View Full Version : The Dragonlance Thread
I start this thread to discuss the Dragonlance Saga.
I read Chronicles, Legends, Tales (only the first three), Legend of Huma, Stormblade, Kaz the Minautor and Dragons of Summer Flame.
I started reading them when I was 12, I read the first one in French (my native language) and then started buying them in the original english version as they came out. These were the first books I read in English.
I thought Chronicles and Legends were spectacular. Then I started reading Tales, which consisted mostly of stories written by other writers than Weis and Hickman. Some of the stories were OK, and others had inconsitencies with the Krynn universe (bearded elves, troubles with continuity, etc...)
Then came the Heroes series. Huma was a good read, even though it had inconsistencies with the original six books. For example, the Chase of the White Stag was notably absent. I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Stormblade I didn't care much for. Enough to give up on any new Dragonlance book that came out.
Every so often I'd go to the local gaming store and notice that the Dragonlance Saga was growing, and taking up more and more space in the store. However, most books weren't written by Weis and Hickman so I decided not to bother.
Then came out Dragons of Summer Flame, by Weis and Hickman. I read it and was disappointed. The whole thing seemed contrived.
I came across a copy of Kaz at a used bookstore and bought it for 3$. This one I enjoyed, even though it didn't have much to do with Dragonlance, IMHO.
My opinion on the Dragonlance Saga is that they should have stopped after the sixth book, at the end of Legends. To me, the story was over by then, and there was no need for further books. I think that by having just soooo many books in the Saga, it dilutes it.
I must have read Chronicles and Legends at least twice a year. Those are my favorite Dragonlance books, and they represent the real Saga. Most of the rest was, to me, blatant commercialisation based on the success of the original six.
Am I missing something by limiting myself to the books I have read, or am I right in thinking that I am not missing a thing?
Tell me what you think of the Dragonlance Saga. What were your favorite books? Do you agree with my opinion that only the first six are worth it?
Tell me what you think!
I spent 8 years roleplaying the Dragonlance dungeons. it was fun, although our DM had to rewrite quite a lot of it.
Then I read the three books in the Chronicles series. That was more interesting than usual, since it was like seeing two overlapping sagas.
Which are the 'Legends' books? - since you recommend them, I'll give them a try.
Legends is the second trilogy. It's a continuation of Chronicles. Read it! I enjoyed it even more than Chronicles...
10-05-2001, 04:07 PM
Legends consists of the "Twins" books; Test of the Twins, Time of the Twins and something else of the Twins. They're about Raistlin's bid for godhood by attempting to defeat Thak.. Takhis.. Takhasi... The Dark Queen and Caramon and Tasslehoff and some cleric woman (not Goldmoon, new woman) go off to stop him from doing so. That's as good a description as any. There's some subplot involving Tanis, Laurana and I think Tika (now Mrs. Majere) but I don't remember it well. Oh, and a few good bits with Kitiara and Lord Soth. Go read it; it wasn't as good as Chronicles in my opinion, but leagues above the non-Weiss/Hickman DL contributions.
Now for a critique. I know everyone loves ole Raistlin, but the more I read the Chronicles, the worse I feel about how he was handled. It's as if he was living in his own trilogy and just popped into the Chronicles once in a while to see what was going on. Especially by the end where huge segments were just.. missing.. from his tale. Look, it's Raistlin the frail mage. Now he found a book. Now he can control the book. Now he controls Dragon orbs! Now he's thirty times more powerful and teleports! Now he's almost dead, but he's not dead and he figures out the 'Key' to the library but doesn't bother to explain to himself even waht it is so I'd know what in the hell he discovered! Now he's super powerful.. and evil.. and made a deal with the Dark Queen at some point but now he's betraying her and even though she's no doubt pissed with divine fury that he did so, he still controls Cyan Bloodbane (one of her prize dragons) via the orb even though we saw through Skie that the orbs weren't always stronger than the wyrm's willpower. Oh, and now he's Master of Past & Present because.. um.. he said he was and that's all the explaination the reader gets. So he gets a cool tower and black robes.
