It’s been said that there are certain books you have to read at the right time in your life in order to understand them completely, novels that speak to particular age groups or circumstances. The Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace come to mind, for example; maybe The Sun Also Rises. All great works of fiction at any age, but particularly powerful when read as an adolescent (the Salinger and Knowles novels) and as a young man (the Hemingway). This seems axiomatic to me, and no work of fiction proves it more strongly than The Dragonbone Chair.
SF-Signal’s Larry Ketchersid recently wrote an article entitled “The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams and Its Place in the History of Epic Fantasy,” a timely retrospective on the 1988 fantasy classic written in anticipation of the forthcoming sequel series, The Last King of Osten Ard. Reading it made me want to talk about what The Dragonbone Chair and its sequels mean to me, as their impact on my life has been significant. Spoilers abound.