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Der Drachenbeinthron

(Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  67,314 ratings  ·  2,441 reviews
A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard—for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king. Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother join ...more
Paperback, 936 pages
Published May 1st 1996 by Fischer (Tb.), Frankfurt (first published October 25th 1988)
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Lee The book is big, i mean really big. You could kill a cat if you dropped it on it. I am reading this at the moment, and thankfully, Mr. Williams has cu…moreThe book is big, i mean really big. You could kill a cat if you dropped it on it. I am reading this at the moment, and thankfully, Mr. Williams has cut the book up into 3 sections. The First called "Simon Mooncalf" i have just finished, so i'm having a breather before diving back in to part 2 "Simon Pilgrim". I remember the cat bit. Apparantly, Simon put a cat in his tunic and the author never described how the cat's future turned out. I think you can reasonably deduce that Simon let the cat go between chapters, but its become a big debate on forums. All i can say is, i'm enjoying thoroughly enjoying it. I only picked it up as i reaslised i'd never read a fantasy novel (I don't count Harry Potter) and I didn't want to start with the obvious (Lord of the Rings) so i came to this as a loved the cover. (less)
Katie This series is definitely suitable. I read this around the series around the age of 15. I'm currently doing a re-read.…moreThis series is definitely suitable. I read this around the series around the age of 15. I'm currently doing a re-read.(less)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Dirk Grobbelaar
“He who is certain he knows the ending of things when he is only beginning them is either extremely wise or extremely foolish; no matter which is true, he is certainly an unhappy man, for he has put a knife in the heart of wonder.”
- Qanuc Proverb

The Dragonbone Chair is chock and block full of wonder. If you have the patience to master this piece of work (it is incredibly dense and filled with first class world building and heaps of lore) you'll find it an extremely rewarding experience. It is a
A classic in the fantasy field, this is best suited for readers looking for the traditional orphan-identity quest. While I enjoyed it overall, I was able to set the book down and walk away, coming and going from the story until Simon reached the woods. I consider it a bad sign when I'm able to set a book down--my favorites have me locked into reading position until I reach the end page. Eventually it picked up and reeled me in, but there was skimming involved.

A combination coming-of-age and cas
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Ok, so I’ve decided to go back to my original rating of 2 stars even though I had given it 4 stars as it got a bit better later on. I have had the next books in the series for a few years and they just have to go. I’m not interested in continuing the series so in the trade box they go. Thank you and goodnight 😉. Ok, good day since it’s morning, but I digress!

4 Stars ⭐️
Okay, so I almost dnf’d this book BUT, I read a friends review that said the same thing but they pushed on and loved it
Adam Oleksa
Jun 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stuffiveread
The opening to what is easily the best fantasy series I've ever read. Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn remains, IMHO, one of the most underread and underappreciated series out there. I suspect that the length of the novels scares some people off; Dragonbone Chair is the shortest, and it's still around 700 pages. The series as a whole incorporates most classical fantasy elements: an epic quest, dark sorcery, an unlikely hero, etc., but what makes it unforgettable for me is one main thing.

“Books are a form of magic…because they span time and distance more surely than any spell or charm.

Ordinarily, I add a quote that encompasses the vibe of the book. But this time I added my favourite. Or one of my favourites. Because this book is massive.

I struggle to write extensive reviews for fantasy because it’s so heavily plot-driven and this is one of those books which is best to go in knowing nothing.

The book starts,
On this day of days there was an unfamiliar stirring de
Anthony Ryan
Dec 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the seminal works of epic fantasy which, along with the works of Robert Jordan and David Eddings, made the genre what it is today. Williams makes a virtue of starting small as we follow orphaned kitchen boy Simeon through his childhood in the castle of King Prester John. However, the king's death heralds an age of discord and Simeon finds himself drawn into valiant Prince Josua's rebellion against his increasingly despotic and magically deranged brother. The scope of the story expands wit ...more
Michael Pang
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came into this book a little forewarned by the good readers here at Goodreads: "that this book is a SLOW buildup".

0-20%, slow. 20-30%, something could happen, are we leaving yet? 30-35%, is this it? No, false start. 35-45% OK, we left the castle, something has to happen right? 45%-end: Bam! Fires, dragons, magic swords, trolls, elves, demons, mountains, crossing the map, wolves (good and bad), bad dreams/good dreams, death, sieges, magical storms, ships.......

The slow build-up eventually drop
Nick Borrelli
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly a masterpiece and probably my favorite Fantasy book of all time. The rest of the series is pretty awesome as well. Also, the most evil villain bar none of any Fantasy series I've ever read in Pryrates the evil priest. If you haven't read Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn in its entirety, you really must. This is what made me a Tad Williams fan for life. ...more
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
I now have a Booktube channel! Find me at: The Obsessive Bookseller

This review is going to be more of a non-spoiler reading log. I hope you enjoy this journey a “tad” more than I did the one in the book.

