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Drizzt Do'Urden

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Title: Drizzt Do'Urden  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of Forgotten Realms characters, List of Forgotten Realms novels, House Do'Urden, Mithral Hall, Homeland (Forgotten Realms novel)
Collection: Fictional Elves, Forgotten Realms Characters
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Drizzt Do'Urden

Drizzt Do'Urden
Series The Legend of Drizzt
First appearance The Crystal Shard
Created by R.A. Salvatore
Game information
Homeland Menzoberranzan
Race Drow
Class Ranger/Fighter
Alignment Chaotic Good
Setting Forgotten Realms

Drizzt Do'Urden [1] is a fictional character in the The Dark Elf Trilogy. As an atypical drow (dark elf), Drizzt has forsaken both the evil ways of his people and their home in the Underdark, in the drow city of Menzoberranzan.

Drizzt's story is told in Salvatore's fantasy novels in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, The Dark Elf Trilogy, the Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone.


  • Concept and creation 1
  • Publication history 2
  • Reception 3
  • Other media 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Concept and creation

Drizzt Do'Urden's stories are set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons.[2] The character has been a mainstay for author R. A. Salvatore, appearing in his novels for over 20 years. Drizzt is a drow who acts against the drow stereotype, favoring friendship and peace over hatred and violence. His unusual personality creates the conflict that allows Salvatore to create so many novels with stories about courage and friendship.[3] Drizzt fights the dark traits that are inherent in the drow.[4]

Salvatore uses Drizzt to represent issues of racial prejudice, particularly in The Dark Elf Trilogy. For instance, Drizzt is concerned that if he and his love Cattie-Brie (a human) have children, their offspring will face hostility from both races.[5] Drizzt is also troubled by the lifespan discrepancy between himself and Cattie-Brie.[6]

Drizzt was created by happenstance. In 1987 R.A. Salvatore sent Icewind Dale there.[1] According to Salvatore, the book was "set on the Moonshae Isles, because at the time I thought that was the Realms. When I found out how big the Realms were, I moved the story a thousand miles to the north."[7]

Salvatore created Drizzt on the spur of the moment.[7] He was under pressure to create a Wulfgar in the Icewind Dale series.[1] Salvatore had sent an early version of The Crystal Shard (what would become his first published novel) to TSR, and one day Kirchoff called him. She was on her way to a marketing meeting concerning the book, and informed him that they could not use one of the characters. He asked for time to think, but she was already late for the meeting. Off the top of his head, Salvatore said he had a Dark Elf. Kirchoff was skeptical, but Salvatore convinced her it would be fine because he was just a sidekick. She asked his name, and he replied Drizzt Do'Urden. She asked if he could spell it, and he said "not a chance".[1][8] Recalling Drizzt's creation in an interview, Salvatore said, "I don't know where it came from. I guess that Gary Gygax just did such an amazing job in creating the drow elves that something about them got stuck in the back of my head. Thank God!"[9] Although many readers have assumed that Drizzt is based on one of the many Dungeons & Dragons role-playing campaigns that the author has played, this is not the case. Salvatore's main influences were classical literature and works of J. R. R. Tolkien. "I like to think of Drizzt as a cross between Daryth from Darkwalker on Moonshae and Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings."[1] Salvatore calls Drizzt "the classic romantic hero—misunderstood, holding to a code of ideals even when the going gets tough, and getting no appreciation for it most of the time."[7]

Publication history

R.A. Salvatore

Drizzt's story begins in the novel Homeland, the start of The Dark Elf Trilogy and published as a prequel in 1990 to The Icewind Dale Trilogy, which was published between 1988 and 1990. In the book, Drizzt is born in Menzoberranzan as the third son to Matron Malice, the leader of House Do'Urden (a type of family akin to a Scottish clan). His father is Zaknafein, a weapons master who secretly hates drow society and teaches Drizzt his martial skills as he reinforces Drizzt's innate moral code. The 1996 short story "The Fires of Narbondel", in the Realms of the Underdark anthology, describes unrelated events involving Zaknafein as the main character, and a young Drizzt plays a supporting role.

