Dresden Files

Waldo Butters

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Waldo Butters—by one upon a tea cup dream
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Waldo Butters portrait—by Captain Brushpen
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Waldo Butters 1
Waldo Butters
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Dr. Waldo Butters is a human male, working as a medical examiner in Chicago. Butter's first appearance is in Death Masks. [1]

Polka Will Never Die
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Waldo Butters 2
waldo Butters
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Butters has Great Threats—by Captain Brushpen
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Waldo Butters is first introduced to Harry by Karrin Murphy on a case pertaining to a dead body that's been beheaded, mutilated, and full of every kind of plague known to humanity.[1]


Harry describes Waldo as small man with a "wild shock of black hair". He is dressed in medical scrubs and green bunny slippers with floppy ears.[2] He's about five-foot-three, 120 pounds, and wears hiking boots with his blue scrubs. His hair gave him a persistent look of surprise. He wore Tom Cruise sunglasses.[3]


  • Waldo is age 37 (in Dead Beat) and Jewish.[1]
  • Waldo likes to play Polka music while he works, and it can be heard down the hall.[1]
  • In Ghost Story, his radio-handle: “Eyes” given to him by Daniel when he asked why the “four-eyed guy kept getting watch”. The others picked it up and it stuck.[4][5]
  • Butters drives an old Plymouth Road Runner with the licence plates: “MeepMeep”. [6]
  • Butter's tagline throughout the series is "Polka will never die!".[7]
  • In Dead Beat, he has a Polka suit fitted with a big bass drum on his back and smaller ones on the side. He was practicing for a Polka contest.[3]
  • He is still working at the morgue in Ghost Story,. [6]
  • At some point he starts dating Andi the Werewolf. 


  • Waldo Butters was "cursed with a sense of honesty, a measure of integrity, and enough moral courage to make him act on it."[3]
  • Waldo stood up to Harry, who sees that he’s a man of principle, who went right to the wall for the truth.[8]
  • Waldo seems perfectly content to hide, being ill-equipped to defend himself against the threats of Necromancers. Some may even call him cowardly. But Waldo has hidden nerve and brains and helps Harry in unexpected ways, even to himself, when it counts. (Dead Beat)
  • Starting in Dead Beat he acts as a physical therapist and friend to Harry.[3][9]
  • When Butters gave Harry a guitar to practice on for physical therapy, Harry told him that "for a mortician, you're a pretty good healer."[9]
  • He is presumed to be held in esteem by the White Council. (ref?)


Hary taught Butters how to make a Circle of Power with chalk and a drop of his blood to protect himself from supernatural threats.[10]

Though he has zero magical talent, Bob says Butters is very smart and really good with magical theory. Waldo put together the design for a radio by which the mortals can see and hear Harry from Harry's notes on the Nightmare case. He gave it to Molly who bult it.[5]

Back storyEdit

Murphy told Dresden that during the course of Grave Peril Butters had declared that the vampire corpses recovered from Bianca's estate after her ball were human-like but definitely not human. Because of this, he was subjected to a psychological review, and the ridicule of his peers.[1]

In the seriesEdit

Death MasksEdit

Main article: Death Masks

in Death Masks, in his first appearance, Butters examines a headless body and shows it to Karrin Murphy and Harry Dresden helping with a supernatural investigation at the Forensic Institute. The corpse died of multiple plagues and has a tattoo in the shape of a symbolic open eye under his arm.[1] Bob identified the eye symbol as the Eye of Thoth[11] Later, he called Harry to tell him that the Germs disappeared from the plague ridden corpse and the samples.[12]

Dead BeatEdit

Main article: Dead Beat

In Dead Beat, Butters comes up with a theory about why wizards live so long, why they effect electronics, and aspects of Harry's anatomy that make him special. He believes that with wizards, at least with Harry, the damage they sustain to bone and cells completely heal with time. With regular humans, the damage is cumulative, with Wizards, it's not cumulative. That means, according to Butters, that Harry's wizard ability to heal will eventually heal his badly burned hand. [3]

While Harry was there, two Necromancers, Grevane and Cassius, come to his office with zombies planning to abduct him. This was while Harry Dresden was there on a case. Harry helps Butters escape. Then Butters demands that Harry explain things, and Harry finally relents, telling him about the world of magic.[1]

Throughout Dead Beat, Harry protects Butters from the Necromancers hiding him behind his Wards at his apartment. One day, Grevane leads an army of zombies in an assault on Harry's appartment. While Harry and Thomas plot an escape, Harry boosts up Butter's courage by giving him a rally cry: "Polka will never die!". Then, some zombies get Butters through a window. Harry trades the info on the jump drive for Butters.[13]

