The Icewind Dale Trilogy

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The Icewind Dale Trilogy is a trilogy of novels written by science fiction and fantasy author R.A. Salvatore. The trilogy contains three books: The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, and The Halfling's Gem and tells the tale of the legendary drow, or dark elf, ranger Drizzt Do'Urden, the mighty barbarian warrior, Wulfgar, the tricky halfling Regis, a dwarf king, Bruenor, and Bruenor's adopted human daughter Catti-brie. The first of Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels, it describes the events that created some of the best-known characters in that world. The final book of this series The Halfling's Gem appeared in the New York Times Best seller list. [1]

A prequel trilogy, The Dark Elf Trilogy, followed and several subsequent sequel series such as Legacy of the Drow and Paths of Darkness.

Works included[edit]

Forgotten Realms: The Icewind Dale Trilogy series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database

  1. The Crystal Shard (1988)
  2. Streams of Silver (1989)
  3. The Halfling's Gem (1990)

In recent years, these and other books featuring the character Drizzt Do'Urden have been rebranded as installments of The Legend of Drizzt: current publications of the Icewind Dale Trilogy are identified on their covers as books IV, V, and VI of that series.

Plot summary[edit]

The Crystal Shard[edit]

Drizzt 4.gif

Even in Icewind Dale, Drizzt was not fully accepted, except by the dwarves whom he had eventually befriended. He roamed the tundra, hunting down yeti and giants that threatened the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale. When the barbarians that were the native people of the Dale banded together to slaughter the people of Ten Towns, whom they viewed as invaders, Drizzt, with his drow stealth and ranger's knowledge of the terrain, was able to discern their plans and relay the information to his friends Regis and Bruenor. Regis, on the council of Ten Towns, used persuasion and a magical ruby pendant to convince the stubborn leaders of the towns to work together to thwart the barbarian attack.

Because of the warning and their unified efforts, Ten-Towns and the dwarves successfully repelled the barbarian attackers, decimating the proud warriors. Drizzt fought in the battle, personally meeting the barbarian king, Heafstaag, in combat. Drizzt wounded Heafstaag many times, including a stab to the stomach that should have been fatal. But Drizzt himself was wounded, and Heafstaag escaped and survived. During this same battle, Bruenor met a young barbarian standard bearer, who broke the shaft of his banner over the dwarf's head. Bruenor, unfazed, slammed the youth with his shield, rendering him unconscious. After the battle, Bruenor saved this same youth from being killed in cold blood by the townspeople, taking the young man, Wulfgar, son of (the late) Beornegar into his care. Bruenor also defended the wounded and unconscious Drizzt, slamming Kemp to the ground and breaking the nose of his Lieutenant when he found them kicking the injured drow. Bruenor told the people of Ten Towns, quite truthfully, that if not for Drizzt Do'Urden, they would now be dead. After this, Drizzt found more acceptance in Icewind Dale, even respect.

Five years passed, with Wulfgar indentured to the dwarves. Bruenor taught him to smith and mine, and came to love him like a son. Though Wulfgar originally resented the dwarves and his indenture, he came to respect and even love Bruenor, like the father that had died years past.

During this same time, the failed wizard Akar Kessel, left to die in the Spine of the World, found Crenshinibon, the Crystal Shard, a magical, sentient crystal with the ability to lend power to its wielder, make tower sanctuaries in the likeness of itself, and insinuate itself into the minds of others, including that of its wielder. Crenshinibon, obsessed with gaining power, twisted Akar Kessel's mind to get him to do its will. Kessel, with no idea that he was being controlled, decided to conquer Icewind Dale for his own. He enslaved the goblins and orcs of the nearby mountains, building them into his own army, their wills completely destroyed by Crenshinibon. He even managed to gain control of Heafstaag, and through him the tribes of barbarians. He also acquired the services of a balor named Errtu to be his general, though it was far more interested in sticking around long enough to get his hands on Crenshinibon than anything else.

Near the end of Wulfgar's indenture, Bruenor forged Aegis-fang, the magical warhammer, for his adopted son. He then took Wulfgar to be trained in the ways of battle, choosing Drizzt as the young man's instructor. Wulfgar was ambivalent when he saw that his teacher was a drow, but quickly came to respect and admire the dark elf. Drizzt turned the young man into a formidable warrior. The two of them took out an entire lair of verbeeg (the least of the giant species, around a height of ten feet), led by a frost giant named Biggrin with only the help of Guenhwyvar. Wulfgar then left to hunt down a white dragon, Ingeloakastimizilian, more commonly known as Icingdeath. Drizzt tracked him, and the two of them killed the dragon. Drizzt found a scimitar in the treasure hoard, and took it for his own, eventually naming it after the dragon.

