Cool News: A Dresden Files T-Shirt

Fair warning here: Spoilers. If you haven’t read the Dresden files…

Well… first off. If you haven’t read the Dresden Files, you’re missing one of the best fantasy series in existence and you really should consider checking it out. Really really. Seriously.

Secondly, if you haven’t read the series, this blog isn’t for you. Partly because I’m going to be talking about stuff that won’t make any sense if you don’t know anything about the books. But *mostly* because some of the stuff I’m going to say here has really significant spoilers for the series.

Specifically, I’m going to be talking about stuff that happens in the most recent book: Skin Game. Big stuff that happens at the end of Skin Game.

So… yeah. If you read this it’s going to ruin big character and plot arcs that progress over the course of (does a quick count) nine books.

So stop reading if you don’t want that ruined.

As an alternate, you can go check out this video of me doing an interview with Jim Butcher a couple years ago.

Or you can go vote on which Kingkiller t-shirt designs we’ll end up using in the fundraiser next week.

Last Warning: I’m not going to be coy. Real spoilers for Skin Game below…

*     *     *

Over the years, I’ve been pretty clear about my love of Jim Butcher’s work, especially the Harry Dresden series.

As evidence, I submit for your perusal my embarrassingly gushy Goodreads review of Skin Game.


I first read this book more about two years ago. Yeah. Before it even came out. I’m enough of a rabid fan that I sweet-talked my way into getting an advance reading copy.

Since then, I’ve read/listened to the book at least two more times.

And every time it gets to the end of the book… at the very end outside the carpenter’s house where everything is at its most bleak…. I laugh my ass off with pure joy and delight when Butters takes up the sword.

Because of this, for years now, I’ve wanted a t-shirt that shows a hand holding up a katana hilt with a lightsaber blade. Underneath it the words: “Polka will never die!”

My desire for this t-shirt has come and gone over the years, but it’s never gone entirely away. And recently, when I re-listened to Skin Game, it came back full force.

So I told my assistant Amanda about it (she’s a big Dresden fan as well) and her face lit up. “I want one too!” she said immediately.

Then she said, “We should make them for Worldbuilders.

This shows she’s a better person than I am. I just wanted one for me.

At this point in my career, I’m lucky enough to know Jim Butcher a little bit. We’ve met at conventions a couple times. Had a few dinners together. He’s really a delightful guy. A proper geek, funny and smart. If you ever get the chance to catch him at a signing or hear him speak at a convention, it’s well worth your time.

What’s more, he’s helped out Worldbuilders a couple times in the past. So I plucked up my courage and dropped him a line, asking how he’d feel about letting Worldbuilders do a t-shirt as part of our upcoming fundraiser.

And he said yes.

It’s hard to squee when you’re a baritone, but I gave it my best shot. (Have I mentioned that Jim is a really delightful guy?)

That e-mail exchange was just last week, and we *just* managed to get the paperwork tied up. So now all we really need is a graphic for the shirts.

Here’s the thing: we could design this in house. But neither of the two artists I work with the most, Brett and Nate, have read the Dresden books. (Shameful, I know. I gave both of them a stern talking-to.)

I could hire someone to do it too…. but honestly, when I do a project like this, I firmly believe there’s no substitute for the passion and enthusiasm of the fans. Whenever I reach out to y’all creatively, you come back with things so much better than I ever could have imagined.

So I’m reaching out to the artistic geeks among you to see if any of you would like to take a shot and making this t-shirt design.

I won’t lie, our timeline is a little ridiculous. The fundraiser starts on June 1st, so we only have a couple of days.

But if you’re a fan of the Dresden Files, and you have the ability to art, and you’re interested in putting your skills to use for a good cause…. Well… that would be pretty awesome of you. You’d make a lot of geeks happy, and you’d be helping feed hungry kids, too.

A few notes:

  • Keep in mind that this design is for a t-shirt.
  • I asked Jim to confirm the color of the blade, and he said: “In the books, the blade is white edged in gold, like bright sunlight.”
  • Submissions go to: tshirt (at)
  • We need the entries by 12:00pm Central Time on Saturday, May 30.

I know. It’s not much time. But we can’t wait any longer because we’ll need to sort through submissions, e-mail back and forth with artists, fine-tune the design, and still launch it with the rest of the fundraiser on Monday, June 1st.

