Raistlin Majere is my favorite character and is perhaps the single most identifiable character in TSR's immensely popular Dragonlance series. It begins with Rastlin as a child, one who is smaller and weaker than the other kids, a child who has to rely on the strength of his larger and healthier twin brother Caramon to protect him. A travelling wizard Antimodes recognizes Rastlin's magical potential and has him enrolled in a school of magic. A true natural, Rastlin excels but this merely earns him the jealousy of his peers. As the novel progresses, Rastlin is eventually invited to travel to the Tower of High Sorcery to take the Test as a student of magic. Rastlin takes the Test and nearly fails. At some point, he is contacted by an evil wizard Fistandantilus from the past and is offered assistance in exchange for what amounts to part of his soul. Rastlin accepts the offer but even so, the challenge of the Test is nearly too much for him. Although he emerges victorious, his health is shattered. Well known too, is that during the Test, Rastlin faces his greatest fear. His brother Caramon appears, just when Rastlin is nearly defeated, and started casting magical spells as if it were easier than using a sword. This event tips the scales: Rastlin summons unrealized reserves of power and destroys both his enemies and his brother. Although the entire incident is an illusion designed to test Rastlin, it has repercussions for both twins. It gives a much more detailed account of how Raistlin came by his golden skin and hourglass eyes, and also how he bested the ancient archmage, Fistandantilus, from the time before the fall of Istar.
The Soulforge is interesting because it fleshes out those events that define Rastlin's character; his bitter, sarcastic humour, his cold arrogance and his devotion to magic. It's an interesting study of a child who was always the brunt of the joke, the kid who was always taunted and picked on. A child who decided that if he couldn't be physically more powerful than his tormentors, then he could be more powerful in other ways. Eventually, all that remains is the hunger for power.