Publication:Dragons of Winter Night
Dragons of Winter Night is a fantasy novel by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, based on the Dungeons & Dragons gaming modules. It is the second book in the Chronicles Trilogy, preceded by Dragons of Autumn Twilight and followed by Dragons of Spring Dawning. It was the second Dragonlance novel, being released in 1985. The Chronicles Trilogy, along with the Legends Trilogy introduces the Dragonlance world. Specifically, Dragons of Winter Night details the darker days of the War of the Lance.
Dragons of Winter Night follows a pattern in its title with the other novels in its series, Dragons of Autumn Twilight and Dragons of Spring Dawning, in that they all start with Dragons, followed by the series of Autumn, Winter, and Spring, as well as a passing of time series, Twilight, Night, and Dawning.
The novel begins with the Companions assembled in the major dwarven city of Thorbardin, where the refugees of Pax Tharkas are presenting the dwarves with the Hammer of Kharas, a legendary warhammer wielded by the dwarven hero Kharas, in return for refuge in the city.
The refugees of Pax Tharkas, freed from the Dragon Highlord Verminaard, are on an intermittent stay before finding a new home in Thorbardin, ruled by the dwarves, who have agreed to house them temporarily. The Companions are sent to Tarsis, a supposed city by the sea, in order to find a home for the refugees. When they reach it, they are dismayed to discover that their map, provided by the kender Tasslehoff Burrfoot is outdated as the city was left landlocked by the Cataclysm. Whilst in Tarsis, the heroes meet the Silvanesti princess, Alhana Starbreeze and a small group of Knights of Solamnia led by Derek Crownguard. The heroes also learn of the existence of Dragon Orbs, ancient magical artifact capable of controlling dragons. The city is then attacked by dragons and completely destroyed. To describe this scene, Margaret Weis studied World War II films of the bombing of London. Tanis Half-Elven, Riverwind, Goldmoon, Caramon, Raistlin and Tika are rescued by Alhana Starbreeze while Sturm Brightblade, Flint, Tasslehoff Burrfoot, Gilthanas, Laurana and Elistan escape with Derek Crownguard and his knights.
Tanis's group goes with Alhana to Silvanesti, the ancient elven homeland. They find it has been ravaged by a nightmare manifested into reality. This nightmare was brought upon the land accidentally by King Lorac when he attempted to use a dragon orb. Even the heroes not in Silvanesti, Sturm, Flint, Tas and Laurana, are drawn into the Dream by virtue of the Starjewel that Alhana had given to Sturm back in Tarsis. Most of the heroes experience a "death" that will come into play later in the story in the Dream. During this scene, Margaret Weis references Othello by William Shakespeare, with the phrase "No, you're wrong, Tanis. I sent him away.", which is spoken by Caramon. The only two members of the party to survive are Tanis, who lives because of his love, and Raistlin, who lives because of his ambition. Eventually, Raistlin defeats the green dragon Cyan Bloodbane, who has been manipulating the dream onto the land, and the party escapes the dream. The Companions are all still alive as the dream had no physical effect on them, but they have been greatly traumatized by the experienced. They manage to retrieve the Dragon Orb held in Silvanesti. After they do so, Lorac dies, physically wasted from his experience.
The focus shifts to Sturm's group afterwards. It is revealed that they had gone to Icewall Glacier, located in the far south, where Laurana killed the White Dragon Highlord Feal-Thas, and the group recovered a Dragon Orb though two of the Knights traveling with them, Aran Tallbow and Brian Donnor, were killed during the battle. As they escape, the white dragon, Sleet, pursues them and sinks their ship. Sleet is then driven off after Laurana shoots her in the wing.
The heroes are now stranded on Southern Ergoth, a western island inhabited by native wild elves and refugees from both the Qualinesti and Silvanesti elven nations. A party of Silvanesti elves soon confronts the heroes and badly injures Gilthanas. The two groups are about to do when battle when Laurana defuses the situation by informing the Silvanesti that she is the daughter of the Qualinesti Speaker of the Sun. The Silvanesti then stand down and bring the Kagonesti Elf, Silvara, to treat Gilthanas. Gilthanas and Silvara quickly become infatuated with each other and the Silvanesti escort the heroes to the Qualimori, the city the refugee Qualinesti elves have established.
