DOAT Book I, Chapter 22: Bupu’s gift. An ominous sight.

Well good evening dragonscouts! Your Khaleesi has been away but has returned to serve you fresh and steaming liveblogging of Dragonlance for your bored-at-work pleasures. Let’s get back to our noble heroes, who when last we met, were fighting their way out of the draconians (ugh) lair, sacrificing gully dwarves along the way like they ARE NOT SENTIENT CREATURES JFC.

Okay. Our heroes are dragging their unconscious and/or injured brethren (Raistlin and Riverwind respectively) out of the lard pot elevator mid-motherfucking-earthquake. No sooner have they gotten Riverwind out of the pot than the entire mechanism breaks off from the ground and crashes into the pits below. The book does not mention, but I feel compelled to add, that the crowd of gully dwarves who were in the lower pot have now certainly had their brains dashed upon the rocks below. Do any of our heroes give one single fuck about this?

no_fucks_given

Riverwind is pretty much ready to curl into a ball and die. Sturm is weirdly into this, but Tanis is not having it, so he starts up a little hair-pulling as foreplay.

you have my attention.

you have my attention.

 This, at least, seems to pull Riverwind out of his suicidal mood, so together the heroes stumble toward the Temple of Mishakal. Zach Braff Xak Taroth, meanwhile, is drowned.

eh. it was for the best.

eh. it was for the best.

Tanis looks around and doesn’t see Riverwind. Everyone else attributes this to, y’know, your basic suicidal tendencies, but Tanis is again NOT HAVING IT. He runs into the interior of the temple where he thinks he hears Riverwind. But when he gets in there, instead of looking for his friend, he starts screaming at the goddess that he doesn’t believe in her. ………………why? If you don’t believe in them, why are you screaming for them to leave you alone, Tanis? I mean, I guess that’s the DRAMATIC IRONY here, but authors, you could at least have your hero use the basics of logic even when he’s pissed. Anyway, Tanis finishes his hissyfit, looks up at the statue and OH SHIT IT’S GOLDMOON.

brule shock

Yup I suppose our Token Lady has traded her staff for the statue’s necklace some…how… but she sure is alive!

So Goldmoon wakes up and declares that she is a “true cleric” and disciple of Mishakal. Apparently this means she can now heal people by touching them on the forehead which is pretty cool as far as god-granted powers go. Goldmoon even declares that she is not a warrior but a healer which… because girl, I guess.

lady sif please

Anyway, Goldmoon says that her task is to find the one person who has the strength and wisdom to unite the people, fight evil, and set the world in balance. Welp… good luck with that, Goldmoon.

Anyway, our noble band of warriors gets the fuck out of Xak Tsaroth before the armies of draconians (ugh) can find them. Their plan is to go to Solace to supply up, which, JESUS CHRIST WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? You left that place as fugitives, remember? With the hobgoblins or whatever they were knocking down doors to find you? WHY WOULD YOU GO BACK THERE?

Logic aside, they strike out. During their overnight camp, Raistlin wakes up and hears muffled cries. Why, it’s Bupu, who has repressed her sadness until it can no longer be contained.

like a boss

Bupu is sad because she wants to stay with Raistlin (don’t we all) but she’ll miss her bros back home. Raistlin tells her she should go back and is basically super sweet to her in that way you’re sweet to someone when you’re all like NO DON’T FOLLOW ME INTO PERIL.

stop_dont_come_back_willy_wonka

i need u bb

Bupu is so grateful for Raistlin’s solicitude that she pulls out a gift. Is it a lizard? A rat? NO IT’S THE MOTHERFUCKING SPELLBOOK OF FISTANDANTILUS! Bupu snaked it from that motherfucking dragon after all!

mind blown

With that awesome and incredibly convenient gift, Bupu leaves, and Raistlin watches her go with a single tear and an inner wish for her best life. Never mind that her city just got fucking destroyed and her friends killed, RAISTLIN IS A GOOD GUY DAMN IT. Of course Flint comes in to dig at him about his “pet gully dwarf,” further hammering in the message that everyone but Raistlin is a gully dwarf racist asshole.

Farewell Bupu! ILU you bad bitch.

Raistlin goes back to stash his new book in his pack when he sees a glow on the horizon. Is it the dawn?

nope

IT’S MOTHERFUCKING SOLACE ON FIRE.

