DOAT Book One, Chapter Six: Night in a Cave. Dissension. Tanis decides.

We rejoin our fearless group of heroes as they huddle together in a boat, as a rainstorm rolls in. Sturm and Cerulean Caramon are at the oars, with Sturm pointedly not speaking to Caramon, probably because he has realized that Caramon is kind of an asshole. Tanis is navigating and manages to find the group a convenient cave that’s large enough to house them all. I have no idea how he did this, but it probably has something to do with being an elf, or some crap like that. Elves are supposed to be able to do pretty much anything, at least according to Lord of the Rings movies, right?

So realistic.

So realistic.

Tasslehoff in particular is pleased with these developments, since in the… I don’t know, four or five? hours since he met Tanis on the road to town, he thought that Tanis was being “moody and indecisive,” which is apparently very different from Tanis’s usually strong-leadery self. To this I say… really? Indecisive? Moody I get, if only because he’s been tuning his friends out to think about how upset he is about not getting to fuck, but indecisive, absolutely not. Let’s take a look back at the last five chapters to see where Tanis has and hasn’t made decisions, shall we?

  • Chapter one: he declares that it’s time to go up to the inn instead of chilling on the road when presented with this decision by Flint.

  • Chapter three: After, admittedly, getting prodded by Tika, who mostly just filled him in on the general tenor of the townsfolk since he left Solace, Tanis decides that the group has to escape through the kitchen, and he’s forced to convince Sturm not to stand his ground in the meantime. Then he decides that they’ll hide at Tika’s for the night, allow the Plainsfolk to rest up at his house, then send the “barbarians”

pocahontis

          to Haven.

  • Chapter four: Lest we all forget, it was Tanis’s decision to WRECK TIKA’S HOUSE in order to allow the group some getaway time. Everyone else went along with it like the destructive assholes they are, but this brilliant plan was Tanis’s from the start. Once Sturm asks where they’re going to go, Tanis does hesitate, but only to consider the options before them. Then he decides that they’re all going north, at least to the crossroads, and possibly further.

  • Chapter five: It’s Tasslehoff’s idea to go by boat rather than Tanis’s, this is true. But when sent to reason with Flint as “the diplomat” of the group, he decides it’s better to let Flint go his own way than to drag him into the boat.

Basically, Tanis has been making almost all the calls during this adventure, with everyone else not only following his lead, but turning to him for guidance – Sturm asking where they’re going, and Tasslehoff running the idea of taking the boat across the lake by Tanis before he goes thieving borrowing. The one time he shows hesitation is when he’s considering his options. If this is indecisive for Tanis, he must have been a real dictator beforehand. Tasslehoff’s thinking that he’s glad for the adventure which indicates to me that kender are kind of sociopathic, which is obviously part of their charm.

The group huddles down in the cave, with special attention being paid to Raistlin, who can’t get his feet wet and has to be carried around by his brother.

This is getting very romantic.

This is getting very romantic.

It’s been hinted that Raistlin is in very poor health what with his not being able to walk very far, and lingering cough of doom, but this is the first indication that it’s serious – he starts coughing up blood, which seems to be kind of a liability for a traveling wizard. Tanis is now struck with a memory of having to save Raist (and I think it is totes adorbs that Caramon calls Raistlin “Raist”) from a mob that was trying to burn him at the stake for exposing a false cleric. Tanis ponders about how people need to believe in something and hate those who expose their false idols, but as for myself, I feel like Raistlin probably exposed the cleric in the most assholeish way possible.

Either way, everyone starts feeling sorry for the guy and ineffectual attempts at making him feel better commence. Caramon first puts his own cloak around Raistlin’s shoulders – ignoring the fact that not only was he rowing in a rainstorm, but he’s the one who got in the water and shoved the boat off in the first place, meaning the thing is probably soaked. So, thanks bro.

Goldmoon then attempts to help by giving him some wine (which, may I add, is stolen from Tika) that Raistlin can’t drink, then offers to heal him with her staff. Apparently over the course of two chapters, she has forgotten that last time Raistlin attempted to touch the thing, it shocked him so badly that his brother nearly beat her up. Raistlin, you are surrounded by idiots. Of course, Raistlin’s response to these ministrations is not to point out any of these obvious facts, but to make dramatic pronouncements about how his body is a permanent sacrifice for his magic. So… yeah, I think you are bringing this on yourself there, Raist.

Sturm walks into the cave, dragging Flint along with him, and acting generally pissy, I assume because his moustaches are frizzy from the humidity. He starts getting into a spat with Riverwind over some bullshit about his word being his honor and protecting ladies and other such nonsense, and before long, the two have glove-slapped their way into a duel.

glove-slap-o

The two square off into what promises to be an epic cave battle. Their oiled muscles are clad in tiny bikini armor undies and glistening in the firelight, their lips trembling in lustful hate. And as their limbs meet in a sweaty, musky embrace of rage and desire, their grimacing faces only centimeters from each other – oh wait, none of that happens. Riverwind apologizes to Sturm and then collapses. Tease.

rasslin

There had better be some homoerotic wrestling in this book, is all I’m saying.

