Last week, I finished Test of the Twins (fantasy 321 pages) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. In my opinion, this is the way trilogies should be done with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Sure, there were other Dragonlance books that took place before or after the time period of this trilogy and some of them even used or mentioned some of the characters, but this trilogy is complete all by itself. While I do believe that reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning are necessary in order to fully appreciate all the characters and the current situation in this trilogy, I also believe that you could read just these six Dragonlance books and not need to read any of the others.
In this final book in the Legends trilogy, Tasslehoff and Caramon are transported to the future while Raistlin and Crysania enter the Abyss to challenge the Queen of Darkness. I think one of the most moving parts of the story for me is how so many of the characters long for their homes. One of the more moving passages for me was on page 85 where Dalamar, a dark elf, says, ‘”We who are ‘cast from the light,’ as they say, do not often venture onto the sunlit planes of existence.” His smile grew warmer, suddenly, and Tanis saw a wistful look in the dark elf’s eyes as their gaze went to the grove of aspens where he had been standing. “Sometimes, though, even we grow homesick.”‘ It really struck me throughout this entire trilogy how all the characters had their homes that they wanted to return to. Caramon and Tasslehoff wanted to return to Solace, Tanis wanted to return to Solanthus to be with his wife, and even Raistlin often thought about the way things used to be.
But you can never really go home. Things will never be the way you remember or the way you like. Buildings and people change and you can’t go back to the way things were. I think most people share that sense of nostalgia from time to time, remembering a better time in our lives. I don’t really think those times were better. Or maybe they were simpler. Everything in our lives is what makes us who we are and I think that this trilogy really shows that. Caramon, Tasslehoff, and Crysania go through some pretty traumatic stuff but still wind up preserving the world they know and love, even though all of them wind up marked from their adventures.
Another really moving part of this book were when Tasslehoff and Caramon said farewell to Crysania and then on page 311 where Tasslehoff is trying to figure out what he’s going to do now and Caramon asks if Tasslehoff is going to go home to Kendermore. “Tas’s face took on an unusually serious expression. Slipping his hand into Caramon’s, he drew nearer, looking up at him earnestly. ‘No, Caramon,’ he said softly. ‘It isn’t the same. I-I can’t seem to talk to other kender anymore ….. They don’t seem to understand. They just don’t … well … care. It’s hard – caring – isn’t it, Caramon? It hurts sometimes.”‘
And that’s pretty much what I was thinking about, how you can never really go home. Either it changes or you do, but it’s never the same, no matter how much you might wish it could be. But then when Caramon finally makes it back to Solace, you realize that even though things change, home is still home and your heart is the only place that knows the true location of your home. Sometimes, home is where your stuff is and sometimes home is found when you’re surrounded by the people you love who love you.
I also enjoyed this trilogy because it’s the small actions that wind up having big consequences. Tasslehoff saves Caramon’s life in War of the Twins by stabbing a dwarf with a tiny knife and that one action makes it so that Caramon can save Tanis who can then save Dalamar. So it seemed like such a small, simple thing, but it had huge and over-arching consequences. That continues to be one of my favorite underlying themes from box this trilogy and the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy – that it’s the big things that wind up being made out of a whole bunch of little things. Tasslehoff even says exactly that in the previous trilogy when he’s talking to Fizban and trying to work out how even big things like dragons come down to just drops of blood, which are tiny by themselves, but when all combined create something amazing.
This was a good read and I will continue to reread the entire trilogy throughout my life. Books are like old friends. Always there for you, no matter how many dragons or evil mages get in the way.