The reunion of the heroes with the Qualinesti does not go well. Laurana is snubbed and insulted as she has lost all standing with her people for running away from home to chase after Tanis while Derek argues with the elves over what is to be done with the dragon orb and ends up getting all the non-elves arrested. Realizing that the Qualinesti elves will not use the Dragon Orb for anyone but themselves, the heroes, with the help of Silvara and the human blacksmith, Theros Ironfield, steal the dragon orb and flee Qualimori.
Aggressively pursued by the elves, tension grows between Derek and Sturm when Sturm refuses Derek's order to attack the elves. The heroes eventually decide the only way to get the dragon orb off Southern Ergoth is to split the party with Derek and Sturm taking the orb on to the Knights of Solamnia based on the isle of Sancrist while the rest of the group lures away the pursuing elves. Silvara guides this group to the tomb of the legendary hero Huma Dragonbane. There they meet the enigmatic, bumbling wizard Fizban (who was presumed dead). Silvara reveals the great secret that she is a silver dragon, and agrees to aid the party in forging dragonlances, which will be necessary in turning the tide against the Dragonarmies.
The focus goes back to Tanis's group in the city of Port Balifor. They put together an act to raise money, revolving around Raistlin (the "Red Wizard and his Wonderful Illusions"). Once they gather enough money, they leave for Flotsam. En route, Raistlin masters the power of the Dragon Orb.
By this time Sturm and Derek have reached Sancrist with their Dragon Orb. There, a council is held and charges of dishonor are being brought against Sturm by Derek. It is only due to one of the leading knights, Lord Gunthar Uth Wistan, personally pleding his honor on Sturm's good character that Sturm is allowed to become a full Knight of Solamnia in the Order of the Crown. Sturm is also made third in command of the Solamnic Knight force being sent to defend the High Clerist's Tower in Solamnia behind Derek and the Knight of the Sword, Lord Alfred Markenin.
The Whitestone Council is then convened to try and form an alliance to fight the Dragonarmies. The council quickly descends into chaos though as the elves threaten war against the knights unless the Dragon Orb is returned to them. Finally, Tas gets fed up with the squabbling and shatters the Dragon Orb. Fizban prevents Tas from being killed and then the smith Theros Ironfeld arrives and cleaves the Whitestone, a giant holy stone, in two, using the dragonlance he has forged. This demonstration convinces the assembled delegates that the Dragonarmies can perhaps be beaten, so they finally all agree to start working together.
Laurana and Flint then testify on behalf of Sturm Brightblade before the knights, leading to him being fully exonerated of all the charges Derek brought against him. Lord Gunthar is so impressed by Laurana that he asks her to travel to the High Clerist's Tower to bring the news that Sturm has been cleared and to deliver the new dragonlances to the knights. Laurana feels that Gunthar is using Sturm to further his own ambition but still agrees to go for Sturm's sake.
Tanis and company are staying in an inn in the disreputable city of Flotsam. Tanis and Caramon, in an effort to blend in, steal two Dragonarmy officer's armor. As Tanis wanders the streets in it, he is attacked by an elf. However, Kitiara, a fiery human woman whom Tanis loves, saves him at the last minute. She reveals that she has become one of the Dragon Highlords, leading the blue dragons.
Meanwhile, the Knights of Solamnia (along with Laurana, Flint, and Tas) have fortified the High Clerist's Tower. They are greatly outnumbered through by the besieging Blue Dragonarmy and are low on supplies. An increasingly desperate Derek, orders a frontal assault on the Dragonarmy forces despite being greatly outmatched. Sturm and his Knights of the Crown refuse to participate in the ill-advised attack seeing that it is suicidal. This proves a smart move, as the other Knights are completely destroyed. The Dragonarmy officer Bakaris, then brings the headless body of Lord Alfred and a dying Derek up to the tower and beings to taunt the knights until he is abruptly silenced by Laurana shooting him in the arm.