SO MUCH FOR THAT AWESOME PLAN GUYS.

And that’s the end – not just of the chapter but of BOOK ONE. We’re on BOOK TWO guys, and it’s only been… like, jesus, I don’t even want to say. My goal is to start updating regularly again! We have more dragons to… lance, I guess.

ANYWAY, thanks for coming with me on this journey so far, dragonscouts! Onward into Book 2!ga

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DOAT Book I, Chapter 21: The sacrifice. The twice-dead city.

Greetings Dragonscouts! When last we saw our fearless adventurers, they were just outside the lair of a fearsome dragon which, despite their best efforts, had not yet been de-dragoned. Will they be roasted or smoked? And what of Raistlin and Bupu? Let’s find out.

Tanis’s first thought is that the band has been betrayed by Raistlin – but he immediately discounts this for… reasons.

jlaw okay

Sturm meanwhile is itching to go in and fight him some dragon. I have to say, this is not one of your better ideas, Sturm. Remember when you fought the dragon men? Who almost killed you? That head injury? Remember that? No? Welp, everyone else seems to think this is a great idea so off to the dragon’s lair they go. Onward to death and glory and whatever. The only one who doesn’t seem to care about this is Tasslehoff, who helpfully reminds Flint that kenders don’t fear death because they are sociopaths. Once in the chamber, they are cheerfully greeted by a motherfucking dragon. Surprise, it got the drop on Raistlin, and is now threatening him with its claws! Oh no! What will you do, Caramon? Cry at it some?

MAYBE.

MAYBE.

The dragon is actually pretty pleased to see everyone, as they’ve brought her what she’s been searching for – namely, the blue crystal staff. She orders Goldmoon to bring her the staff, and to everyone’s surprise, Goldmoon agrees. She pushes Riverwind away then clasps Tanis in “a loving embrace.” kanye wtf

…uhhhh what? Weren’t you full on making out with Riverwind in the last chapter, and now you’re all “step aside son, I’m thirsty for some half-elf!” Anyway, after telling Tanis to make sure that Riverwind doesn’t try to follow her, she starts to walk toward the dragon. Once she gets to Sturm, she stumbles, then when he catches her, she hisses that he has to do what she tells him. Homegirl has a plan!

Sturm joins her on the march to the dragon. We switch to Raistlin’s POV. He’s trapped under the dragon’s claw being a bit of a bitch, thinking that he deserves to live more than anyone else because they’re all idiots. Well… you’re not wrong there, Raist. But then he starts hearing voices which from the description, is apparently normal for him in times of stress. This is kind of troubling, Raistlin!

That's where I saw the leprechaun. He told me to burn things.

That’s where I saw the leprechaun. He told me to burn things.

As Goldmoon approaches the dragon, he muses on the fact that his new eyes make everyone look withering and hideous before realizing that she’s about to sacrifice herself to the dragon to let everyone else live.

a noble savage indeed!

a noble savage indeed!

Raistlin is basically just trapped under the dragon’s claw, rolling his eyes in bafflement at the sheer what-the-fuckery of it all. Aren’t we all, Raist? Anyway, the dragon tells Goldmoon to lay that staff of hers down on the big-ass pile of treasure the dragon’s sitting on. Goldmoon hesitates, apparently to allow Sturm the opportunity to search for the discs amongst all the other gold… things in the pile. Which… how is this a good strategy? They could be buried under a pile of like… dubloons… or grills… or snuffboxes… or whatever other gold stuff dragons collect. And how are you going to pick a ring of gold disks out of a ton of other stuff that is also gold, Sturm? RIDDLE ME THAT.

So Goldmoon’s strategy is apparently to tell the dragon “whacha gonna pay me for this staff, biznatch?” Maybe that was a mistake.

biznatch

Dragon’s basically “maybe I won’t kill all your friends, how about that?” Goldmoon is visibly distressed by this, but Sturm clandestinely interrupts her by telling her he found the disks. Christ, a miracle indeed. Goldmoon is now resolved to sacrifice herself to allow the rest the time to grab the disks and run, and now SHE starts hearing voices jfc.

ralph

Goldmoon raises her voice for one last resounding “BIZNAAAAAAAAAAATCH” and hits the dragon with the staff. For no apparent reason, EVERYTHING CATCHES ON FIRE. The leprechaun was right!

