soophelia (soophelia) wrote in ship_manifesto,

A Wizard and His Ghost: Harry Dresden/Hrothbert (Bob) of Bainbridge

Title: A Wizard and His Ghost
Author: soophelia
Co-Authors/Editors: allaire, beachkid, and jtree
Pairing: Harry Dresden/Hrothbert (Bob) of Bainbridge

Fandom: Dresden Files (TV Series)

Spoilers: spoilers for entire series (particularly episode 1x10 "What About Bob")
Notes: The screencaps are courtesy of Dresden Files official site and Gallery Chaotic Creative.

[Uncle Justin and an eleven year old Harry Dresden are standing in a room at the Morningway Estate].
Harry: [looking towards the skull placed on the side table] Is that real?
Justin: That is your new teacher. Hrothbert of Bainbridge, show yourself!
[Harry jumps back as Bob materializes]
Harry: [looks uncertainly at Justin] Is he, uh, a genie?
Bob: I'm not a genie. I'm a sorcerer.
Justin: Former sorcerer. [Turning to Harry] His soul was damned for all eternity, trapped inside his own skull.
Harry: What did he do?
Bob: I can hear you.
Harry: He's cranky.
Justin: Yes; and very smart. You'll learn a lot from him.

Bob and Harry at the crime scene

The Characters
Harry Dresden is the only wizard listed in the Chicago area phonebook and a man haunted by the deaths of his father and his uncle Justin Morningway. Harry's father, Malcolm, died when Harry was eleven years old, leaving Harry an orphan. (Harry's mother had died under mysterious circumstances before Harry had a chance to know her). Years later (and five years before the events in the show), Harry finds out that his father's death was not natural, but the result of black magic, and Justin was his father's killer. Harry confronts Justin, they fight, and Harry kills Justin in self-defense. After Justin's death, Harry is regarded in the wizard community with suspicion and distrust, especially by Ancient Mai, a prominent member of the High Council and, Warden Morgan, a High Council warden for the Chicago area. He's a reluctant hero with few friends, saving the helpless (and hopeless) when he's not working with the Chicago police department as a P.I. and special consultant. Harry's trusted confidant and mentor is the ghost of a condemned sorcerer that lives in a skull.

Hrothbert of Bainbridge (or "Bob," as Harry calls him) is a ghost, but was once a powerful sorcerer from about *900 A.D (date according to Executive Producer/Writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe) who turned to necromancy to resurrect his dead lover, Winifred. However, by using necromancy, Bob violated the Laws of Magic as laid down by the ruling body of wizards, the High Council, and his punishment was to be bound to his skull and forced to serve its owner for eternity. His skull was passed down throughout the centuries and eventually came into the possession of Harry's uncle Justin.

In the words of Terrence Mann, who plays Bob: "[Bob] was very powerful at one time; that's why all the other wizards took him down. The great thing about it is that he and Harry are really a good match for one another. They go at it with each other, and that makes for some good conflict and good chemistry in doing what they do in the episodes." (interview with the Sci Fi Wire, January 19, 2007).

Harry and Bob

How They Met
When Harry was eleven years old, his uncle Justin killed Harry's father with black magic, and took Harry to live with him at the Morningway Estate. Bob was ordered to teach Harry magic, and becomes Harry's teacher and eventual friend and confidant. 

Throughout the series, we see Bob's frustration with being unable to intervene and protect Harry when he gets in trouble, such as in episode 1x1 "Birds of a Feather" when Harry is being tortured by a skinwalker. In fact, the skinwalker taunts Bob about his "impotency," especially in regard to his previous power.

Skinwalker: Tell me, Bob. [hoisting a tied-up Harry up towards the ceiling using a pulley and ropes] When Dresden slaughtered his uncle, what did you do? Just stand there like you're doing now?
Bob: [threateningly] If you hurt him, you will regret it.
Skinwalker: [tauntingly] Wow. This must be torture for you. Once all powerful, now impotent. You're a shadow of your former self. Literally. An inconsequential spirit. But tell me if you want to save him. Tell me where he took the boy.
[Hours pass. The skinwalker continues to torture Harry, who is now lying on the ground and severely bleeding.]
Bob: [softly] Stop it. [Frantically] Stop it! Stop it! I'll tell you. The ravens. The ravens took him. We thought they were working for you.
Skinwalker: Where are they nesting?
Bob: We don't know. Look, there's a feather on the floor taken from the crime scene. Use it to find him. Go torture someone else. Just get out.

In episode 1x3 "Hair of the Dog," Harry investigates a murder and finds out that someone is turning people into werewolves and then hunting them. Harry ends up protecting the killers' latest target, a young woman named Heather. The pair who are responsible for the infections and murders capture Heather and infect her; but she manages to escape before they can kill her. Heather seeks refuge with Harry; but as her lycanthropic nature starts to manifest, she becomes increasingly dangerous, and Bob is concerned.

Bob: [worried] Perhaps you shouldn't be so close, Harry.
Harry: [annoyed] Bob, be quiet.
Bob: I'm concerned for your safety.

