The Dark Elf Trilogy
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (March 2008)|
|Author||R. A. Salvatore|
|Media type||print (hardcover and paperback)
The Dark Elf Trilogy is a prequel to the Icewind Dale Trilogy by R. A. Salvatore. Drizzt Do'Urden, a drow, or dark elf, was originally written as a supporting character in the Icewind Dale Trilogy to Wulfgar the barbarian. However, the author soon realized how popular the character was, and Drizzt became the main character. The final book Sojourn made the New York Times Best Seller list.
The trilogy consists of:
- Homeland (1990) — Homeland follows the story of Drizzt from around the time and circumstances of his birth and his upbringing amongst the drow (dark elves). The book takes the reader into Menzoberranzan, the drow home city. From here, the reader follows Drizzt on his quest to follow his principles in a land where such feelings are threatened by all his family including his mother Matron Malice. In an essence, the book introduces Drizzt Do'Urden, one of Salvatore's more famous characters from the Icewind Dale Trilogy.
- Exile (1990) — Exile tells the story of Drizzt outside of the drow cities in the open wilderness of the Underdark. For the ten years following his abandoning his house, he is left with no one but his faithful Guenhwyvar, a magical panther he had acquired in Homeland. Drizzt is also met with great dangers that he meets with the business ends of his scimitars. Struggling with conflicting emotions, which involve his failure in Menzoberranzan and a deep grief for his father and friend Zaknafein, he makes his way to the surface to face newer dangers.
- Sojourn (1991) — Sojourn is the story of Drizzt coming to the surface of the world and facing adversity due to the infamy of his kin. It follows him trying to find his place among the humans that live between the city of Sundabar and Citadel Adbar. He is rejected, and hunted, before meeting and living with an elderly blind man known as Montolio DeBrouchee. Montolio teaches Drizzt what it means to become a ranger and together they defend Mooshie's home against a raid by local orcs. Drizzt ultimately leaves the Sundabar area and makes his way to Icewind Dale where he befriends Catti-brie and Bruenor Battlehammer and finds a place to call home.
Drizzt was born to the tenth noble House of Menzoberranzan, Daermon Na'shezbaernon (more commonly known as House Do'Urden). He was the son of Malice, the Do'Urden Matron Mother and her consort, Do'Urden weaponmaster (and sometime Patron) Zaknafein. As the third son, drow culture demanded that Drizzt be sacrificed to their goddess Lolth. However, the death of his older brother, and the first son, Nalfein, (incidentally, at the treacherous hand of the second son, Dinin) in the battle against House DeVir which raised Daermon Na'shezbaernon to the 9th ranked in the city during his birth, made him the second son and spared him.
Being a male in the matriarchal drow society, Drizzt Do'Urden suffered considerable abuse at the hands of his family, particularly his eldest sister Briza, in the first sixteen years of his life. His first ten years were spent as a page prince in the care of his sister Vierna; though she was far from kind, in his later years Drizzt would recall some affection for her, stemming from the fact they shared paternity through Zaknafein.
As a child, Drizzt displayed amazing reflexes and coordination. Consequently, Zaknafein was able to persuade Malice that Drizzt should become a warrior, instead of replacing Nalfein as the house wizard. Thus, at the age of sixteen, Drizzt began his weapons training. He began learning the skills that would lead him to become one of the most formidable swordsmen in both the Underdark, and Faerûn.
At twenty years of age, he went to the Academy, specifically Melee-Magthere, Menzoberranzan's warrior academy, where he excelled in his studies despite his resistance to the attempted brainwashing by the masters of the academy. When it was clear that there were none in Drizzt's class who could beat him, the masters of the academy matched him against students three years above him. Drizzt defeated that class easily. His time at the academy would have been perfect (by Drow standards) except for the graduation ceremony, where he disgraced himself by refusing to take part in an orgy, refusing the advances of two high priestesses, one of them his sister, Vierna, and damning Lolth. Vierna, angered by Drizzt's defiance, showed him what happened to those who defied the Spider Queen: she took him to a drider's lair. She started to leave him there, but Drizzt's mother interfered and saved Drizzt from certain death by the driders. She threatened to turn Drizzt into one of the hideous creatures if she heard of any more defiance from him. He graduated with honors, even though he did not participate in the ceremony. He believed that no one really noticed his absence from the ceremony because the others were wrapped up in the moment.