As Akar Kessel moved in on Ten-Towns, his armies sweeping aside the disorganized defense with little trouble, Wulfgar took the horns of Icingdeath and challenged Heafstaag for kingship. He won the challenge, killing the old king. Drizzt, sensing the demon Errtu, and recognizing the balor from his days in Menzoberranzan, called the demon and faced it alone with Guenhwyvar. After a battle, and the aid of the fire-banishing properties of the scimitar Icingdeath, he managed to defeat the demon, banishing it to the abyss for one hundred years.

After defeating the demon, Drizzt used his stealth and Guen's unnatural eyes to find his way into the Crystal Tower, Cryshal-Tirith, where he fought his way past Akar Kessel's orcs and trolls to face the wizard himself. The wizard, sure of victory, imprisoned the drow in a cage of magical light, and taunted him with images of the barbarians joining the battle for Ten Towns, thinking that Heafstaag still led them. However, Wulfgar led his people not against Ten Towns, but against Kessel. With the help of Regis, a halfling prisoner in the tower, Drizzt escaped his cage, and followed Kessel through a portal to the top of a mountain. There, after a short battle, the magical heat of Crenshinibon destabilized the snow cap, and an avalanche killed Kessel and took Drizzt back down the mountain. Crenshinibon, buried under the avalanche and blocked from the light of the sun (its power source) and weakened by Regis' destruction of Cryshal-Tirth lost its control over the orcs and goblins, who lost cohesion and were slaughtered. Bruenor, faking mortal injury, tricked Drizzt into agreeing to search for Mithral Hall, Bruenor's boyhood home.

Streams of Silver[edit]

Streams of Silver Cover.jpg

Following on from the events of The Crystal Shard, Bruenor leads his friends Drizzt Do'Urden, the barbarian Wulfgar, and a surprisingly enthusiastic Regis, on a quest to reclaim Mithril Hall, the ancient stronghold of his clan. However, danger is already following them before they can reach their objective, for Regis has a particular reason for coming along; namely to elude the dangerous assassin Artemis Entreri, sent by Pasha Pook of Calimshan to recover the magical ruby that Regis stole from him.

Just as the companions are setting out, Artemis arrives in Ten-Towns, soon locating Regis' abandoned home and finding Catti-brie there. The young woman finds herself hopelessly outmatched and paralysed by fear, telling him all about Regis and the companions' quest. Entreri allows her to live, confident that she will not dare to interfere with his plans. Afraid for her friends, and desperate to regain her honour, she follows after both the companions and Entreri, hoping to warn her friends. On the way to Luskan however, Entreri realises that he is being followed, and captures Catti-brie again, this time taking her along as a prisoner to use against the companions.

Meanwhile the companions have reached Luskan, and seek out a map of the Northlands to aid in their quest. However, their visit does not go unnoticed. Dendybar the Mottled, an ambitious wizard from the Hosttower of the Arcane has heard of the Crystal Shard and believes that Drizzt still possesses it, and plots to take it for his own ends. He forges an uneasy alliance with Entreri so that both may achieve their goals, and sends his apprentice Sydney with Entreri, along with his golem (Bok) and a soldier named Jierdan.

The companions travel across the northlands towards Silverymoon, encountering barbarian tribes, an eccentric wizard family (the Harpells) and the soldiers of Nesme, who react to Drizzt with hostility, forcing the companions to divert across the Evermoors, also known as the Trollmoors, an ordeal that almost makes an end of them. Upon reaching Silverymoon, Drizzt is again shunned, but the companions are directed by Lady Alustriel to the Herald's Holdfast, where they obtain the final clues to the location of Mithril Hall.

During her time as a captive Catti-brie slowly overcomes her terror of Entreri, and begins to play on the volatile relationships between Entreri and his allies, creating an opportunity for her to escape as the evil group closes in on the companions. Reunited with her friends, Catti-brie accompanies them into the ancient Dwarven stronghold, discovering that the duergar who forced Bruenor's clan out are still there, working the mines for their own ends. Whilst within the upper chambers of Mithril Hall, the two groups clash, and Drizzt and Entreri find themselves face-to-face.

