Classic Reread: Dragons of Winter Night

I finished up Dragons of Winter Night, even though I said I wouldn’t be reading any more right away. The weird thing is I really didn’t spend a lot of time reading it–I seemed to spend more time reading Prospero Lost. But somehow, I managed to finish it. I can’t explain it. Some books just read easily.

In many ways, Dragons of Winter Night is a train wreck,  but it really works well. The group – Tanis, Sturm, Caramon, Raistlin, Tasslehoff, Fint, Goldmoon, Laurana, Riverwind, Tika – splits up early in the story. One group proceeds to have adventure after adventure, while the other group wanders the continent. In fact, the first group — consisting of Laurana, her brother Gilthanis, Sturm, Flint, Tasslehoff and some knights — has so many adventures that one of them e is simply given as backstory.

The star of the previous book–Goldmoon–is barely given a prominent scene. Laurana is the new star, and she makes a pretty good star. Tasslehoff continues to be front and center, the unexpected hero who thinks everyone else is more important than he is. Fizban apparently comes back from the dead and confounds and confuses everyone. Tanis is on a back burner, haunted by his sundered heart (wasn’t that the name of a romance novel?).

We finally get to meet Kitiara in this novel, and the authors bend over backwards trying to hide her sex before she makes her surprise appearance. In my opinion, they cheated. When she spoke, they never hinted whether the voice was male or female. Even when her dragon thinks of her (yes, she has a dragon), he refrains from using pronouns while doing so. It was rather awkward. But, during my first reading I was duly surprised.

The ending is tragic and suitably dark for a middle novel. However, it’s my least favorite of the novels. I already started Dragons of Spring Dawning, but really, I know the story so well that I could write a synopsis of it right now. As far as classic rereads go, it’s pretty good, but I bet this is the last time I read them. For another ten years, anyway.

Here is a Dragonlance Wiki.

17 thoughts on “Classic Reread: Dragons of Winter Night”

  1. Funny, I have books like that too -I mean books where I sometimes pull them out, grin idiotically as I stroke the covers… then put them back on the shelf because I have the books more or less memorized. A person who can awake that kind of dedication in a reader is a seriously good writer. 🙂

    1. I think the record for books I read the most times would still would go to T. H. White for THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING. It is just a magical book–especially once Arthur grows up.

  2. Wow… you just brought me back to high school! We uber-geeks read these (though some were more committed than I — I think I only ever read the very first three books…?) and one friend even wrote her own fan-fic version. Ah, good times! 🙂

    1. I read the CHRONICLES and LEGENDS, but only read a few of the books by other authors. I do always enjoy my excursions to Krynn. It’s been a year or so since I read that Cam Banks novel.

  3. I must be from the wrong time period. With me it was Redwall. I’ve heard of Dragonlance Chronicles, but I still haven’t actually read them.

    1. A friend of mine lent me the whole Redwall series, but I ended up giving it back to her. I might have read it, but I had just started Fantasy Debut and was inundated with books. One day I’ll read them.

      1. If you ever do read the Redwall series make sure you do it in order of publication, not chronological order. The first four (in published order) are: Redwall, Mossflower, Mattimeo, and Mariel of Redwall. (Mossflower and Mariel are my personal favorites.) Some of the later books get a bit formulistic, but the early ones are a lot of fun. 🙂

        1. The Chronicles of Narnia is another series where the author tried to rearrange the books. I read them in the order in which he preferred, but the “first” book would have made much more sense if I read it after all the others.

          1. That’s what I keep telling Dad. On a re-read where you remember the books, do them in any order you want. But if you can’t remember, start with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, not The Magician’s Nephew. {Smile}

            Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  4. I can’t blame the time period; I was in high school when these were all the rage. However, my parents had introduced me to science fiction and fantasy many years before. These books just weren’t the right books at the right time for me. That distinction has to go to the Westmark/Beggar Queen trilogy by Lloyd Alexander. It’s scary how much The Kestrel (the middle book) shaped my attitudes towards both madness and war. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    1. A friend of mine tried to get me to read these when I was in high school, but I wouldn’t. I didn’t read fantasy then, and I would only read “hard science” fiction, which meant Arthur C. Clarke. I didn’t read them until my 20s.

      1. {blink} Westmark, The Kestrel, and The Beggar Queen aren’t fantasy. They’re more cannon-and-blunderbuss historicals. {Smile}

        Oh, I mistook them for fantasy myself at first, since none of the countries had familiar names. Then I loaned them to my father for the first time, and he pointed out th at the only “magic” was the type stage magicians use, with mirrors, misdirection, and the occasional hidden trap door. {GRIN}

        Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    2. Someone else who’s read the Westmark trilogy! I don’t think you can read them without breaking your heart a little, which is probably why they’re less popular than some of Lloyd Alexander’s other works.

      1. Oh yes, I’ve read them, re-read them, and encouraged my parents to read them a coupel of times each. {SMILE}

        It’s not easy to see war from an ex-soldier’s perspective, is it? I read an interview where Lloyd Alexander called The Kestrel his strongest statement against war. {smile}

        Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  5. I reread this series about three years ago, after I had some good luck with a Forgotten Realms reread. I didn’t enjoy them quite as much as those others (I think I found them more train wrecky than you did), but I still enjoyed them enough that I whipped through one a day until I’d finished the first six books. I think they make good once-a-decade rereads.

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