He began patrolling the Underdark with his assigned patrol group. He witnessed first hand the cruelty his race showed the other races of the Underdark. Not long after graduation, he took part in a surface raid in which he saved the life of a child of the most bitter enemy of the drow, the surface elves, by hiding her body underneath the corpse of her murdered mother. Zaknafein, having similar morals to Drizzt, believed he had killed the child, but Lolth knew he allowed the child to survive and House Do'Urden fell out of the Spider Queen's tenuous favor. Zaknafein, fearing that Drizzt had succumbed to the evil ways of the drow, fought with Drizzt, and was told the truth of the matter by his son. Upon hearing Drizzt say that he had no part in the murder of the surface elves, Zaknafein became ecstatic, and revealed that Drizzt was indeed his child. They planned to escape House Do'Urden and live in the caverns of the Underdark. Unfortunately, Matron Malice and her daughters, in a bid to find out why Do'Urden was no longer in Lolth's favour, were watching. They knew that the only way to rectify the situation was to offer Drizzt up as a sacrifice to Lolth. Malice informed Zaknafein of the plan to sacrifice their son, and to stop it from happening, Zaknafein offered himself to replace Drizzt. This was Malice's intention all along. She believed that once Zaknafein was dead that Drizzt would begin behaving like a proper drow noble, and would take the position of weapon master with pride. When Drizzt learned of his father's demise, he confronted Matron Malice. She told him, cruelly and with much delight, that Zaknafein had been sacrificed to Lolth in order to regain the Spider Queen's favor. She told Drizzt that he was to serve as the house's new weapon master. Drizzt refused outright and, using one of Zaknafein's weapons - an exploding ball of light - escaped into the Underdark.
Drizzt then spent some years in the Underdark, during which he was enslaved by mind flayers and then had to fight Zaknafein again, who had been made undead by Malice, thanks to Lolth's "greatest gift" Zin-Carla, to find Drizzt. In the end, Zaknafein regained enough control to sacrifice himself, flinging his body into a pool of acid. For Malice's failure to use Zaknafein to kill Drizzt, Lolth decreed that house Do'Urden should be destroyed, and House Baenre, the most favored First House of Menzoberranzan, did just that, with only Vierna and Dinin surviving.
Having lived in the Underdark for over forty years, Drizzt then realized that neither he nor anyone around him would be safe, so he decided to travel to the surface. There he met with much adversity because of his race, but also found his true calling in life as a ranger, during his time with a blind ranger named Montolio. He eventually moved to Icewind Dale, where he joined with Catti-Brie, Bruenor Battlehammer, Regis the halfling, and Wulfgar the barbarian.
- Roddy McGristle is a human bounty hunter, and has two dogs that he uses to hunt and wields an axe named "Bleeder." He seeks out the bounty on Drizzt, who kills one of the dogs and injures the other. Roddy's ear is lost and face is scarred when he chops down a tree with his axe - he persists in telling everyone that Drizzt injured him. He begins to follow any rumors based upon Drizzt in order to get revenge upon him, using the deaths of the Thistledowns as an excuse to get men to help. In actuality he cares little for the Thistledowns and later doesn't even care for the bounty, partly because it was determined that Drizzt was not involved in their murder. Making the grudge personal, he eventually tracks Drizzt down to Icewind Dale, but Roddy is easily defeated, though Drizzt could not bring himself to end the man's life. He is then driven from the mountain by Bruenor and is never heard from again.
