BDB Family Tree – Butch, Marissa, Manny, Jo

I’ve got a special treat – a real confusing section of the family tree for The Black Dagger Brotherhood book series by J.R. Ward. This one includes the bloodlines and known relatives/descendants of:

Butch, Marissa, Manny, and Jo Early

Please note that this family tree encompasses some of the most confusing and contradictory information throughout the entire series. The information presented about Butch and Manny’s adopted/biological relatives has changed from book to book, so I did the best I could to include all possibilities. Further details below the image!

Click the pic above to make it go big!

About Butch:

  • Most references to his family include a total of 6 children, with surviving sons and daughters aside from Janie and Butch.
  • Only 5 are listed by name: Janie, Teddy, Butch, Joyce, and Colleen. So there is one brother whose name we don’t know.
  • BUT in other places (fewer times, which is why I didn’t use it for the family tree) Butch mentions his “sister and brothers” and that there were 2 girls and 4 boys total.
  • This could only work if Colleen was a boy’s name, which it isn’t, so I assume any mentions of the unbalanced boy/girl ratio is a mistake.

About Manny:

This part really makes no sense at all. Here’s how it played out:

  • Butch does the ancestor regression and discovers he is a cousin of Wrath’s, but doesn’t know how.
  • Wrath’s blood is used for Butch’s transition, making him “descended of Wrath” directly as well as being his cousin (I’m not sure if this distinction is necessary but it seems relevant, since Butch essentially has Bluff’s blood in him and Wrath’s pure direct blood in him as well).
  • When Butch’s sister, Joyce, visits their mom, Odell has a moment of clarity in the midst of her dementia. She tells a tale of when she was a “bad wife” and snowed in at a hospital with a special man who was like Butch and Marissa. We realize that Butch’s mom definitely slept with a vampire at the hospital and Butch is not Eddie O’Neil’s biological son.
  • When we meet Manny, he mentions his single mother and long deceased father. His mother tells him “you’re just like your father”, which implies that she knew his father personally. This makes sense because she is presented as Manny’s biological mother.
  • When Manny moves into the mansion, he brings a photo of his father – Dr. Robert Bluff. They realize that Bluff and Butch look exactly the same. Manny explains that Bluff was a surgeon in New York when his mom was working there as a nurse.
  • Butch mentions that his mom was a nurse too, but in Boston, and Manny says that Bluff worked in multiple hospitals, and in both cities.
  • Butch and Manny have different colored eyes (Butch hazel, Manny port/deep brown) but they are the same shape, and the same shape as Bluff’s eyes in the black and white photograph.

So far it’s all good and making sense, but the introduction of Jo Early is where shit kinda hits the fan, in terms of continuity errors

  • We first meet Jo Early in The Beast, and she is initially presented as a human (albeit a very vampire-curious human).
  • We find out that she is a half breed approaching her transition, but she does not realize this. Only V knows all about it, all the way through The Savior.
  • Jo was adopted by a rich human couple: Philly and Chance Early.
  • Jo’s friend researches her past, and finds out that her mother was a nurse in Boston, and she died in childbirth. Okay, makes sense so far. But then we get back story:
  • Jo’s mother left the hospital she worked at when she realized she was pregnant. It was the 70s and living as a single mom wasn’t easy then. She had a SON THAT SHE GAVE UP FOR ADOPTION SAY WHAT?
  • She continues to work in the area and fifteen or so years later gets pregnant again, by the same man. This is important. This time she decides to keep the baby – Jo – but dies in childbirth.
  • Alright, the pattern here is obviously that Bluff gets around and is a big fan of nurses at local hospitals. So we assume that Butch, Manny, and Jo are all connected via their shared father – and they are.
  • BUT THEN we discover that oh, the kid that Jo’s mom gave up for adoption was actually MANNY and thus him and Jo are FULL BLOOD SIBLINGS.
  • Which is FINE except this means that who Manny thought was his biological mom would have to have been his adopted mom.
  • SO MANNY’S BIO MOM WAS A NURSE IN THE BOSTON/NYC AREA WHO GOT KNOCKED UP BY BLUFF AND GAVE MANNY UP FOR ADOPTION TO ANOTHER NURSE IN THE BOSTON/NYC AREA WHO KNEW BLUFF WELL ENOUGH TO COMMENT ON MANNY BEING JUST LIKE HIM.
  • I think we can all agree that Mrs. Manello, regardless of whether she is Manny’s biological or adoptive mother, definitely banged Bluff, and that’s the important takeaway here.
  • Oh, and when Jo sees Manny’s picture, she notices that they have the same eyes, except hers are green. Also she has red hair. Manny and Butch both have dark brown hair.

General Notes:

  • This chart is almost all done in red, since that’s the color of Wrath’s bloodline.
  • Marissa and Havers definitely have their own bloodline color as members of a Founding Family, but I don’t know what it is.

More general notes can be found in the main article with links to all family trees: “BDB Black Dagger Brotherhood Family Trees – Updated!”

Here’s a master list of all the family trees, to be filled in with links as I get them published:

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