Let Me Put My Suggestions In You: The Dark Elf Trilogy
Good afternoon my glorious adventurers! I know you all get your weekly Villain and Horror fix from your boy Arthur, and I know you all love it, however, today marks the beginning of something brand new for me, for you, and for the Evil Geeks. I come to you humbly and solemnly, and ask you all for the biggest favor I have ever asked of the internet, and people in general….please, please…Let Me Put My Suggestions In You? I came up with this idea for a column after having a nice back and forth with some buddies over the weekend. Between each of us suggesting reading material to each other, I came out of the shadows of a smoke and alcohol tinged den not wonting for new material, and I figured it would be very wrong of me not to share it with you all. For the inaugural entry, I am going to suggest to you all something that I love, and have spent an ungodly amount of time on. That my friends, is the Forgotten Realms universe, and in particular, the Drow Elf Drizzt Do’Urden, and the companions that he meets. I will be focusing mainly on his origin in the Dark Elf Trilogy, because if I gave it to you all today, it would run close to 40 million words…not even joking. Shall we take a look? Of course we shall!
Drizzt Do’Urden is a drow elf. For those of you who know, the Drow are essentially the nightmare race of the Forgotten Realms. I do not include creatures in this as you could argue that any number of creatures and wildlife scouring the pages of this universe could be much scarier, but in terms of Elves, Humans, and anything else similar, the Drow are the meanest and the most cruel, which I guess is why I like them so much (I do the Villain Spotlight for F’s sakes, you knew this was coming). Forming an underground society far away from that miserable shining circle in the sky, they have accumulated a wide swath of underground tunnels and cities. Running the entire society on a caste system based mainly on treachery and deceit, the only way to progress in this society is through crushing domination and underhanded tactics. Drow elves also do not live in any light whatsoever, using heat vision to mark territories and make things visible, they Drow live entirely in darkness. They have even created a silent language spoken/signed by the Drow during missions and raids, and seems to be more intricate and detailed than the common tongue used by most in the Forgotten Realms. The society is also broken up into ruling houses, and the only way to move up in house rank is to completely and silently obliterate the house ahead of you. You take their number, and a smaller house is risen up to the last rank, and the house after you takes the number you originally had. This leads to houses being erased almost overnight, and the flow of power to almost constantly be changing. However, certain houses of the Drow city Menzoberranzan, namely house Baenre and house Obloldra, continue to stay towards the top of the hierarchy.
Drizzt Do’Urden comes from House Do’Urden, the former 10th house of Menzoberranzan, and is very different from most Drow elves. For one, he was born with purple eyes, and a sense of moral code and ethics that almost no Drow elf has. The Drow, as earlier stated, are ruthless and cunning and do not suffer morality very well. They take what they want, and everyone else is just a casualty . The only one who shared his strong moral code was his father, Zaknafein (who is one of the most epic characters created in Drow society), who also happened to be Drizzt’s weapons master. Drow society is ruled predominantly by females, as their God is Lolth, the spider queen, is female. Spiders also play a huge part in Drow society, as it is their most sacred creature, as well as a form of punishment for Drows who do not fall in line. Look up the term Drider when you get a chance, and witness the horror that is presented to you. Sadly, this time I won’t wait for you to look that up, as I usually do, mainly because it horrifies me. You’ve been warned. Drizzt is made to live in this society, and excels at weapons. Drow society dictates that each Drow go through a sort of schooling in either magic, weapons, and the holy school which teaches the ways of Lolth. It is a very difficult time for each Drow, as their performance will dictate what they are assigned to in their real life after school. Drizzt, being superbly talented at weapons training like earlier mentioned (Dual Wielding!!! Yes!!!) is made a scout for the Drow , and is sent on missions into the Underdark, which is where Menzoberranzan is located, and consists of all the tunnels and cities that make up Drow society. These missions take Drizzt to the far corners of his psyche, and his abilities as a Drow and fighter. It is such an endearing journey that he goes through as he deals with the lifestyle and societal whims and dealings of Drow society, and dealing with everything that he secretly hates but cannot speak of for fear of being hunted and killed. Drow society has no room for weakness, as former houses and elves can (or can’t) tell you.
The Dark Elf Trilogy details the beginnings of Drizzt, and all he has had to deal with and suffer through on his trip to where he eventually ends up. I do not want to give anything away, but suffice to say it is not where you would think. You read the books, and you think something is going to happen, and then something completely different happens. It was honestly all I could do to not be surprised. I had expected something drawn out and horrible , but Drizzt shows us why he was so good with weapons, and embarrasses so many people that it is borderline absurd. And by absurd, I mean amazing. Drizzt is essentially the tragic hero of the Forgotten Realms. The things he goes through and the people he meets can really be compared to a lot of great epics out there. Some of the characters he meets, you immediately fall in love with, and then the hard truth sets in…the Drow are elves, elves live for hundreds of years, whereas humans do not. I will not say precisely what I mean by that and who I mean by that, but you will see for yourself when you start reading. At times heartbreaking, other times swashbuckling, the adventures of Drizzt are really something to behold. Imagine seeing someone in a society that is their own, but they do not belong there, and witnessing the struggles they go through just to stay true to themselves. It is not something to be taken lightly or looked over as juvenile. Not to say they have been described as that, but it is something I have overheard. With the success of Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, some people still feel that genres like this are mainly for kids. I completely disagree. It would be a huge mistake to pass this series over if that is your reasoning.
I really do not think that I can say enough good things about this series. Just the volume where Drizzt is alone in the Underdark would be more than enough to tempt me into rereading these, but unfortunately my plate is rather full. Luckily though I had the chance to read them in college when I was supposed to be doing school work. I do not regret that decision. Drizzt adventures in his opening stories are so magical and wonderful that I cannot recommend it enough. If you have a need to experience some great storytelling and wonderful characters, with one of them being the choice for this week’s Villain Spotlight, which I will not spoil, I must implore you to pick up this trilogy. They even have it collected in one neat volume if you do not want to pick the books up separately. I promise you will not be disappointed. Now I must put my heat vision on, for this dark is suffocating, and Lady Lolth is waiting for me.
Follow me on Twitter ! @ArthurHarkness
All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.