During a raid against a group of surface elves, Drizzt finds himself unable to participate in the slaughter with his fellow drow. He pretends to kill an elf child, but actually helps her to escape. When the deception is discovered, Zaknafein is sacrificed in Drizzt's stead to appease Lloth (Known as Lolth by the Deep Gnomes - Svirfnebli), the drow's goddess. Following a war against another House, Drizzt curses his family and the evil drow ways and escapes Menzoberranzan into the Underdark. At this time he also acquires the statuette that allows him to summon the magical panther Guenhwyvar. Guenhwyvar travels by Drizzt's side as he makes his way across the Realms.

Drizzt fights off the resurrected spirit-wraith of his father in Exile, the second book in the Dark Elf Trilogy and also published in 1990. Sojourn[10] picks up the story when Drizzt leaves the Underdark for the surface, where he meets a blind human Mielikki, the Faerûnian goddess of the forest and of rangers. Montolio eventually dies, and Drizzt travels the Realms in search of a new home. He eventually finds himself in Icewind Dale where he meets dwarven king Bruenor Battlehammer, and Bruenor's adopted human daughter, Catti-brie.

The fourth book chronologically in the series, although the first published, is The Crystal Shard (1988), the first in The Icewind Dale Trilogy. It describes Drizzt's meeting with the barbarian Wulfgar and the halfling Regis, and their adventures as they stop Akar Kessel, a mage possessed by the sentient artifact Crenshinibon (the book's eponymous Crystal Shard), from gaining control of the region. Streams of Silver (1989), tells the story of the group as they journey to Mithral Hall, Bruenor's boyhood home. Artemis Entreri, a recurring character in the series, also makes his first appearance. In later books, Artemis is Drizzt's equal in combat, and they clash often due to their conflicting views and goals. In the 1990 book The Halfling's Gem,[11] Artemis kidnaps Regis while in the employ of a powerful crime lord. Drizzt and Wulfgar chase the assassin by sea, with the help of Captain Deudermont, to recover Regis. Drizzt ends up in combat with Artemis Entreri, who leaves the battle wounded. At the end of the book the group finds Regis, and Guenhwyvar kills Artemis's employer.

Time of Troubles. It is eventually repelled and Drizzt returns to his friends.

Passage to Dawn,[15] the final book in the Legacy of the Drow series and published two years after Siege of Darkness, picks up the story six years after the drow attack. Drizzt and Catti-Brie work with Captain Deudermont on his pirate-hunting ship, with the Companions of the Hall ultimately fighting the powerful demon Errtu who is aided by the Crystal Shard, which had previously been buried under a mountain of snow . Wulfgar, never truly dead, returns to life from the Abyss as the demon who had held his soul was destroyed.

Drizzt is the main character in only two books of the Paths of Darkness series. The Silent Blade (1998) describes the group's journey to permanently destroy the Crystal Shard. Sea of Swords (2001)[16] continues Drizzt's story after the events of The Spine of the World (1999), which focuses on Wulfgar, and Servant of the Shard (2000), which has Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxle as the main characters. Sea of Swords covers the companions' search for Wulfgar's lost magical warhammer, Aegis-fang, and the reunion of the group after an extended separation.

Drizzt returns as the main character throughout The Hunter's Blades Trilogy. In The Thousand Orcs (2002),[17] Drizzt and his friends encounter the powerful orc Obould Many-Arrows, who has employed frost giants to aid him in gaining control of the region. After a battle at the town of Shallows, Drizzt believes the other Companions of the Hall to have fallen in battle, and he sets off into the wilderness to fight all orcs in vengeance. The Lone Drow (2003)[18] continues this storyline as the still-living Companions protect Mithril Hall from orc attacks without the aid of Drizzt. He is reunited with his friends in The Two Swords (2003).[19]

R.A. Salvatore's next series of Forgotten Realms books, Gauntlgrym, was released October 5, 2010. The second book in the series Neverwinter, was released October 4, 2011, with the third installment entitled Charon's Claw released August 7, 2012.


