Dragonlance Week: Sightings in the Wild

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

It’s been a great week of geeking out over Dragonlance, but it’s almost over. Tomorrow, there’s one last post (an excellent one, with amazing contributions) and the winners of the giveaway will be announced. If you haven’t entered yet, there’s still time: all links are listed below. Before we go, though, I wanted to share some of the fun Dragonlance-themed or inspired goodies that can be found if you know where to look. Enjoy!

Posts you may have missed:

Dragonlance Week: A Celebration
Dragonlance Books- Where on Krynn Should You Start?
Dragonlance Week: The Art of Dragonlance
Dragonlance Week: An Interview with Author Margaret Weis
Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Tanis, Laurana, and Sturm
Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Caramon and Raistlin
Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Tasselhoff, Flint, and Tika
Dragonlance Week: Side Quest! (My Favorite “Side” Novels)
Dragonlance Week: The D&D Connection

Let’s start with a funny one, shall we? Look closely at the top right corner illustration in this kids counting book to see mention of a certain golden-skinned mage. The book is fantastic, by the way.


Lord Soth visits Ravenloft, because why not? I kind of love the crossover idea.

Speaking of crossovers, do we see Fizban anywhere else? Well, that’s a question with an odd answer. Fizban is in the Chronicles (and is owned by Wizards of the Coast). However, there is a certain befuddled wizard named Zifnab (owned by Weis and Hickman) who shows up in their Death Gate Cycle. Surely they aren’t one and the same. After all, it’s common for bearded, crazed wizards who constantly lose their hats to have names that are anagrams of each other. There’s also Zanfib, who shows up in another series by Weis and Hickman (namely Starshield), also no relation. Right?

There is an excellent documentary called Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons and Dragons. While it’s covering D&D art on a broader scale, there is a large amount of focus on the amazing artwork that has been associated with Dragonlance. There are interviews with Tony Diterlizi, Larry Elmore (Dragonlance artist extraordinaire), Brom, Margaret Weis, and others. There are fun little surprises, and we get to learn things like why Clyde Caldwell illustrates Goldmoon the way he does, and who the elusive Jack Fred really is.

Did you know there’s a Dragonlance board game? Yup. Back at the height of its popularity, Dragonlance showed up in all kinds of interesting ways. Don’t look for it at Walmart. It’s hard to find, and even harder to find for a good price. Keep your eyes open and maybe you’ll find it somewhere unexpected.

I can’t forget to mention the Russian Dragonlance musical. I have not seen it (that’s honestly a bit too much for me), but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk (and chuckle a little) about it. That’s love of a series right there.

It seems to me that, for the most part, adults can be sorted into two categories: tea drinkers and coffee drinkers. For the latter, Smuggler’s Coffee has the coolest coffee for Dragonlance fans. I believe this particular kind is sold out at the moment, but check out their website (Home | Smugglers Coffee). They have some other amazing choices. Personally, I think +1 to Charisma looks both delicious and geekishly fantastic.

Last, but most certainly not least, Death Saves has some epic Dragonlance swag in stock right now. I’m not sure how long it will last, so if you’re feeling the need to show your love of Dragonlance off to the world, now’s the time.

There are other sightings (such as the horribly done cartoon movie) and I know I’m missing many surprise visits from Dragonlance and its characters. Let me know about any sightings you’ve had. And tell me: do you plan to watch the musical?

Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Fizban, Pyrite, Goldmoon, and Riverwind

Throughout a weeklong celebration of Dragonlance, there will be profiles for some of the important characters in the Chronicles, which is the original trilogy, and the books that started it all. So far we’ve discussed Tanis, Laurana, and Stum, Caramon and Raistlin, and Tasselhoff Burfoot, Flint Fireforge and Tika. We’ll finish off our introductions with Fizban, Pyrite, Goldmoon, and Riverwind.

Image credit: Larry Elmore

Fizban:

Lovable old fool, or something far more important? There is definitely more than meets the eye to this character. Ostensibly an aging, absent-minded mage who can never seem to remember the words to his favourite Fireball spell, and is seen at the side of the road arguing with a tree, he is something of a figure of fun. Constantly losing his hat and never remembering his name, Fizban’s relationship with young kender, Tasselhoff Burfoot, is particularly endearing and at times hilarious. He immediately reminded me of Tolkien’s Gandalf in the early stages of The Fellowship of the Ring, a kind of mentor character, who appeared to be just too aged and befuddled to really have any power or significance. What a great way to stay unremarkable and underestimated if you didn’t want people to pay much attention to you. Fizban appears exactly when needed, and haphazardly affects the events all around him, ultimately for the better, although at the time it always feels like he has caused a calamity. In fact events surrounding Fizban always appear to be a little out of control, but without giving away the major spoiler about Fizban, I think I can safely say that there is method in his madness!
-Sue Bavey

More books featuring Fizban:

He shows up here and there. The rest the reader will have to discover on their own.

Image credit: Jeffrey Butler

Pyrite:

Pyrite is introduced to us in Dragons of Spring Dawning, when we are told that an old man and an aged golden dragon are happily napping in the middle of the Plains of Estwilde, apparently oblivious while dragon armies go about their business nearby. He is the longest living golden dragon and swore to Paladine that he would protect Huma back in the days of the Third Dragon War, back when he was a fierce warrior. He has long forgotten his actual name, but Pyrite is what the younger dragons affectionately call him. Pyrite, the mineral is often known as ‘Fool’s Gold’ and since Pyrite the dragon is a golden dragon and accompanies doddery old Fizban, this is a clever name for him.

