In 1985, I was either a Freshman or Sophomore in Whitehall Memorial High School (who was it a Memorial to? I have no idea) and we were required to go to the school library to attend the R.I.F. event. [The library was not one of my favorite places anyway, learning the dewey decimal system was required – yeah, that’ll get me interested in books or suicide, lets risk it.] We’d been having R.I.F. events at school each year, maybe twice a year and I was never really interested in the speel they’d give before they let us pick a book or even the books that were available to us. At this particular R.I.F. event I was there with my friend Ted and after the opening remarks we started looking at the books, not too hopeful at all that there would be anything good.
We stumbled upon a book or two that had dragons on the cover and in the title. Both were from the same series Dragonlance Chronicles and were the 2nd and 3rd in the series. Ted grabbed Dragons of Winter Night and I grabbed Dragons of Spring Dawning and agreed to read what we could and talk about them with one another. Ted and I were already talking about comic books regularly and all that was going on there so this was a natural progression I suppose. I don’t know why the first book wasn’t available nor why I didn’t seem to grasp the whole idea of a story progressing from one book to another…
Over the next few weeks Ted and I would share what we were reading and became enthralled with the characters of the books and the story that was happening. Being on the third book I was really rather lost as to what was going on and the significance of the characters as they related to the whole story. But it was still a good story that kept me reading from one page to the next – Ted too. At some point we switched up the two books. Fortunately for Ted he was following the progression, but I was a bit confused and tried to piece it all together. Later on when we found the first book, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, we’d both be in the same boat. After starting at the middle and the end we both re-read the books from the beginning to the end and really appreciated them all the more. We loved the story, the characters the ideas that stretched our imagination.
Most importantly, we kept reading other things – so R.I.F. was successful for us. It got two guys that mostly only cared about comic books to read other things. It didn’t mean either of us put our comics away or that we were only going to read about stories with dragons and wizards, but it did mean that we actually came to find the enjoyment only a book can offer.
Recently these titles have become available for the Kindle and I just finished re-reading the first book and fell in love with the characters and story all over again. In moving and aging somehow I lost my original books to this series, I have a collected works that has all these books in one large volume, the cover and first few pages have come off and it’s aged and yellow. I really love this old story and reading it again.
Thank you Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Margaret McNamara and the 1975 U.S. Congress for helping me find something I enjoy so much.