The Wardens are the law enforcement and military branch of the White Council.
The Wardens are the White Council's version of cops. They can be identified by their grey cloaks and swords, which they use to execute those found in violation of the Laws of Magic, so as not to violate the Laws themselves. Because of the former, they are also known as the Order of the Grey Cloak.
Their responsibilities include protecting both the Senior Council and other White Council members from attacks by other bodies, including the Vampire Courts, the Faerie, and Warlocks. Also, serving as judge, jury and executioner when in the field against those who commit infractions against the Seven Laws of Magic. Many warlocks are killed resisting arrest, or apprehended after their crimes have earned them a death sentences. Hearings before the Senior Council are rare.(references needed)
For Wardens, fire is the weapon of choice in combat situations, though it is taxing on the will and physical stamina, it gets a lot of energy out. Also, it illuminates darkness, which is always an avantage to a wizard, and it has a purifying effect when fighting dark magic.
In Harry Dresden's words: "They enforce the Laws of Magic, bring criminals to trial, and then they chop of their heads. Sometimes they get enthusiastic and just skip to the chopping."
"They're so paranoid that next to them, Joe McCarthy looks like a friendly puppy. They don't ask many questions, and they don't hesitate to make up their minds. If they think you've broken a Law, you might as well have." 
The wardens seem to have a three rank structure. With various precedents within in each rank.
Wardens are the bottom rank. They are the ones commanded. The basic foot soldiers. Owing to the low number of wardens they seem to be semi-autonomous unless in a major combat situation. Each warden in the USA is based out of a city and usually travels around the immediate area in order to perform their duties. It is not known how they function elsewhere except for the White Council headquarters. There seems to be a constant presence there. The more experienced ones probably are based in elite squads. There is no proof though and they might just be formed for emergencies.(reference needed)
Regional commanders are the next higher rank. It is not known how much power they have over their subordinates seeing as the most detailed comander, Harry Dresden, prefers them to handle stuff on their own. The second in command seems to fall under this rank. They control a couple of cities.(reference needed)
The Captain is the commander of all wardens. It is unknown excactly what powers he or she holds compared to the Senior Council.(reference needed)
The Warden Swords, as created by Anastasia Luccio, can channel magic in similar ways to a wizards staff, and are owner specific for security reasons. To use a Warden's sword, you would need to adopt that Warden's ideals, motivations, and mindset.A powerful wizard wielding such a sword can infuse it with enough power to shear through obstructions much in the same way a Knights of the Cross can use his sword to carve through metal. Also, a practitioner can use his Warden's blade to unravel magical workings. An intentional touch (such as the requirement for intentional interruption of a magical circle, rather than an incidental touch) can disrupt warded materials, magical shields and defenses. Those Wardens who believe most strongly in what they are doing, such as Donald Morgan and Luccio, seem to be more able to put their swords to devastating use. This may be because Luccio tied the swords in with faith magic.(reference needed)
In the series Edit
- Main article: Death Masks
- Main article: Dead Beat
In Dead Beat, the Wardens have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of vampires, ghouls and demons, in recent years. They also fought two wars against the necromancer Kemmler, the worst dark wizard of the last millenium, and killed him seven times in total. Harry told Butters about what the Wardens were. Harry didn't think they would come to help him because they don't like him.
The Wardens have been devastated in the recent War against the vampire courts. Most of their experienced Wardens have been killed in major battles. This has created a huge need for more Wardens. In Luccio's words: "the Wardens are all but shattered. We need every battle-capable wizard we can recruit, train, or conscript." She even drafts Harry Dresden, resisting all the way.
- Main article: Proven Guilty
In Proven Guilty, Luccio is confident that she can eventually replace the losses to the Wardens with her bootcamp.
- Main article: White Night
In White Night, The Wardens now have more battle hardened warriors than at any time in their history, but the vast majority of those Wardens are young, and though veterans of battle, are inexperienced wizards.
- Main article: Turn Coat
In Turn Coat, Samuel Peabody had infiltrated the minds of the younger Wardens under fifty at headquarters. Hh had programmed them is a go-to-sleep-spell that was activated by Peabody shouting "The End is Nigh", which he used during his escape attempt. Additionally, several of the young Wardens had been loaded with a lot more psychic commands that were intended to turn them in into the supernatural equivalent of a suicide bomber.
Since the ceasefire the Wardens have grown greatly, probably due to the recent population growth. This means that a greater number of wizards are being born then before which creates a larger pool of recruits for the wardens.(reference needed)
- Main article: Changes
- Main article: Ghost Story
In Ghost Story, the Red Court is vanquished, and the Wardens went from fighting The War with the vampires to fighting a war with a faceless enemy. They don't have enough Wardens to take care of all the threats. The Wardens have been very busy chasing down supernatural threats all over. They consider Molly Carpenter to be a criminal now that Harry Dresden is dead—the Wardens are hunting her to pass sentence on her—though Carlos Ramirez hasn't been trying that hard to find her.
According to Jim Butcher "it's important to know that ‘wardens’ wasn’t always plural" This was later explained in more detail in Cold Days, when the spirit of Demonreach called Harry Warden repeatedly, and when Harry said he was one, but not the only, Demonreach said 'now there are many. First there was one.' Referencing Merlin, the original, who built the island prison of Demonreach, and was its original warden.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dead Beat, ch. 6
- ↑ Curses
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Proven Guilty, ch. 1
- ↑ Proven Guilty, ch. 45
- ↑ Proven Guilty, ch. 2
- ↑ Turn Coat, ch. 42
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 White Night, ch. 22
- ↑ Death Masks, ch. 4
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Dead Beat, ch. 3
- ↑ Dead Beat, ch. 31
- ↑ White Night, ch. 4
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Turn Coat, ch. 49
- ↑ Changes, ch. 49
- ↑ Ghost Story, ch. 09
- ↑ Ghost Story, ch. 10
- ↑ 2009 Independence book signing