Tor.com content by

Jeremy Finley

How Dragonlance Launched My Lifelong Love of Fantasy

A pang of indecision shuddered within me when my twelve-year-old daughter came home with her 7th grade summer reading list, excitedly proclaiming that she would be reading The Hobbit.

“How old were you when you first read it?” she asked.

I swallowed and loosened my collar. Once again, I imagined I was back in junior high with Tolkien’s masterpiece in one hand and, in the other, a beat-up paperback of something my older brother had read called Dragonlance.

It’s been a choice I have long agonized over, as I have raised my daughters on a healthy diet of Tolkien admiration. He made up entire languages, girls! Let’s examine his novels’ religious subtext! Hey, who wants to watch the movies for the 17th time?

Yet deep down inside, I know the truth.

I read Dragonlance first.

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Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

The Book That Taught Me Magic is Real, But Not Without Consequences

You know the story: boy discovers there’s a world of witches and wizards, where friends come in the forms of a courageous girls and aging professors, where sinister forces stir in ancient tombs and only he, riddled with self-doubt from behind his glasses, can stop them.

You do realize I’m not talking about Harry Potter.

It’s Lewis Barnavelt, obviously. You know, by John Bellairs? Wait, YOU DON’T KNOW JOHN BELLAIRS?

My inner eleven-year-old gets a little defensive about Bellairs, because he’s my J.K. Rowling.

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