Welcome to Dragonlance Week! I’ll be geeking out over my favorite fantasy series, Dragonlance! I’m being joined by authors, bookbloggers, and YouTubers in this weeklong celebration. The world of Dragonlance (Krynn) is huge, but there is a main core of characters, each of them integral to the Chronicles, the trilogy that started it all. There will be character profiles throughout the week, small introductions to some of the major players. We’ll start today with Tanis, Laurana, and Sturm. And away we go!
Tanis is half-elven, born of two worlds, welcomed by neither. His life is defined by this dual identity. He has two different names, two different cultures to navigate, loves two different women, is skilled at fighting yet is loathe to kill, and he is even split between the use of two weapons, sword and bow. A lone wanderer and exile, he finally found a family in the company of fellow outcasts and will fight to protect them.
Tanis could easily be mistaken for a ranger. He is a badass fighter, strong and fast. He shies away from armor in favor of comfortable, efficient clothes fit for long journeys overland, trusting in his combat skills to protect him from enemies, offense being his best defense. His friends defer to his wisdom, and accept him as their de facto leader. He is calm, collected, cunning, and able to make tough decisions, but this same cool demeanor can make him seem aloof and severe, and not always able to see certain truths before his eyes.
Tanis is a true believer in the long lost old gods, and has devoted years of his life in search of a true priest who could speak to them. He believes he has seen many signs they are still there but they still remain hidden to him. As the world seems to crash down all around him, he hopes to find such a holy person soon to guide him to the path that will bring change and help make a brighter future.
-Thomas Howard Riley
Tanis is a contradiction. He’s calm and collected when he needs to be, often taking a leadership role. Inwardly, he’s lost. He is at odds with his heritage: half-elf, half-human, he’s not accepted by either race. He struggles to accept himself and this plays out in his relationships with others.
I love watching how he interacts with the other characters. They’ve all known each other for years (with the exception of Riverwind and Goldmoon), and the others know of Tanis’ inner demons, even if they don’t always understand. It makes for an interesting dynamic, especially when someone finally has it with him and calls him out. Tanis is a character that I both cheer for and become very annoyed by. Basically, he’s incredibly well-developed.
-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub
More Books Featuring Tanis:
Tanis, the Shadow Years
Sturm Brightblade was born and raised in Castle Brightblade with his parents Angriff and Ilys. The Brightblade family had been Knights of Solamnia for generations, and it is in that environment that Sturm grew up, wanting one day to join the prestigious ranks the the Knights himself. However fate had a different plan in mind for Sturm (or was it Paladine?). After years of being away from his home, he returns to find his father missing, presumed dead, his castle and lands in ruins and all his family fortune gone. The only possessions he’s able to bring with him are his father’s armour and his family sword: Brightblade itself. Sturm then returns to Solace to find his companions from his younger years who had also been on their own adventures for the last few years. The moment they reunite in an inn by a fire will forever be etched in legend as the moment the War of the Lance began for so many of us. Sturm’s adventures will bring him the best things life has to offer, and the worst ones too. His quality as a leader and his sense of right and wrong make him a truly loyal friend, while his rigid opinions and ideals will sometimes see him at odds with some of his more morally grey companions. Raistlin, for example, had many spirited debates with Sturm, and both of them are quite open about their dislike for each other. Sturm’s abilities in battle make him a terribly fierce opponent for his enemies but a boon to have next to you in a fight.
Sturm has always been one of my favourite companions from the original Dragonlance trilogy. His personality and his core beliefs, his love and loyalty for his friends, and his true gentleman nature, all combined with the pain from his past and his secret shame, make him one of the more interesting and layered companions of the group. Speaking of the group, every time they got into trouble I was fearful for their well-being, but it always reassured me to know Sturm was there to protect them. Of course they are all quite fearsome in their own way, but Sturm always gave me this sense of calm and safety, and somehow I knew things would be okay with him there. Sturm’s story gives us some of the best moments of the original trilogy (in this reader’s humble opinion) and some of the most painful ones too. His relationships with Alhana Starbreeze, or Kitiara Uth Matar, for example, absolutely elevate the emotional connection I feel with his character. When I reminisce about Dragonlance, a lot of elements come to mind, but I always have a burning nostalgia for the story of Sturm Brightblade, as beautiful as a Starjewel, and as tragic as a shattered sun.