The Blue Dragonarmy attacks the tower in force the next day but is repulsed. Still, Sturm knows this is only a temporary victory as now the enemy will bring their dragons up to attack the tower. Meanwhile Tas has found a third Dragon Orb, located inside the tower and Laurana comes up with a plan to utilize this Dragon Orb and the dragontraps, intricate facilities designed to slay dragons, inside the tower. To buy them time, Sturm stays behind to fend off the dragons for as long as possible. The dragons attack, and Sturm manages to stall them for a short time but then Kitiara, who is leading the assault, runs him through with her spear after a brief battle. Laurana successfully controls the Dragon Orb, which lures two blue dragons inside the traps. Once inside, the dragons find themselves trapped and the Knights slay them using their dragonlances. The dragon orb also drives all the attacking draconians insane, causing the advancing Blue Dragonarmy to collapse into utter chaos. Afterwards, Laurana goes out to protect the body of Sturm and finally meets her romantic rival, Kitiara. The two women exchange words with Kitiara taunting Laurana about how Tanis is with her. Kitiara then departs to rebuild her shattered army. Sturm is buried in the chambers below the Tower, honored by all the survivors. The novel ends with Alhana Starbreeze burying her father and departing back to the refugees.
- Tanis Half-Elven, a half-elf and de facto leader of the companions.
- Sturm Brightblade, a squire to the Knights of Solamnia and deeply honorable man.
- Goldmoon, daughter of the chief of the Que-Shu tribe, bearer of the Blue Crystal Staff, and first true cleric of good since the Cataclysm.
- Riverwind, bodyguard and romantic interest of Goldmoon.
- Caramon Majere, huge, muscular, sometimes slow-thinking warrior, with a deep affection for his brother.
- Raistlin Majere, a sarcastic, cynical, frail mage of the Red Robes, and the twin brother of Caramon.
- Flint Fireforge, a gruff old dwarf and old friend of Tanis.
- Tasslehoff Burrfoot, a happy-go-lucky, innocent, and genial kender.
- Laurana Kanan, incredibly beautiful elven princess and romantic interest of Tanis.
- Tika Waylan, a red-haired beauty and barmaid.
- Gilthanas Kanan, elven fighter-mage prince and brother of Laurana.
- Fizban, a muddled old wizard.
- Elistan, chief priest of Paladine.
- Kitiara, the Blue Dragon Highlord and romantic interest of Tanis.
Importance to Dragonlance
Dragons of Winter Night is important to the Dragonlance World because it is part of the beginning of the entire series. It departs from the original game session that Dragons of Autumn Twilight was based upon, but is still based on the events of the previous novel. It continues upon many of the most important characters, The Heroes of the Lance. According to the Dragonlance Nexus, the Chronicles Trilogy is essential to setting up the foundation for the rest of the novels
It was once stated in a Wizards of The Coast interview that Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis make a good team because Hickman is better at writing about good characters, and that Weis is better at writing about dark characters, evident by her love of Raistlin.
Dragons of Winter Night is the second novel written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.
- (1985) Dragons of Winter Night (Paperback), United States: TSR. ISBN 0-88038-174-4.
- (2000) Dragons of Winter Night (Paperback), United States: Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1609-5.
- (2002) The Annotated Chronicles (Hardcover), United States: Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1526-9.
- (2003) Dragons of Winter Night (Hardcover), United States: Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3067-5.
The Annotated Chronicles incorporates all three books in the Chronicles Trilogy, along with annotations and a prologue by Tracy Hickman in which he discusses the origin of the works. The annotations explore a wide range of issue, including the background to the formulation of many story ideas, character development and the etymology of names.
- Margaret Weis; Tracy Hickman (November 2002) . "Book 2, volume 1, chapter 7, —Not destined to meet again in this world.". The Annotated Chronicles (1st ed.). Wizards of the Coast. p. 552.
- Margaret Weis; Tracy Hickman (November 2002) . "Book 2, volume 1, chapter 10, Waking dreams. Future visions.". The Annotated Chronicles (1st ed.). Wizards of the Coast. p. 604.
- "Recommended Dragonlance Reading List". Retrieved 2006-08-15.
- "Dragons of the Dwarven Depths Chat Transcript". Retrieved 2006-08-15.
- "The Annotated Chronicles". Publishers Weekly. December 16, 2002.
- Murphy, Brian (February 2000). "The Annotated Chronicles". Realms of Fantasy.
- Margaret Weis; Tracy Hickman (2000). Dragons of Winter Night: Chronicles vol. II. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1609-5.