By the time we meet Pyrite in Dragons of Spring Dawning he is a forgetful, almost toothless, but brave old thing, still thinking that he is in a battle protecting Huma. He mostly lives on oatmeal these days, due to his lack of teeth, he is deaf and his vision is dimming, but he remains intelligent, when mentally present in the here and now. He seems to be a good match for his rider, Fizban. Fizban has to leave Pyrite and makes him into a tiny golden statue which Tasselhof Burfoot is then able to keep in one of his pouches and carry around quite easily, without anyone suspecting he has a dragon on his person!
-Sue Bavey



Image credit: Larry Elmore

Goldmoon:

Goldmoon is a difficult character to talk about. In some ways, she functions as a plot device at the beginning. She is the bearer of a mysterious staff that everyone and their brother is either after, or being accused of hiding. That being said, she ends up being far more, becoming an integral part of the group, as well as being responsible for finding out what happened to the gods of Krynn.

Goldmoon is smart, strong, and compassionate, the last being a trait that can be somewhat lacking in some of the other characters. It allows her to view things from a different perspective. I love seeing a female character that is strong without losing any emotions. While not being an early favorite of mine, I’ve come to appreciate her much more over the years.
-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

More Books Featuring Goldmoon:

Dragons of a New Age trilogy by Jean Rabe

War of Souls trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Image Credit: Clyde Caldwell

Riverwind:

Riverwind is quiet, and he is stoic. He can be hard to get a handle on at first. Once he feels at ease with the group, though, you learn he’s someone that will always be there when needed. Not only that, he provides a window into this world. Things would not normally need explaining between a group of people who have known each other as long as the other companions have, but through Riverwind we learn a lot about how these characters tick. When Riverwind asks Tanis why he is called “half-elf” instead of “half-man” the reader gets a deeper look into Tanis’ psyche. This isn’t something anyone who has known Tanis would ask, so Riverwind adds much to the books just by being there.

We first meet Riverwind at the Inn of the Last Home (which I would love to visit, by the way). He travels with Goldmoon, the love of his life. Their relationship isn’t one I love, to be honest. He spends a good chunk of Dragons of Autumn Twilight being a bit of a jerk to her. Their relationship matures in subsequent books, however, which feels awfully similar to the way relationships can be.
-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

More books featuring Riverwind:

Riverwind the Plainsman

The Magic of Krynn

About the Contributors:

Sue Bavey: Sue is an English mum of two teens living in Massachusetts with husband, kids, a cat, and a bunny. She enjoys reading all kinds of genres, especially fantasy, historical fiction, and thrillers.

Where to find Sue:

Blog: Sue Bavey – Book Blurb

Twitter: @SueBavey




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: @WS_BOOKCLUB


Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Tasslehoff, Flint,and Tika

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

Throughout a weeklong celebration of Dragonlance, there will be profiles for some of the important characters in the Chronicles, which is the original trilogy, and the books that started it all. So far we’ve discussed Tanis, Laurana, and Stum, as well as Caramon and Raistlin. Today, let’s learn a little bit about three more beloved characters: Flint Fireforge, Tika Waylan, and Tasselhoff Burfoot.

Image Credit: Clyde Caldwell

Flint Fireforge:

The first time I read the Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends trilogies, I immediately followed them up with Kindred Spirits, a book that features Flint heavily. If I didn’t already love Flint, that book would have done the trick. He’s always been there for Tanis, a character who sorely needs a friend.

That caring nature doesn’t stop with Tanis: Flint takes on a grandfatherly role for the entire group. He’s the sort who grumbles incessantly (and don’t you dare try to put him on a horse!), but he’s also the backbone of the group. I love that grumpy old dwarf so much!

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

Image Credit: Valerie Valusek

Flint Fireforge:

Flint is an experienced fighter, with many years under his belt. He can come across as gruff, but this grumpy old man is full of heart. He doesn’t like boats, mind you, and will grumble quite often if he is forced to go in one. Heck he will grumble about many things when one thinks about it. To be fair, it is really quite understandable: he just wants to retire from questing, he’s been away from his home for so long. But when danger presents itself in the end he will have your back, even if he grumbles about it.

Reorx’s Beard! He can’t let these youngsters go off and get themselves into trouble or worse killed can he?

Tanis’s oldest friend,
Tasslehoff’s truest friend and companion
Grumpy as heck with the biggest heart

-I Can Has Books

More Books Featuring Flint Fireforge:

Flint the King

Kindred Spirits

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Tasslehoff Burrfoot:

If you ever come across our little Kender friend Tas, be sure to hold your purses and other goods near you and/or out of sight. Because it might just happen that you “drop” something and he will just happen to pick it up. He’s not a thief, just extremely curious. This curiosity can lead to some interesting and possibly dangerous adventures. So keep your eyes open, he may be tiny but look for blue leggings, they seem to be his favorite item of clothing and he wears them all the time. 
So if you are lucky to befriend him and you ever need a lock opened he’s your guy, there is the possibility of getting into trouble but Tas is braver than you realize because Kender don’t know fear only wonder. 

He is loyal beyond words. A true friend is he.

-I Can Has Books

Image Credit: Artist Unknown

Tasslehoff Burfoot:

Watch your pockets!  And your knapsacks.  And handbags.  And anything not nailed down, locked up, or perched high above.  Wait.  That stuff’s not safe, either.  But Tas promises he’s just borrowing it.

