Upon ending Dragons of Winter Night time, the second ebook in Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s beloved first Dragonlance collection, I noticed I had an issue: I didn’t know what it was about. Or reasonably, I don’t know what it isn’t about. So many characters are added, so many new plots are begun, and big detours are taken from the story I assumed the trilogy was telling, that it’s a large number. So why is Dragons of Winter Night time nonetheless good?
Should you haven’t learn the primary Dragonlance trilogy shortly, you would possibly bear in mind the second quantity as persevering with the adventures of the Dragons of Autumn Twilight celebration of Tanis Half-Elven, the moody knight Sturm, the elven princess Laurana, the barbarian cleric Goldmoon, her guardian and husband Riverwind, the always-presumed-evil mage Raistlin and his beefy twin brother Caramon, Flint the Dwarf, Tika the ex-barmaid, and Tasslehoff Burrfoot. You’ll be technically right! However the ebook is additionally about Laurana’s brother Gilthanas, the cleric Elistan, and an asshole knight named Derek who hates the hell out of Sturm for some cause. Oh, after which there’s a wild elf named Sylvana after which Raistlin and Caramon’s older sister Kitiara. And lots of of those new characters have extra “screentime” than among the first ebook’s heroes.
It was confounding at first after which confounding for some time longer as new storylines stored piling up round them. However finally, I noticed it was amplifying the standard that I’d discovered so compelling in Autumn Twilight. Weis and Hickman make Krynn really feel like a dwelling world. Whereas Tanis and Raistlin are battling nightmare dragons within the twisted land of Silvanesti, Laurana and her crew discover a legendary Dragon Orb, the 2 races of elves are attempting to resolve if the return of the dragons is in some way humanity’s fault and ought to be deserted to their destiny, whereas the Knights of Solamnia are decreased to political bickering, rendered impotent to battle the best menace to Krynn since… nicely, the final time the goddess Queen Takhisis and her minions arrived. It’s actually messy, however the setting and the story are each far richer for it.
All these individuals and occasions have an effect on the characters’ journeys in methods each attention-grabbing and shocking. Moreover, the authors cut up the celebration very early, downsizing the teams to permit for extra character interactions and enriching their relationships higher than the primary novel did. Weis and Hickman’s capability to maintain juggling their myriad storylines jogged my memory of George R.R. Martin’s A Tune of Ice and Hearth collection. It’s not performed as skillfully as Martin, however we are able to reduce Weis and Hickman some slack given Winter Night time was their second novel ever, printed in 1985.
The character greatest served by Winter Night time is unequivocally Laurana, who arrived within the first ebook as a very naïve, lovestruck elf princess chasing after Tanis. Over the course of the second quantity, she turns into the chief of her half of the celebration, kicking ass, taking names, giving genuinely rousing battle speeches, and never fainting useless away when Tanis’ ex-girlfriend Kitiara exhibits up as a Dragon Highlord and taunts her that Tanis has joined the dangerous guys. It’s all very satisfying. It’s additionally satisfying for Sturm to have issues to do along with brooding, akin to when he’s unwillingly caught within the political machinations of the Knights and compelled to observe Derek lead most of them away in a failed suicide cost in opposition to the armies of Takhisis. Then he has to steer his few remaining troopers to carry a tower in opposition to three blue dragons and a Excessive Lord. Those that bear in mind the novel in all probability additionally bear in mind how surprising this battle is and the way it ends, and damned if that didn’t maintain up, even though nearly none of it was arrange within the first ebook.