Huh?? Yeah, I know there was Fistindantilus or whoever involved and it's explained further in Legends but it's not explained in the Chronicles which is a stand-alone trilogy and it's sure as hell not explained who Fisty is in Autumn Twilight which was intended to be a stand alone novel in case it failed and TSR didn't want to have to finish off a failed trilogy. I liked Raistlin in the first book because he was around all the time and easy to understand what he was doing. By about the nightmare in Silvanesti, it's easier to just ignore him most of the time than try to puzzle out where all this crap is coming from. I didn't notice it so much my first reading, but this last time it really stood out how poorly he was inserted into the trilogy.
If you don't mind, Jophiel I'll give you my take on the points you raised.
Personally, I enjoyed the fact that Raistlin remained a mysterious figure in Chronicles. Since he was a character that wasn't trusted by most of the others, I think it makes sense that they left holes in his part in the story, so that we, the readers would not know if we can trust him or not. Also, like Raistlin said, all of it is foretold in the dream.
As for the fact that he was able to control Cyan Bloodbane through the Orb when Lauranna couldn't control Skie at the High Cleric's Tower, Raistlin was the greatest Mage to have walked Krynn, and Lauranna didn't study magic much. Her training was probably limited to the basics taught to Elven Nobles. She never passed the Test nor had any particular interest in Magic. To me that alone explains it.
Raistlin was the Master of Past and Present. He had made a deal with Fistandantilus during the Test. Even if he hadn't made that deal, according to Par-Salian, he would have passed the test. He was incredibly gifted. He was obsessed with Magic, because through Magic, he got power, and he was starving for power. Because of that, he chose to make the deal with Fistandantilus, who was the greatest Mage to have lived. When Raistlin took Fistandantilus' place, he defeated him in a battle of wills involving the Bloodstone. He reversed the process, and ended up with all of Fistandantilus' knowledge. In that scene, you realise that he ends up with all of the other Mage's knowledge, even to the minute details Fistandantilus, memories of his childhood and Fistandantilus ensnaring him during the Test. The absorption is so complete that for a while (albeit a short one) Raistlin doesn't know for sure if he is himself or Fistandantilus. If it weren't for Tas' being sent back through time, the flow of time would have continued unaltered, like a river when you throw a pebble in it, and Raistlin would have failed like Fistandantilus and closed up a loop. But instead, he succeded, with horrible consequences, as his brother Caramon found out in Test of the Twins. Only because of that foreknowledge does he let himself be defeated by Takhisis, by not bringing her to Krynn through the Portal.
When Raistlin went to claim the Tower of High Sorcery of Palanthas, it was fortetold that the Master of Past and Present would come with power and claim the Tower. Since Raistlin is the Master of Past and Present (because he goes back and kills Fistandantilus) he is let through. I admit it's a bit of a circular argument, but that's the way the story is constructed. He did not know that he was Master of Past and Present when he went to the Tower and fully expected to die in the Shoikan Grove.
I did not know that Dragons of Automn Twilight was supposed to be a stand-alone novel. I think that Chronicles and Legends are so much a continuation and completion of both that I look at it as a Six book series (Sextet?) After all, Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a Trilogy in Five Parts, so why not a Trilogy in Six Parts? ;)
I have read these books just too many times to count. The couple of first times, I was discovering new stuff with each new reading, but now it's come to the point where if I concentrate a bit while reading the books, I can almost see the sights and smell the smells, if you follow me.
I hope I don't come across as condescending, because that's far from being my intention. It's just that everytime I'd be out of a new book to read, I'd pick up Dragons of Automn Twilight and read the the six books. To me this is one big book that was published in six parts, not six books. Reading has always been one of my favorite ways to relax and entertain myself, and Dragonlance (Chronicles and Legends) is my favorite fantasy novel. I read it (them) between more serious books to give myself a rest. I went through a phase when I was crazy about dragonlance around fifteen-sixteen but instead of buying the new ones, I'd reread the first six.
I guess that makes me a Dragonlance Geek, but so be it. :D
10-05-2001, 10:59 PM
Jophiel -- I believe you refer to Chrysiana (sp?) but I didn't read the "Twins" books so I'm not sure.