Sturm is pretty upset by the fact tat the only lady in their party is burning to death under a dragon, but that doesn’t stop him from racing straight to the disks and grabbing them. But suddenly a BLOODY HAND reaches out and grabs him! AHHH ARE THERE TREASURE ZOMBIES??? Nope, it’s just Raistin who… somehow has managed to teleport himself from under the dragon’s claw – which, if I neglected to mention it, IS ON FUCKING FIRE – to a completely unrelated part of the treasure pile that just happened to be right by the disks. How… how did you do that, Raist? Logic

Raistlin is NOT DISTRACTED by the dragon that is on fire, or the fact that they just got the treasure they’ve been looking for – he wants that fucking spellbook, and he wants it NOW. And then… for some reason… the room starts to collapse and the dragon’s gone (busted out??? it’s unclear!) and then the entire city starts caving in and HOW DO YOU PHYSICS?

Tanis is baffled as to how they’re going to get out of there, when a small but bad-ass voice pipes up that SHE KNOWS THE WAY. Who could it be?

Bupu, motherfuckers.

Bupu, motherfuckers.

Nothing can stop them now – except Riverwind, who is a little upset about the fact that his girlfriend just burned to death in front of him. Tanis tells everyone to go on without him, presumably so he can spend his last moments in Riverwind’s barbarian embrace.

pictured.

pictured.

The others wait outside the chambers hardly daring to hope… when Riverwind steps out of the chamber, with Tanis’s limp body in his arms!

tina dancing

Bupu leads the group out of danger like the fearsome beautiful animal she so obviously is. But oh no, the only way they can get out of the underground city is by using the lard pot elevator that was the site of their terrible battle with the draconians (ugh) several chapters hence. The group comes upon several draconians (ugh) fighting their way into one of the pots. Raistlin puts the ones who aren’t magic-resistant to sleep, and Caramon and Sturm prepare to fight the rest. And suddenly in the midst of battle Riverwind pulls himself out of his “my girlfriend burninated herself to save me” induced depression and starts killing fucking draconians with his fucking bare hands while their weapons have no effect on him. Shade

Caramon finally catches the lower pot and holds onto it for the others to climb in. Flint, Sturm and Tasslehoff grab Tanis and then Riverwind (who by now is suffering from an excess of draconian (ugh) battle) and haul them into the pot. They yell for Raistlin to get in, but he (unlike the rest) remembers that motherfucking Bupu needs to get in there too – he grabs her

like a boss

Once the pot begins to rise, Tanis wakes up with a “stir and [a] moan.” Sturm expresses his happiness about this by “grasp[ing]” him, h[o]ld[ing] him close” and speaking in a “husky” voice.

…god, I so regret using up my “Henry and Glenn Forever” pic earlier. Let’s see what we can dig up from the vaults for this one.

theeere we go.

theeere we go.

But Tanis ruins the mood by asking about Riverwind with his first breath. Cockblocked, Sturm!

There’s a bit of a throwaway where they hear the screams of multiple gully dwarves in the other pot, which is going down while propelling the pot with our heroes up. So… guys. You are not even caring right now that tens… nay twenties and thirties… of gully dwarves are basically plummeting to their death into the rapidly collapsing Zach Braff just so you can make your way to safety? WHAT KIND OF HEROES ARE YOU?

idk the asshole kind i guess?

idk the asshole kind i guess?

Even Bupu laughs at them. Christ you all are corrupting Bupu.

But their hubris comes to a hasty ate when the lift mechanism stops working, and a batch of draconians (ugh) threaten to jump into the pot. Oh no! What will our heroes do? Raistlin bravely volunteers his LAST OUNCE OF STRENGTH to cast a spell while Caramon protects him. So touching! So manly! So romantic! Raistlin casts the hand-to-web spell! It’s super effective!