Salvatore mixes neatly choreographed battles with philosophical musings from self-styled "renegade soul" Drizzt, lending a little depth to an otherwise straightforward hack-and-slash adventure.

Publishers Weekly review of The Orc King, [22]

The Drizzt Do'Urden books are popular with fantasy fans,[23] and the Drizzt character is author R.A. Salvatore's best known creation. All 31 novels featuring Drizzt by Salvatore have made the New York Times Best Seller list, starting with The Crystal Shard.[21][24] The Orc King, which marked the 20th anniversary of the character, made it to #7 on the list, as well as #9 on the Wall Street Journal list, #6 on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list, and #36 on the USA Today list of top sellers.

The Two Swords peaked at #4 on the New York Times Best Seller list in 2004.[24] It reached the top of the Wall Street Journal's hardcover bestseller list after only two weeks, a record for its publisher Wizards of the Coast. It also debuted at #4 on The New York Times's bestseller list and #2 on Publisher's Weekly bestseller list.

The Lone Drow debuted at #7 on the New York Times Best Seller list in October 2003.[2] Publishers Weekly felt that The Lone Drow was clichéd, but that some of the characters did achieve "some complexity". They singled out two characters for praise: Innovindel, an elf who talks "pensively" of her long life in contrast to the short lived humans, and Obould the orc king.[6]

A special Icewind Dale adventure was featured as the centerpiece at the November 3, 2007, Worldwide Dungeons and Dragons Game Day event, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the creation of Drizzt.[25] According to PopMatters' Andrew Welsh, Drizzt is Salvatore's attempt to create a multifaceted character who faces internal struggles, in hopes of standing out from the drow, and fantasy fiction in general. Welsh feels that Salvatore fails in this regard, saying "any blood Drizzt finds on his hands is quickly justified and most “internal” conflict is superficial at best."[3] A review for Pyramid refers to Drizzt as the " most famous denizen" of Menzoberranzan, identifying him and the city as "some of the most famous pieces of the Realms".[26]

Other media

Drizzt Do'Urden has been featured in several accessories and one book for the third edition features a brief description and game statistics for Drizzt for this edition, under the section on the Sword Coast North.[30]

Drizzt has also appeared in a number of IGN) as "cool but utterly ineffective."[32] He is also an unlockable playable character in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II.[33] Drizzt appears in Baldur's Gate fighting some gnolls; it is possible for a skilled player to kill him and steal his items,[34] and a friendly or hostile version of Drizzt can be spawned with a cheat code.[35] Drizzt also appears in the sequel Baldur's Gate II and will react negatively if the player has imported characters from the first game that killed Drizzt or have any of his unique items. He will also react negatively to any elven character with a low reputation with the same name, challenging them to a duel of honor.[36] Drizzt is also included in the Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures game, in the Legend of Drizzt Scenario Pack that also includes Wulfgar and the dragon Icingdeath. An enclosed booklet lets players recreate the battle between Drizzt, Wulfgar, and the dragon.[37] The boxed set was nominated for Best Miniature Product at the 2008 ENnies.[38]