Well, everyone starts to fall asleep, leaving Tanis and Tasslehoff to try to plan their route. Well, Tanis does, while Tasslehoff sorts through his bag of stolen mysteriously acquired trinkets. Among them, Tanis recognizes a gold ivy-leaf ring, which he recognizes as his, “given Tanis long ago by someone he kept on the borders of his mind.” So I’m sure now that he has his ring back, we will never hear more about it, or this unnamed person ever again, right?

Oh, and Tasslehoff insists that Tanis must have dropped the ring on the floor of the inn, and it sure was a good thing he picked it up, proving once again that he’s a goddamn sociopath. I’m meant to love this, and oh, I do. They confer over Tasslehoff’s maps, and are concerned that there are no ways to Haven apart from the obvious main roads. Well, Tanis is concerned. Tasslehoff thinks this all will be great fun, and falls fast asleep.

The group spends the night in the cave as a ferocious storm rages outside, which is in no way any kind of foreshadowing of conflict to come. And the wind is bitter, and comes from the north, which are surely only atmospheric coincidences, meaning nothing.

In the morning, the group cooks up a little of the meager supplies they were able to steal from Tika, which turn out to be not a whole lot. Tasslehoff remarks that Tika must eat her meals out, which, what a fucking relief, am I right? Poor Tika. At least she has some spicy potatoes to console her, which reminds me, I’m’a try to do a recipe post one of these days. Spicy potatoes for everyone!

When the time comes to figure out what to do, everybody stares at Tanis, apparently because he is so indecisive am I right? Their first plan is to go to Haven, but if that doesn’t work, Tanis proposes to go to the elven lands, known as Qualinesti. Only problem is, nobody has any idea how to get there… except Raistlin of course. And… how do you know about that, Raistlin? You know, since you are pretty clearly not an elf, and Tanis is?

Ohhhh I have my ways.

Ohhhh I have my ways.

Well, apparently the paths to the wood are suitably Raistlin-y, as they are filled with hoards of the living dead.

MEN HUNT, WOMEN DO LAUNDRY HISSSSSSSSS

MEN HUNT, WOMEN DO LAUNDRY HISSSSSSSSS

Ugh, misogyny zombies, apparently. I want to go to the forest with the misandry zombies. Both Sturm and Caramon seem to agree with me, because they freak right the fuck out about going into the Darken Wood, which was probably what Raistlin intended in the first place. Ass.

Tanis shuts this shit down immediately, which I have to admit is a good idea. Sturm even has a moment of quiet contemplation about how he’ll follow Tanis to the ends of the earth because of his, I don’t know, natural leadership or some crap. Sure is a change from the indecisive and moody dude from the past few chapters, am I right guys?

Anyway, Tanis decides to ask Goldmoon what she wants to do, and although Riverwind grumbles, she decides to go with the rest of the group and take the staff to Haven, instead of leaving the group to take the staff to… also Haven. Some decision Goldmoon, who do you think you are, Tanis or something?

With much grumbling from Flint and much passive aggressive stonewalling from Riverwind, the group makes their way out of the cave and along their journey.

So, this chapter was more satisfying than the last one in terms of character development. Although we don’t exactly get into new territory with our characters, we do get a little deeper into what’s making them tick, so it doesn’t feel so much like we’re rehashing old territory. As for action, all we get is huddling in caves, which isn’t nearly as satisfying as battling hobgoblins. Even our promised fight scene between Riverwind and Sturm fizzles out. But I’m sure we’ll have more epic battles on our journey, so never fear, Dragonscouts!

Asshole count: So many in this chapter you guys, but I think this time it’s Tasslehoff who wins the prize, what with his being an utter sociopath. However, Raistlin, Riverwind and Sturm all have their moments of nastiness this time around, and I’m going to give Riverwind a close second, for both being a jerk to the guys who are pretty much saving his ass at every turn, and then fainting and denying me my erotic wrestling scene.

Homoeroticism count: Again, loads of this in this chapter! We have our twincestuous pair, Caramon and Raistlin, our homoerotic wrestling pair, Sturm and Riverwind, and our homo-fantasizing pair, Sturm and Tanis. This chapter, I will have to go with Caramon and Raistlin, as the two have actual physical contact over the course of the chapter. But I’m holding out for future wrestling. Don’t disappoint me, Sturm!

Don't worry, Khaleesi!

Don’t worry, Khaleesi!

 

 

 

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DOAT Book One, Chapter 5: Farewell to Flint. Arrows fly. Message in the Stars.

Good evening Dragonscouts! Just for your info, your Khaleesi is going to have a sporadic posting schedule for the foreseeable future. But never fear, she will continue this foray into nostalgic fantasy fiction, and continue to bring your at-least-weekly chapter reblogs.

We last left our intrepid heroes as they trashed a nineteen year old waitress’s house, and escaped into the night without a backward glance like the complete assholes they are. The mere act of trashing a house and then running away from it seems to have taken the strength out of our fearless band of warriors, as Goldmoon’s face is “scarred with weariness,” Riverwind’s “shoulders sagged,” and Raistlin is “shivering, lean[ing] against a tree and wheezing for breath.” Way to be big damn heroes, jerks.