THIS IS NOT AT ALL A METAPHOR FOR EJACULATE

THIS IS NOT AT ALL A METAPHOR FOR EJACULATE

Two draconians (ugh) are felled! The last flees in awe of Raistlin’s mighty web strength! The day is saved! And Raistlin sinks into his brother’s arms, unconscious. You know, erotically.

true romance

And here our chapter ends. Well that was confusing but also exciting. I think the moral of this story is that 1. If there’s a dragon, set it on fire, even if it seems like a bad idea and/or you might die. 2. If your girlfriend dies, you are suddenly impervious to weapons. 3. Fighting is good, but magic is better. 4. Gully dwarves are expendable and not actually people.

ohhh no

I’m a little sad that Goldmoon is gone. Not because she was particularly clever or made, you know, good relationship choices, but she was The Lady of the group for a while, and honestly this sausage fest of a warrior team is getting a little old. Well maybe Bupu can take her place as the baddest warrior bitch of them all.

Homo and heteroeroticism prize: Tanis. Jesus christ, Tanis. Just pick someone and make out with him/her already; you are being such a cock/clit tease and it isn’t cool.

DOAT Book One, Chapter 17: Paths of the Dead. Raistlin’s new friends.

Oh my god you guys oh my god oh my godddd we’re getting to the gully dwarf chapter you guysssssssssss! I vaguely remember gully dwarves as being liiike… the “special” dwarves? The ones with the hilarious speech impediments and low intelligence levels that are nonetheless somehow charming and full of innate wisdom that the smarter characters so sorely need? Like… this is so ableist. Really embarrassingly so, actually. And the thing is, there’s not one Gully Dwarf who’s like, the special Gully Dwarf who teaches too-smart-for-his-own-good Raistlin about friendship and the simple things in life. The entire race of gully dwarves are written as being sub-intelligent and worthy of scorn.

And this really gets into the whole race-essentialism that I think plagues fantasy, particularly fantasy since Tolkien because so many are still writing under his shadow. Like, there’s no goblins who just want to hang out, raise a family, maybe start up a farm or business venture. Nope, they’re all eeevil and want to destroy shit because why the fuck not. As an entire race, they’re given extremely sketchy motivation, and their race is used as shorthanded coding for whether we’re supposed to like them or not. All jokes about goblin-racism aside, the worlds that are being set up here are so black and white. All goblins are evil. All gully dwarves are idiots. Frankly, it’s lazy, and I’m happy to see in recent years writers starting to peel away from it, because even your fantasy worlds need to be more complex and less, y’know, fucking racist, even if it is toward a magical group instead of a real one.

Okay, serious diatribes about writing aside, I wrote all of this before digging into the chapter, so it’s informed by my memories about reading these things twenty years ago. Let’s start reading and see if my outrage holds up, and pepper my swears with comedic gifs!

When we last left our heroes, they were having a kip in the temple of the goddess who had just healed all of them, including Riverwind, who had basically melted, but who they’re not… too…sure… they want to believe in… just yet.

makes sense

Tanis has apparently slept in, and after waking up, spends some time musing over the nature of life and death instead of being useful in any way. I don’t know why I keep being surprised at Tanis’s utter uselessness, but I don’t know, optimism is part of the human condition I guess. Anyway, Tanis starts thinking about how they have no chance to fight against any dragons who decide to, y’know, fight them instead of running down wells, and starts getting pretty depressed. This is an understandable reaction, but everyone else is actually doing stuff right now – putting on their armor, studying their magics, polishing their swords. So get it together, Tanis.

We get an inventory of the weaponry used by the group which is actually quite interes- NO IT’S SO BORING OH MY GOD. Tasslehoff skips off, eager at the prospect of seeing a real live dragon… which… Tasslehoff did you not see the dragon yesterday? The one who melted your pal? I actually looked back in the book and there’s no description of Tasslehoff seeing or reacting to the dragon attack, but honestly, I think a dragon flying into the sky and setting shit (people) on fire has to be pretty fucking hard to miss.

I'M RIGHT HERE BRO

I’M RIGHT HERE BRO

They start traveling through Xak Tsaroth, where they find a room with a spiral staircase. Raistlin informs the group that these are called “the paths of the dead,” which causes the others to VERY SENSIBLY ask him why the fuck he knows the names of specific staircases in this city that’s supposed to have been lost for… what is it, years? centuries? His answer that he read about it somewheres is also, understandably, a little frustrating. Of course, Sturm takes things too far, suggesting that Raistlin has sold his soul to obtain his ARCANE KNOWLEDGE (which raises the question – if there are no gods, good or evil, left on Krynn, to whom did he sell his soul?).