The meeting between Drizzt and Entreri marks the beginning of a long-running and deadly feud between the two. The two warriors are evenly matched in battle, and each sees a twisted mirror image of himself in the other; Drizzt the drow with a human soul, and Entreri the human who should have been born a drow. During the battle, a cave-in separates the two groups but results in Drizzt and Entreri being trapped together deep in the complex. They are forced to work together to escape, an experience which heightens both their resentment of the other's ideology, and their respect for one another's prowess. Although initially tasked with the capture of Regis and the return of the ruby for his master Pasha Pook, Entreri finds himself so challenged by Drizzt's very existence that he later uses Guenhwyvar's statue, stolen from Drizzt, to further bait the drow into following him so that they can duel to find out who is the better warrior.

Bruenor, Wulfgar, Regis and Catti-brie, believing Drizzt to have perished, continue their quest with heavy hearts; Bruenor decides that they will only scout the upper levels, and begins to doubt the wisdom of trying to retake Mithril Hall. They find the Hall of Dumathoin, recovering the magical bow Taulmaril (the Heartseeker) which later becomes Catti-brie's signature weapon. On their way out, they find themselves attacked by duergar, and forced into a battle with the shadow dragon Shimmergloom, the master of the duergar. It is only because of Bruenor's heroic sacrifice that the dragon is slain and his friends survive.

Shortly afterwards, Drizzt is reunited with his friends, although Entreri takes advantage of the situation to finally lay his hands on Regis and make his escape, taunting Drizzt to follow him. The story ends with Catti-brie making arrangements for Clan Battlehammer to reclaim the hall, along with help from Wulfgar's tribe and the dwarves of Citadel Adbar, whilst Drizzt and Wulfgar begin their chase to rescue Regis from the clutches of Entreri.

The Halfling's Gem[edit]

Drizzt 6.gif

The dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden and Wulfgar the barbarian race to Calimport to rescue their friend Regis—who is being held as a captive, along with Drizzt's magical panther Guenhwyvar, by Artemis Entreri—and his stolen gem from the vengeance of Pasha Pook, Regis's former boss whom Regis betrayed by stealing his hypnotizing gem. While Drizzt and Wulfgar's chase continue, it is shown to us that Bruenor is not dead. It turns out that after Bruenor jumped onto the back of Shimmergloom, he somehow survived the fall and crawled back to the surface, fighting hundreds of duergars and a giant spider along the way. Lady Alustriel finds the poisoned and near-dead dwarf, heals him back to health, reunites him with Catti-brie and sends both of them after Drizzt and Wulfgar by supplying them with a burning chariot. Meanwhile, Drizzt and Wulfgar are on the sea, chasing Entreri by boat with the help of his good Captain Deudermont. In the middle of a fight with pirates, Bruenor and Catti-brie arrive and "The Companions of the Hall" are united once again.

Later, the heroes arrive in Calimport and storm in into Pasha Pook's palace, only to find wererats, Pasha Pook's new-found allies led by Rassiter. Bruenor, Catti-brie and Wulfgar fight the horde of wererats while Drizzt finally duels Artemis Entreri. The two of them duel both in the sewers and in the streets of Calimport but the duel is left unfinished when the wounded Entreri, in an effort to escape, calls to everyone that Drizzt - who had been hiding his appearance with the help of a magical mask acquired earlier - is a drow. Bruenor, Catti-brie and Wulfgar come to the rescue of Drizzt, protecting him from the frightened and angry crowd.

In the throne room, Pook imprisons Drizzt and his friends in Tarterus with the help of a demonic artifact called "The Taros Hoop". Just when there seems to be no hope, Regis comes along, taking the wand that controls the portal and helping his friends. Our heroes try a desperate attempt to break free from the demodands but Catti-brie becomes unconscious, floating in the air because of the circular plane that is Tarterus. Drizzt sends everyone and rescues Catti-brie by fighting savagely with hordes of demodands. In the end, Pasha Pook dies by the claws of the freed Guenhwyar, the six companions are united once again, soldiers from the surrounding dwarven kingdoms, barbarian tribes, and human cities reclaim Mithral Halls and all turns out well…or so it seems for Entreri is still alive and plans his vengeance against Drizzt.

