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In Ghost Story, Bob said that he "never had a soul or a body". But wasn't his spirit bound to the skull as punishment for something he did when he was alive? I thought he was a wizard back in the day?

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In the books, Bob is described as a 'Spirit of Intellect' that was bound to a skull. He's actually more significant than he comes across, and has been speculated to be an attempt at creating something like the Archive. (Since you are asking about 'Ghost Story' info, I'm assuming you want book-canon, not TV-canon.)


The back-story you are thinking of was from the short-lived 'Dresden Files' tv show; in the books, his origin has often been a bit questionable / confusing, but was never that of a punished wizard.

Stealing from Wikipedia:

During his life, Hrothbert [Bob] fell in love with a woman, another skilled wizard (sorceress), by the name of Winifred. When she was tragically killed, he used black magic to resurrect her. For this he was condemned by the High Council to be a ghost trapped within his own skull for all eternity, unable to interact with the world in any physical way.


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In the latest book, Skin Game, we find out a lot more about Bob's origin's, albeit not directly.

A spirit of intellect is born out of an act of love between a mortal and a bodyless spiritual presence.

We learn this since the parasite Harry has been dealing with since

Lash sacraficed herself for him, in an act of love

was dealt with. With Molly's help, Harry

gave birth to the 'parasite', a potent spirit of intellect who took up residence in the 'backup' skull that Bob had commissioned in case Mab took issue with his actions in Cold Days. The spirit is feminine (as Bob is masculine) and was born with the knowledge of Harry and Lash.

This tells us that Bob was almost certainly created in a similar way,

Through an intimate act of love between a spiritual entity and a mortal.

All of this is book canon, not from the TV show, obviously.

  • 2
    It'd be nice to know the reason for the downvote - I aim to properly source my answers, and all of this is directly from the referenced book. Is my answer incomplete or unclear? – Jeff Nov 3 '14 at 15:09
  • It was mine and I've reversed it. I think the last conclusion is not really supported, as there is nothing indicating that that is the only (or even the most common) way for such a spirit to be formed. It's one way, surely, but I don't see any indicators that it's the only way, nor that it was where Bob came from. That said, my disagreement should not have equated to a downvote; I think you are nuts and jumping to conclusions based on inadequate data, but that doesn't mean it's not a well thought out and researched answer, and deserving of an upvote. :) (I must have been having a bad day.) – K-H-W Oct 4 '15 at 0:57
  • @K-H-W: It's literally spelled out in the book. I'll have to dig out my copy later for an exact quote, but they literally say, "That's how a spirit of intellect is made." – Jeff Oct 4 '15 at 20:20
  • I just checked: “She’s a spiritual entity,” I breathed. “Oh, my God. She’s a spirit of intellect.” then “What happens when mortals get it on with spirits,” my double confirmed, though now without heat. - then - “She’s a spirit of intellect, just like Bob,” my double said. “Born of the spirit of a fallen freaking angel and the mind of one of the most potent wizards on the White Council. -- All of that both supports what you say, and what I say. It is clear that that is ONE way it can happen, but were it the only way, it seems to me that they would have concluded that about Bob long ago. – K-H-W Oct 4 '15 at 22:04
  • Again, it's possible that you are dead right; I just don't think we have enough data to go on. Bob has always been suggested to have been created as a tool some how, and as 'an act of love/creation' seems unlikely. All that being said, Butcher admits that Bob's genesis was as a joke after being told not to just create a 'talking head' for exposition about magic, so it's also possible that he didn't think it out that far ahead, and may not have decided on Bob's origin yet. – K-H-W Oct 4 '15 at 22:11

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