Exploring Influences: The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

Continuing to explore influences, this week we’re looking at The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

I started reading the series not because I discovered it myself, but because I found the first book in my older brother’s room. He was never very vocal about literary interests, and given the things he seemed to like, I was surprised to find a fantasy book in his things. I borrowed it to read, and it wasn’t hard to see why it had drawn his interest.

Haplo was not my first antihero, but he is still my favorite. The series does a remarkable job of molding that cliché into something satisfying, without seeming overwrought. Unlike most, he’s not really the reluctant hero – Instead, he fluctuates between seeming to fill the roles of hero and villain throughout the course of the series.

Generally speaking, very few series are written in a way where they follow the antagonist. While Haplo doesn’t play that part all the time, it does an interesting job of showing how sometimes the difference between hero and villain is only a difference of opinion.

That unique method of character development has taught me a lot about character growth, and showed me that sometimes, changing perspective – If only briefly – can make a world of difference in a story’s depth.

Last week: The Wheel of Time
Next week: The Lord of the Rings

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