There’s something truly magical about the shared fantasy world of Dragonlance. I’m not sure what it is about this fantasy setting that continually draws me back to it. I was 14 years old when I first read a Dragonlance book (Book 1 of the Legends trilogy), and in the years since I have read many fantasy books that have been better written, or been set in more fantastic locales, or have more complex characters, but I always return to Dragonlance.
Is it because the world of Krynn (the setting for most of Dragonlance) has a philosophy of balance, where good, evil, and neutrality all counter one another and ensure the world continues to exist? Is it the manifestation of this philosophy with its evil Black-robed wizards, neutral Red-robed wizards, and good White-robed wizards? Or in its knighthoods of good (Solamnic knights), evil (Nerakan knights), or neutrality (Legion of Steel)? Is it the ubiquitous kender and their childlike nature? Or the fact that it has armies of dragons?
I think it’s all these things and so much more. With its hundreds of novels, the setting is expansive enough to cater to whatever you desire. If you like magic, there’s the three orders of High Sorcery. If you like good old-fashioned knights, there’s the Knights of Solamnia. If you like comedy, there’s the kender and gully dwarves. If you like steampunk, there’s the tinker gnomes and their crazy inventions.
Do you enjoy post-apocalyptic societies struggling to eke out a living? It’s got it. Do you enjoy morality plays set in a religious oligarchical empire blinded by its own narrow-minded ethos? It’s got it. Do you enjoy arctic adventure stories blending Inuits and Scandinavians against a decaying Ogre city-state? It’s got it. What about stories of sea elves and their struggles under the seas? It’s got it. What about Cthulu-esque humanoids struggling against wild elves in a massive rain forest? It’s got it. What about minotaurs ruling a Roman-esque civilization premised on the belief that might makes right? It’s got that too.
I could go on and on, but Dragonlance draws me towards it because of its inclusiveness and its variety. It’s a reflection of all the cords that bind us (humanity) together, for it has hope and love, fear and betrayal, desire and rejection, and infinite variety.