My beef is that if they were going to make a freekin' D&D movie, it should have been based on the "Dragons of" books and not that half-assed "Phantom Menace"-wannabe storyline that wound up being used.
I swear, if I hadn't known the script had been written 10 years before the movie was made (during which time the author should have spent maybe a couple of those years...I dunno...*improving* it), I'd say George Lucas had a pretty good copyright infringement case. Young, overdressed-even-for-a-queen queen -- check. Secretly-bad senator -- check. Hi, Opal -- check.
But I digress...
I actually prefer the anthologies to the novels, aside from the Weiss & Hickman ventures. "Kender, Gnomes and Gully Dwarves" was fun, but then I always *was* partial to Tas....
Tasslehoff Burrfoot was a really interesting character who showed interesting developement. I agree entirely that the short story Wanna Bet? by Weis & Hickman is very good, and always makes me laugh out loud a couple of times every time I read it. I really enjoyed the way Tas evolved from a happy-go-luck Kender to a more serious character by the end Legends.
I didn't start this thread to put down other writers or series, so I won't name names, but I have read a lot of 'Fantasy' type books where the characters were flat and didn't evolve or change no matter what happened to them, and this is one of the reasons why I keep re-reading these books.
10-06-2001, 12:10 AM
I'm far from offended :)
As for the fact that he was able to control Cyan Bloodbane through the Orb when Lauranna couldn't control Skie at the High Cleric's Tower, Raistlin was the greatest Mage to have walked Krynn, and Lauranna didn't study magic much. Her training was probably limited to the basics taught to Elven Nobles. She never passed the Test nor had any particular interest in Magic. To me that alone explains it
As I perceived it, the Dragon Orbs did their thing regardless. Once you won control of the orb, the orb worked to maximum power. I doubt Laurana studied magic period. Her brother did and it was mentioned several times that he was a dabbler, but he most definately did show some magical abilities. Laurana was never mentioned as being able to do as much as cast light. This actually sort of contridicts the books themselves; at first Raistlin says that the elven king (forgot his name) was consumed by the orb because he didn't have the abilities to understand its power. The Laurana controls an orb with sheer willpower. Tas's reading of the orb with the glasses allowed her in the door, but obviously no magical ability is actually needed if your will is strong enough. If such is the case, Raistlin's magical powers should be moot. Perhaps they allowed for finer control of the orb, but I'm not sure. The orbs are never really described well enough to understand them completely. Could anyone controling an orb done the teleport trick? On one hand, Raistlin has vast powers without the orb. On the other hand, he says that he can teleport out of the Bloodsea because the orb has a sense of preservation and presumably doesn't want to be lost in the maelstrom. If that's the case, it would teleport out with anyone if all the orb wants to do is save itself.
The other stuff you mention is all true. However, about 95% of the explaination comes out of the Legends trilogy. As I said, my complaint was that they throw hints of this stuff into throughout the Chronicles but don't explain it for another 4-6 books. If Autumn Twilight had failed in the market, the whole bit with Raistlin desiring and gaining the strength to use Fist.'s spellbook would have just been bewildering filler in the plot. Incidentally, the part about Autumn Twilight intending to stand alone come from The Art of Dragonlance where Tracey Hickman describes what I already said (from what I gathered, the Dragonlance saga was the first time TSR turned a series of modules into a novel instead of going the other way around and no one knew how well it'd be received). That's why Goldmoon and Riverwind marry, the immediate danger in the mountain (Pax something) is eliminated, hope is restored via the return of clerical miracles and the true gods, Tanis and Laurana reach a shakey but passable understanding and although the War isn't over if the Dragonlance saga ended there you wouldn't find many loose ends.
He did not know that he was Master of Past and Present when he went to the Tower and fully expected to die in the Shoikan Grove.