Tasslehoff suggests crossing Crystalmir Lake by boat, and is undeterred by the fact that our bold fellowship is not currently in possession of a boat. Tanis gives Tasslehoff his approval of this plan, but warns him not to tell Flint. I mean… seriously, is Flint allergic to every method of transportation that doesn’t involve walking? He already sneezes at the mere whiff of horse, however that works, and now he’s allergic to… what, water? Just stick to sprinting I guess, lil dawg.

Dwarven water allergies tragically claim three more victims.

Dwarven water allergies tragically claim three more victims.

Anyway, Tasslehoff leads the group on a night excursion to purloin borrow a boat with which to cross the lake. Ceridwen Caramon expresses concern to Tanis that the barbarian

pocahontis

Riverwind doesn’t trust them, which Tanis decides is a pretty legit reaction to this entire excursion. And much as I hate to admit it, Tanis does have a point. The entire group is pretty sketch, what with their can’t-be-in-town-one-full-night-without-attracting-goblin-crackdown-ness, criminally negligent attitude toward personal property, not to mention the fact that Riverwind’s broke ass is supposed to be protecting the goddamn princess of his nation. But he doesn’t do much about this except give the entire group suspicious looks, so I mean, way to not be proactive, Riverwind.

Sturm is the only one who expresses some reserve about their excursion, saying “[f]irst we’re murderers, now we’re about to become thieves.” Caramon scoffs that he doesn’t consider himself to be a murderer, because “goblins don’t count.” So this is a clear expression of Caramon’s species-ism. I mean, “goblins don’t count?” They’re sentient beings, right? With the ability to feel pain and emotions and all that? What on earth about goblins besides the preconceived notion that they are somehow “evil” makes them not count when you’re killing them? Maybe we will discover this later on, but right now it smacks of Tolkien-y “orcs were made by evil dudes so they are automatically evil and nothing can change that even if they are supposedly sentient creatures with free will and junk.” Grosssss.

We get still more character development as Caramon, dickish as he is toward goblins, shows a relatively surprising level of compassion toward his brother, who’s struggling to keep his feet. Raistlin spurns Caramon’s attempts to help him along the path, and although Tanis wonders out loud why Caramon puts up with him, both he and Sturm seem a bit jealous of Caramon having family close to hand – unlike the two of them. Sturm has apparently spent the last five years in an unfruitful search for his father, whereas Tanis, the product of assault, has no family at all. This is all very sad, but it seems that it might be a little better than having an unrepentant jerkass as a little brother.

This relationship will in no way cause me any regret, right lil bro?

This relationship will in no way cause me any regret, right lil bro?

Sudden lights in the distance show that Tanis and his group of property destroying dickwads are being chased, likely for the destruction they wreaked on Tika’s treehouse. Tanis finally clues Flint into the fact that they’ll be crossing the lake by boat, and we’re treated to the knowledge that Flint is not allergic to water, but rather has a mortal fear of boats after nearly being drowned by Caramon one time. So… not really doing much in the way of redeeming yourselves, guys. Riverwind seems to think so too, as he apparently attempts to convince Goldmoon to split up and take their chances in the forest. Goldmoon, however, is having none of this, and orders her lovahhhh into the boat. He seems none too pleased with this, but bro, that’s what you get for dating princesses.

PRINCESSES DO WHAT THEY WANT

PRINCESSES DO WHAT THEY WANT

As it turns out, Riverwind is dwarf and elf and kender racist, a trait all of the “Plainsmen” (except Goldmoon who is apparently preternaturally enlightened) share. Soooo primitive, am I right guys? Good thing Plainsmen are in no way based on an actually existing race of humans or that would be suuuuper awkward.

Tasslehoff arrives with the boat, and Flint straight up refuses to get in. Tanis, in a rare moment of not being an asshole, doesn’t allow Caramon to knock Flint on the head and drag him into the boat, but shakes the guy’s hand and lets him go. This doesn’t last long, however, as Flint reappears, chased by a regiment of goblins. He dashes to the boat and gets hauled in, while Sturm rows them out into the lake. This is problematic, however, as the moons (there are two, one silver and one red) cause the boat to show up against the water, making the group an easy target. We’d better do what we always do in impossible situations, which is let Raistlin handle everything. He casts a spell and all the goblins on the shore topple over, fast asleep.

like a boss

 

So the group is safe for the time being, and Goldmoon and Riverwind engage in some post mortal danger groping. But they are interrupted when both Goldmoon and Raistlin notice that two constellations – the Queen of Darkness and the Valiant Warrior – have vanished from the sky. This, Raistlin claims, is a portent of war, death and destruction, but Caramon scoffs in disbelief. And so I have to assume that this prediction will in no way come to pass, because that would just be foolishness.

I have to mark this chapter as just okay. While the chase through the forest is a little thrilling, we’re going over emotional ground (Tanis and Sturm have no family, Caramon and Raistlin have a toxic, co-dependent relationship, Riverwind hates everyone) that we’ve already covered in prior chapters, so it all feels like a bit of a rehash. I hope we’ll venture into new territory in subsequent chapters.