Tasslehoff Burrfoot, loveable Kender.  Tasslehoff Burrfoot, bane of many an existence.  Tasslehoff Burrfoot—one of the most entertaining characters to ever grace the page of a book.  I think what endears me most to Tas is his unconditional caring.  He genuinely enjoys the people with which he keeps company.  He cries along with them, laughs along with them—even when they tell him straight to his face that he’s annoying.  (Looking at you, Flint…)  He’s the master of Taunting.  He heads straightforward into adventure—because you never know what treasures will be ripe for the—borrowing.  He promises he’ll return it someday.  At the end of the day Tas is always there for his friends—be it on purpose or accidental—and having him in the ensemble not only brings some comic relief, but an almost child-like look at life in an increasingly violent and dangerous world.  Sure, there might be Death Knights and dragons chasing them down, tricks and traps around every corner—but that pales in comparison to the treasures Tas is bound to find within every dungeon, cave, or, you know…a street stall selling books that just happen to be right there in the open.  He’ll only hang onto the priceless magic tome for a little while, he swears.  At least, until he finds something more intriguing…

– L.A. Wasielewski

Image credit: Larry Elmore

Tasslehoff Burfoot:

Here’s the thing: Tas is great. I think he often gets viewed as comic relief, a character not to be taken seriously, but that’s a simplification of who he is. Sure, he tends to find the positive (and often funny) side of most situations, he might “acquire” things in dubious ways, and his stories are not necessarily believable, but his very nature allows for the best relationship dynamics. His friendship with a certain gully dwarf is golden, and the way he and Flint interact is one of the best things about the trilogy. Not for nothing, but it’s a Tas scene that makes me bawl each time I read it, despite knowing what’s coming.

All kender are struck by wanderlust at some point, and Tas is no different. In fact, he manages to traverse the length and breadth of Krynn many times throughout the Dragonlance series, appearing in more books than perhaps any of the other companions. I’m always happy to see him. I know I can rely on him to bring a smile and some unexpected wisdom.

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

More books featuring Tasslehoff Burfoot:

Wanderlust

Kendermore

Image credit: Larry Elmore

Tika Waylan:

I feel like out of all the heroes of the lance, Tika gets the least amount of attention. But you know what? Let’s turn that around. While Tika may not be the strongest amongst the heroes, I certainly view her as one of the bravest. Before war descended on Krynn, Tika grew up at the Inn of the Last Home. As an orphan, Solace and the bar were all she knew. And yet, when the time came down to it, she joined a crew of warriors and magic casters to try and save the world.
Tika may have been the underdog, but she refused to back down. She showed readers that it’s worthwhile to put your whole heart into something. And if you happen to meet her by reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight, you’ll be able to see just what she was able to accomplish.

-Behind the Pages

Image credit: Larry Elmore



Tika Waylan:

Tika plays an important role in the storyline. While she might be viewed as a side character, she is the first character mentioned in the prologue. Deadly with a skillet- er, shield- with a quick tongue and a fiery temper, Tika keeps Caramon’s head above water when he feels like he’s sinking. She’s brave in many ways, and rarely complains.

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub







More books featuring Tika:

Time of the Twins (Dragonlance Legends book 1)

Dragons of Summer Flame


About the contributors:

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


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 at:

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




Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Caramon and Raistlin

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

This week is a celebration of the fantastic book series, Dragonlance. The characters are all unique and well-developed, so of course they deserve introductions. So far, Tanis, Laurana, and Sturm have been discussed. Let’s talk about Caramon and Raistlin Majere today.

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Caramon Majere:

DragonLance. I don’t remember if I encountered the book first, or the (Advanced) Dungeons and Dragons adventure. Either way the two are inseparable in my mind. It was a unique idea, creating novels and games that told the same story. Letting you experience the same adventure in multiple ways. The first module, Dragons of Despair (DL1), covers about the first half of the novel Dragons of Autumn Twilight. I owned and enjoyed both back when they first came out, but I couldn’t tell you where my copies went.

I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Dragons of Autumn Twilight of late, savouring the nostalgia. It’s let me see the book in a new light — and learn that potentially I’d been mispronouncing “Caramon” and “Draconian” for years. The book works better than it has any right to. The attempt to dramatize the mechanics of D&D rules and adhere to the terminology of the game in the book does necessitate quite the balancing act. When Raistlin, the party magic-user, uses fine sand as a material component for his Sleep spell, you can almost hear the dice rattle. Is it more or less too distracting to read that if you aren’t a D&D player?

The books do rise above these limitations, however, thanks to some deep world-building, fascinating lore and some truly memorable and likable characters.  The kender, Tasslehoff, the aforementioned wizard Raistlin, Tanis, Goldmoon and the rest. But the character I am most drawn to on this journey though the book is Raistlin’s twin brother, Caramon.

Caramon Majere may not be as cool a character as his spell casting twin brother or as quirky as Tas or even a leader like Tanis. Caramon’s strength is in his right arm and his big heart. He’s a likable, affable giant of a man who seems adept at making connections. He’s the centre of it all. Not always the centre of the action – though often that too – but his relationship with Raistlin is a core element of the books. He has strong ties to Tanis, he is half-brother to Kitiara, and even Sturm notes that it was Caramon he first felt kinship with when he arrived in Solace. 

Caramon is loyal. Loyal to his friends, but first and foremost loyal to his brother. If you need his help, Caramon will give it, as long as Raist doesn’t need him first.

His failings are all very human. He’s a little too fond of food and drink. Far from stupid, he does tend to favour action over intense planning sessions. And yes, he does spend a lot of time ignoring his brother’s… let’s say foibles… but that’s family for you.

Basically, if I can bring this back around to D&D, he’s the perfect player character. And that makes sense. Even now the most common choice for D&D character is Human Fighter with a big sword. And that, friends, is the big hearted, affable giant Caramon Majere.

To hear this excellent profile read aloud and discussed by author Rob Edwards, click Dragonlance Caramon Majere

-Rob Edwards

Image Credit: Daniel Horne

Caramon Majere:

Kind and charismatic , Caramon Majere is everything his twin brother is not. He’s probably the most likable character of the group, although perhaps not the brightest. With his easy going nature, Caramon could be in danger of being overlooked as a character. What keeps that from happening and makes makes him a fully developed character is his relationship with his brother.

Caramon’s brother, Raistlin, is weak and sickly. He relies on Caramon to be his physical strength when his own strength gives out. Caramon is loyal to each of the companions, but he would betray them all if Raistlin gave the word. Caramon is his physical strength, but Caramon relies on Raistlin for direction. Without having someone to care for, someone to tell him what to do, would Caramon survive? Or would he find himself adrift?

