Dragonlance Week: What Dragonlance Means to Me

Logo Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Image Credit: Larry Elmore
Banner Credit: Fantasy Book Nerd

In case you’re just checking in, this week has been a celebration of the amazing fantasy series, Dragonlance. There have been interviews, character profiles, an opinion piece or two, and a giveaway. Like all good things, though, this week is coming to an end. Below are some takes on what Dragonlance means to readers. It’s yet more proof that, even though they’re just words on a page, books carry a magic all their own. They can entertain. They can comfort. They can inspire.

What Dragonlance Means:

J.D.:

“What’s your favorite book?” It’s a question that I get asked frequently and my go-to answer for
decades now has been The Dragonlance Chronicles (or if you’re picky, we’ll go with the first in the series, Dragons of Autumn Twilight). It’s honestly not a series that I pick up and read over and over like some other books but it will always have a very special place in my heart because of how it helped me to escape, engage, and inspire.
Escape
I read this way back in elementary school — probably around 4th grade? It was introduced to me by my sister after my brothers got me playing Dungeons & Dragons with them. This combination of D&D and reading is what made me fall in love with the fantasy genre. It was a beautiful escape from the complicated life I was living at the time. Where most people seem to face their worst bullies in junior high and high school, I faced mine in elementary school. I was considered a “sissy” and a nerd being unathletic, quiet, effeminate, and a ball of suppressed anxious and
depressed energy from dealing with chaos at home. In my brother’s D&D campaign I got to be a different person — one that was fueled by the wild and fantastical literary world of elves, wizards, warriors, dragons, magic, and mysterious gods of Krynn. My struggles in life were transformed into joining the heroes in their battle against insidious draconians, restoring hope in the blessings of Mishakal, or navigating feeling lost between worlds with Tanis Half-elven.
Engage
It wasn’t because of how I could escape to the world of Krynn, however, that makes this series truly special to me. It was how I learned to re-engage in life here on Earth. I don’t know how, but I managed to become friends with a few other kids — people who didn’t quite fit in with much of the popular crowd — but somehow we became our own misfit party of the nerd, the cowboy, and the gangster. There were a few others that drifted in and out of our group but it was this trio that formed the heart of it for some key years of my youth. Me being the D&D nerd, I got them playing in my own campaigns — much of it based on the world of Krynn with guest appearances from legendary heroes like Raistlin and Tasselhoff. I suddenly had friends who journeyed with me through a fantasy world and that meant everything to me during a time I felt terribly alone. I learned I could use my creativity to reach others — to direct them through carefully planned hilarious or dramatic stories told through our characters and the roll of dice.
Inspire
My friends, although being the big tough cowboy and gangster types — Camarons to my Raistlin-like fragility — became interested in where I got my ideas for our campaigns and so I shared my copy of the book which inspired me. The “Gangster” once told me that his family doesn’t care for school and he never finished a book in his life but he picked up my copy of Dragons of Autumn Twilight and couldn’t put it down. The rest of the series came shortly after and even though he was still out there on the streets ready to throw down if someone from a rival gang showed up he always had a book somewhere nearby. Sadly our trio split up as life took us in different directions. Years later, however, I managed to reconnect briefly with my old gangster friend and he told me something that still makes me smile. He was going to be the first in his family to go to college — funded by a scholarship for Medieval Literature. I am still dumbfounded how a book can kickstart a journey from gang-banger to scholar. I now live over a thousand miles away from where my sister first handed me that book and I can look at my shelf now and see it there, next to the other two books in the original trilogy still in its original old and worn boxed set. I look at it, and every time, I smile.

The Book Pyramid:

I wasn’t a very big reader as a kid. Sure I was happy to indulge in the newest release of Garfield, and I would never say no to following Lucky Luke’s latest adventures. But in general books didn’t occupy a significant portion of my time. That is, until a high school friend lent me his copy of Dragons of Autumn Twilight. By then I had already fallen in love with role playing games like Dongeons and Dragons, and most video games I liked were all about a team of lovable misfits attempting to save the world with their swords, magics and dragons. So while I wasn’t that inclined to read actual novels back then, the theme of the story (and my friend’s enthusiasm) convinced me to give it a shot. 