Caramon rushes to Raistlin’s defense, but is prevented from explaining too much by Raist who’s all like ‘I have to keep my mysterious persona up bro, don’t be explaining my shit!’ Caramon listens, but then says that Raist is totes cool, bro, and may both the brothers die if that’s not the case. Tanis notices Raistlin getting mysteriously pissy about this, but hey, maybe he’s just trying to keep up his mysterious wizard persona (ladies love it).

wizards are so hot

wizards are so hot

Anyway, Sturm apologizes (which is pretty big for a guy who was actively upset that Raistlin hadn’t died a couple of chapters back), and they decide to move on down the “paths of the dead” staircase. Good decision, guys.

jlaw okay

As they move, they start hearing mysterious sounds. They grow louder until, with a rumble, a horde of small figures rushes past a nearby doorway. Flint claims that he smells something familiar and, with a face that grows “red with rage and anger,” reveals what it is – gully dwarves!

Oh my god, Flint. You’re so gully dwarf racist that you can smell them.

cher yuk

Also he threatens to kill all of them based on smell alone, apparently. Oh no, wait, he reveals that gully dwarves held him prisoner for three years, and has therefore sworn to kill all gully dwarves on sight.

kanye laugh

Still pretty racist, Flint.

Tanis posits that the Draconians (ugh) have enslaved the gully dwarves, and that they might therefore be willing to help the group out. Good thinking, Tanis! And I’m being serious about this for once, this is a really good idea!

Tanis then goes on to say “[w]e cannot trust them, of course…. As long as we don’t ask them to do anything that might endanger their own dirty skins, we might be able to buy their aid.”

lav7

The heroic (?) band hides in the shadows ready to jump the gully dwarves, but when Caramon leaps into their path and orders them to halt, they pay him absolutely no mind, but only run past him down the corridor. That seems… a pretty smart strategy, actually. Caramon 0, gully dwarves 1.

The group follows the dwarves into a series of crypts. Raistlin decides that it’s his time to take charge, so he steps forward to the group of dwarves, and starts doing some motherfucking magic, flipping gold coins in the air and making them disappear and shit. The dwarves seem to love this, and they cluster around Raist to watch his impeccable wizardry.

magic bitches
Here the book divagates into an explanation of what gully dwarves actually are… oh boy! They are the “lowest caste” of dwarves, they “live in squalor,” look “ugly” and “wretched” but nonetheless live “a cheerful existence.”

brule shock

I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Fortunately the book seems to have realized this, as it goes back to Raistlin’s fantastic magic show. Once all the gully dwarves are entranced by his sleight of hand, he casts a spell that turns them all into his friends. Too bad you didn’t cast that one on Sturm, like, four days ago, Raist.

Anyway, the spell seems to work, as all the dwarves are now enthralled by Raist, “jabbering away in their shapeless language.”

marilyn-monroe-yuck-

Actually, Sturm just had the same thought I did – that Raist could have cast the same spell on them. Considering your clear disgust and alarm, Sturm, I don’t think you have anything to worry about just now.

Anyway, the dwarves start to make a commotion when Raist ask them where the corridor leads, but one lady dwarf takes charge, grabbing Raistlin by the robes and leading him, and the rest of the band, to the Highbulp of the gully dwarves as the distant sounds of whips crack in the distance. The dwarf, whose name is Bupu, gets extra-spelled I guess, as she is SUPER INTO Raistlin all of the sudden. It’s not clear where their path goes before Tasslehoff gets back from investigating the strange sound they heard earlier – it’s a lift made of lard pots that allow draconians (ugh) and dwarves to move up or down in the underground shafts. But the problem remains – if our band of heroes goes down in the pots, how will they deal with the draconians (ugh) who are coming up? Our heroes decide to go with beating them the fuck up, and here the chapter ends.

Ugh, you guys, I can’t even with all of this weirdness. Developing an entire race of sub-intelligent beings and then going on to describe them as “filthy,” “jabbering,” yet “cheerful” is just a little bit much. It’s basically as embarrassing as I remember it being. Someday there’s gonna be like a Che Guevara of the gully dwarves to lead them all from bondage. At least there is in the book I want to be reading.

Asshole count: whoever came up with this horrible idea.