This dichotomy makes for an engrossing relationship, and one that bleeds over into Caramon’s interactions with all the companions. Ultimately, Caramon is more than a meat shield; he’s a complicated character who, for good or ill, wears his heart on his sleeve.

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

More Books Featuring Caramon:

Time of the Twins (Legends trilogy)

Brothers in Arms

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Raistlin:

I can think of no character in the history of fantasy books more incredibly written than Raistlin Majere.  Margaret Weis’ creation of this character may very well be the most valuable gift the fantasy community has ever been given.

Powerful.  Arrogant.  Mysterious.  Purposefully difficult.  Ill-tempered, yet caring.  (Sometimes…usually when it’s to his benefit.)  Complex.  Frail.  Manipulative.  Helpful.  Crabby.  Calculating.  Intelligent.  Observant.  Awe-inspiring.  Terrifying.  The layers of this magician run so deep, I don’t think we’ll ever peel them all back—and that’s the beauty of Raistlin.  

I was trying to come up with some complex character analysis and kept coming back to the one simple fact that everything about Raistlin is perfect—even down to his negative traits.  He’s crafted in such a way that it all melds together masterfully.  He makes readers love to hate him—but care about him in the same breath.  He treats his brother like garbage, yet will be there to help him if his life is in danger.  He manipulates those around him, enrages them to the point of exasperation.  But beneath those heavy robes and golden skin, there’s a man who is constantly haunted by his own mortality and weaknesses, whether he wants to admit it or not.  And those factors drove him—to, well, read the books…

-L.A. Wasielewski

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Raistlin Majere:

Raistlin, Raistlin, Raistlin, my dear old wizarding pal. How I like you and dislike you, all at the same time!
If I was doing a forensic history of Mr. Majere, I would conclude that this dude has issues! Not little issues like he might be a bit unrealistic at times or he might be a bit uncouth. No, he has full blown personality issues. He is a total narcissist, and if I was putting him in the DSM – 5 or ICD -10 diagnostic criteria, he totally fits the bill for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. 
My evidence, he is Deficient of conscience; unscrupulous, amoral, disloyal, fraudulent, deceptive, arrogant, exploitive; dominating, contemptuous and vindictive.
However, not all the time! Raistlin is more complex than that. At times, he can be gentle, kind, playful and also show all the opposite qualities listed above. For instance, just think back to the part in the Dragonlance Chronicles when Raistlin et al, take on the disguise of travelling performers. At this point, Raistlin is almost likeable. He appears carefree and believe it or not, he is even nice to children. 
What? Raistlin, nice to kids? You are kidding right?
It just shows doesn’t it? Even the most seemingly unlikeable characters have a good side and are more complex than what we think, and that is most true of Raistlin. One of the most complex characters in modern fantasy.
I was first introduced to The Dragonlance Chronicles back in the 90’s by a friend who was really into D&D. At this point, I had read loads of fantasy, stuff like David Eddings, Tolkien, David Gemmel, Piers Anthony, Stephen Donaldson and Raymond E. Feist to name but a few. 
On the whole, I had come across lots of wizards, Gandalf and the crew, and most of them fit the bill of being generally bumbling old men. However, this belied the power they exerted and they could at once be powerful and terrible and I liked that juxtaposition of their characters.
However, it was not until I met Raistlin in The Dragons of Autumn Twilight that I had any inkling that they could be different. Here was a guy that was similar in age to myself at the time. He isn’t particularly heroic or even likeable. He can be snarky, petty and vindictive. It went against the grain of most of the other wizards that I had read at the time. He wasn’t interested in the greater good. He was interested in what he could become and how he could get there. Not particularly admirable qualities, but a refreshing change. 
In some ways, he reminded me of one of my favorite characters, Elric the Enchanter. They are both similarly afflicted by their frailties, both needing to imbibe some sort of concoction to keep themselves alive (although Elric managed to find Stormbringer and that ate the souls of those he killed and then transferred the power to him), both on the arrogant side and both had odd skin tones. 
Although that is where the similarity ends
It’ s interesting watching Raistlin’s journey throughout the original Dragonlance chronicles, how he develops from his begrudging reliance on his brother Caramon to becoming an individual that relies on nobody but himself.
One of the things that is quite admirable is that Raistlin never shies away from his own actions. He always maintains ownership of his actions whether right or wrong, and you have to say, he never lies. He may not give the whole truth, but he never lies. He will always tell you the truth, regardless of whether you want to hear it or not.
One of the other characteristics that I like about him is his constant skirting of his personality. At times, he will happily wear the robes of neutrality, at others, he will wear the robes of darkness, similarly reflecting his roles within the books. At times, he will be the protagonist, at others the antagonist. I suppose looking at it, Raistlin probably started my love for grim dark fiction. Here was a character that was not particularly likeable, but could carry the weight of the story on his shoulders regardless of his lack of affability. That is not to say that he can’t be funny. He can, but it is always tempered with that underlying snarkiness.
On top of that, let’s not forget Raistlin’s power. He is definitely one of the most powerful wizards in fantasy, and this tapped into my love for beings that could warp the very essence of reality and transform it into something completely different.
So there we have it. Raistlin in a nutshell!

-Fantasy Book Nerd

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Raistlin Majere:

There have already been two fantastic descriptions of Raistlin. However, I love him so much that I’m going to add my two cents’ worth anyway.

Raistlin is cunning, he’s smart, he’s untrustworthy. He’s known as “the Sly One” for good reason. He’s also brilliantly written and his story arc is what spawned my love for morally ambiguous characters.

Raistlin is the twin of the affable Caramon. The uncanny side of the coin, Raistlin is everything Caramon is not. He has made readers uncomfortable since his conception and I think I know why. He takes the parts of us that we all prefer to keep hidden- our jealousy, bitterness, anger, and hunger for power- and proudly brings them into the open. He isn’t a “good guy”, but he’s not your typical “bad guy” either. He doesn’t apologize for who he is, and he never hides it. He is the epitomy of a morally gray character.