This was over 20 years ago, and since then I have become an avid reader of all things Fantasy. I have  well stocked bookcases with over a hundred of my favorites titles, and some of them I hold in truly high regard, but none more than the books that started it all; that made me fall in love with reading as a teenager. Dragonlance means so much to me. The main cast of characters are people I feel I have known my entire adult life. They have helped me go through all kinds of challenges growing up. Battling through depression as a teen and cancer as a young adult, I sometimes needed a place to escape and let my mind be free to feel joy and amazement. Dragonlance gave me this and so much more. I am now in my mid-thirties and am manager of my own book store. I have so many good recommendations for people looking for their next Fantasy fix. But each time I get a teen or young adult looking for the next step in their passion for adventure novels, there is one book I always recommend first. I hope that in some small way, I am helping a new generation of fans discover this uniquely wonderful universe. 

Behind the Pages:

When I think of Dragonlance I am immediately taken back to the day I found Dragons of Autumn Twilight. My mother and I were pursuing tag sales (for books of course) and low and behold I found this book with a cool dragon on the cover. Little did I know that by reading The Chronicles I would become swept up in the world of high fantasy.

Dragonlance became my entire world. It sparked my interest in D & D, I ran my first ever text-based role-playing website through Avidgamers (anyone remember them?), and started to read every day. Without Dragonlance, I don’t think I ever would have become a bookworm. I also became invested in writing, determined to join the Dragonlance team somehow somewhere. While I may have never written for Dragonlance, I went on to earn my degree in writing and to this day love to create my own worlds. I will never regret picking up that first book and diving into such an amazing world.

-Behind the Pages

Author Sean Gibson:

Everyone Knows the Best Thing About Dragonlance Is…

You know what’s weird? The best part about Dragonlance stories has nothing to do with either dragons or lances.

Don’t get me wrong—the dragons are metallic and chromatic delights, as are the pointy things used to slay them when it becomes apparent to all right-thinking creatures that their untimely demise would considerably improve the lives of the goodly folk of Krynn. No, the best part of Dragonlance stories is the complexity of Tanis’s and Kitiara’s relationship—it’s spicy, salty, and sweet, like a chili-chocolate-covered pretzel. Or maybe it’s the complicated codependency of the Majere twins, simultaneously compelling and heartbreaking. Or maybe it’s just watching part-time Lothario, full-time cantankerous coot Flint Fireforge chew out irrepressible troublemaker Tasselhoff Burrfoot. Or maybe it’s just kender in general, with their fearless, childlike wonder and delightfully innocent kleptomaniac proclivities. Though it could also be Sturm Brightblade’s tragic nobility. Or, maybe it’s the elegant way that a shared-world setting is coalesced around a single high-concept through-line that lends the entire undertaking a thematic and tonal consistency and coherence that should be impossible with so many people involved over the years beyond the redoubtable Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Yeah, maybe it’s that last thing.

Pfft. I’m clearly kidding. I mean, sure that stuff’s all fine and dandy. But, we all know the best part of Dragonlance stories is Otik’s spiced potatoes.

I Can Has Books:

What does Dragonlance mean to me?  Well this was my time experiencing these wonderful cast of characters, but I did feel nostalgia. How you ask if I’ve never ventured into the world of Krynn.  It is in the heart of the book, the concept of it. I understood why people revisit over and over. Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman’s characters are people you would want to know, some to be. Loyal, brave, strong, noble. Yes there are some wavering moments, but we all have wavering moments. They feel real,  as real as one can in a Fantasy world. The nostalgia is for the time in which many others read them for the first time. I can picture myself loving these books if I had read them at a much younger age then I have. I can feel the 80s in this book and I don’t say that they are dated, I say this as a compliment because 80s and fantasy was top notch, and as a 90s kid the things in which I love today I can see the influence of Dragonlance and other greats of the time. This world is special, I am excited to continue on in my journey, to meet other lands and characters. To see old friends again. And then to return to the start sometime down the road and do it all again. 

Author L.A. Wasielewski:

I’ll admit, Dragonlance was not my first foray into fantasy.  I didn’t even start to read them until I was in my thirties.  My first fantasy series was as an 80’s kid—Darksword—another masterpiece by Weis and Hickman.  Those books started me on a journey that I’m still on, and never want to end.  Even in my forties now, these books give me so much joy.  They’re such a nice escape from being mom, wife, and author.  There were nights—usually after an exhausting day chasing a toddler—where the only way I could relax was deep within the pages of a Dragonlance book.  Krynn is a playground—even though it’s filled with Death Knights and evil wizards from time-to-time.  And don’t forget those pesky Kender…  If it weren’t for Dragonlance (and Weis/Hickman’s other fantasy series), I may have never summoned the nerve to try my hand at my own original fantasy books.  They inspired me to create my own worlds, craft fantastical stories.  To challenge myself to put to paper the stories that had been swirling around in my brain for years.  I owe them both a debt of gratitude.  Their words have not only inspired me, but an entire generation of readers and writers.  And now, as I watch my teenager devour the same books I did, I see a new crop of fantasy lovers embarking on those same adventures—and it makes my heart happy.

Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub:

I’ve always loved books, especially fantastical ones. I read a lot of fantasy (possibly the understatement of the year right there, folks). There are many, many authors that I love, and I am lucky to continue to be drawn into new fantastical worlds and meet wonderful, creative characters. There is something about Dragonlance, though, that has caused it to stick with me through the years. It’s indefinable really. Something about opening those pages feels a little bit like coming home. I love everything about Dragonlance, from the settings to the artwork. I even love the way the pages smell (yes, I’m an unrepentant book sniffer). There’s something special about this series.

I first discovered the Chronicles right before a difficult time in my life. There was a lot happening that I couldn’t control, much of it scary and frustrating. These books helped me, in a way. When things felt gray and I struggled to find the motivation to move, there was Sturm who also felt like life was a dark shroud at times. He realized that he was useful and important, even when he felt otherwise. When I felt like I was at war with myself (there’s bipolar for you), there was Tanis, always at war with himself. He found peace. When I felt small or alone, there was Tasselhoff, doing the small, important things. These books gave me adventure, and excitement. They gave me dragons. They also gave me a way to process the scarier things in life.

I’ve moved past that hard time in my life. However, the feelings of adventure, excitement; and yes, those feelings of familiarity and comfort have stayed a part of me. I truly think that the right book at the right time can change a life. I reread the Chronicles every year (sometimes more, when things are particularly nasty in this big, bad world of ours). I open the pages, breathe in the smell, and am immediately whisked far and away- to a place that I both love and appreciate.

There are many kinds of magic.

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

About the Contributors:

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

Behind the Pages: Hello everyone! My name is Tabitha and I run a review blog called Behind the Pages. I am an avid fantasy reader, but dabble in other genres from time to time. I love writing and talking about books. Dragonlance is my absolute favorite fantasy series and I am so psyched to be a part of Dragonlance week.

Check out my review blog at www.behindthepages.org

You can also follow my random bookish thoughts on my Twitter: @behindthepages1

And if you prefer to follow along with reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5863594-tabitha

Author Sean Gibson: Sean Gibson, “author” and slackonteur, is not a professional mini biography writer (if he were, this would be much more compelling). But, he is, unfortunately for the reading public, the author of several stories starring Heloise the Bard, including The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True, “You Just Can’t Hide from Chriskahzaa,” and The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple. He also wrote the Victorian-set fantasy thriller The Camelot Shadow and its prequel short, “The Strange Task Before Me.” He has written extensively for Kirkus Reviews, and his book reviews have also appeared in Esquire. You can hang out with him at www.seangibsonauthor.com, but goodness knows you’ve got better things to do.


I Can Has Books: Carrie (ICanHasBooks) can be found surrounded by tomes as books make up the foundation of who she is and possibly her home ,which is in desperate need of more walls for shelving, because like her name says I can has books? Yes Carrie, yes you can. When she is not reading, she can be found roaming around Azeroth (Wow Classic as her computer currently sucks), walking in graveyards or wandering in the woods. If you would like to follow her around:

Blog:https://icanhasbooks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/I_can_has_books
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/663898-carrie IG: https://www.instagram.com/carrieicanhasbooks/

Author L.A. Wasielewski: L.A. Wasielewski is a gamer, nerd, baseball fan (even though the Brewers make it very difficult sometimes), and mom.  When she’s not writing, she’s blasting feral ghouls and super mutants in the wastelands, baking and cooking, and generally being a smart-ass.  She’s very proud of the fact that she has survived several years with two drum kits in the house—and still has most of her hearing intact. 

Books 1&2 of her adult epic dark fantasy Alchemist Trilogy are out now, with Book3 due to debut Autumn 2021.

Find her online:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBebedora
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LAWasielewski/
Website:  http://www.lawasielewski.com/
Amazon link:  https://www.amazon.com/L-A-Wasielewski/e/B07KNTW444/

Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub: Jodie is the creator of the Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub blog and a contributor to Grimdark Magazine. 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 at :

Blog: https://wittyandsarcasticbookclub.home.blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WS_BOOKCLUB

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