Butters aids Harry in cool techy ways, like finding The Word of Kemmler using a GPS box. And, in unexpected brave ways like saving Harry's life when Cassius was torturing him and about to kill him at the Field Museum. Butters assists Harry Dresden by acting as the drummer for the necro-summoning of Sue the dinosaur at the Field Museum.[14]

While Harry and Carlos Ramirez were fighting the Heirs of Kemmler with Sue, he uses his medical skills to patch up a near fatal wound in Anastasia Luccio's new body. At the end, Butters gave Harry a guitar for Christmas to practice on for physical therapy.[9]

Turn CoatEdit

Main article: Turn Coat

In Turn Coat, Butters bandages up Donald Morgan's badly wounded leg.[15] Harry brings Butters over to Billy Borden's for Game night—they're short one after Kirby's death by Shagnasty. There he meets the Alphas and including Andi. They all seem happy to include him. He knows a lot about gaming so he brings a lot of skill with him.[16]


Main article: Changes

In Changes, Butters is called over to St. Mary of the Angels by Molly Carpenter when Harry breaks his back. He ends up trying to revive Harry Dresden with a defibrillator after his heart stops. A hit man, Stevie D then plants two rounds into his back.[17] Butters survives because prior to coming over, he put on a bullet proof suit because of Harry's track record with trouble. He was also carrying garlic, salt and a piece of chalk for making circles.[18]

Ghost StoryEdit

Main article: Ghost Story

In Ghost Story, as “Eyes”, he acted as lookout for the Chicago Alliance and Paranet meeting at Murphy's Home. He’s been put on watch a lot.[19] Butters ordered Bob to save Harry's ghost from the Lemurs and returned Harry’s essence back to him.[5] Butters updated Harry on Molly and Murphy.[6] He took Harry to the Chicago Alliance Headquarters, where he jokes around with the Sven and the Einherjaren.[8] He and Fitz took Harry from his grave where he was hiding from the sun using Bob’s Skull as a safe vessel. They need Harry to rescue Father Forthill from Aristedes.[20] Butters and Daniel Carpenter pretend to be Wardens while Harry locates Forthill. Eventually, Fitz takes over the gang and Forthill is rescued.[21] Later, Corpsetaker took Butter’s body, veiled his spirit then taunted Harry with her cruelty. When Corpsetaker jumps into Molly, she leave Butters body collapsed, his spirit unmoving and trapped by some spell—terror in his eyes.[22] Uriel shows Harry that Butters body was kept alive by Andi and Marci doing CPR. Mortimer Lindquist does a delicately complex spell that restores Butters spirit to his body. EMTs take him & Molly away.[23]

Cold DaysEdit

Main article: Cold Days


In Death Masks, Amazed by the disappearing germs created by a real spell, Waldo asks Harry: "Is there is a book or CliffsNotes to this stuff?" Harry replies, "No, just me."[12]

"Screw up my life?" he stared at me for a second and then said, deadpan, "I'm a five-foot-three, thirty-seven year-old, Jewish medical examiner who needs to pick up his lederhosen from the dry cleaners so that he can play in a one-man polka band at Oktoberfest tomorrow." He pushed up his glasses with his forefinger, folded his arms, and said, "Do you worst." — [This was during the scene when he was insisting that Harry tell him the truth about the world of magic and what was after him.] [1]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Dead Beat, ch. 5
  2. Death Masks, ch. 5
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Dead Beat, ch. 4
  4. Ghost Story, ch. 9
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Ghost Story, ch. 16
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Ghost Story, ch. 17
  7. Dead Beat, ch. 22, originated here.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ghost Story, ch. 18
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Dead Beat, ch. 43
  10. Dead Beat, ch. 36
  11. Dead Beat, ch. 8
  12. 12.0 12.1 Death Masks, ch. 14
  13. Dead Beat, ch. 22 and 23
  14. Dead Beat, ch. 36 and 37
  15. Turn Coat, ch. 1
  16. Turn Coat, ch. 49
  17. Changes, ch. 31
  18. Changes, ch. 32
  19. Ghost Story, ch. 9, 11 and 17
  20. Ghost Story, ch. 34
  21. Ghost Story, ch. 37–39
  22. Ghost Story, ch. 48
  23. Ghost Story, ch. 50

See alsoEdit

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