Merely mentioning Dragonbone Chair in a recent video about all the unread books on my shelves, I was bombarded with a slew of comments saying I needed to read it ASAP. So I bumped it up a few years in the priority list and gave it a go.

Of all the popular classic fantasy, I think Williams is the o
Jan 28, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Never make your home in a place,” the old man had said, too lazy in the spring warmth to do more than wag a finger. “Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things.” Morgenes had grinned. “That way it will go with you wherever you journey. You’ll never lack for a home – unless you lose your head, of course…”

The Dragonbone Chair, packed with adventure and life-like characters, wraps
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dear Tad Williams,

I cannot thank you enough for writing a book...well, set of books...that I can read as a full-on grown-up and still enjoy as much as I did when I was an angsty teenager.

It has been hurtful to find so many of my favorite when-I-was-young reads (looking at you, Shannara and DragonLance) aren't actually good at all and that I must adore them from afar with only sentimentality stoking the fires of young love.

Thank you for not adding to that hurt. I appreciate the effort you put int
Stefan Bach
“Books are a form of magic because they span time and distance more surely than any spell and charm.”

The Dragonbone Chair is the first book in Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series and an amazing coming of age story, which probably had big enough impact to shape and influence many of today’s popular writers of this genre.
For that alone, it is my opinion, that it should be visited at least once in a lifetime, no matter of someone’s preference in their genres.

A truly magnifice
Jake Bishop
Jan 06, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dragonbone Chair is some 80s fantasy coming highly recommended to me by some people, and I have also been told it is watching paint dry.

This is a book that could probably have the most clishe cover quote of all time, but unlike with most books it would actually be somewhat true. The two series it reminds me most of are A Song of Ice and Fire, which it inspired, and The Lord of the Rings, which inspired it.

We follow your good old fantasy orphan of unknown parentage, we got a wise wizard, cast
David Katzman
A bit disappointing. The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie (ps. a follow-up trilogy in that series is dropping in 2019!) sets a pretty high bar for modern epic fantasy. And this is an example of another that fell short. To cut to the chase, it simply had too many elements that felt derivative from other fantasies and too many secondary characters that I couldn’t invest in. I found everything done tolerably well enough, but it just didn’t add up to a great book.

The story is centered around a y
GrilledCheeseSamurai (Scott)
I was 14 years old when I first read this book. I remember feeling like a boss when I turned that last page. I had done it. I had finished this monster of a book all on my own and all without anyone telling me I had to. Not only that but I really, really loved doing it too.

I wasn't a complete newb to SF/F - I had the Narnia books read to me, as well as The Hobbit, Lord Of The Rings, and A Wrinkle in Time. And while I loved those books - I had to share them with my family. I had to discover thos
Feb 01, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-priority
O what a ponderous tome! I've been wanting to read this book for a long time and was sorely disappointed. Tropes aside this book is so long winded and dull I could barely get through it!

I almost gave up on it a few times. The only thing that saved me is that every hundred pages or so something truly interesting would happen and then right back to boring ol' Simon and his boring bullshit!

One of the biggest problems with this book was it's scope. The cast of characters was too long and Mr. Willia
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Dragonbone Chair stood like a strange alter-untenanted, surrounded by bright, dancing motes of dust, flanked by statues of the Hayholt’s six High Kings..”

Last fall, my good friend and fellow A Song of Ice and Fire enthusiast, Cheryl Hall, invited me to join her in the reading of The Dragonbone Chair. I immediately said yes, for four reasons: Tad Williams was a new author for me, one I’d been curious about every since the 1998 publication of City of Golden Shadow, Book I in his Otherland ser
Feb 14, 2022 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Even though I thought I might DNF it at few points I finished this book in large part because I was in a bit of reading slump and had trouble reading anything more complex.

To sum up first half, "This could have been an email". First 200 pages could be trimmed to 50 without any loss and next 100 to same amount. Second half is better but I'm not sure I would have given it more than 2 stars

Story is pretty much as standard heroic fantasy as it gets. It's easy to read but bland and slow. Like eating
Allison Hurd
Don't read this if you're planning to read with SFFBC and want no outside influence!

(view spoiler)
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
4.5 dragon stars

I must confess that this series has been sitting on my bookshelf for a very long time now and I have somehow always skipped over it, partly due to its bulkiness and also partly because of so many discouraging reviews. Curiosity won over eventually and I gave it a try.

From the beginning itself I didn’t really love it. The pace was extremely slow and practically nothing significant happened in the first half of the book. At times it felt like dragging. And the main hero Simon – a l
This 3-star rating is not a grumpy one at all; I feel I need to say that because often my 3-star ratings can be quite grumpy. It’s as much as anything a reflection of the fact that this weighty tome suffers from some serious pacing issues; however, I do think that Tad Williams is a gifted writer, and I greatly appreciate how much this 30-year-old work influenced what followed in the genre of modern epic fantasy. Quite specifically, it seems evident that George R. R. Martin lifted some major idea ...more
Scott  Hitchcock

The writing style is very good. However the pacing is super slow. If you're going to have a slow pace, for me, you have to balance it with some sort of engaging psychological gauging of the characters usually with a high dose of empathy or some type of theoretical discussion which is thought provoking or some witty character banter.