-Max, The Book Pyramid
When I was a kid, Sturm was by far my least favorite of the companions. He wasn’t fun like Tas, conniving like Raist, or even the enjoyable kind of crotchety like Flint. No, he was serious, stolid, and all-around stick-in-the-mud kind of crotchety. He was the one unfun adult in an adolescent fantasy story, even down to his tragically uncool dad-mustache.
Sturm was also depressed, which was not something I had encountered before in the genre.
But what Strum was not was a quitter. Despite the disdain inflicted upon him, he did not succumb to cynicism or despair. He held on to his ideals. Not because he was blind to the realities of life, but because he recognized the callousness around him and chose the harder, more noble path. And now, as an adult, I realize that this made him the most realistic kind of idealist.
-Author, M.D. Presley
More Books Featuring Sturm:
Dragons of the Dwarven Depths
Oh, how I love Laurana! She’s one of my favorite characters. Ever. Her character development throughout the books is through the roof. Rarely do I get the pleasure of watching a character grow and mature so much.
Laurana is elven royalty. She’s been brought up thinking the world revolves around her. She is naive and doesn’t understand the ugliness that is going on in the outside world. She joins the story when she chases after her childhood crush-Tanis. She’s forced to grow up quickly, and holy crap, she does! Laurana becomes a kickbutt character (without sacrificing her emotions, which has been a pet peeve of mine with female characters sometimes found in other books). She ends up being strong physically and emotionally. Between her and any Big Bad, my money’s on Laurana. She does things that are far above and beyond what anyone thinks she’s capable of, and she does it without losing her sense of compassion or her faith in the inherent goodness of people. Even in the midst of great hopelessness, Laurana manages to shine like a bright beacon in a dark, wind tossed ocean.
-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub
Warning! Here there be dragons and spoilers! If you wish to avoid spoilers, skip the following profile on Laurana.
Lauranathalasa Kanan, more commonly known as Laurana, was Princess of the Qualiniesti Elves when we initially meet her.
For me, Laurana gets one of the best character arcs in the Dragonlance Chronicles. When we first meet her, she bears resemblance to the archetypal princess of fairy tales. One obsessed by her childhood infatuation with Tanis Half – Elven. However, after he pretty much scorns her advances, informing her that she is nothing more than a cosseted Elven Princess who has nothing between her ears except for cotton wool (well, he doesn’t exactly tell her that, but he might as well!), she decides that she is going to show him, and become the woman that he believes she should be.
(Hmmm, a bit on type there Laurana!)
However, this doesn’t turn out quite as expected, and she ends up taking a path of self-discovery and finds out more about herself than she initially expected, and we end up with a more self-aware, strong independent woman, who not only manages to discover her own inner strength, but manages to find to the strength to lead others and become the Golden General.
So, how do we get from immature princess with a head full of stars, to one of the most notable characters in the Dragonlance Chronicles.
(Let’s have a look shall we?)
Laurana is the youngest child of the Speaker of the Sun, Solostaran Knana and is the sister of Porthios and Gilthanos. She was taught all the princessly ways of one that befits her station, including ceremonial swordplay and how to telepathically talk to Griffins.Laurana is described as incredibly beautiful, with long golden hair and alabaster skin.
(Again, pretty much on type!)
When her father took in his sister’s child, Tanis Half Elven and brought him to Qualinest, she warmed to him and the two eventually started a relationship with each other. However, this was frowned upon. Well…… not frowned upon exactly, met with more like outright hostility, which resulted in Tanis being told by Gilthanas in no uncertain terms, that this was never going to happen and didn’t he know that his half elven blood was a taint upon society and there was a snowballs chance in hell that he would permit such a thing to continue.
Bye, Bye Tanis!
However, this did not stop Laurana, and when Tanis returns to Qualinest in The Dragons of Autumn Twilight, she pretty much throws herself at him. But things are not as they seem. Whilst out in the world of men, Tanis got himself a new girlfriend, Kitiara (sister of Raistlin & Caramon), who is the exact opposite of Lauranna. Dark haired, brooding and just a little bit evil (a little bit evil? She flies around Krynn with Evil Blizzard’s song Am I evil? playing on the Dragonlance equivalent of a certain fruit based device in the background).
So, when Tanis tells her that his emotions are torn between (Little Miss Am I Evil?) Kitiara, and her, and that if he was going to even consider her she needs to grow up, she decides that she will show him and be exactly the type of woman he wants. However, she learns that she is a pretty strong, caring woman and joins up with Elistan, caring for the refugees from Pax Tharkos.