Raistlin can be very cruel, which is especially evident in his interactions with Caramon. He’s also capable of great compassion. He understands what it’s like to be looked down on or bullied. His relationship with his twin is a codependent one, and is developed amazingly well throughout multiple books. Caramon is the physical strength of the frail Raistlin, but Raistlin is Caramon’s will and purpose. It’s hard to say who needs the other more.

Raistlin can’t swing a sword, nor can he shoot a bow. He’s a magic user, extremely skilled in his art. Oh, and did I mention that he has hourglass eyes and golden skin? I’m not explaining, I’ll leave that to the books. Let’s just say, Raistlin is hardcore. However, it’s his complexity of character that makes him one of my favorite characters of all time. Certainly, he’s my favorite magic user (sorry, Gandalf).

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

More Books Featuring Raistlin:

Time of the Twins (Legends trilogy)

Soulforge

About the Contributors:

Rob Edwards: Rob Edwards is a British born writer and content creator, living in Finland. His podcast, StorycastRob, features readings from his short stories and extracts from longer work. He writes about coffee, despite not drinking it, spaceships, despite being down-to-earth, and superheroes, despite everything.

His debut novel, The Ascension Machine was published in 2020. His short stories can be found in anthologies from Inklings Press and Rivenstone Press.

A life-long gamer and self-professed geek, he is proud of his entry on wookieepedia, the result of writing several Star Wars RPG scenarios in his youth.

Links:
Amazon: The Ascension Machine
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StorycastRob
Check out his Podcast: http://storycastrob.co.uk/
Or YouTube: Rob Edwards

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.

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 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:

www.wittyandsarcasticbookclub.home.blog

Twitter: @WS_BOOKCLUB

Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Tanis, Laurana and Sturm

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

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!

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Tanis Half-elven:

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

Image Credit: Clyde Caldwell

Tanis Half-elven:

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:

Kindred Spirits
Tanis, the Shadow Years

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Sturm Brightblade:

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

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Sturm Brightblade:

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
The Companions

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Laurana:

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.

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

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.

Website: mdpresley.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/md_presley

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:
https://wittyandsarcasticbookclub.home.blog/

Twitter: @WS_BOOKCLUB

Dragonlance Week: Side Quest (My Favorite “Side” Novels)

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

This week I’m celebrating the brilliant fantasy series Dragonlance on my blog. I’m being joined by some amazing book bloggers, authors, and YouTubers. The Dragonlance series isn’t just brilliant, it’s huge. I’ve shared my suggested reading order, which you can find here: Dragonlance Books- Where on Krynn Should You Start? You’ll notice, though, that I stuck to the main storyline when discussing reading order. That’s because, aside from that main storyline, a good chunk of the books can be read in different orders. Here are a few of my favorite side novels, ones that don’t necessarily add to the main storyline, but are still fantastic novels.

Other posts you may have missed:
Dragonlance Week: A Celebration and Giveaway
Dragonlance Week: The Art of Dragonlance
Dragonlance Week: An Interview with Author Margaret Weis

The Legend of Huma (Heroes Volume 1) by Richard A. Knaak:

“To the west Huma rode, to the High Clerist’s Tower, on the back of the silver dragon. And the path of their flight crossed over a desolate country where the dead walked only, mouthing the names of dragons.” (blurb on back of book)

I love this book because it takes what was a legend only mentioned in the Chronicles, and weaves it into a full story, rich and nuanced. Richard A. Knaak is a pretty stinking good writer, too!

Kindred Spirits (Meetings Sextet Volume 1) by Mark Anthony and Ellen Porath:

When Flint Fireforge, dwarf and metalsmith, receives a wondrous summons from the Speaker of the Sun, he journeys to the fabled elven city of Qualinost. There he meets Tanis, a thoughtful youth born of a tragic union between elf and man. Tanis and Flint, each a misfit in his own way, find themselves unlikely friends.
But a pompous elf lord is mysteriously slain, and another elf soon meets the same fate. Tanis stands accused, and if his innocence cannot be proven, the half-elf will be banished forever. Solving the mystery will be a perilous task. Time is on the murder’s side, and he is not finished yet. (taken from Amazon)

This was one of the very first books I read after the Chronicles and Legends. I really love seeing the genesis of Flint and Tanis’ relationship. If I hadn’t already been a huge fan of Flint, this book would ensured that I became one.

Flint the King by Mary Kirchoff and Douglas Niles:

Before the War of the Lance
The peaceful life of Flint Fireforge is disturbed when he is forced to leave Solace and return to his dwarven homeland to investigate his brother’s murder. As he delves into the mystery, unexpected allies and unseen enemies join the fight of truth against treachery.
Flint soon discovers that to bring his brother’s killer to justice, he must either die or become king. He’s not sure which choice might be worse. (taken from Amazon)

At the beginning of the Chronicles, the reader learns that each of the main characters is meeting up again after a five year separation where they each went their own way. This is the story of what happened during Flint’s five years before the events of the Chronicles. It’s a fun adventure, but also a sweet and touching story. You’ll notice that this is the fifth Preludes book. These don’t have to be read in order since each book follows a different character prior to the events of the Chronicles. They’re all worth reading, though.

The Doom Brigade and Draconian Measures (Kang’s Regiment 1 and 2) by Margaret Weis and Don Perrin:

War can get a fellow killed.
The fearless draconians of the War of the Lance have retired from the field of battle to a pleasant valley in the Kharolis Mountains. Well, it would be pleasant, if it weren’t for some dwarves, whose irritating feuding prevents the draconians from realizing their greatest hope – the ability to continue their doomed race. When the dwarves discover a map leading to a fortune buried in the dwarven kingdom of Thorbardin, the draconians are swept up in a feverish race for treasure.
Little do both sides realize that they are part of the strange and terrible destiny descending upon Krynn during the Summer of Flame. A desinty that includes the children of Chaos…the fire dragons! (taken from Amazon)

Both of these books are so much fun! I love the idea of telling a story from the point of view of the villains, and these books are great. The rollicking fun and adventure doesn’t stop from start to finish. I won’t post anything about the second book for fear of spoilers, but it continues in the same vein.

