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Jim Butcher
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The Johnny Marcone Paradox

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message 1: by Armand (last edited Sep 19, 2012 07:23AM) (new)

Armand (armand-i) | 40 comments Johnny Marcone is one of my favorite DF characters of all time. I like the character; I like how he plays as Harry's foil (Johnny= polite but evil, Harry= rude but good) but I am convinced that, if you really look at the underpinnings of this guy, he doesn't quite make sense.

The thing is, over and over, it's stated that he can't stand to see children suffer. So how can he manage prostitution? In real life, pimps often victimize underage girls. How could he run the drug trade when so many kids have drug problems?

I guess you could argue that he took over the mob to mitigate the effect of those crimes?

ps: Did anyone else at first think that the young girl in the coma (the one who Johnny visits in the hospital) was going to be his daughter?


message 2: by Angie ~aka Reading Machine~, White Council (new)

Angie ~aka Reading Machine~ (wolffaerie17) | 285 comments Mod
I think Marcone is a study in contrasts honestly. Yes he's a crime boss that rules with an iron fist. He doesn't tolerate idiots in his employ yet sees that his employees are paid well for their jobs ie health benefits etc.

Harry doesn't like Marcone because he thinks of Marcone as a bully. Harry and Marcone are never going to be bosum buddies yet will work with each other on a limited basis for the right cause.

I actually figured out the young girl was Helen's daughter based on a few clues in the soul gaze Harry shares with Marcone in the first book. The fact that Helen knows nothing about this is surprising considering she helps with accountants do the books. I think she'll eventually learn the truth about her daughter at some point in the series.


message 3: by Armand (new)

Armand (armand-i) | 40 comments Helen and Johnny are currently "in a relationship", right?


message 4: by DDIF (new)

DDIF | 4 comments From Small Favors it look like that they are physically involved not sure of the relationship as she hates Marcone.


message 5: by Cjpines (new)

Cjpines | 90 comments IMO Armand is right...but only from a real world POV. This is a fantasy world where you can have an organized crime boss that makes sure all his prostitutes are old enough and not being forced into anything.

Again IRL...the mobsters with a 'heart' disappear quickly.


message 6: by Sean (new)

Sean (stessmer) | 15 comments I think Armand makes a fair point, it could also be that as the 'boss' Marcone is far enough removed from it that he doesn't actively see it and chooses not to think it through. Or he's just a person with a whole lot of cognitive dissonance going on, he wouldn't be the first person.


message 7: by Armand (new)

Armand (armand-i) | 40 comments Cjpines wrote: "IMO Armand is right...but only from a real world POV. This is a fantasy world where you can have an organized crime boss that makes sure all his prostitutes are old enough and not being forced into..."

Good point CJ, fantasy can operate by different rules...


message 8: by Dorothy (new)

Dorothy Manpreet wrote: "From Small Favors it look like that they are physically involved not sure of the relationship as she hates Marcone."
Guys correct me if I'm wrong.
In Small Favor, Chapter? maybe the last 10 mins, Harry tells Helen (Madame Demetre) he knows she was the one that revealed the location of Marcone's panic room to the Denarians, resulting in his kidnapping. He tells her he won't tell Marcone.
As for the little girl, Yes, I also thought at first, when Marcone took the shroud to her in hospital, maybe it was his child. Then we find he had some guilt for her being shot.
I just really enjoy this series. There's always more going on than we notice or remember in one reading.
I've been through them 4 times and I still enjoy my marathon re-read in prep for the latest new release. But then, I'm retired and have time to read.


message 9: by DDIF (new)

DDIF | 4 comments @Sweetie, yep Harry hints that he knew that she was the one helping Marcone's kidnap and you are absolutely right about so much going on, many times I have to skim through the old titles to see that I didn't miss or forget something.


message 10: by Woolfie (new)

