Throwback Thursday: The Dragonbone Chair, by Tad Williams

dragonbone chair

By Oliver Johnson

Posted on April 23, 2015 in Books, Throwback Thursday with tags Tad Williams

For Throwback Thursday, we invited Associate Publisher Oliver Johnson to talk about Tad Williams’ groundbreaking fantasy novel The Dragonbone Chair. Here’s what he had to say…

Before Game of Thrones there was The Dragonbone Chair, the beginning of an epic that inspired George R.R. Martin: ‘Tad’s fantasy series, The Dragonbone Chair & the rest of his famous 4-book trilogy was one of the things that inspired me to write my own 7-book trilogy. I read Tad & was impressed by him... I read The Dragonbone Chair & said, “My god, they can do something with this form, & it’s Tad doing it.” It’s one of my favorite fantasy series.”’

The Dragonbone Chair is the epic tale of a world torn apart by civil war caused by a royal succession succumbed to horrible evil. Told from  multiple perspectives over a vast desolated landscape, ravaged by an unseasonable summer-in-winter and winter-in-summer, the principle characters find themselves pursued by evil forces raised by the risen Storm King, Ineluki and his human henchmen. Here there are wars and magical hordes, journeys through forests and up desolate ice mountains. Before the Targaryen dragons there was Igjarjuk, the Ice Dragon. In this land, Osten Ard, there are the nearly vanished vestiges of a beautiful elvish kingdom and its poems, culture and general wonder: all of which is to be discovered by Simon, kitchen boy and sorcerer’s apprentice. Simon is as willing and unwilling a leading man, as ingenuous protagonist as you might hope to find. Over the course of the novel he’s transfigured by a series of life-changing  events (too spoilery to reveal here) into a hero. Simon’s companion, Binabik the troll, is one of the most memorable secondary characters in fantasy and that good old sage, Morgenes, is hard to forget.

There are so many reasons why The Dragonbone Chair, while acknowledging a debt to Tolkien, took epic fantasy to an altogether new height in 1989 and inspired so many. It is unmissable.

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