The Soulforge by Margaret Weis and Brothers in Arms by Margaret Weis and Don Perrin (The Raistlin Chronicles):

A mage’s soul is forged in the crucible of magic. Raistlin Majere is six years old when he is introduced to the archmage who enrolls him in a school for the study of magic. There the gifted and talented but tormented boy comes to see magic as his salvation. Mages in the magical Tower of High Sorcery watch him in secret, for they see shadows darkening over Raistlin even as the same shadows lengthen over all Ansalon.
Finally, Raistlin draws near his goal of becoming a wizard. But first he must take the drea Test in the Tower of High Sorcery. It will change his life forever – if he survives. (taken from Amazon)
No spoilers given.

First, let’s just all ooh and ahh over that fantastic art on Brothers in Arms, done by Daniel R. Horne. Wow! The Soulforge is absolutely genius, and the follow up is just as great. You really can’t go wrong with any book bearing Margaret Weis’ name on it. I love seeing more about what makes Raistlin tick.

The Dragons of Krynn, The Dragons at War, and The Dragons of Chaos (the Dragon Anthologies) edited by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman:

Three anthologies of Dragonlance lore: highlighting the familiar and beloved characters (and creatures), while filling in some intriguing gaps of lost Dragonlance history. (taken from Amazon)

I’m always a little iffy about short story collections, but the majority of the stories in the Dragon Anthologies are really good and help to flesh out this already well developed world.

There are many, many excellent side novels (for lack of a better term). Go explore! Tell me which ones you enjoy!

Dragonlance Week: Interview with Author Margaret Weis

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

I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Margaret Weis, the author/coauthor of DRAGON CORSAIRS, the Darksword trilogy, and the Deathgate Cycle, among other novels. She is also the author/coauthor of many Dragonlance books, including the trilogies that started it all: the Chronicles and the Legends, which I love so very much. You could say that Margaret Weis is a literary hero of mine.

Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub: Hello Ms. Weis (May I call you Margaret?) Before I get to the questions, I want to thank you for being willing to chat a little bit about Dragonlance. I am beyond thrilled!


Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub: I am under the impression that the genesis of Dragonlance involved the idea of a world where dragons play a large role. I would definitely say that Dragonlance fits the bill! Can you give me a little bit of detail about the early days of Dragonlance, and how that concept became the Chronicles?

Margaret Weis: “Dragonlance was created by Tracy and Laura Hickman as they were driving from Utah to Wisconsin to go to work for TSR. They wanted a world where knights rode on dragons and they created the first three characters: Tanis, Laurana and Kitiara. When Tracy came to TSR, he described the concept to management and they put him in charge of creating the game. They wanted novels to go with it. I was hired to edit the novels. When I began working with the team, I fell in love with the world and decided that Tracy and I should write the books.”

W&B: I read somewhere that you wrote most (all?) of the books’ fight scenes. My question here is twofold: is that the case? And how did you and Tracy decide who took point on which parts of the novels?

Margaret Weis: “I do the writing and Tracy does the story telling and world building. And answers my innumerable questions!”

W&S: Are there any characters that are “yours” alone? And do any of the characters share your personality traits in any way?

Margaret Weis: “Raistlin was a character that I knew and understood. Tracy was always a fan of Tanis’s. Par-Salian says there is a little of Raistlin in all of us.:)”

W&S: I credit Raistlin with my ongoing love of morally complicated characters. He could be incredibly cruel (especially to Caramon) but was also capable of extreme compassion (as with Bupu). How did you go about writing such a complex and nuanced character?

Margaret Weis: “I knew Raistlin so well. He was very real to me. I understood him and the co-dependent relationship he had with his brother. As Par-Salian says, there’s a little Raistlin in all of us.”

W&S: One of the many wonderful things about Dragonlance, particularly the earlier books, are the barriers that were broken. Dragons of Autumn Twilight mentions Tanis “recognizing the signs of a dark depression that sometimes overwhelmed the knight”, [Sturm]. Sturm was the first character I read about in the fantasy genre who struggled with mental illness, which was hugely significant to me. There are also many instances of discrimination mentioned throughout. Were these deliberate choices and, if so, what was the reasoning behind them?

Margaret Weis: “We wanted to talk about racial discrimination in a way that would be nonthreatening to our readers. As for Sturm and depression, we wrote about him as we felt he would feel, given everything he had undergone.”

W&S: Many people (myself included) cite Dragonlance as their gateway to fantasy. Its impact hasn’t lessened at all over the years. What do you think it is about Dragonlance and the world of Krynn that continue to draw people in?

Margaret Weis: “I think it’s because the books are about middle-class people, not kings or princes or princesses. Our characters had to work for a living. They are ordinary people, drawn into extraordinary situations.”

W&S: Dovetailing off my previous question a bit: I personally find the characters so well-developed and relatable, that rereading the Dragonlance Chronicles feels a lot like coming home. Throughout the books, especially Dragons of Autumn Twilight, there are examples of events that the companions have experienced together that are mentioned in passing, like shared reminiscences. It really cements that sense of people who know each other very well. Was it difficult to convey that sort of relationship? And did you know going in that many of these mentioned instances would often become storylines in other books as the series grew?

Margaret Weis: “We rather hoped they wouldn’t become storylines! We wanted to leave them mysterious and intriguing. But the books sold so well that fans wanted more.”

W&S: The world-building is astounding. How were you and Tracy able to craft a world that is bigger even than what the reader is shown, as well as hint at places that are visited later on?