Drizzt features prominently in the D&D Adventure System Cooperative Play board game The Legend of Drizzt,[39] released October 18, 2011.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e  
  2. ^ a b "The 'Two Swords' Debuts at #1 on the Wall Street Journal's Bestseller List; R.A. Salvatore's...". Business Wire. All Business. November 8, 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  3. ^ a b Welsh, Andrew (March 2006). "Sojourn: The Legend of Drizzt Book 3".  
  4. ^ Drew, Bernard Alger (2002). 100 More Popular Young Adult Authors. Libraries Unlimited.  
  5. ^ "Salvatore, R. A. The Thousand Orcs". School Library Journal. February 1, 2003. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  6. ^ a b "The Lone Drow: the Hunter's Blades Trilogy, Book II".  
  7. ^ a b c  
  8. ^ Huddleston, Kathie. "Novelist R.A. Salvatore crosses over into his newest magical realm and brings along his favorite character".  
  9. ^ "R.A. Salvatore on Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone (PS2)".  
  10. ^ Sojourn reached 13 on the New York Times bestseller list on May 26, 1991. "Paperback Best Sellers: May 26, 1991". New York Times. May 26, 1991. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  11. ^ The Halfling's Gem reached 12 on the New York Times bestseller list on March 4, 1990. "Paperback Best Sellers: March 4, 1990". New York Times. March 4, 1990. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  12. ^ The Legacy reached 10 on the New York Times bestseller list on October 4, 1992. "Best Sellers: October 4, 1992". New York Times. October 4, 1992. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  13. ^ Starless Night reached 12 on the New York Times bestseller list on September 19, 1993. "Best Sellers: September 19, 1993". New York Times. September 19, 1993. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  14. ^ Siege of Darkness reached 13 on the New York Times bestseller list on September 18, 1994. "Best Sellers: September 18, 1994". New York Times. September 18, 1994. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  15. ^ Passage to Dawn reached 15 on the New York Times bestseller list on September 8, 1996. "Best Sellers: September 8, 1996". New York Times. September 8, 1996. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  16. ^ Sea of Swords reached 14 on the New York Times bestseller list on November 18, 2001. "Best Sellers: November 18, 2001". New York Times. November 18, 2001. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  17. ^ The Thousand Orcs reached 11 on the New York Times bestseller list on November 3, 2002. "Best Sellers: November 3, 2002". New York Times. November 3, 2002. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  18. ^ The Lone Drow reached 7 on the New York Times bestseller list on November 16, 2003. "Best Sellers: November 16, 2003". New York Times. November 16, 2003. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  19. ^ The Two Swords reached 9 on the New York Times bestseller list on November 14, 2004. "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. November 14, 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  20. ^ The Orc King reached 17 on the New York Times bestseller list on November 11, 2007. "Hardcover Fiction". New York Times. November 11, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  21. ^ a b The Pirate King reached 8 on the New York Times bestseller list on November 2, 2008. "Best Sellers: Fiction : Sunday, November 2nd 2008". New York Times. November 2, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  22. ^ "Forgotten Realms: The Orc King".  
  23. ^ "Wizards of the Coast Publishing Caps Record Year With Two New York Times' Best-Sellers".  
  24. ^ a b "R.A. Salvatore's The Orc King Makes Top 10 Rankings on Bestseller Lists: Publishers Weekly...". Business Wire. All Business. October 11, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  25. ^ Baichtal, John (October 26, 2007). "Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day".  
  26. ^ Pyramid Review
  27. ^ Hall of Heroes (TSR, 1989)
  28. ^ Donovan, Dale and Paul Culotta. Heroes' Lorebook. (TSR, 1996)
  29. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark (TSR, 1999)
  30. ^ Wizards of the Coast, 2001).
  31. ^ "Forgotten Realms".  
  32. ^ "Demon Stone Walkthrough". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  33. ^ "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II".  
  34. ^ " | Baldur's Gate Walkthrough | Fisherman's Lake (AR4200)". Retrieved 2012-12-01. 
  35. ^ "Baldur's Gate (PC)".  
  36. ^ "Baldur's Gate II PC Game Guide - The Gamers Temple - Page 63". The Gamers Temple. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 
  37. ^ "D&D Icons: Legend of Drizzt Scenario Pack". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  38. ^ "2008 Ennie Award Nominees". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  39. ^ "Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game | Board Game". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 

External links

  • Dark Party Review An Interview with R.A. Salvatore about Drizzt
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