- Clacker is a pech, who is transformed into a Hook Horror by a human wizard. Under the effects of this spell, he forgets his name, much of his past, and eventually his mind begins to transform into that of a mindless beast. He meets Drizzt and Belwar Dissengulp as they journey through the Underdark. The three sought the wizard that cast the spell on Clacker; however, Clacker unwillingly killed him when a comment from the wizard drove him into a primal rage from his Hook Horror instincts. He eventually has a moment of resurgence, where he becomes more in-tune with the earth than a regular pech. He uses his abilities to save his friends, and then asks them to kill him before he completely turns. He is killed by Zaknafein, and his body, having returned to its true form, is placed into a pool of acid.
- Belwar Dissengulp is a former burrow-warden of the svirfneblin, another humanoid race in the Underdark. Ten years prior to the events of Exile, Drizzt was part of a raiding party of Menzoberranzan who attacked a mining party of svirfneblin, led by Belwar. Again Drizzt's merciful nature showed, and he convinced his group to let Belwar live (using the excuse that he could serve as a warning to the svirfneblin against venturing so close to Menzoberranzan). However, Drizzt's brother, Dinin, decided to sever both his hands as an example. 10 years pending Drizzt's self-imposed exile, he ventured into the svirfneblin city of Blingdenstone, where he requested to speak with Belwar, whose hands had been replaced with a magical hammer and pickaxe. The former burrow-warden decided to take Drizzt into his home and keep responsibility for him, knowing that he owed his life to him. When Drizzt was forced to leave the city (the city fearing the drow hunting him), Belwar decided to join him in his adventures through the Underdark, and only left when Drizzt told of his intentions to go to the surface.
- Kellindil A wood elf, and part of Dove Falconhand's group, he meets Drizzt and attacks him assuming him the enemy, though pending the Drow's retreat and lack of violence toward him he suspects Drizzt's good intentions. He then keeps an eye on Drizzt during the time he spent with Mooshie. He and his elves arrive in time to offer some help in the attack from King Graul and his orcs. He finds Roddy and takes him captive intending to question him. However Roddy is freed and kills him.
- Montolio DeBrouchee is an aging Human ranger, nicknamed 'Mooshie.' Though he was blinded in a battle against a dragon, he learned to utilize his other senses, as well as his connection with nature, to make up for his disability. He is the one who discovered Drizzt's true calling as a Ranger and taught him how to embrace it and make use of his abilities. Soon before Mooshie's death, he coerced a promise from Drizzt to try to find a place in the world instead of lingering in the forest alone; as Mooshie died in his sleep, Drizzt honored his lost friend by keeping his promise.
The books have been adapted into comic book form by Devil's Due Publishing. The artist for the comic series Tim Seeley with Andrew Dabb as the writer under the supervision of R.A. Salvatore. The adaption of Homeland, volume 1, received a positive review from George Galuschak of Kliatt magazine, who said, "I am not a big sword & sorcery buff, but I enjoyed this graphic novel. The plot is easy to follow: you don't need a Forgotten Realms encyclopedia at your side to understand what's going on." The trade paperback Sojourn, volume 3 of the Dark Elf ranked 19 in the August 2006 Graphic Novels sales with an estimated sale quantity of 3,465.
Homeland received a positive review from critic Cindy Speer. She stated the novel was an impressive start to the characterisation of Drizzt.
On March 26, 1991 Sojourn debuted at 13 of the New York Times Best Seller list. Ian Strelec awarded the final book of the trilogy, Sojourn with a B+ rating. He stated he found the book short and although not incredible, it was an important component of the Drizzt mythos. 
- "Foreward by R. A. Salvatore". Retrieved 2010-03-31.
- "PAPERBACK BEST SELLERS: May 26, 1991". NY Times. 1991-05-26. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- Galuschak, George (March 1, 2006). "Salvatore, R.A. Forgotten Realms: Homeland, vol 1". Kliatt (Kliatt). Retrieved September 6, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- "Top 100 Graphic Novels Actual August 2006". icv2.com. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
- Speer, Cindy. "Homeland: The Legend of Drizzt Book 1". sfsite.com. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- Strelec, Ian. "Forgotten Realms: Sojourn (The Legend of Drizzt, Book III) Review". d20zines.com. Retrieved 2008-03-11.