Margaret Weis: “The world-building credit goes to the DL design team. They needed a world large enough and detailed enough to accommodate twelve adventure modules.”

W&S: Dragonlance is deservedly beloved. What do you think has contributed to its place among fantasy greats?

Margaret Weis: “I’m not sure. We just wanted to tell a story.:)”

W&S: Did you have a favorite part to write?

Margaret Weis: “No, not really. I love writing!”

W&S: How do you feel about returning to the world of Krynn? Is there anything you’d like to say regarding the upcoming releases?

Margaret Weis: “Wonderful returning. And, no, I’m not permitted to talk about it.”

W&S: Are there any authors that you love or that have influenced you in some way?

Margaret Weis: “So many it’s hard to list them! Charles Dickens (particularly Bleak House), Jane Austen, Chaim Potok, Mary Renault, Rex Stout, Alexander Dumas. The list goes on!”

W&S: Finally, I have a bit of funny question. I was concerned that I would be so star-struck that I would only be able to come up with ridiculous questions, such as “Do you prefer waffles or pancakes?” So, now I have to ask. Are you a waffle or pancake person?

Margaret Weis: “Waffles.:)”

About the author:


Margaret Weis was born and raised in Independence, Missouri. She attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, graduating in 1970 with a BA degree in Literature and Creative Writing. In 1983, she moved to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to take a job as book editor at TSR, Inc., producers of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® role-playing game. 


At TSR, Weis became part of the DRAGONLANCE® design team. Created by Tracy Hickman, the Dragonlance world has continued to intrigue fans of both the novel and the game for generations. Hickman and Weis wrote the first of many fantasy novels, the DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES, which are still in print after almost thirty years. The books have sold over twenty-five million copies worldwide. They are thrilled to be writing a new trilogy under the DRAGONLANCE CLASSIC masthead. Watch for the first book in the series to be released in 2022!

Weis is the author/co-author of several other New York Times best-selling series, including DARKSWORD, ROSE OF THE PROHET, STAR OF THE GUARDIANS, THE DEATHGATE CYCLE, and DRAGONSHIPS. Weis and her daughter, Lizz, have written two paranormal romance novels, WARRIOR ANGEL and REBEL ANGEL, published by HarperCollins. She and co-author, Robert Krammes created two trilogies – THE DRAGON BRIGADE and DRAGON CORSAIRS…be sure to check them out! 

Wisconsin is home where Weis lives with her dogs, Tika, Clancy the Hooligan and Joey the Thug. They all enjoy competing in tournaments with their team, the Barkbarians.


Dragonlance Books- Where on Krynn Should You Start?

Logo credit: Wizard of the Coast
Image credit: Larry Elmore
Banner credit: Fantasy Book Nerd

The Dragonlance world is one I happily revisit every year. Rich in detail and huge in scope, the series itself boasts over one hundred novels, and there will be three more upcoming from the authors of the original trilogy, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. This news prompted me to go on a weeklong celebration of Dragonlance on my blog.

Dragonlance Week posts you may have missed:

Dragonlance Week: A Celebration (and Giveaway)
Dragonlance Week: The Art of Dragonlance
Dragonlance Week: An Interview with Author Margaret Weis
Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Tanis, Laurana, and Sturm
Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Flint, Tas, and Tika

If you’ve never read the series before, you might be wondering where to start. I’ll admit, it can be pretty daunting. Here is my own reading order suggestion. Keep in mind, it is my opinion only, and I haven’t listed every single book, rather sticking to the “main storyline” with side suggestions along the way.

First things first: The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Dragons of Winter Night
Dragons of Spring Dawning


These are the basis of the entire world. Without these books, you won’t understand much of what happens after. You won’t be able to appreciate the books that take place before (that were nonetheless written later on). This is where you’ll meet some of the best characters ever written. Yup, I mean ever.

Continuing on: The Dragonlance Legends by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Time of the Twins
War of the Twins
Test of the Twins

The Legends trilogy is meant to be read right after the Chronicles, despite later books being published that take place in-between the original Chronicles. Trust me, do not sandwich those books (the Lost Chronicles) in the middle of the original Chronicles trilogy! I promise, there’s a place for them later on.

Connecting the old to the new:

The Second Generation
by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragons of Summer Flame by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Now, at this point, after being emotionally devastated, you have a few choices: you can continue on with the “main storyline”, OR you can explore the world a little bit. There’s so much to see, after all! Keep reading the post to see where I would suggest going next in the main storyline. I’ll add some book suggestions at the bottom of this post for those who want to wander around Krynn a bit.

Fleshing out the original books: The Lost Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragons of the Dwarven Depths

Dragons of the Highlord Skies

Dragons of the Hourglass Mage

These technically don’t further the storyline, as they are meant to take place in-between events covered in the earliest books. They make the original story much bigger, though, and we get to see more of my favorite characters, which is always a plus.

Time to see what happens next: Dragons of a New Age trilogy by Jean Rabe

The Dawning of a New Age

The Day of the Tempest

The Eve of the Maelstrom

To be honest, the Jean Rabe books are probably the Dragonlance books that I’ve read the fewest amount of times. However, they do connect what came before with what comes next.

The Dhamon Saga by Jean Rabe:

Downfall

Betrayal

Redemption

Carrying on: The War of Souls trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragons of a Fallen Sun

Dragons of a Lost Star

Dragons of a Vanished Moon

Now, it’s on to: The Dark Disciple trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Amber and Ashes

Amber and Iron

Amber and Blood

Now, you’re technically more or less caught up on the main storyline. However, here’s where it gets interesting: you’ll notice that this is less than 100+ books. That means you get to pick and choose any side novels that catch your eye. I personally am a huge fan of the Meetings Sextet (which explain how our original companions met), the Preludes, and the Raistlin Chronicles. Honestly, anything written by Margaret Weis or Tracy Hickman is going to be gold. I’m also a big fan of the books written by Douglas Niles and Richard A. Knaak.

