- This article is for the TV series protagonist. For other uses, see Harry Dresden.
Harry Dresden of the TV show mirrors similar personality traits and powers of his novel counter-part, however, his backstory bears striking differences.
As a child, Harry was raised by his father, Malcolm Dresden, his mother having died by mysterious circumstances. Dresden inherited from his mother a shield bracelet for protection, and a silver pentacle amulet. His father gave him his shield bracelet when he was ten as a means to protect himself against the monsters. The magical governing body known as The High Council, helped Dresden and his father to stay off the radar through Dresden's childhood because there were beings (such as Skinwalkers) who would prey upon children with magical talent whose powers hadn't fully bloomed yet.
Dresden's father was a stage magician. When Dresden used real magic to assist his father during one of his shows, his father took him back stage to warn him the dangers of misusing his powers, and how others might try to use his powers. He made reference to mysterious "Shadow wars" that others might want to use Dresden in. At one point in his childhood, he was caught shoplifting, and according to police records, once stole a horse and carriage, though the details of the incident are vague.
Harry is orphaned at age eleven when his father was killed with Thaumaturgy made to resemble a heart attack. After that Harry was taken in by his wealthy uncle, Justin Morningway. Justin was Harry's uncle on his mother's side. Once he was placed in Justin's care, eleven-year-old Harry was taught magic by the skull-bound ghost Hrothbert of Bainbridge, otherwise known as Bob. Justin, like DuMorne was a member of the High Council.
When Harry grew up, he traveled from place to place before returning to Morningway estate to be inducted into the High Council. It was on this night, however, that Dresden discovered that his uncle had murdered his father via black magic. There was a violent confrontation between Dresden and Justin, where Dresden asked his uncle if he was also behind the death of his mother. Justin denied it, but then sent a shard of broken table toward Dresden, meant to kill him.
It was a warning shout from Bob that caused Dresden to drop out of the way just in time. Dresden, however, was clutching the voodoo doll that had been used to murder his father and a ring that had been in the possession of his uncle. This resulted in the Thaumaturgic killing of Justin Morningway.
The High Council put Dresden on trial for the murder of his uncle and the ruling was self defense (thanks to Bob's testimony) but like the novels, Dresden was placed under the Doom of Damocles. If he used black magic again, they would take his head.
Five years later Dresden worked as a wizard private investigator in Chicago, Illinois and had taken guardianship of the skull-bound ghost, Hrothbert of Bainbridge, who had served as father figure, mentor, and sometimes obnoxious roommate. Dresden felt deep guilt for the death of his uncle and for having used black magic. The act continued to haunt him with the addiction and desire to use black magic.
Resented and distracted by the High Council, Dresden lived on the fringe of magical society, helping those with supernatural problems that they could not understand or resolve on their own. His goal was to do as much good as possible for as long as possible, to try to set right the darkness of his own past.
- Harry Dresden, his counterpart in the original series