So there you go. I’m kinda silly excited about this. It’s like an early birthday present for me.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them down in the comments.

If you haven’t voted on the kingkiller t-shirt designs yet, you should check them out over here.

Lastly, I’m trying to think of something nice I can do for the artists who have been submitting designs for us. So if you are one of those artists (or if you’re just a clever person) I’d welcome any suggestions down in the comments.

Thanks for being awesome everyone,


This entry was posted in calling on the legions, contests, Jim Butcher. By Pat41 Responses


  1. Quillan
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    More chances to this sort of thing would be awesome. You have a following of cool people who do cool creative things. The kind of people who love to help out with charities. You can make something cool here. Like… an architect can make a model of the Waystone inn… and then you can crush it or something. A musician can write music to Jackass Jackass… These things are already happening, maybe you can like feature one at the end of every blog. Yeah. That.

    • Posted May 28, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

      The shirt we’re doing with Jim is a bit of an experiment for us.

      Worldbuilders would like to help do t-shirts and merchandise for authors and other creatives who are too busy to do it themselves. This is kind of our pilot program to see how people respond to a non-Rothfuss shirt.

  2. Silvaeth
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    I really love that this is happening because I loved reading the Dresden files. Even worse, I’m an artist. But I have a confession. I haven’t read Skin Game (GASP!) yet. YET! I promise I will. But I don’t think I could draw something up for this without having read the book fully.

    Onward to my suggestion: I really loved Dead Beat. I really truly did. Namely because Dresden used necromancy in LITERALLY the best way possible. I always get this image of a T-Rex slowly oompah-ing around Chicago, led by a very terrified Butters, His accordions sounds the only thing between the worlds destruction, and a wizard atop the small armed dino. But maybe I’m just being silly. ON WITH THE SHIRT! I hope someone else has read Skin Game so they can supply you guys with an amazing shirt.

    • Valarya
      Posted May 28, 2015 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

      I hope he gets submissions other than the scenario he described. As much as I love the scene he describes, I don’t think I’d wear it as a shirt. The t-rex, though…

      Go forth and do art!

    • xxtayce
      Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

      Dead Beat is above and beyond my absolute favorite Dresden book. But seeing Butters become a Jedi Knight of the Cross just makes me squee and cry a little in an overload of fandom joy. I would wear the hell out of this shirt.

  3. Valarya
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 7:51 AM | Permalink


    I hope there are no hats in these submissions. Dresden. Hates. Hats. :P

  4. awkwardlyfeminine
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh! I totally thought it was going to be a “parkour!” shirt, but this is so much better! I mean, not so much, because a parkour shirt would be amazing, but I’m glad this is the one being made.

  5. datalaughing
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

    I love the Dresden Files so much. I’ve always wanted some shirts based on the series. If Jim would do a similar contest to yours and get multiple designs out there, I’d probably be unable to resist buying them all (just like I was unable to resist the pentacle amulet from Badali or the signed Alera maps they reprinted recently).

    That being said, I’m a bit hesitant to wear a shirt right now that’s a big fat spoiler for the most recent book, particularly since my girlfriend just started reading the series, and she would probably murder me for spoiling things. So I may have to buy this one and then hide it in the closet at least until after Peace Talks comes out. At that point I would feel like less of a jerk.

  6. Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    Being one of the artists that has been sending designs, I firmly believe we all deserve our talent pipes just for being incredibly awesome. Ok, no, that’s not true.

    The thing is, and it is just my personal point of view, that we (I) send designs and stuff not because we (I) want to earn something like prizes and stuff, I mean, of course those things are always nice, but the purpose behind all of this is charity and helping. As one of the artists involved I’d love to see that the designs are in fact used to help Worldbuilders (Because we did this to help, didn’t we?) so that would be a really nice thing. Of course, I know that not ALL of the designs may work for something that can be massively produced to help gathering some cash but, you could recycle some of them to work as prints or postcards or whatever, as you mentioned in your previous entry. I consider the chance of helping other people as a valid (and rewarding) payment for my job… personally, of course.

    A coulpe of weeks ago you shared one of my drawings on your facebook page and one thing I was surprised to read in the comments was that a lot of people were asking for some sort of website in which you posted all your favourite fanarts and stuff… I know that’s kinda impossible to do something like that considering it’s a lot of work… but hey, you could just write a blog with all of the designs and [maybe] a link to the artist’s gallery in deviantart, tumblr or whatever, if he/she happens to manage one. That would be amazing too.

