hollows), with two different types of vampires (Red and White court) being the most prevalent. As predators, their numbers are much lower than their prey animals (us :) , or it would be harder to keep it a secret.

The Hollows denizens, being mostly witches and werewolves (vampires were a much smaller percentage), were benign, and could co-exist with humans in large numbers, once they became public.

Also, one of the reasons Harry is well-known, he's the only wizard who actually advertises in the Chicago Yellow Pages. :)

Spoiler update from the book "Changes":

The Red Court is now dust - the spooky-side population dropped dramatically (and it was very dramatic...)

  • Minor nit: there are four types of vampires: White, Red, Black, and Jade Court. Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 20:52
  • @James, true, I didn't mean to imply there were only two types, I was just talking about the most prevalent types, since the issue at hand was relative population size. Black Court is mostly wiped out, and Jade Court, in Asia, doesn't show up much.
    – John C
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 21:28

Never read the Hollows, but can answer the parts about the Dresden universe.

Some of the answer might be lightly spoilerish, but nothing major.

Almost all powerful wizards are compulsorily part of a club, called the White Council. Their numbers aren't that great, I think a few thousands ( or even lower than that). Dresden regularly states/thinks that he is probably among the top 40 wizards when ranked by power alone.

However, wizards tend to live long, a few lifetimes for a normal human. Plus there are more numerous small fry magicians who lack good training, skill and abilities. Also, there are many other supernatural entities excluding vampires - werewolves, fairies (or fae), zombies, angels, fallen angels, half-human half-something people, renegade wizards, demons from other universes, valkyries etc.

Dresden is feared not only because of his personal strength, but because most supernatural entities seem to be part of some alliance or the other, and attacks on a member will bring reprisals from the other members. ( and vice versa as well, Dresden sometimes has to restrain himself as well)

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    And Harry is the only White Council wizard in Chicago. Also, some people and creatures know that Harry killed his quite powerful mentor in a wizard's duel. Which says two things, Harry is very powerful and he may be a black wizard.
    – Zan Lynx
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 3:06
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    +1 for discussing the difference between white council and "paranetters"
    – deworde
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 17:40
  • In addition to his power and status in the first book, Harry has only increased both as the series continues. (Trying to keep spoilers to a minimum) From gaining the ability to mix in Hellfire and later Soulfire into his spells, to becoming the warden of an ancient prison and having status in the Winter Court of fae, to his fight against the Red Court of vampires, Harry is starting to become (in-)famous in the supernatural world. And he's still in the Chicago yellow pages. :)
    – Brian S
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 16:08
  • @brianS As of Harry's increased status in the Winter Court, that phone number is probably disconnected. I am not sure how quickly the yellow pages is updated.
    – Verdan
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 18:09

Storm Front is probably the worst of the Dresden books. I definitely wouldn't base my opinion of the series on that book. The supernatural becomes more and more prevalent as the series goes on, and he fleshes out the cast of characters.

As far as your question goes, he's feared, not for himself, but because he is a member of a world spanning organization of powerful wizards who might be willing to throw down with him. And yes, he's the only one in town, but there are plenty of other supernatural nasties of various types, as well as lesser magic users, fairies, other vampires, demons, demigods, etc, etc.

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    Even if it is the worst Dresden book, that still puts it in the excellent category. The series definitely improved over time, but none of the books are remotely bad, or even mediocre - IMHO. :)
    – John C
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 21:31
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    @john C: Oh, I agree completely. Quality has gone nowhere but up. I wasn't impressed at all with Storm Front and it kept me from buying Fool Moon for a couple of years. Fool Moon was okay, but it didn't make me lunge out to buy Grave Peril. Grave Peril was good enough that I bought Summer Knight and Dead Beat. Dead Beat was good enough that I bought all the rest (including the Codex books), and I keep track of release dates so I can grab them on the day they come out. Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 22:01
  • -1: Half this answer is dissing the book, the other half isn't a very good answer to the question.
    – deworde
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 17:38

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