Okay, if you're a Dresden fan and haven't read Changes, stop reading now.
I mean it. Stop reading. Right now.
Oh, you've finished Changes? Okay, fine.
My tweet on finishing the book:
Okay, last page. Hell, within the last fucking 10 one-sentence paragraphs, Harry Dresden dies. OF COURSE it was Kincaid. Harry's death is kinda the stunned silence at the end, when everyone is standing around in disbelief, thinking "What just happened?" No one moves, no one breathes, no one even blinks.
Hay-zeus-christ, what the fuck?
Stunned. Pissed. And completely in disbelief. I don't believe he's completely dead yet.
It's not uncommon for an author to kill off a favorite character (good bye, Dumbledore), or even a major character (that would be Rob Stark and every OTHER MAJOR CHARACTER in the Song of Ice and Fire, thanks George R.R. Martin, jerk.). In some cases, it's also not unreasonable. The author is done, and wants to move on.
Butcher has been able to move on already. He's written the Aleran series, the high-fantasy books he wanted to write, so we know he can still crank out the Dresden books while branching out to other story lines.
As far as I know, Butcher hasn't given indications to being done with the Dresden Files series, based on offhand comments at various talks. However, that doesn't necessarily mean he's not bored of the writing the books. Given how much fun they are to read, I have to believe they are at least somewhat fun to write, so maybe boredom isn't an issue.
None of this, however, sits right.
I fail to believe that Harry is really, truly, completely dead. There are plotlines that are still unresolved (the Black Council, for one; who's behind Harry's death for two; what and who are Kincaid and Mouse for three and four).
Given that belief, where am I?
Kincaid shot Harry. Given the foreshadowing in at least two of the previous books, we know the shot came from Kincaid, from 200 meters away. The next easy question is now, why would Kincaid shoot Harry? Why now?
Harry is the Winter Knight.
Harry is the Winter Knight, and the Winter Knight is a pawn of the Winter Queen. Under he orders, Harry will become something he doesn't want to become, turn as cruel as the source of his new power. He knows this, and made the choice as best he could to save his daughter. He knows the end of who he is will be along shortly. He says it at the end: he has nothing left but the stone and metal circle around his neck and the knowledge he did everything to keep his daughter safe (well, he has a skull and a couple swords, but who's counting?).
The Winter Knight.
The only way out of that gig is by death.
And so, Harry is now dead.
Mostly dead. He's talking to the readers at the end of the book.
Mostly dead. Which is still a little bit alive.
What would bring him back?
Which means we're not done.
Besides that, I mean, hello, foreshadowing: Sanya's words not four pages before, "I do not play cards. I play chess. And in my opinion, this is not your endgame. Not yet."
So, not yet. I don't believe Harry is dead and the series is over. I don't believe it. Not yet.