    Thank you for being awesome too!

    • Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

      And sorry for my bad english!

      • Posted May 28, 2015 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

        P.S. Your English is really great.

    • Posted May 28, 2015 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

      We’re absolutely going to do show off the other designs and give all the artists some credit.

      I just regret that we won’t be able to do it sooner. We’re rushing to make sure everything is ready for the fundraiser right now.

      • Posted May 28, 2015 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

        Of course, I imagine you guys have tons of work to be done!
        And about that, I have a question to ask… Is it possible to buy stuff from the Tinker’s Packs and having that stuff being sent to… Chile, maybe? I’d really like to help this year!

        • Amanda
          Posted May 28, 2015 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

          The Tinker’s Packs definitely ships to Chile :)

          • Posted May 28, 2015 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

            Thank you so much for the information!!

  7. Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    Fellow guy-fangirling-over-Dresden here. I wish I knew how to art, but alas I’m devoid of talent.

    However, check out this very cool Dresden t-shirt I found recently (and a few others too):

    Why not consider adding a couple of designs and see if the artist/company would agree to join the cause? I’m SO buying this t-shirt!

    • Posted May 28, 2015 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

      If I had to guess, I’d say that those folks don’t have permission from Jim to make those shirts.

      I’m not really eager to work with a company that would just rip off another author’s intelectual property without permission. That’s just rude.

      • keats
        Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

        I don’t think they sold very many, and think of the free advertising… It’s more or less a fan creation, but I see your point that Jim wouldn’t reap the immediate benefits from any revenue generated. Love you stuff too btw, some really nice writing.

      • Posted May 29, 2015 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

        I just guessed they got permission, but you’re probably right.

        Oh, and on a side note, The Slow Regard of Silent Things was one of the best things I’ve read this year. Thank you. /And good luck with the Worldbuilders.

  8. Jhunter85
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    So Pat, a few moons ago you mentioned that the Dresden Files was your favorite series ever, like ever–literally ever.

    So as I respect your work, opinion and the way you conduct your life, I bought the first few…

    …And now I can’t really remember the last chunk of my real life as it has been filled with Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden and his band of awesome-friends-who-could-star-in-their-very-own-series-because-they-are-that-incredibly-awesome. (Seriously, Butcher is amazing at creating characters–even antagonists).

    So anyway, the point is this: Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. THANK YOU! You wonderful bearded bastard! THANK YOU!

    Now I am about to move onto The Codex Alera as I await the next Dresden, the next Dresden shorty story collection, and the first of The Cinder Spires.

    You hath made me a devout Butcher believer.

    • Posted May 28, 2015 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

      Glad to bring you into the family…

  9. Luxer
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

    Awesome!! I love Dresden Files.
    A question: Can we send 3 designs like the other contest?

    • Amanda
      Posted May 28, 2015 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

      That should be okay, but you should try to send the best one you’ve got. Share them around with friends and see if they have any input, it might help.

  10. Posted May 28, 2015 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    Argh! If only I had the time to throw our hat in the ring for this. I have told some of my artist friends and spread the link around to help, and I’m sure there will be some amazing submissions.

    We’ve created some Dresden Files fan-inspired shirts as well in celebration of when Skin Game was published. If anyone wants to check them out, just click right here!

    • Posted May 28, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

      Summary of the shirts mentioned above:
      * Harry’s Parkour Gymnasium
      * Pervy Skull (available in two options: Sex or Romance)
      * Winter Lady is Coming
      * Murphy’s Law

  11. coxm4
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    Hey Mr. Rothfuss!
    Speaking of t-shirts, I am sure you have heard about it, but is asking book lovers for more t-shirt ideas, and The Kingkiller Chronicles has been suggested. They need fan support to be able to convince the authors and publishers it is a good idea, so I thought you could judge for yourself the merit of this venture. Here is the link ( for your shirt specifically. I do not work for this company in any way shape or form, but I thought you would like to take a look at their project. Have a great day!

    • Posted May 28, 2015 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

      Actually, we’re teaming up with Litographs to produce a few things for the upcoming fundraiser…

      • fuzzbinn
        Posted May 29, 2015 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

        Wait, actually? Cannot wait to see what you guys have up your sleeves here. Brothers got my a Litograph poster for my birthday, and I love it to pieces.

