I was a reluctant Harry fan in the beginning. The first few books make it difficult to distinguish between Harry’s innate chauvinism and the attitude of the book. But as I kept reading, I realized that Harry’s chauvinism, his continuous desire to Save Women From Themselves, was in fact a *huge* character flaw, and therefore Quite The Interesting Character Flaw Indeed! I’ve met other readers who had similar reactions, both male and female alike, and even Mr. Reads, upon handing me the first Dresden novel, told me to give it a book or two before I made judgment.
Some book series suffer from extension. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books, for example, and undeniably Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series (which This Humble Author stopped reading at least six or seven books back). But the Dresden Files, on the other hand, get more interesting, more in depth, and *better written* every book. You can’t say that often, and when you can, you revel in it, just a bit.
I complained about some sexist attitudes expressed in the X-Men 3 movie a while ago. Someone answered that they were expressions of the character and not the theme of the story. This is a valid argument when discussing dialogue in a story. The problem I have is when a sexist attitude is expressed ("Hell hath no fury...") and then holds true in the narrative.
Its overwhelming at first because the books are written in first-person from Harry's perspective, and he has seriously idiotic opinions about women early on. As the books progress, these opinions drop off because these opinions keep being proven false. I think its a sign Harry is growing that the attitude surfaces less and less. Certainly, all of the characters in the book series grow and change like real people and when Butcher gets a chance to flesh out a minor character (like housewife Charity, or the background mortician Butters) he can really surprise you (Charity went from unnoticeable to extremely kickass in a single chapter, for example).
Anyway, in the Dresden Files, Harry's chauvinism is characterization and doesn't hold true to the plot. I can understand why a lot of people would like to spare themselves the reading anyway, but I actually like to see a stupid character learn his lessons in a story. Its fantasy, after all.