Asshole count: CARAMON wins the prize in the assholeness contest that is this chapter. So far we learn that though he’s nice to Raistlin (who clearly doesn’t deserve it despite being competent as fuck), he’s goblin-racist, and he nearly drowned one of his best friends and nevertheless has no compassion towards said friend’s subsequent crippling fear of water and water-based transportation. Riverwind comes in second based on his racism, but he seems to not have been involved in any drowning incidents, so he gets a pass from me on this one. Tanis, surprisingly, is being a pretty reasonable dude and shows himself to be a not too bad planner in dangerous situations. However I have little doubt that he’ll show his true dickish colors quickly.

DOAT Book One, Chapter 4: The Open Door. Flight into Darkness.

We left off with everybody hunkered down at Tika’s treehouse. Tanis and Raistlin begin to debate the healing nature of Goldmoon’s blue staff which offends her poor-ass lovahhh Riverwind.

Of course his name is Riverwind.

Of course his name is Riverwind.

Of course, when Raistlin tries to take hold of Goldmoon’s staff (which, if you have not been reading along, is both blue and made of crystal), it spits some kind of blue lightning bolt at him.  However, to illustrate the anomaly of this, he tells Carrion Caramon to take the staff himself. Initially reluctant (coward), Caramon does take the staff in hand to no ill effects.

So.. it’s a staff that only injures badass wizards?

Evidently.

Evidently.

Well, not exactly. As Raistlin helpfully explains, the staff is “a true staff of healing” that will never inure the simply good or pure of heart.  So this should give us our first (or at least an) insight into Raistlin’s potentially nefarious designs.

Noooo I am just misunderstood!

Noooo I am just misunderstood! Right, fangirls?

But this interesting discussion is interrupted by goblins who are doing a door to door search. Fortunately for our heroes, the goblins are pretty lazy and aren’t bothering to knock down doors that are closed.

Except suddenly the door to Tika’s house is open, when Tanis could have sworn they closed it. So now we get unobservant to our list of Tanis’s virtues I guess. Ugh. Tanis. You are worthless.

Fortunately again for our heroes, the goblins open the door but find that because even though a fire is lit, the place must be empty.

…Except that now they decide this is the perfect opportunity to go in and steal shit, because they are goblins!

One goblin enters and see Raistlin just chilling out with his gaudy dragon claw staff. It (notice that the goblins are all “it” and not “he” or “she,” this seems to be a clear case of speciesism guys, JUST SAYING) laughs at the sight which… you would think that seeing a dude that randomly has metallic gold skin and weird hourglass looking eyes would spur another reaction, right? Like, if he were a normal looking dude, then you could say that they were thinking “here’s a weak-ass skinny human,” when actually upon seeing Raistlin, your thoughts would more likely be “HOLY SHIT DUDE WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU GOLD?”

Well, the goblins must be used to skinny-ass gold humans, because they laugh, and it’s the last thing they ever do. Because in a moment of brotherly teamwork, Raistlin blinds the goblins with his staff, and Caramon shows his subtle prowess as he smashes their heads together.

Because fuck goblins, am I right, lil bro?

Because fuck goblins, am I right, lil bro?

The heroes decide to high-tail it out of there. Caramon, rightly, worries that just leaving the corpses of a couple of goblins in Tika’s foyer is going to cause Tika some problems. Tanis’s solution is to not only leave the bodies where they are, but also to destroy the rest of her property so it looks like the goblins got into a crazy fight in Tika’s house. Because that will absolve her from all blame, somehow. GOD TANIS YOU ARE THE WORST.

fucking seriously?

To ice this cake of shittitude, Tasslehoff goes on to steal all of Tika’s food. So let’s get all of this straight. Tika, a waitress who knew all these guys five years ago when she was a kid (fourteen counts as kid), generously rescues this group from religious fanatics in the restaurant where she works, risking her job by smuggling them out of the back trap door of the tree, tells them to shelter in her home while the fundies are conducting a town-wide search for their asses, thus risking being connected with outlaws and getting imprisoned or worse. They reward her by:

  • Leaving the door open for goblins to just bust on in;
  • Killing two goblins in her foyer (you know steam cleaning is not going to get goblin juices out of the rug);
  • Leaving the bodies there;
  • Hacking up Tika’s door (another of Tanis’s bright ideas)
  • Knocking over her furniture; and
  • Stealing her food.

YOU GUYS ARE ASSHOLES.

After this senseless destruction and theft, the group decides to head north, where they can drop the barbarians

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off at the crossroads so they can head to Haven if they want. Tanis wants to travel north, ostensibly to check out some war, but mostly (as Raistlin points out) to chase some trim. But everyone else decides to go along with this plan, mostly because they can’t think of anything better to do.

Oh and then Tanis scatters smoldering coals around the room, potentially setting Tika’s house ON FUCKING FIRE.

I have no idea what to say about this chapter. Tanis, what are you doing you ass.

Asshole count: INFINITY

DOAT Book One, Chapter 3: Knights of Solamnia. The old man’s party.

Okay first off, dear Dragonlance readers, your humble Khaleesi has a retraction. Apparently, I missed a reference to Flint’s beard back in Chapter 1! One of our fearless DragonScouts pointed this out to me this morning. It’s the passage where Tasslehoff leaps out of the trees at Tanis and Flint, making Flint’s beard “quiver with rage.” In my defense, this came after all those loving, lush descriptions of Tanis’s beard that it sort of fell into the mix. Now, I am a modern Khaleesi who has gotten the Dragonlance books on her Kindle, so I did a search for the term “beard.” Here is what I found in the first chapter alone:

  • The first description of Tanis as having tan skin and a brownish-red beard.
  • Flint’s shock at Tanis’s appearance, because he’s wearing elvish bear leather, but also has a beard, which elves can’t grow. (This seems to be limiting for all those poor elvish bears in Krynn! I have sad thoughts of all those elven leather daddies in their harnesses and chaps, unable to grow beards. They would have to be significant otters to the dwarf leather daddies, and knowing what I know of elves, they would not be happy about that.)
  • Another reference to Tanis’s bearded face as he grins at Flint’s confusion.
  • Flint asking Tanis why he grew a beard
  • Tanis referencing that his beard is “a gift from his human father,” which we later learn is because Tanis is the product of human-dude-on-elven-lady rape. Awkward.
  • Flint musing on the fact that although Tanis just told him that the purpose of his beard was to hide his elven heritage in unfriendly lands, Tanis “would not be one to hide from fight behind a bead.” So… Tanis is suicidally stupid as well as bland? Okay.
  • Tanis hiding a smile behind his beard.

And then after ALL THAT we get one reference, ONE, to Flint’s beard as it quivers (erotically?). Clearly, it was just lost in the shuffle of Tanis beard-worship.

Seriously, you would think it was this awesome beard, the way they talk about it.

Seriously, you would think it was this awesome beard, the way they talk about it.

Anyway, this Khaleesi is thankful to her DragonScout for pointing out this oversight! If any of you readers would also like to be DragonScouts, drop me a comment! Who knows, if I get actual followers, I might give out prizes, like Japanese candy. You know you want candy.

We’ll move on to Chapter 3. As you may remember, the group of friends (now consisting of Tanis, Flint, Tasslehoff, Raistlin and Cinnamon Caramon, along with Tika for good measure) have just been rocked by the shocking news that Kitiara has broken her sacred oath and will not be meeting them at the inn. Now, we see Raistlin and Caramon exchanging meaningful glances, due to the fact that Kitiara is their older half-sister. And we get the hint that she might have been something more to Tanis, as we see him blush (HOW DO WE SEE IT UNDER HIS BEARD I REALLY WANT TO KNOW) after Tasslehoff makes a thoughtless comment, as kenders do.

Nobody is quite sure why Kitiara broke the oath, but the speculation is that since she’s a mercenary, she must have made an even sacred-er oath to someone else – nobody is really sure who. Still just by the sound of it, Kitiara sounds pretty fucking badass. I remember her being curly haired and awesome and kind of evil, so I have high hopes for seeing her in future chapters.

Then we are introduced to the next member of the group, Sturm. He is a knight who has apparently climbed the 40 feet up the tree to the bar in FULL FUCKING PLATE ARMOR. For real. Do you even know how heavy that shit is? Unless this is one of those times when armor means you basically wear chain mail undies so your abs can glisten gloriously in the sun. It’s in a ton of video games (mostly on women, but this Khaleesi believes in gender equality), so it must be a thing, right?

Battle ready.

Battle ready.

Also he pauses in the doorway to “smooth his great, thick mustaches,” which I imagine as being something like this:

Luxurious.

Luxurious.

(I am actually really excited that we have moved into a new realm of facial hair, DragonScouts!)

So people in the bar are giving Sturm the stink-eye, and not just because his chain mail manties lovingly cling to his taut, oiled buttocks. Apparently he is a member of the Knights of Solamnia, a famously corrupt organization, basically the mafia of knighthoods. And that’s not all! He brings into the bar two “barbarians from the plains” which are TOTALLY NOT FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE BECAUSE THIS IS A FANTASY NOVEL NO CULTURAL APPROPRIATION HERE NOPE NOPE NOPE.

Sturm goes to greet his friends and immediately comments on Tanis’s beard.

fucking seriously?

Tanis asks Sturm to tell him about his travels and effort to find his (Sturm’s) father, and then he immediately tunes Sturm out to think about his former sexytimes with Kitiara, because that is just the kind of asshole “friend” Tanis is.

There’s more exposition about the evil hoards looking for the blue crystal staff (wherever THAT crap is), and now it’s Tasslehoff who spaces out and stares at the totally-not-First-Nations “barbarians” (ugh). But he gets a shock when he sees the lady barbarian’s hair, because although “plains barbarians” are “usually dark-haired and dark-skinned” which FUCK THAT SHIT SO HARD…

the help

…THIS particular barbarian has “gold and silver hair.

so this fucking bullshit I guess

so this fucking bullshit I guess

The “barbarians” (ugh) are listening to the old man from the prologue tell stories to a little kid (what is the kid doing in a bar?) about the “ancient gods,” which is pissing off the drunk-ass fundie Theocrat hanging out at the bar. And THEN the old dude invites the plainswoman, whose name is Goldmoon because of course it is, to sing a song. And then we get some more Oh Noetry as Goldmoon sings some exposition about her poor-ass lovahhhhhhhhhhh finding some staff that is totally made of crystal and happens to be blue.

yeaaaaaaaah.

yeaaaaaaaah.

The action turns to the old man, who continues telling his exposition children’s story about the great god Paladine, which we learn is one of the ancient gods that deserted humankind after the Cataclysm. He also hints at dragons, which the little kid has barely heard about. The fundie Theocrat gets super pissed, accuses the old guy of blasphemy, and is basically super drunk all over the place. He tries to take Goldmoon’s staff which does not work very well for him, as he falls headfirst into the bar fireplace.

Basically.

Basically.

The old guy encourages Tasslehoff to grab Goldmoon’s staff to knock the Theocrat down and smother the flames… and suddenly the Theocrat is healed!

This if Jesus was a kender.

This if Jesus was a kender.

Buuuut then the staff reveals its true nature as being both blue and crystal – shocker – and the Theocrat in his incredibly ungrateful fashion calls for the arrest of pretty much the whole cast of characters to which we’ve been introduced this far. Tanis tries to protest that the staff isn’t his, but the rest of the bar decides that it’s arrestin’ time. The old man, in turn, seems suspiciously happy about this sudden turn of events, lending credence to my theory that he is kind of a douche.

So all the friends decide to escape through the bar’s kitchen, although Tanis has to convince Sturm that he has to run in order to protect the lady, because otherwise he’d stand his ground. Because wimminz (even with magic crystal staves) be weak, am I right?

basic bitches

The escape route is apparently a single rope, 40 feet off the ground IN CASE YOU NEEDED A REMINDER.

Everyone manages to skillfully climb down the rope except Raistlin who floats down…

like a boss

Tika tells them to go to her house, and Tasslehoff knows the way which… lil dawg, how? You’ve been away for 5 years bro. Even so, he leads everyone to Tika’s house, where Tanis asks Goldmoon to heal his ropeburned hands (and seriously, you are the only one who got rope burn, grosss). The chapter ends with a revelation that this is TRUE HEALING.

So despite the hideous oh noetry, this was actually a pretty nice chapter what with all the action and drunk ass fundies. If fundies aren’t drunk, they tend to be with rentboys anyway, so true to life!

Mustache count: two, because one guy has two mustaches. That’s right, isn’t it?

DoAT Book One, Chapter 2: Return to the Inn. A shock. The oath is broken.

Well Jesus Christ Dragonlance chapter openers, have you ever heard of a spoiler alert? So obviously now we know what the shock is, we’re ready to delve into whatever other mysteries this chapter holds for us. And we already know they’re not important enough to be mentioned in the twee chapter title anyway, so who the fuck cares? Ughhhh. Fine, we’re reading it anyway. Let’s go.

For starters, we get treated to a little worldbuilding. So far we have been confined to the tree-bound town of Solace, but now we know that there are a bunch of big cities/settlements nearby: Haven to the northeast (this is where the fundies come from, it seems), Qualinesti to the south (elves, if you couldn’t tell. I COULD.), and the Abanasinia Plains to the east. So apparently folk are just streaming out of these places to go to the Inn of the Last Home, which I TOLD you is a sick hipster bar, but it is still kind of problematic that you are serving drinks 40 feet in the air, JUST SAYING.

We get some description of the tree’s “convoluted” trunk, which, ugh.

The cool kids say "vermiculated."

The cool kids say “vermiculated.”

Anyway. Tanis starts worrying (blandly) about how much has changed in the five years since he’s been in Solace, so we get some (bland) thought exposition.

Apparently there was some disaster in the land called a “Cataclysm,” following which the old gods of Krynn (this is the land we’re talking about ) vanished. So the new fundies, called “Seekers” are in search of awesome new gods to worship.

haha gross

Because that has always worked out super well.

But instead of finding awesome gods, the fundies decided that they should just take over Krynn instead. Which they are apparently doing, and making stuff super awkward in the process. Like, martial law awkward.

Anyway, we find out what the chapter title oath is. Apparently, Tanis and all his way cooler than him friends made a promise to meet after five years, and talk about the bad shit they found in their travels. Tonight is the night of the big meeting (way to cut it close BLANDis), and Flint clarifies that this oath is a sacred one. Which… if the very gods of Krynn have vanished, how does one go about making a sacred oath that actually sticks? Like… with no gods, what is even sacred?

Tanis, Flint and Tasslehoff make it up the (FORTY FEET) to the bar and smell OTIK’S SPICY POTATOES which are I guess a thing (that now I kind of want to eat). They spot their friend Cardamom’s Caramon’s dragon helmet gleaming in the firelight, and Flint is somehow grumbly about how twin bro Raistlin will be there too. Which… did he not also take the SACRED OATH to be there? Why are you surprised, grumpy dwarf? We don’t even know if you have a beard yet, shut it down.

Anyway, Tasslehoff runs over to Caramon, who is introduced as being a huge, burly and muscled “giant” with a “booming” voice who immediately bro grabs everybody and cries all over them.

bro grabs

And then Tanis asks the inevitable “where’s Raistlin?” And then. Oh, my friends, and then… we get Raistlined.

You thought the loving, sensuous description of Tanis was something? Well it’s nothing compared to the apparent grotesquerie (I made up that word) that is our red robed wizard pal. His skin is gold and metallic,and all melty like somebody pulled a Viserys on him.

like that's an appropriate punishment for being an annoying sister rapey jerk.. well actually yes it is appropriate, now that I think about it.

like that’s an appropriate punishment for being an annoying sister-rapey jerk.. well actually yes it is appropriate, now that I think about it.

Not only has Raistlin’s skin gone goldfinger, his eyes have changed from the normal circles into hourglass shapes

Basically, this is the most over the top insane description of a wizard that I have ever come across, and it is SO RIDICULOUS. So instead of even trying to find an appropriate gif set to represent Raistlin in this blog series, he is just going to be Loki, because let’s face it, Raistlin and Caramon are movie!Loki and movie!Thor in their beta run.

face it ladies, it's true.

face it ladies, it’s true.

Raistin explains that he is the victim of a hideous wizard curse that he incurred because ambition and hubris and taking the wizard SATs way before he was actually ready. So now with his hourglass eyes, he can see people dying which… not exactly the biggest superpower, bro. It’s called aging? Anyway, not only did he get his new look and eyes, he also got a special staff with a dragon claw clutching a crystal. A little gaudy, if you ask me.

So everyone is feeling super awkward at this tale of hubristic wizard curses, and of course that is when Tika comes in with some beers. Rad timing girl! But then she reveals that she also has… BAD NEWS in the form of a SCROLL CASE with a SCROLL INSIDE. The post office in Krynn is pretty fancy, I guess. The message is apparently that one Kitiara isn’t going to show… OATH BROKEN. WHAT A SHOCK.

And that’s our chapter two. Not bad, a lot of exposition in this one, but we do have to have our setup. We’ll see what shocking events are in store in later chapters.

Beard count: Still just the one so far! I need to know whether Flint has a beard or not, the suspensssssssse.

Wizard count: Raistlin is basically INFINITY WIZARDS, so there might not have to be a count after this.

DoAT Book One, Chapter 1: Old Friends Meet. A Rude Interruption.

Jeeeeeeez do we really have to have these twee-ass one sentence descriptions of the action as the start of each chapter? I mean at least it’s not the ultra-twee ones that start with “in which” or some crap like that, but still.

Anyway, this chapter we are introduced to Flint Fireforge, a dwarf who is old, grumpy, and enjoys the twin hobbies of whittling and talking to himself. He is just returning to his home in the town of Solace, where apparently not just the liquor, but everyone lives in the trees. Fantastical!

AT treehouse

Okay, this is actually pretty cool.

While Flint is hanging out on a rock, enjoying his hobbies, a familiar gentleman wanders up the path. He is treated to the most lavish physical description provided to a character in the book so far.

Let’s recall that we have met four characters now: Tika, Otik, the Old Man, and Flint. Each of them have been summed up very briefly, as follows:

Tika: A Lady. Curly hair.

Otik: Chubby.

Old Man: Old. Mannish.

Flint: Old and also short.

This new guy, however, has a whole realm of descriptors:

  • Elvishly graceful (whatever the fuck that means).
  • Thick, tight humany muscles (again, what?).
  • Tan skin.
  • Brownish red beard. (OMG this is our first noted beard you guys!)
  • Longbow.
  • Sword.
  • Dressed in “soft leather” with intricate designs on it. He sounds like he is maybe a bear.
No but for real I love your mustache.

Grrr!

But no, it’s actually the half-dude, half-elf… Tanis Halfelven.

fucking seriously?

Good. Lord. Could you possibly come up with a more generic name? Maybe like, Tallish Beardman? Maybe Guy Withno Personality. Oooh sick burn, me!

Anyway, Flint and Tanis start on the road for home, when they begin to discuss how All Is Not Well in the town of Solace. Seems there’s a newfangled religion in town, and they’ve begun… an inquisition!

I bet you thought I was going to use Monty Python. Nope.

But in the midst of all this somber conversation, some comic relief appears in the form of Tasslehoff Burrfoot, the kender! Weirdly, he is also BFFs with both Tanis and Flint, so this is now the second BFF Fint has come across on the main road – with no one else in sight – in about ten minutes. Tasslehoff shows his love for his friends by stealing their wallets, which is supposed to come across as endearing or something.

But THEN the three of them are all set upon by hobgoblins!

oh yes i went there.

Seriously is there NO ONE ELSE on the freaking MAIN ROAD TO TOWN except besties and hobgoblins?

Anyway, the hobgoblins threaten the three pals with exposition, disclosing that they are in search of a blue crystal staff. Unfortunately for the hobgoblins, they aren’t too bright, and one of them literally impales himself on Tanis’ sword.

So following a successful battle with hobgoblins, who are apparently now religious stoolies working for the Chief Inquisitor, the three friends head into town under a cloud of gloom that is barely lifted by Tasslehoff stealing more things for comedic effect.

And that’s the end of chapter one! And despite the kind of implausible coincidence of all three besties meeting on the road at the same time, it’s still kind of promising. Not too many talking heads, a good amount of action. I have been, and remain troubled by how race-based fantasy archetypes tend to be… hobgoblins are ugly! and also fat. And that means they are stupid bad guys and are never redeemable ever! I know this has been covered by others but… are there any movies or stories where orcs or goblins or trolls or whatever get to be good guys? or at least aren’t pigeonholed based on race? Of course, this chapter hints at the Gullydwarves, which I remember being an even more troubling strata of Dragonlance society… but there will be more on them in the not too distant future.

Beard count: 1, unless Flint has a beard. It is unspecified, and should we be assuming that all dwarves have beards? Is that dwarf-racist?

Dragons of Autumn Twilight – Prologue: The Old Man

Okay first HAHAHAHAHAHA oh my god the oh-noetry of the introductory “Canticle of the Dragon.” I mean, what even is a “canticle” anyway? …Wikipedia says it is a “hymn, psalm, or other song of praise taken from biblical texts other than the Psalms.” So for starters, this isn’t even a real canticle, which you would think would be okay, this being a fantasy novel and all, but then you get into the actual free verse of it and it is such a hot mess. Like you can feel how hard they are striving to be Beowulf and it is just. not. happening. Like, this bit, describing the battle whatever:

Paladine the Great God of Good,

shone at the side of Huma,

strengthening the lance of his strong right arm

and Huma, ablaze in a thousand moons,

banished the Queen of Darkness…

Look at the alliteration! The sort of chunky monosyllables depicting action! Sooo Norse you guys. But… ooh. It’s all over the place. And what does “ablaze in a thousand moons” even mean? Okay, so I am overly critical of attempts at bad poetry. It’s fair, I’ve made enough attempts at bad poetry in my time to know what’s bad and what isn’t, I guess. But we’re not here for poetry! We’re here for an EPIC STORY OF HEROISM YOU GUYS. Let’s get to the prose.

So our prologue starts out with Tika. TIKA! I remember her, totally! She’s some “firey redhead” who fights stuff with a frying pan because she is a waitress and her exploits are cookery-themed.

frying pan

OKAY BUT THAT IS ALL IN THE FUTURE. For now she is just being a WAITRESS and scrubbing stuff and her aching muscles and hard day at work.

So Tika works at the “Inn of the Last Home,” which I don’t even know what that means. Is that a reference to the “Last Homely House” and Elrond and stuff? Possibly. But this inn is even cooler than Elrond’s house because you guys it is IN A TREE.

fancy treehouse

Like this except with liquor.

I have to say, at this first description of the Inn of the Last Home… would this not make the most epic hipster bar? Like drop this in a nothern Californian redwood preserve, bring in a bartender who, I don’t know, keeps bees and cultivates a wizard beard, and serve drinks mixed with artisinal honey? That cost $18 each? You would make a fucking killing. But I guess there would be serious liability issues about serving drinks on top of a tree, forty freaking feet off the ground. Did no one think about that when they put a bar there?

ANYWAY now we meet the bartender, Otik, who is “stout” and seemingly un-bearded. He and Tika have a conversation about how all is not well in the land. For one thing, Tika is getting NO tips, which girrrl. For another, people are…. *gasp* disappearing without reason. What could it mean?

Enter a super mysterious old man. He begins to display his wizardly powers, such as moving furniture around (not, like with spells or anything. Just with his arms.), and understanding that when the sun sets, the room will be dark. Tika is impressed by this for some reason. It is unclear at this point whether the old man is bearded. The prologue ends with Tika getting the guy a mid-day beer, which is a positive note, at least.

Beard count: 0 (?)

Wizard count: ?????

Let’s fucking do this.

Picture yourself back in the early 90’s!  Who were you? Were you like me, an awkward nerdy girl who had only just discovered properly fitting bras and wire frame glasses instead of plastic? Good!

friday

So, you’re approaching some big-ass milestones. Like, you are about to start high school, and you have your very first boyfriend! He’s cute! He is also nerdy! And he hands you a book, saying “you have to read this.”

And that, kids, is how I was introduced to the… thing that is the Dragonlance pretty much everything.

Now it’s 20 years after, and I have gotten a bit curious. I haven’t read Dragonlance since before starting college, and I am burning with questions. Does it hold up? Or is it (as I suspect it may be) bordering on the entirely ridiculous? Will I be shamed by my former ardor for the six books in the series I bothered to read (I wasn’t reading anything beyond Legends because bitches, please.) So I figured… I’d read it and let you all know what I think, because I know you all are super curious about what I think about everything.

So! Pack up your… like crystal staff or whatever, and join me on an epic journey through nostalgia and wizards and shit!