  12. TK2187
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    I’m so excited about this idea. I will wear the heck out of this shirt.

    I picked up the Dresden Files because of your (repeated) recommendation and now love them with a fierce love. And since then I have used them as a gateway drug of sorts for at least 4 people who either didn’t read much or didn’t read fantasy or both.

  13. annapi
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    Would someone please put Mouse in the design? I would so love to have a t-shirt with Harry & Mouse!

    • cmc
      Posted May 28, 2015 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

      I want Mouse, too!!!!

  14. HarriedWizard
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    Incredible idea, Pat and Amanda. Sharing with Team Dresden on the Twitterverse and Tumbler (because come on, the word has an E).


  15. keats
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    how bout…. “Nay, but prithee, with sprinkles ‘pon it instead,” I said solemnly, “and frosting of white.”
    with a picture of a doughnut and maybe Toot floating around it looking hungry…

    And Patrick, while you’re at it, how bout one with Kvothe wiping down the bar with the caption “The Third Silence” I’d buy that one.

    • keats
      Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:35 PM | Permalink

      oh jeez, didn’t see you already had so many suggestions….I’m not talented in the graphics department.

  16. cmc
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    I’m not an artist, but if I were, and my design was chosen, my reward of choice would be an autographed ARC of Peace Talks. Or, if it were a Kingkiller design, an autographed ARC of Book 3.

  17. SporkTastic
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

    I wish that I had the skill and talent to make this shirt. It needs to exist.

  18. jenholmrn
    Posted May 29, 2015 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

    It’ll probably look weird if every member of my family is wearing the shirt. Hmmm, do I care? Not so much.

  19. Pegosaurus
    Posted May 29, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    So I just scrolled to the bottom of the page to comment with my eyes closed. I have read most of the Dresden books but haven’t read the latest one yet and I’m definitely not willing to risk spoilers, but I am immensely curious about this t-shirt situation. Is this another competition where people can submit designs? If so are there spoilery parameters that mean those of us who haven’t finished the last one wouldn’t be able to take part anyway? Or do you already have a design, and could I see that or do I need to be concerned that once it’s out in the world I might stumble across spoilers walking down the street?
    Any chance you could give some kind of abridged summary for those of us who are Dresden fans but are a bit behind in the series? It could be useful to put something about it above your spoiler warning too. For all I know this question could have been asked and answered in the comments above but I’m not willing to read them and find out in case there are spoilers in there too.

  20. Bethany
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

    *shakes fist* AARGGGHGHGHGHG!! Damn you, Rothfuss!! You have annihilated months of fun-money-planning! I had never, ever read any Harry Dresden books. And now, based on your recommendation, I read one. And now.. I. Can’t. Stop. I have been gorging myself on them, one by one, for days. Am up to book 10, and I only started on Friday. Budget blown! :( But.. new fandom discovered. :)

  21. Ohley
    Posted June 26, 2015 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    I finally started reading the Dresden Files two weeks ago but I still can’t read this blog cause so far I’m only at book 6.
    I guess that’s another incentive to go on reading (as if I needed one!)

  22. bendavis2
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    So, I heeded the fair warning at the beginning of this blog entry, and didn’t read it to avoid the spoilers. But I did go out and get the first few (audio) books. I figured if Pat said the books were good, then they must be reeealy good.

    A few months later, and after seeing the completed T-shirt design, I finished Dead Beat, and I reveled in finally understanding the Polka reference. But I was super confused at what appeared to be a light saber. I just figured some designer wasn’t so good at making a wand emitting magic and it turned out sorta, light-saber-ish.

    So this afternoon, I just finished Skin Game (a la James Marsters), and I can say that the T-shirt was no spoiler at all. While I had guessed that the sword would somehow be usable, I wasn’t expecting Butters to have it, and certainly wasn’t expecting a Knight-Saber.

    All Praise be unto Rothfuss for recommending the books, and All Hail to Butcher for giving me 16 books of awesomeness to tide me over while waiting for Kingkiller #3. (Note: there’s no sarcasm there. I think I speak for most of us in saying that while we eagerly hope Book 3 will be upon us soon, we’d rather have it take 10 more years and be “just right.”)

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