Tanis Half-Elven

Torn between his elven and human halves, Tanis struggles to find equilibrium.

“‘Tanis listens to his feelings. He does not suppress them, as does the knight, or hide them, as does the plainsman. Tanis realizes that sometimes a leader must work with his heart and not his head. Raistlin glanced at her ((Laurana)). ‘Remember that.'” (53) ((Raistlin explaining why everyone follows Tanis))

“His friend had changed in five years. And elves never change. But then Tanis was only half elven- a child of violence, his mother having been raped by a human warrior during one of the many wars that had divided the races of Krynn in the chaotic years following the Cataclysm.” (Dragons of Autumn Twilight, 15)

Tas flashed his own smile back at the half-elf. It was good to see the old Tanis back. He had thought his friend unusually moody and indecisive, not the strong leader he had remembered from the early days. Yet, now that they were on the road, the glint was back in the half-elf’s eyes. He had come out of his brooding shell and was taking charge, slipping back into his accustomed role. He needed this adventure to get his mind off his problems- whatever those might be. The kender, who had never been able to understand Tanis’s inner turmoil, was glad the adventure had come along.” (Dragons of Autumn Twilight, 63)

“To a great extent, Raistlin and Tanis both are victims of their passions, although ultimately we see each of these characters handle the problem differently. Tanis will come to accept it, understand it and harness his passions. Raistlin, in many ways, will become its slave.” (Tracy Hickman, The Annotated Chronicles, 965) Perhaps this is part of the reason Tanis often goes to Raistlin for advice.

Picture of Tanis

(Picture by from the cover of Steel and Stone)

Name: Tanthalas

Race: half elven, half human

Books: Chronicles, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Kindred Spirits, The Next Generation

Quotes: Tanis’s quote page

Family: Elven mother; human father; wife, Laurana; son, Gilthas

Love(s): Lauranthalis and Kitiara

Friends: The companions

Description: Tanis has the pointy ears and almond shaped eyes of an elf, but has more human muscles and grows a brownish-red human beard. His walk is the graceful walk of an elf.

History: Tanis’s mother is raped by a human warrior, how, I’m not exactly certain since the elves rarely left Qualinesti, and they let no one in, but any way, she is, and Tanis is the product of that rape. Because of this, Tanis is constantly doing this subconscious struggle between his brutal human half and his pansy elven half. To get some idea of what Tanis goes through making a decision, try asking a Libra to make one. It’s the same balance struggle, and it makes things very hard to get things done (without the assistance of a strong Aquarian woman like myself, that is). Tanis’s mother is pretty high up on the elven power chain, so after her death, Tanis lives with the royal family. He would have fun, playing with the kids and being pals and everything, except that the elves distrust his human half. He spends his child hood apart, never really one of the elves. Luckily he gets a friend. The Speaker of the Suns is extraordinarily impressed with the metalwork of a dwarf, Flint Fireforge, and Flint spends time in Qualinesti for twenty years. During that time the two become friends and Tanis spends a lot of time together with Flint, learning. The princess of Qualinesti, Laurana, falls in love with Tanis, but her brothers do not approve. Tanis thinks it the love of a child and does not heed it.

Tanis leaves Qualinesti, and goes to Solace, where he befriends the rest of the Companions, and falls in love with Kitiara (and spends many nights with her, proving his love). They often fight, however, and Kitiara and Tanis take different paths when the companions split.

During the War of the Lance, Tanis becomes the leader of the Companions, running all around Ansolan with them. He marries Laurana after the War ends, having had gained control of himself, and the two of them go running around acting as diplomats and trying to make every race like one another. Tanis and Laurana have a son, Gilthas, who gets put on the Qualinesti throne against their will.

Tanis dies doing important stuff to help save the world during the Chaos War.

Psychology of Tanis. As I mentioned, Tanis is torn between two halves. He is something of a representation of all of us- torn between our ids (what we want to do, Tanis’ human half), and our Superego (what we know is good and right, Tanis’ elven half). We all face struggles every day about what we should do (eat the yummy candy or eat the good-for-you broccoli), but for Tanis the struggle isn’t just with a decision, but with how he should live his life. Should he go for the easy pleasures and powers represented by Kitiara, or should he face the struggles the will inevitably result from a relationship with Laurana? Tanis’ struggles are portrayed as being within him, but we can see that the cause isn’t his nature, but the reactions he has received his whole life. He struggles with being half-elven because he was told that it was wrong to be that way. With this message repeated over and over to him, and no one ever accepting him, he internalizes these messages and continually struggles with feelings of inadequacy. When we read the stories we can see that elves aren’t all good and humans aren’t all bad. We are all a mixture, and it is only the messages that Tanis receives that make him think that that’s bad.

Last modified on October 25, 2009