The novel holds several key events and introduces a number of important characters like Captain Deudermont of the Sea Sprite. Also, this novel is the starting of Drizzt's romantic feelings for Catti-brie-he even kisses her during Drizzt's rescue in the demonic plane (although Catti-brie was unconscious at that time.)

Characters[edit]

  • Akar Kessel is the former apprentice of Morkai the Red. He is left to die in a bowl-shaped dell of Icewind Dale by Dendybar the Mottled, who tricked Kessel into killing Morkai with promises to become the new head of the mage's guild. He comes across Crenshinibon, which allows him to survive and grants him great power. He commands a large army of creatures (mostly goblins, with lesser numbers of orcs, ogres and giants) and builds a large tower. He also forms an alliance with Errtu, who also seeks the crystal. He is defeated by Drizzt and killed when he teleports the two of them to the base of a mountain only to by buried in an avalanche.
  • Errtu is the powerful balor who originally sought the Crystal Shard. After leaving the Abyss, he comes to the Prime Material Plane and stumbles upon Crenshinibon and Akar Kessel-its wielder. Akar, after reminding Errtu of his newfound power, appoints him general of his army. Soon enough, Errtu is magically beckoned by Drizzt Do'Urden, who attempts to trick the balor into thinking he is part of larger drow force whose eyes are set on the Crystal Shard. Once this ruse fails, Errtu attacks Drizzt and Guenhwyvar, but is destroyed in the process and sent back to the Abyss for 100 years' banishment.

Comic adaptation[edit]

Crystal Shard[edit]

Following from the comic adaption of The Dark Elf Trilogy, Devil's Due Publishing continued with the adaptation of Crystal Shard. The second issue (October 2006) reaching 20 [2] and the third issue (December 2006) reaching 18 in the top 100 Independent comic for their respective months.[3]

Streams of Silver[edit]

Devil's Due Publishing announced the individual issues for this series would be collected into a tradepaperback with Tyler Walpole serving as the cover artist. The series was adapted by Andrew Dabb and pencilled by Val Semeiks. [4] The trade paperback for Streams of Silver was ranked 34 in the top 100 Graphic Novels for August 2007 with an estimated pre-order sale quantity of 2524. [5]

Halfling's Gem[edit]

The final issue of Halfling's Gem was announced on 18 September 2007 and was shipped December 2007.[6] The final issue #3 completes the adaptation of Dark Elf Trilogy and Icewind Dale Trilogy.

Reception[edit]

The entire trilogy was ranked 9th in Banophernalia's top 10 books for 2000.[7] In the same site, the series was given 3 stars for Crystal Shard and 3.5 stars for Streams of Silver and The Halfling's Gem. It was considered standard enjoyable fantasy fare although clichéd.[8]

Ian Strelec, Staff reviewer for d20zines.com awarded Streams of Silver with a B+ rating. Vivid descriptions and good characterisations were praised in the novel however he was critical of unrealistic situations as well an over emphasis on combat scenarios.[9]

The last volume of the trilogy The Halfling's Gem was ranked 14th in the New York Times Paperback best sellers' list on March 11, 1990.[1]

Paul Hughes in an editorial review of the trilogy on amazon.com stated while the book is not Tolkien it has "brought legions of enthusiastic fans to the genre". The reviewer also stated it is essential for any "Drizzt true believer". [10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "PAPERBACK BEST SELLERS: March 11, 1990". NY Times. 1990-03-11. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  2. ^ Albert, Aaron. "Top 100 Indy Comics for October 2006". About.com. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  3. ^ Albert, Aaron. "Top 100 Indy Comics for December 2006". About.com. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  4. ^ "Devil's Due Comics for August, 2007". comicsnewsi. Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  5. ^ "Top 100 Graphic Novels Actual--August 2007". icv2.com. Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  6. ^ "December 07 Solicits — Tuesday, 18 September 2007". Devil's Due. Archived from the original on 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  7. ^ "Best books of 2000". Banophernalia. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  8. ^ "R.A. Salvatore". Banophernalia. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  9. ^ Strelec, Ian. "Streams of Silver Review". d20zines.com. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  10. ^ Hughes, Paul. "The Icewind Dale Collector's Edition: (World: Forgotten Realms) (Forgotten Realms) (Hardcover)". amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-03-31.