I think if you like old school fantasy and it's pacing you'll love this. If you don't then not so much.
Matt Quann
Though quite slow to start, The Dragonbone Chair rewarded my patience with a beautifully realized fantasy world with fantastic characters and some gorgeous descriptive passages.* This was a nice break from the fast-paced, nigh-instantaneous payoff that I find a lot of modern fantasy tends toward. There's nothing wrong with those books, in fact, I'm rather a big fan of those books, but Tad Williams may be too plodding for many readers of modern fantasy to stomach.

I decided to tackle this trilogy
Scot Glasgow
Jan 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I understand the complaints regarding its pacing ... and much like other fantasy epics (especially book 1's) I simply don't care. Tad Williams is an exceptional writer with fantastic prose - his use of language adds considerably to my enjoyment of the narrative, in much the same way that Hobb and Rothfuss are able to transport me into their worlds and the lives of their characters with their beautiful writing.

By far my favorite character in t
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great, great epic fantasy! I don’t know why I postponed it for so long. Good thing I have the right friends here to open my eyes.

If you loved LOTR story, you’ll love this one too. It’s the story of a great quest, friendship transcending all barriers, brave companions in their struggle to save the world.

Simon, a kitchen boy is caught in a series of events which are beyond his comprehension. Fleeing for his life, he makes some unusual friends along the way. Even if the story unfolds quite slowly,
Jan 07, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have had all 3 books of Memory Sorry and Thorn on my shelves for over a year, and I've just been waiting for the right time to pick them up. Finally with Mike from Mike's Book Reviews doing a readalong it seemed like the perfect time. My only regret was not getting to these books sooner because I think The Dragonbone Chair was one of my favorite fantasy books I've read in a long time.

Over the last few months I've caught up on a lot of big series, but MST is one I've been sleeping on despite it
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“When you were old, did your memories crowd out your other thoughts? Or did you lose them—your childhood, your hated enemies, your friends?”

So what’s the book about?

A treacherous battle ensues between the sons, Elias and Josuah, of the aged King Presbyter John. For he lies dying after his fulfilled life, leaving behind a united kingdom and a struggle for the succession to the throne. Simon, the kitchen boy, who is also called the mooncalf, lives with them on at Hayholt. His life is uneventful bu
Twerking To Beethoven
Here's what went down, in case you're interested. I read "The Old Scale Game", a short story by Tad Williams off Unfettered, and I was like "Oi! I like this shit!". I enjoyed it so much, I ran to the local used book-store and got myself a copy of "The Dragonbone Chair". And loved the muthafucken' poo out of it, hey!

Mind you, there's nothing original about this novel, it's a pretty cliched story, but I guess it was just what I needed to read: old-fashioned high fantasy, that is, Young-scullion-s
Kitty G Books
This is the second series I have started by Tad Willaims and this is a purely fantasy-based one rather than the blend which was Otherland. I went into this not long after having finished Otherland becuase I really enjoyed that series and I was hoping to enjoy this one just as much. Once again, I feel as though this is a series with potential, but as yet it's not reached that potential and so I will certainly continue onto book 2, but as of right now Otherland intrigued me more by this point.

Nathan Throop
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all-time favorite series and I reread it almost every year. That being said, I can understand why many people have given it negative reviews. There are two things that are cited most often 1) the slow start and 2)that there is nothing new (no new magic system, cultures are copies of Earth cultures, main character follows scullion to hero story, etc.), and I want to briefly address both those concerns before giving my final recommendation.

Whenever I recommend this series to som
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Tad Williams is a California-based fantasy superstar. His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions worldwide, in twenty-five languages. His considerable output of epic fantasy and science fiction book-series, stories of all kinds, urban fantasy novels, comics, scripts, etc., have strongly influenced a generation of writers: the ‘Otherland’ epic relaunches June 2018 as an ...more

Other books in the series

Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn (7 books)
  • Stone of Farewell (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #2)
  • To Green Angel Tower (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #3)
  • Трон из костей дракона. Том 1 (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #1A)
  • Трон из костей дракона. Том 2 (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn #1B)
  • Скала Прощания. Том 1 (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn #2A)
  • Скала Прощания. Том 2 (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn #2B)

Articles featuring this book

Dragons, demons, kings, queens, and the occasional farm boy (with a special destiny, of course): Fantasy literature has it all! To celebrate...
530 likes · 292 comments
“He who is certain he knows the ending of things when he is only beginning them is either extremely wise or extremely foolish; no matter which is true, he is certainly an unhappy man, for he has put a knife in the heart of wonder.” 260 likes
“A piece of writing is a trap,” he said cheerily, “and the best kind. A book, you see, is the only kind of trap that keeps its captive—which is knowledge—alive forever.” 37 likes
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