“This book was one of my earliest introductions to fantasy and thus to the limits (or lack of limits) of the imagination. I read Dragonlance before I read Tolkien, and was just amazed by the bigness of the world. All I wanted for my tenth birthday was to swing my sword like Caramon, and get a Tika on my side. Talk about the original ride-or-die chick. She is single-handedly responsible for the early onset of puberty amongst untold legions of geeks.” ~ Ta-Nehisi Coates
Somehow I managed to forget about Dragonlance when I wrote my top ten books from my childhood list. Unlike Ta-Nehisi, I did read Tolkien prior to reading the Dragonlance books but I was nevertheless deeply enchanted by these stories. Like many other fantasies, they were inspired by Dungeons & Dragons games, and however juvenile they may read now it’s hard to overstate how wonderful Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s characters were – from Raistlin to Tasslehoff to Tanis and on and on down the list. And the authors weren’t afraid to kill off some of your favorite characters either. I shed a few tears, I admit, over the course of this series.
The first trilogy, Chronicles, was marvelous, but I think I enjoyed its sequel even more. It was a wonderful story of magic and time travel, but it was the relationship between the twins – Caramon and Raistlin – which made Legends so fascinating and heartbreaking.
I think that the series inevitably outgrew itself. That was the deal going in – they were going to create a world not limited to its original authors, but farmed out to many authors-for-hire who would write side adventures, flesh out past histories, and essentially milk the franchise for whatever it was worth. But even Weis and Hickman’s books went on too long. I stopped reading them eventually. Perhaps I simply outgrew them myself, moving on to more serious works like George R. R. Martin’s still unfinished Song of Fire and Ice (which will be airing on HBO by the way).
Whatever the case, Dragonlance was a cornerstone of my early epic fantasy reading. It will always have a special place on the shelf.