In the opening scene of episode 1x7, "Walls," Bob is watching Harry's office while Harry is away, demonstrating Harry's trust in Bob. When a young woman named Raychelle comes into the shop seeking Harry, Bob tries to convince her to stay, but she flees outside, only to be the victim of an intentional hit-and-run.

Later, Bob laments that he could not have persuaded her to stay, and Harry reassures Bob that he is valuable to and needed by Harry. The conversation has undeniable sexual overtones when Bob talks about "two entities occupying the same space," and proceeds to demonstrate this to Harry.

Bob: But I am trapped, dead, useless and insubstantial puff of air. I might as well be a painting on the wall.
Harry: Hey, Bob, if you were useless, I would have tossed your skull into the trash years ago.
Bob: I don't want your-- actually that's very reassuring. Thank you.
Bob: So did you get a good look at the driver?
Harry: Drivers. Yeah, for a second there it looked like there were two people in the driver's seat, Bob. I- I don't know. Maybe it was a masking spell, a haunting or a possession--
Bob: [seductively] Or a joyride. Stolen car; stolen body. You know? Two entities occupying the same space.
[Bob merges with Harry]
Harry: [Flails and jumps back] Oh! Would you please not do that? It gives me the heebie jeebies and you know it!
Bob: That's something anyway.

Harry and Bob

Their affection for one another is often relayed in bickering banter and quips, and their devotion to each other grows more and more evident throughout the series. In two of the last episodes, episode 1x10 "What About Bob" and episode 1x11 "Things That Go Bump," Harry is confronted with the possibility of losing Bob, and Bob's actions and Harry's reactions are telling. In episode 1x11 "What About Bob," Harry is frantic when he finds out that Tara, a young woman who had 'stayed the night', has stolen Bob's skull. Harry even goes to Morgan, an enforcer for the High Council, whom has had a distrustful relationship with Harry throughout the series, for help. In episode 1x11 "What About Bob," Bob goes to great lengths to protect Harry, eventually sacrificing his restored life to save Harry's own.

Harry holding Bob

Bob: [on the floor in Harry's arms, dying] Is that [gasps for breath] is that bastard gone?

Harry: Yeah, he's gone. I thought you'd just betrayed me--

Bob: I would never betray you, Harry. I had to come this far in order to keep him dead. Him and his double. He would just keep coming back.
Harry: [trying to reassure Bob. Pets his hair] It's okay, Bob. It's okay. It's going to be okay.

Bob: If by okay, and you mean dead, then yes. [more softly] Yes. Yes. Yes. [Bob dies]

Harry: [weeping and cradling Bob] Please don't die on me, Bob.
[Bob disappears from Harry's arms and reappears behind Harry.]
Bob: [surprised] That is really touching
[Harry gets up and turns around and points at Bob]
Harry: [grinning] Bob, that is not fair! You know that--
Bob: [smiles] Once cursed, always cursed.
[Bob continues to smile, turns to his skull on the table and moves his hand through it]
Bob: My soul forever ensnared; forbidden to move on.
[A smiling Bob turns to look at Harry]
Harry: Well, I guess I can live with that.
Bob: Yes, well I thought you might.

Harry and Bob

In episode 1x11 "Things That Go Bump," Harry and others are trapped in Harry's building by a manifestation of death that has closed around them in Harry's shop and apartment. Bob voluntarily steps out into this "other side" to investigate an avenue of escape for Harry and the others, and when he does not return as expected, possibly no longer tied to the anchor of his curse, his own skull, Harry admits that "I've known him since I was eleven. Everyone else in my life is gone and if he doesn't make it. . ."

The crux of the relationship between Harry and Bob is best summarized byjtree:

"What also makes Bob appear so special to Harry, apart from their good rapport, is that Harry doesn't connect as a person with any of the people he makes friends with/dates in the episodes, not like he does so naturally with Bob. With Murphy there's a constant battle going on over the whole issue of who and what Harry is, and of Harry playing around it pretty ruthlessly at times, although with generally good intentions that however never seems to play out with right with anyone else but Bob. Not with that kind of level of equality and comfortableness and companionship. Certainly Harry is a socially easy-going, flirtatious, good-humoured, kind man with all and any kinds of strangers, but there's no element of trust on the issues that are hidden, questionable and are most painful for him."

Episodes that illustrate the Harry/Bob dynamic
Birds of a Feather (1x1)

Hair of the Dog (1x3)
Rules of Engagement (1x4)
Walls (1x7)
The Other Dick (1x9)
What About Bob (1x10)

Things That Go Bump (1x11)

Harry/Bob Communities (and Related Communities)

skull_boy_love - exclusively about the Harry/Bob pairing.
harry_bob_love - exclusively about the Harry/Bob pairing.
dresdenslash - Dresden Files slash comm open to all slash pairings relating to the Dresden Files (tv and books).
dresdenfilestv - general Dresden Files comm for the tv show.
dresdenfic - Dresden Files fic comm that accepts all kinds (het and slash, tv or book-verse) fics.
dresden_art - place for Dresden art (all ships: het and slash)
dresdenvids - place for Dresden fan videos (all ships: het and slash)
mann_power - Terrence Mann fan comm
pblackthorne - Paul Blackthorne fan comm
Tags: dresden files

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