Warning, SPOILERS: for #12 of The Dresden Files, Changes
I just finished Changes a few days ago. I have mixed feelings.
Part of me thought that as I was reading one day, Susan might show up with a kid. I didn’t really think much beyond that, because I was hoping it wouldn’t happen. Having a child is great. It changes your life in so many wonderful and amazing ways. But having a child is also a constant source of worry and anxiety. Usually this is low-grade worry about things that don’t matter much in the long run, but there are occasional spikes of real threats and worries that go along with them. Any parent who has read books or articles on parenting will be terrified into thinking that children are in danger every moment of the day (usually because of something the parent didn’t do or buy correctly). Mitigating this terror with the need to keep the kids safe and healthy can sap the energy out of even the most relaxed parent. But basically, you do the best you can and trust that everything will work out all right.
Harry, who is always dodging bullets of one kind or another, doesn’t need that kind of worry in his life. As a reader, I feel like neither do I. Reading is an escape for me. I like to get caught up in another world and let my imagination play with characters and places. Frankly, I like to not think about my kids for a few minutes. I love them, of course, but I like to turn off the kid part of my brain, get out of responsible mode, and relax with a story. To feel like I now have to worry about Harry’s daughter was a bit of an intrusion on my fictional escape world. One thing that bothers me about Harry having a kid is that he has to send her away in order to keep her safe. So, for now at least, it looks like she’ll grow up an orphan, like he did. And that means that us readers, like Harry, have the burden of worrying about the little girl, but none of the happy times you get as a parent. I mean, without the happy times, that’s just….a huge bummer. Poor Harry. And poor me for being in the same boat 🙂
That being said, I think the story was very well done. I’m happy that the girl made it out alive, sad that Harry had to kill Susan, but it fits with the overall story. I can understand that she had to die, but for Harry to actually have to be the one to do it was a bold and good choice. That was a strong decision by Jim Butcher, and will certainly give Harry a lot to think about.
I started Ghost Story and think it’s great so far. What a fun way to introduce new rules and a new world within the Dresden world. Clever move.
According to Jim Butcher’s website, he’s doing an AMA on reddit on May 16 – yay! I hope to be caught up with things by then.