Do you mean in the end of Spring Dawning? From my point of view, it seemed Raistlin knew completely what he was doing. Besides, if he wasn't said Master, he wouldn't have made it three feet into the Grove. Tasslehoff only made it so far because of the kenders' magical resistance to fear. Raistlin, lacking any such thing, would have been magically scared off well before anything else could get him, guardian or otherwise, no matter how much he wanted in the gate.
It's that bit where Raistlin enters the Tower that really gets to me. Nowhere in the Chronicles do they explain anything about what Master of Past and Present means. The Key parts gets me as well. Raistlin gets into the Library, reads a bunch of books and realizes that no one knows how to unlock their magics anymore because the Key is forgotten. It's implied that Fist. communicates with Raistlin and gives him the Key but unless you're either really trying to pay attention, reading it for the second time or already know about it, it's easy to miss and even if you catch it, I would have liked to know what the amazingly simple yet forgotten Key was.
Anyway, don't get me wrong. I did actually enjoy the books, else I wouldn't be posting about them. I enjoyed the theme, the story and I always like an author not afraid to knock off a few main characters if it's done in a logical way for a good reason (which it was). I'm just making a few points of debate because it makes for more interesting reading than "Yeah, I liked them too! Yea Dragonlance!"
By the way, have you ever read any of Weiss and Hickman's other works? I especially enjoyed the Rose of the Prophet trilogy, remember liking the Darksword trilogy (though I have yet to re-read it) and never really got into the Death Cycle series. Which is sort of ironic because I met Weiss and Hickman once and they gave me a hardcover copy of Fire Sea which is about the last book by them I'd have chosen to have an autographed copy of :)
Originally posted by k.os
I have read a lot of 'Fantasy' type books where the characters were flat and didn't evolve or change no matter what happened to them, and this is one of the reasons why I keep re-reading these books.
I re-read this sentence and I realise that it's not quite clear that by these books I don't mean the ones with 2D wooden characters. I mean the Chronicles, Legends, and most of Dragonlance Tales Trilogy even though a couple of the short stories not by Weis and Hickman in Tales weren't quite as good as the rest.
I have read Darksword, but have yet to buy the last one they wrote after the trilogy (Legacy of the Darksword (http://www.sfbookcase.com/viewbook.asp?bookno=1247)) I have not read anything else by them, just haven't come across it when I went to the used bookstore yet.
I agree with you it would be fun to know what the Key was, but then again if we knew we wouldn't be talking about it ;) so I think it's actually better for the story like that, strictly IMHO. Sometimes I like not having all the questions answered, at least in a novel.
10-07-2001, 09:00 PM
I love these books, but I believe the well is dry. The original trilogy was a master piece. Winter is my favorite of the series. Sturm annoyed me in the first book, but his defense of the castle in the second was epic. I began this series in the 10th grade and read them through law school.
I generally only bought the Weis/Hickman books. I bought the most recent one, but never got into it. Maybe I'll grab it on tape and listen to it on a long road trip. Summer Flames pretty much wrapped up all my loose ends with the characters I had grown to love. It seems now like it is a franchise in name only.
I love the idea of a Chronicles Movie. I even have a few casting ideas. Some are very bad and subject to change. Feel free to criticise.
Tanis- Matt Damon (not a great choice)
Laurena- Mena Suvari (Awful choice, please suggest other)
Sturm- Kevin Costner (he was big when I read the book!)
Flint- Danny DeVito
Raistlin- Edward Norton
Caramen- Big Strong Guy of the Week (not a wrestler)
Goldmoon- Sarah Michelle Gellar
Riverwind- Barry Pepper
Kitiara- Sherilyn Fenn
Gideon-Peter O' Toole
Fizban- Christopher Lloyd
Ah, Chronicles, how i miss thee...
I haven't read the original three in almost two years, and have yet to read Legends. I did, however, happen to read the first book in the War of Souls. I don't know, things are so different, especially since I didn't read any of the fifth age books, so I don't have any clue what happened after Dragons of Summer Flame. SPOILER ALERT
And the whole deal with Tasslehoff being alive in a different future than what he knew? Weird. Am I wrong in thinking that the future he remembers is detailed in Legends? It seems to me once I read that a lot of questions will become answered.
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