Dragonlance

dragonlance “This book was one of my earliest introductions to fantasy and thus to the limits (or lack of limits) of the imagination. I read Dragonlance before I read Tolkien, and was just amazed by the bigness of the world. All I wanted for my tenth birthday was to swing my sword like Caramon, and get a Tika on my side. Talk about the original ride-or-die chick. She is single-handedly responsible for the early onset of puberty amongst untold legions of geeks.” ~ Ta-Nehisi Coates

Somehow I managed to forget about Dragonlance when I wrote my top ten books from my childhood list. Unlike Ta-Nehisi, I did read Tolkien prior to reading the Dragonlance books but I was nevertheless deeply enchanted by these stories. Like many other fantasies, they were inspired by Dungeons & Dragons games, and however juvenile they may read now it’s hard to overstate how wonderful Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s characters were – from Raistlin to Tasslehoff to Tanis and on and on down the list. And the authors weren’t afraid to kill off some of your favorite characters either. I shed a few tears, I admit, over the course of this series.

The first trilogy, Chronicles, was marvelous, but I think I enjoyed its sequel even more. It was a wonderful story of magic and time travel, but it was the relationship between the twins – Caramon and Raistlin – which made Legends so fascinating and heartbreaking.

I think that the series inevitably outgrew itself. That was the deal going in – they were going to create a world not limited to its original authors, but farmed out to many authors-for-hire who would write side adventures, flesh out past histories, and essentially milk the franchise for whatever it was worth. But even Weis and Hickman’s books went on too long. I stopped reading them eventually. Perhaps I simply outgrew them myself, moving on to more serious works like George R. R. Martin’s still unfinished Song of Fire and Ice (which will be airing on HBO by the way).

Whatever the case, Dragonlance was a cornerstone of my early epic fantasy reading. It will always have a special place on the shelf.

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7 thoughts on “Dragonlance

  1. This was my Lord of the Rings, too. Really loved the original trilogy and devoured tons of the lesser spin-offs.

    I don’t know, there’s something about a fantasy milieu that makes me allow for a bit more cheese than I ordinarily would. That’s part of what I loved about those original books; they were so overwrought in terms of drama and romance. You can’t get away with that usually outside of the fantasy world, but in that context I eat it up.

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  2. I think the main problem with Dragonlance is that it moved from a set of books based on a pen and paper campaign they actually played (and thus characters with real personalities) to a bunch of books that didn’t have that same advantage. That said, I’m rather actually enjoying the Dark Chronicles, which I think has a nice mix of the elements of Chronicles and Legends….

    It’s a guilty pleasure, of course. But since I’m a self-published D&D sourcebook author, I think I can get away with that. :p

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  3. I read these in, golly, must have been 7th Grade.

    I was immediately entranced by all of the dynamics between everybody… they did a very simple trick that worked amazingly well to introduce the characters without having to introduce the characters to each other… the assumption was that everybody already knew everybody but they were meeting for the first time in a long time. (We’ve pretty much adopted this for our games as well… instead of saying that all of the level 1s happen to be in the same tavern, we say that all of the level 3s are coming back to the tavern after a year or so and they’re re-uniting).

    It strikes me as being a perfect series about a perfect epic gaming session.

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