However that’s true of a number of issues! The Dragon Orbs, which are actually launched on this novel as highly effective magical artifacts nobody’s bothered to inform us about beforehand, are the main target of a lot of the story. But after a wild, shared nightmare of horrors—dreamed by your entire “important” celebration—that entails nearly all of their horrific deaths, Raistlin defeats a inexperienced dragon in some completely opaque scene the place he bargains with a factor to realize… one thing, which nets him an Orb. Then Laurana actually will get one other one, in addition to defeats a Dragon Highlord, in-between chapters! Then Tasslehoff breaks one throughout a world council to make some extent and unite the elves, people, dwarves, and gnomes in opposition to the forces of Takhisis. The Orbs are mere MacGuffins to seemingly be thrown away after Winter Night time, however they nonetheless all serve such a transparent function within the story I can’t discover myself unhappy.
The Dragonlances, which additionally make their first look on this quantity, are a special story. By some means, they’re bestowed on the heroes much more randomly and haphazardly than in The Legend of Huma, the place they already felt like an afterthought. However not less than within the prequel in regards to the legendary hero, he and his military used them for aerial dragon jousting, the hallmark of Dragonlance—right here they’re simply used to poke at trapped dragons as soon as they’re summoned by one of many orbs. Solely the dangerous guys have dragons to journey on. (In the meanwhile, not less than.)
There are such a lot of plot threads that not all of them tie off neatly, and even when they’re continued within the sequel Dragons of Spring Dawning, it’s onerous to think about they’ll all be well-woven. And the Dragonlances must turn into even marginally cool if the trilogy’s going to work as an entire. However damned if Winter Night time doesn’t nonetheless transcend so a lot of its flaws, I can’t assist however rank it solely barely under Dragons of Autumn Twilight. It’s messier however much more bold, and even when character development suffers (minus Laurana) the character improvement feels richer, even when it’s simply because they aren’t sitting round hating one another all time. Meaning Dragons of Winter Night time rolls a 17 on its 1d20—however because it doesn’t have the -2 penalty for focusing a lot on gully dwarves, this implies it’s some extent larger than its predecessor. I truthfully can’t think about how or even when Dragons of Spring Dawning manages to tie this all collectively however I’m keen to search out out. When D&D&N returns, we’ll conclude the trilogy!
- I completed this ebook final night time and I can not bear in mind something Goldmoon, Riverwind, or Tika did. The one factor I bear in mind Caramon doing is caring for Raistlin and refusing to have intercourse with Tika.
- Lest you assume the self-hatred was all gone, right here’s a little bit of Tanis’ inside monologue: “The sight of their religion in him infuriated the half-elf.” For the file, Laurana has self-doubts, however no self-loathing, and it’s far more endearing.
- Simply as after I was a toddler, I really have no idea what occurred when Raistlin made his pact through the inexperienced dragon’s dream assault, nor do I perceive what occurred when he acquired his arms on the Dragon Orb. I have to imagine this will probably be paid off in Spring Dawning.
- Laurana’s dad practically calls her a “human whore” for chasing after Tanis in Autumn Twilight and that’s the purpose she says fuck ‘em and takes full cost of the mission to avoid wasting the world.
- The Dragon Ball manga (and later its hit anime) was created in 1984, the identical yr as Dragons of Autumn Twilight, however a yr earlier than Winter Night time. Given the whole lack of Dragon Ball presence within the U.S. on the time, I really feel protected saying the Dragon Orbs are the results of concurrent pondering.
- I received’t go into particulars, however The Legend of Huma feels a lot, a lot, a lot much less authentic if you happen to learn this trilogy earlier than the prequel.
- Fizban, the fully bonkers however extraordinarily highly effective wizard who died in Autumn Twilight, is again and expresses his hopes that he had a “21-gun salute” at his funeral. Everybody round him: “Uh, what are weapons?”
- Talking of confusion, I’d totally forgotten the person with the inexperienced gem in his chest existed as a result of he exhibits up so late in Autumn Twilight and does nearly nothing. Then he pops up for like half a web page in Winter Night time and later Kitiara says he’s the important thing to permitting Takhisis to take over the world. I don’t know what they’re speaking about or why he’s vital or why we nonetheless know completely nothing about him after 66% of the story had been informed. We’ll see, I suppose…?
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