Thralls are human beings put under some kind of mental control.
Rough thralls, also called Renfields,[Footnote 1] have their free will completely removed and behave like machines. According to Bob, this is done by brute psychic force. That kind of mental damage destroys their sanity. Leaves them only good for "gibbering violence". It is the quick and dirty way for the Black Court to get cheap muscle.
They can not be returned to normal—"gotten out of it"—not even the Original Merlin could undo it. Neither could any of the saints. A thrall can be freed over time, a Renfield can't. They get more and more violent and deranged until they self-destruct in a year or two. They can't be fixed, They're already gone, though they may be still moving.
Fine thralls may not know they're enthralled, and retain a good deal of their intelligence and free will. It takes a subtle hand, a lot of time and a certain amount of empathy—sort of like what Justin DuMorne did to Elaine Mallory. Unlike Renfields, fine thralls may be freed or recover over time.
Creating a thrall is against the Fourth Law of Magic: "Thou shalt not enthrall another".(reference needed)
In the seriesEdit
- Main article: Summer Knight (novel)
In Summer Knight, Harry Dresden and Elaine Mallory discuss their past with Justin DuMorne. Justin had already made Elaine his thrall, then commanded Elaine to pin Harry down while he tried to invade Harry's mind to enthrall him.
- Main article: Blood Rites
Harry Dresden, Karrin Murphy, Jared Kincaid and Ebenezar McCoy go up against her and her Renfields and darkhounds, with the intent to kill her and her scourge while they sleep. They get ambushed while trying to free human captives. Dresden gets his hand badly burned.
- Main article: White Night
In White Night, Harry Dresden and Carlos Ramirez are escorted by Lara Raith down a red carpeted pathway leading to the Deeps. Along the path are human thralls, kneeling, draped in white silk kimonos and tied with a single strand of white silk around the throat to poles. These thralls are intended to be "food" offerings to the guests of an impending White Court meeting of the different houses. Along the path with the human thralls were small faeries in cages forced to be lights for the path.
- Main article: Aftermath