In the meantime, Tanis sees the relationship growing between Laurana & Elistan, and thinks “Hang on a minute, hang on one cotton picking minute. What’s going on here? And gets a visit by the green eyed monster.
So, when the party splits up in between the first book and Dragons of Winter Night, Laurana finds herself as a leader. (Well, that was unexpected!) Laurana takes charge as the leader of the remaining party and leads a successful attack on Icewall Castle, killing the Dragon Highlord Feal – Thas, and reclaims the Dragon Orb, and also bags a broken dragon Lance.
She then takes a trip to Sancrist to take the dragon orb to the Knights of Solmnia. However, her personal tribulations are not over. On her way to Sancrist, the ship gets sunk by an Ice dragon, gets washed up on Southern Ergoth and happens to bump into her family who are not happy with her, not happy at all. Her father, being the kind, understanding type of bloke that he is, tells her that she is a spoilt, cotton wool headed brat who has brought shame to the family. Nice! These elves need to loosen up a bit!
However, our Laurana is made of sterner stuff than that, and takes this on the chin. She then goes up to where the Knights of Solmnia live, and pretty much gets Sturm his knighthood and also shows everyone else that she is definite leadership material and gets made general of the Whitestone army and wins the pivotal battle at the High Clerists tower.
She then goes on to win a number of battles and gives the Dragon Army a series of beatings before she is captured by her rival for Tanis’s ministrations, Kitiara and is presented before the dark queen herself, whilst also been bargained off to the death Knight, Lord Soth in the process.
However, she does escape (with Mr Can’t decide, Tanis Half – Elven), and with lots of bits in between, manages to beat the forces of darkness.
So, you can see. That is one pretty good character arc, and when she comes out of this, she is a completely different person, who is not the woman that she started off as.
Loads of stuff follow that, but for this piece, I am going to stick with her initial transformation from moonstruck princess to the Golden General.
-Fantasy Book Nerd
More Books Featuring Laurana:
Dragons of the Highlord Skies
Dragons of a Fallen Sun
About the Contributors:
Thomas Howard Riley: Thomas Howard Riley is an Epic Fantasy writer who grew up on Fantasy and Sci Fi and decades later still can’t put that stuff down. A former lead guitarist and sword-fighter, he spends most of his time now creating worlds and trying desperately to get them on paper and hopefully into the hands of those brave enough to step into the corridors of his mind. He is obsessed with cats and music and comic books and has little to no shame about any of it. He is frequently on twitter @ornithopteryx, and can sometimes be seen on clear nights when the moon is gibbous. He is the kind of person who stands in the rain on purpose, who goes on vacation just to write, and who always takes at least one book wherever he goes.
The Book Pyramid: Max is a career book seller and long time book reader and collector. His passion for books is only rivaled by his unease at writing about himself in the third person.
When he is not out camping or playing board games with his family, he can usually be found sitting near a window, wrapped up in a blanket and reading a Fantasy or Mystery novel, with a glass of his latest single malt found and his three-legged cat Peggy nearby.
You can read more of his stuff here:https://thebookpyramid.wordpress.com
Follow him on Twitter at: @BookPyramid
M.D. Presley: Never passing up the opportunity to speak about himself in the third person, M.D. Presley is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. Born and raised in Texas, he spent several years on the East Coast and now waits for the West Coast to shake him loose. His background is in film, and he has worked as a screenwriter as well as manager of coverage readers before turning to fantasy novels and worldbuilding. His favorite words include defenestrate, callipygian, and Algonquin. The fact that monosyllabic is such a long word keeps him up at night.
Fantasy Book Nerd: Fantasy Book Nerd here! As you can see from the name, I might have a bit of a thing for fantasy.
I know, shocking isn’t it? I don’t know what gave it away!
Anyway, if you liked what I wrote, you can find some more reviews on www.fantasybooknerd.com. Don’t be scared, I don’t bite, and neither does Frank – The skelebog jester who guards the site.
Oh, and I also occasionally post on Gingernuts of Horror.
Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub: Jodie Crump is the creator of the Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub blog. She either lives in Florida with her husband and sons, or in a fantasy book-she’ll never tell which. When she’s not reading, Jodie balances her time between homeschooling her hooligans, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and lamenting her inability to pronounce “lozenge”.
Find her online: