DOAT Book II, Chapter 13: Questions. No Answers. Fizban’s Hat.

Welcome back Dragonscouts to another exquisite chapter of Dragonlance in which we ask questions and receive no answers. Who wants to take bets on whether we’re going to figure out who this alleged traitor is in this chapter, eh?

We join our brave companions as both Gilthanas and Eben meet up with the group. Eben has a suspiciously plausible story as to where he’s just disappeared to. Tika seems to believe Eben’s story, especially after he starts kissing on her hand. This makes Caramon ragey, but for some reason, he doesn’t attack, which strikes me as extremely out of character.

Gilthanas, when asked where he’s been, responds with “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD.”

dont tell me

Also, he points out, Raistlin was super tired when we left… SUSPICIOUSLY tired. Actually, he went missing at the same time as Gilthanas and Eben did… so perhaps it is HE who is the traitor!

Faced with this accusation, Raistlin responds with “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD.” Caramon leads his brother back to bed.

thorandloki

you guys are not even trying.

Ugh. So now we have THREE potential traitors, each of them with their supporters, and Tanis is feeling VERY put upon. He realizes that this whole thing might be a trap, using the excuse of a revolt to kill all the slaves AND our noble heroes, thus snuffing out the threat of Goldmoon for good. He considers abandoning it, but then decides not to because… it would be too disappointing to the slaves. Cool, Tanis. Now just go to sleep without doing anything and that’ll… yeah… great plan my dude.

Tanis is not the only one who abandons any attempt at a plan to get some sleep. Tasslehoff wakes up in the morning, having slept through the night instead of cunningly waiting for Pyros to fall asleep so that he can rescue Sestun. Fortunately for him, the dragon likes a good lie-in, and is still asleep when he wakes up.

Tas and Fizban embark upon a HILARIOUS series of fuck-ups in an attempt to rescue poor innocent Sestun. They’ve just floated Sestun up to where they’re hiding when Lord Verminaard comes into the dragon’s lair. The dragon and the highlord start discussing their villainous plans when they see Fizban’s hat come floating down to the floor.

reaction-cersei-1

Meanwhile, Tanis wakes up and decides to go through with the plan, even though it means both certain death for all of them, and playing right into the traitor’s plan. Tanis is hinging his hopes upon there not actually being a traitor, which we, the audience, know is completely untrue. Oh the dramatic irony!

Tanis has a dramatic farewell with Laurana, who is still determined to prove that she isn’t useless. She reminds him, correctly, that even if her combat training was “ceremonial” it was still goddamn combat training, which makes her marginally more useful than Tika (poor Tika).

The plan is in motion! Everyone is disguised as women (except for their facial hair for some reason), and goes to wake the children and lead them outside. But, unexpectedly, there’s a guard at the door where there never was one before! (This place seems pretty shoddily guarded tbh.) The guards say that they’ve been ordered to search the women before they can go into the children’s room and are really freaking creepy about it. But one of them makes the mistake of calling Sturm ugly and Sturm, realizing the destructive nature of the patriarchy and the male gaze, begins the attack.

fuck the patriarchy

Our heroes make short work of those sexist draconians (ugh) and run into the children’s room where they’re soon to encounter a motherfucking dragon.

Back to Tasslehoff and Fizban, who have just gotten caught trying to rescue Sestun from Lord Verminaard and Pyros’s clutches. Pyros in particular is concerned, because he now knows that they caught him talking about the mysterious green gemstone man, a secret for which he’s willing to kill. OH NO!

Fortunately for them both, Fizban turns out to be good for something. He grabs Setsun, casts a darkness spell, and tells Tasslehoff to run. He’s even able to protect them from the dragon’s firey breath! Astonishing! Could it be that The Old Man is Not What He Seems?

The three make their way back to the mechanism room, while Pyros starts breaking through the goddamn wall. The only way down is by crawling down the mechanism’s chain, so that’s just what Fizban, Tasslehoff and Sestun start to do. Unfortunately for them, the dragon bursts through and attacks. Finding that his breath can’t touch the three due to Fizban’s spell, Pyros does the next best thing and attacks the chain instead, melting the links and causing them to fall to their certain doom.

womp womp

WOMP WOMP

However, unbeknownst to Pyros, he’s just set a giant cogwheel in the mechanical room a-turning, to what purpose… we’ll have to find out in a later chapter!

Welp that certainly…barely advanced the story. But good news Dragonscouts – there’s only two more chapters and an epilogue to go, meaning we are almost done with Dragons of Autumn Twilight!

Asshole count: whoever knows who this goddamn traitor is but isn’t telling me.

 

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DOAT Book II, Chapter 6: Tanis and Laurana

Ohhh goody. We’re embarking on a chapter literally named after my two least favorite characters in the entire trilogy. Welp, it’s time to suck it up and try to find ways that Tanis and Laurana are not so bad after all, because what’s a 20-years-later recap without a little introspection, am I right you guys? Let’s dive in.

When last we joined our heroes, Laurana was leading them to somewhere with beds, and please god, food. My latest wish gets answered right away as they get to walk through an orchard and pick what they want and get delivered bread. Okay, maybe I don’t find fruit picking all that charming, but I can think of better ways to treat your guests then to tell them to harvest their own dinner. At least the bread came pre-made. Oh, and they’re invited to “relax on soft moss beds” instead of, you know, actual beds. Aren’t there bugs in those? Jesus christ, elves, you are never going to be Martha-level hostesses if you keep pulling this weak-ass hosting shit.

martha is pissed

Tanis refuses the food. WHAT THE FUCK TANIS.

ron swanson hulking

Laurana, however, tries to be a better hostess than her accommodations suggest, and starts making the small talk. She even compliments Tika’s hair! Ladies supporting ladies, what could be better?

Tanis throws down an apple (I thought he refused the food? And is he so mad about ladies complimenting each other?) and wanders into the trees. Both Laurana and Tasslehoff follow him, Laurana because she is thirsty for that half-elven D, and Tasslehoff because he is a sociopath.

So Laurana basically jumps Tanis and claims they’re engaged, which Tanis quickly shuts down. Guess their getting engaged as youngsters did NOT go over well with Laurana’s family, causing Tanis to leave Qualinost and set out on his journey of self-discovery. We can see how well that worked out.

Laurana insists, despite Tanis’s protests, that he came back because he’s in lurrrve with her and wants to maaaaaaaaarry her and oh yeah I can see why I found this annoying back in the day. Tanis tells her that actually, he’s in love with Kitiara (who we STILL haven’t met yet, ugh) and can’t marry Laurana because his heart is divided. Oh WOE FOR TANIS. He has too many ladies, what shall he do?

Shade

Anyway, he gives Laurana’s ring back, and she screams and throws it at him in rage. Coooool. I guess when the authors distinguished Goldmoon from “foolish, hysterical women,” this is what they were thinking of?

ohhh no

Tasslehoff, meanwhile, is watching the entire time, and steals the ring. Just… fucking wow.

Anyway, Tanis wakes up later… on the moss beds I guess? to Gilthanas sitting over him, thanking him for breaking Laurana’s heart and proving that he was right about Tanis being a half-human fuckboy this whole time (which to be fair, he is). He then tells Tanis to wake the others for the feast and… here the chapter ends. Wow! Short and pointless!

I feel a little vindicated about being annoyed by Laurana in this book, although now it’s tinged with the frustration of how poorly the authors write female characters. It’s doubly frustrating because one of the authors is a freaking woman. I know, product of its time and adhering to fantasy tropes and all, but the only women we’ve really met in the book so far are: the serene nurturing healer, the jealous town slut- but-not-really-a-slut, and the beautiful spoiled brat who’s convinced everyone luuuurves her because she’s just so pretty. Someone give me a lady with a fully developed character AND A GODDAMN SWORD.

Asshole count: TANIS AND LAURANA

DOAT Book II, Chapter 3: The slave caravan. A strange old magician.

Greetings dragonscouts! When last we joined our fierce band of adventurers, they had just compounded all of their terrible, terrible decisions and got arrested by a bunch of draconians (ugh) in Solace. From the chapter titles, looks like we’re in for some exciting adventures in slavery! Let’s read!

We begin with our heroes trapped in literal cages with bars and everything, set in the middle of a clearing that we’re invited to imagine had been cleared by the finest of fiery dragon breath. As day dawns, they find that they are not alone, but are part of the last slave caravan to leave Solace for Pax Tharkas. And… what is Pax Tharkas? Honestly it’s been so long since I’ve read the start of this freaking book that I can’t remember whether we’ve been told what the heck that is yet.

confused but sexy

I’m so glad that stock photography exists to illustrate how I feel in a vaguely sexual way.

A control-F search later (God bless the Kindle-on-browser option, just bless it) reveals that the motherfucking dragon back in Xak Tsaroth was going to head there to meet with Lord Verminaard who I think is the leader of this whole freaking army that I was asking about a few chapters back. Well finally we’re going to find out who’s in charge, at least!

Anycrap, we focus on Tanis, who has a severe case of The Sads now that he’s, y’know, enslaved. We then cut to our hobgoblin captor, whose thoughts are focused on Tika’s titties. You couldn’t go five minutes without sexually objectifying Tika, could you, book?

nope

Tanis gets talking to the stranger from the last chapter, who as it turns out, is his elf friend Gilthanas. Gilthanas breaks the news that this Lord Verminaard has decided to exterminate the elves on Krynn. So we’re adding genocide to the mix – funnnn. Githanas sort of obliquely accuses Tanis of knowing about it and growing his beard to hide his half elven nature, which does nothing to help Tanis’s mood. Then, just to lighten things up, the hobgoblins throw the blacksmith into the cage, minus his forgin’ arm. Just… just blood freaking everywhere, you guys. It’s so gross.

Still not above this.

Still not above this.

Fortuntaely Goldmoon remembers that she’s actually good for something, and approaches with her staff. Gilthanas acts like a real bastard to her demanding that she let him die in peace “without any of your barbarian rituals!”

pocahontis

Goldmoon ignores the jerk-ass elf and puts him in his place by HEALING THE SHIT OUT OF THE SMITH. WOOOOOOOO! RELIGION!

FUCKING HELL YEAH!

FUCKING HELL YEAH!

Of course, as the caravan goes on its way we still have time for some good old-fashioned gully dwarf racism. Apparently the hobgoblins have a gully dwarf minion, and he behaves pretty much how you’d expect him to be portrayed… running elks into things and eating rotting meats that were lying “in the mud and filth.” Filth is fantasy code word for shit. Just say it’s shit, book. Just say it.

We even have an emoji for it. Say "shit."

We even have an emoji for it. Say “shit.”

Goldmoon remains weirdly optimistic, claiming that the Disks of Mishkal will be able to help them once she finds “the leader of the people,” whoever that might be.

VIL

Fantasy communism would be an interesting choice, at least.

Next, there’s a little bit of backstory about how Tika’s father, an illusionist, inspired Raistlin to take up magic. Tika has to take care of Raistlin because he’s coughing up his lungs, and this is getting Caramon to forget how much of a filthy whore she is and smile at her. True romance, guys!

kanye laugh

Sturm, and especially Tanis, are still moping around the cage worthlessly. Tanis does some backstorying of his own, and we learn that he and Gilthanas were not just bros, but brothers, raised by the ruler of the Qualinesti elves. Apparently Tanis’s mother was the ruler’s sister-in-law and Tanis was the result of her getting raped by a human. Jesus.

And on top of that, Tanis was starting to get interested in Gilthanas’s sister Laurana which is a little… incesty. Like, it’s one of those plot twists where the pseudo-incesty couple finds out that they’re not actually related, so it’s only technically not actual incest? But guys. You grew up together. That’s still super weird, and fortunately Laurana’s dad and Gilthanas thought so too. Gilthanas, in fact, was kind of a dick to him about it, as apparently is his wont. So Tanis took off in his usual angsty, morose fashion. And hey, now that they are both captured slaves, they can be angsty and morose together! Family fun.

All of this brooding is interrupted by the caravan coming upon an old man in a white robe and pointy hat yelling at a tree. This, unsurprisingly, is not appreciated by the draconians (ugh) so they throw him into the cage with the rest of our warrior band. His name is apparently Fizban, and he is here to entertain us with hilarious non-sequiturs and vague anachronisms.

Zany!

Zany!

Just then, Raistlin starts taking a turn for the worse. Apparently it’s just coughing, but fictional coughing, the kind where a single cough is the precursor for, like, everything cancer. But fortunately Fizban turns out to be a wizard (did the pointy hat give him away?) and heals him with some kind of spell that no one else can recognize. Freaky!

And here the chapter ends. Welp, that was a good deal of backstory, especially for Tanis. For some reason I don’t like him any better now that I know his moodiness is caused by unrequited incest feelings. Ugh, Tanis. You are the grossest.