Time to gather up your maps, grab your hoopak, and head off for adventures!

Dragonlance Week: The Art of Dragonlance

Welcome to Dragonlance Week! This week the Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub blog will be celebrating all things to do with this amazing fantasy series. Be sure to enter the giveaway (here) for a chance to win one of two Chronicles Trilogy sets.

Dragonlance is different from your average fantasy series in several ways. One of the things that makes Dragonlance stand out is the truly incredible artists that have lent their talents to the art of Dragonlance throughout the years. From Larry Elmore to Brom, the range of artists, and the varied artistic visions are definitely worth taking a closer look at. Here are just a few of the excellent artists you can find sharing their work with Dragonlance:

Larry Elmore: Like most readers, I immediately think of Larry Elmore when Dragonlance artists come to mind. His artwork has graced the covers of the Chronicles, as well as many other novels, calendars, full sized prints, etc. In my mind, he’s synonymous with Dragonlance.

Credit: Larry Elmore

Credit: Larry Elmore

Clyde Caldwell: With a very distinctive style, Clyde Caldwell contributed much to the art of Dragonlace. His scenes tend to be action packed and his dragons are pretty stinking cool.

Credit: Clyde Caldwell
Credit: Clyde Caldwell

Jeff Easley: Another artist that comes to mind when I think of the art of Dragonlance (or fantasy art in general) is Jeff Easley. I’m not able to use correct terminology when it comes to art since I’ve actually had my toddler tell me my happy faces look wrong, so I’ll just stick with saying it’s awesome. He won the E. Gary Gygax Lifetime Achievement Award this year, and it is definitely deserved.

Credit: Jeff Easley
Credit: Jeff Easley

Todd Lockwood: I am sure Lockwood’s art is pretty recognizable: not only has he done many pieces for Dragonlance, you can also find his work on the covers of R.A. Salvatore’s books. He’s done some of my favorite Dragonlance covers. I’m a huge fan of the way he portrays Raistlin in particular.

Credit: Todd Lockwood
Credit: Todd Lockwood

Brom: Most fantasy aficionados know who Brom is. His art has a dark and gothic feel to it. While Brom mostly lent his talents to the Dark Sun gaming setting, he has contributed to Dragonlance every now and again.

Credit: Brom
Credit: Brom

Matt Stawicki: Matt Stawicki has done a ton of Dragonlance art. Fans of the Magic: The Gathering card game can find his work there as well.

Credit: Matt Stawicki
Credit: Matt Stawicki

The following artists aren’t quite as prolific in the Dragonlance setting, but their contributions are nonetheless fantastic. A few of them are personal favorites.

Kevin Mccann:

Credit: Kevin Mccann

Keith Parkinson:

Credit: Keith Parkinson

Paul Jaquays: I love this particular piece so much that I have a stained glass version of it. Yep, I’m a nerd.

Credit: Paul Jaquays

This is in no way a complete list of the amazing artists who have contributed to Dragonlance. A great book to check out for more excellent artwork is Masters of Dragonlance Art. There is some seriously incredible talent in the world of Dragonlance.

Dragonlance Week: A Celebration

For those of you who have thus far managed to escape my gushing: the Dragonlance Chronicles was my gateway to adult fantasy. They have everything I look for in a book of any genre: excellent world building, engrossing writing, and absolutely incredible characters.

Growing up, I was one of those kids who thrived on fairy tales. I never wanted the dragon to be defeated (because dragons are cool!), but I loved the adventure aspect, and the acceptance of the impossible. As I got older, books like St. George’s Dragon, and East of the Sun, West of the Moon, gave way to Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern, Jane Yolen’s A Diversity of Dragons, and Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles. They scratched an itch, but were more of a next step than a new beginning.

I’ve always been an advanced reader and around fifth grade or so, those books were replaced with things like Dracula and The Picture of Dorian Grey. I had no idea that fantasy books- the kind I liked- existed for adults too.

I stumbled across the Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman when I was in sixth grade. Those amazing books with dragons, dwarves, mages, kender, and adventure aplenty, complete with complex, flawed characters. I immediately fell in love. I read those books to death.

One of the many wonderful things about the Dragonlance series is it’s huge. There are the Chronicles, where I started. Then the Legends, and (at this point) upwards of one hundred other books written by several separate authors. The world is built so incredibly well that there are more stories to be told, and more characters to follow on adventures. The world of Krynn is fully developed. It’s so easy to insert yourself into those books and feel like you’re battling the Dark Queen, your own darkness, or even grasping for power.

These incredible books rekindled in me my love of the fantasy genre. I read Tolkien, Tad Williams, David Gemmell, Sean Russell, R.A. Salvatore, Patrick Rothfuss, and so many others. I loved them all. The rest, as they say, is history.

I reread the Dragonlance Chronicles and the Legends at least once a year, and I’ve done so for the last twenty years. I could probably recite them from memory by now. There’s something comforting about opening a book you love and know almost by heart. It’s like seeing old friends again. When I’m having a bad day, or just need a bit of a break from things (I’m looking at you, 2020), I pick these books back up.

The news that Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman will be returning to Krynn with new novels soon naturally necessitated a huge amount of geekery on my part. What better way to celebrate the great news than to have a Dragonlance Week on my blog? Some amazing authors, youtubers, and bookbloggers have been more than generous with their time, making this week an awesome love letter to Dragonlance. There are opinion pieces, character profiles, giveaways, a Dragonlance roleplaying session, and an interview with author Margaret Weis herself. Grab your pack, watch out for draconicans, and let’s go on an adventure!

—————–Giveaway!!—————–

Two people will win physical copies of the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy. The giveaway is international.To enter, comment below. And if you’ve already read the books, will you tell me who your favorite character is? I’m curious. Winners will be announced on Sunday, April 11th.