Raistlin Majere was my jam.
One of the things Before We Go’s reviewers have been revealing is that a lot of us share the same books that made us the lovers of fantasy we are. Ryan Howse did a fantastic job talking about what the Canticle books by RA Salvatore meant to him. Jodie Crump talked about the wonders of the Dragonlance Chronicles.
The premise is the big epic heroic battle against the forces of darkness is over. The forces of good are triumphant and the forces of evil are defeated. I always thought that was a tremendously clever way of opening a campaign setting because, even then, I knew enough about high fantasy to be bored of epic battles against good versus evil. Indeed, it was such a clever idea that I pretty much copied it with Wraith Knight (shh). A war of light and dark can usually end only one way while the aftermath can go anyway you want it to.
War hero Caramon Majere, who I misread as Cameron for a decade, is a fat drunk who is barely keeping himself from being abusive. While the rest of the Heroes of the Lance have gone on to bigger and better things, he’s allowed himself to wallow in self-pity as well as regret. There’s also some undiagnosed PTSD but there isn’t exactly much in the way of psychology on Krynn. The biggest regret Caramon has is his brother Raistlin Majere turning to the Dark Side (or Black Robes in this case).
Raistlin Majere. Man, if there has been a more influential character to my writing then it’s either Harry Dresden or no one. Raistlin was the man when I was a fourteen-year-old nerd thinking he was smarter than everyone else. As a teenager, you think the entire world is out to get you and everyone is jealous of your superior intellect–or maybe that was just me. As an adult, I look back on Raistlin Majere with different eyes. Perhaps the eyes of wisdom. A genius, indeed, but so self-absorbed and misanthropic that he made 90% of his own problems.
I also loved the character of Crysania who was a spoiled and somewhat arrogant woman but possessed of a genuine empathy as well as faith. She wants to help Raistlin but also has own ambitions that are guiding her somewhat foolish actions. I also love the story of Caramon Majere as he struggles to overcome his trauma as well as addiction. He also needs to divorce himself of his toxic relationship with his brother that was, previously, his only reason for living.
Fantastic series and everyone should read it.