Woolfie Silvanus (nightlightknight) A bit pedantic, but I've noticed in some books he's Johnny, and in other's he's Johnnie. Is that deliberate do you think, as I believe he's Johnny in the UK versions and Johnnie in the US versions or something like that.


message 11: by DDIF (new)

DDIF | 4 comments Woolfie wrote: "A bit pedantic, but I've noticed in some books he's Johnny, and in other's he's Johnnie. Is that deliberate do you think, as I believe he's Johnny in the UK versions and Johnnie in the US versions ..."
Wow I didn't notice that in any of the Kindle versions. May be I oughta check that again.


message 12: by Affably (new)

Affably (Affably-Sociopathic) | 69 comments Well the pimps aren't really that close to the upper tier so maybe he wouldn't really notice it but then again maybe he just makes a bad enough of an example of the pimps that he's caught victimizing young girls that the other pimps too afraid of him to do anything like that.


message 13: by J (last edited Oct 01, 2012 01:25AM) (new)

J (jrush1) | 17 comments I like the way he writes Marcone. Marcone is written more like an old time gangster, they didn't believe in drugs and didn't earn a living off women. They had a code of conduct and if you stepped out of line you got concrete overshoes and a walk on the pier...

We know he is involved in prostitution and may have some drugs going throuh his territory that he gets a cut from. However the girls at the health club are all in their early 20's making me think he and his madam choose selectively. At the same time given his 'issues' with hurting kids (his own personal trama) I believe if he saw dealers pushing near a school he'd have someone have a talk with them, maybe take them for a walk on the boardwalk... :)

I understand that he may not work 100% as a real life gangster, (Murphy wouldn't work 100% as a real cop for that matter) but at the same time it's fiction, you have to suspend belief here and there to make the story work.

All in all I'm a fan so I'm biased, but Marcone is one of my favorite characters and he works so well in the story, I try not to look behind the curtain too much. :)


message 14: by Darkcain11, Merlin (new)

Darkcain11 | 324 comments Mod
Any one read Marcone's short story after turn coat it was awesome.


message 15: by Zeenat (new)

Zeenat (zeekwon) | 100 comments I really like Marcone's character. He is definitely old school chicago mobster. I don't consider him a bad guy no matter what Murphy and Harry say.


message 16: by Vincentdelareaux (new)

Vincentdelareaux | 18 comments I agree that Marcone is an amazing character and that while he definitely is a bad guy, he isn't a bad guy. And I don't see why Marcone wouldn't be able to survive in the real world. There are enough adult drug users in Chicago and there are enough cities in the country where Marcone isn't ruling the streets. Looking at the hard case he is in the books and the number of henchmen he can call up, I think that those that go for children would relocate to another town rather than go up against him.


message 17: by Stutley (new)

Stutley Constable (stutleyconstable) | 149 comments One thing seems to be slipping through the cracks of this discussion. Marcone is the top dog in Chicago but he isn't the only dog. A successful mob boss doesn't have to run everything. He just has to get a cut of everything and make sure those lower in the food chain know their place. So, Marcone's prostitutes are all of legal age and his pushers don't target kids. The other hoods probably don't have the same restrictions on their people. Small gangs certainly wouldn't and Marcone's organization has bigger fish to fry so the gangers continue under the radar.

All that being said, Marcone doesn't strike me as evil in the full meaning of the word. He is clearly wicked, which is a step away from evil. It means that he is not beyond redemption. He is fighting on the side of humanity when it comes to the division between the mortal and immortal realms. Yes, he wants to gain as much power in the mortal realm as he can but it's better to have him in charge than it would be to have someone like Mab or Titania. At least his reasons for doing what he does are understandable from a human point of view.


message 18: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (bikki) | 10 comments I think Marcone himself doesn't see himself as evil. He sees himself as a mob boss. I myself see him as a business man. And an honorable one at that. Where honor is held in high regards. If you do something to dishonor him, then yes, you should be afraid. Its easy to set up guidelines with prostitutes/pimps/drug dealers when they know their alternative is a swift death.


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