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Literature / The Legend of Drizzt


A massively huge epic by R.A. Salvatore with a main character you may have heard of if you have ever played a tabletop RPG.

The Legend of Drizzt revolves around the title hero Drizzt, a renegade dark elf that left his homeland to live in the world above. There are 13 books in the series, chronologically starting with Homeland and ending in Sea of Swords. There are also 2 completed sequel trilogies, and a completed tetralogy.

The 1st trilogy of the series, The Dark Elf Trilogy, revolves around Drizzt's upbringing and his escape from the Underdark; it is a prequel, written after Salvatore wrote The Icewind Dale Trilogy which took place afterwards. The Icewind Dale trilogy revolves around Drizzt's adventures with the Companions of the Hall and conquering of Mithral Hall. It is followed by the four-book Legacy of the Drow Series. The 3 after that are the adventures they have afterwards.

This story helped build up much of the Forgotten Realms world and caused many to follow in its footsteps.

The books, in publication order, go as following:

Spin-offs include:

  • The Sellswords: Stars Drizzt's Arch-Enemy Artemis Entreri and the drow mercenary Jarlaxle Baenre.
    • Servant Of The Shard (2000)
    • Promise of the Witch King (2005)
    • Road of the Patriarch (2006)

  • The Cleric Quintet: Stars Cadderly Bonaduce, the Chosen of Deneir.
    • Canticle (1991)
    • In Sylvan Shadows (1992)
    • Night Masks (1992)
    • The Fallen Fortress (1993)
    • The Chaos Curse (1994)

Tropes occurring in multiple entries in the series include:

  • The Ace: Drizzt was this growing up in Menzoberrazan, much like his father. Wulfgar is also this, being a barbarian educated by dwarves and a Drow Ranger.
    • Wulfgar eventually becomes a Broken Ace, however, due to being imprisoned in the abyss for years.
    • Zaknafein was the greatest warrior in Menzoberrazan.
  • Action Girl: Cattie Brie does massive damage with her bow and sword against all manner of foes.
  • Affably Evil: Jarlaxle is fairly charming and affable able to charm dragons, humans, drow whomever. He's still an incredibly self-interested mercenary and war-profiteer and he casually accepts Drow cruelty (he once jokes about Drow females raping Enteri, who by then is almost a friend and ally).
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of very-very strange stuff happens in-between books and during book's background, which can only be contextualized by knowing about the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Zigzagged in general.
    • Played with for Drizzt himself; he comes from such a race but is good, and although he initially has difficulty seeing other humanoids as people, eventually he gets better.
    • Demons from the Abyss like Errtu play this straight.
    • There are many characters who avert general species character Alignments. Obould Many-Arrows (orc) mellows out of his previous Chaotic Evil self, Jarlaxe (drow) is a pragmatic villain that evolves into an antihero, Dahila Sin'felle (elf) waffles between pragmatic antihero and Ax-Crazy etc.
    • Played distressingly straight in the "Companions Codex", where not only do the Orcs of Many-Arrows go on the warpath once again, in the first novel, Cattie-Brie claims to have received a message from Mielikki that goblinkin essentially don't have souls and can't ever hope for redemption, making the founding of Many-Arrows a great mistake on Drizzt's part. Slightly subverted, though; Drizzt cannot bring himself to believe that this is true (and it's subtly implied that it just may be a lie sent to Cattie-Brie by Lolth to corrupt Drizzt), and it's noted that the Orcs only went on the warpath when a "traditionalist", named Hartusk, usurped the throne from Obould's descendent Lorgru.
      • Lorgru himself is an aversion; like Obould, he believes that peace is better for the orcs than war was, he has an honorable side that compelled him to spare the life of an elven warrior (something that Hartusk used to help muster the support to overthrow him), and once helped back to the throne, he immediately forces the orcs to call off their war and return to peace.
  • Always Second Best: Artemis Entreri is the second-greatest swordsman in the Realms, at least as the books treat him, and discovering he's not the first is a massive blow to his self-image. He spends a staggering amount of time and resources trying for a re-match with Drizzt.
  • Archenemy: It's a toss-up between Artemis Entreri and Lolth for Drizzt.
  • Antihero: Jarlaxle and Artemis morph into these for the Sellswords trilogy after much-much Character Development.
  • Artifact of Doom: Several of these appear over the course of the series, most notably the Crystal Shard.
  • Author Tract: See Does This Remind You of Anything?
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Both Wulfgar and Bruenor get it. Ironically, neither of them particularly like being monarchs and would prefer to be adventuring.
  • Badass: Drizzt is one of the biggest examples in D&D fiction.
  • Barbarian Hero: Wulfgar is an interesting example of the trope as he's implied to be like Conan in that he's more dangerous for his exposure to civilization and cosmopolitanism.
  • The Berserker: Drizzt used to be one of these as part of his mental damage from living in the Underdark for a long-long time. He gets over it, then doesn't.
  • Big Bad: Several of these with Matron Baenrae being one of the big ones. Others include Errtu the Balor, the Crystal Shard itself, and Shimmergloom.
    • Subverted with King Obould, who proves to be something more than Drizzt expected.
  • Bigger Bad: Lolth represents this to Drizzt, being indirectly responsible for more or less every problem in his life.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: House Do'Urden is full of hate, murder, intrigue, incest, and betrayal. Which is how it should be in a proper Drow house.
  • Break the Cutie: What happens to poor idealistic Wulfgar is horrible.
  • Break the Haughty: By contrast, Artemis getting exposed to Drow society where he can't become king of the hill teaches some basic empathy. Albeit, not much.
  • Broken Aesop: Many of the books have a strong anti-racist theme despite the fact the Drow really are horrible people with the exception of Drizzt and sometimes take advantage of the fact people are less likely to judge them because of Drizzt's singular heroism. This is also the case with the orcs.
    • Bob Salvatore is aware of this and breaks with D&D canon by indicating all the races could get along if they just were given a chance.
  • The Captain: Captain Deudermont is one of Drizzt and Cattie-Brie's consistent allies and closest friends.
  • Celibate Hero: Drizzt is this for almost a dozen books. He's secretly in love with Cattie-Brie.
  • Character Development: Artemis and Jarlaxle both go through this as repeated exposure to the outside world removes some of their sharper edged.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Drow are a society which has made this a literal way of life. Loyalty is not only little practiced but outright alien to them.
    • Subverted with Jarlaxle and his mercenaries, who seem to comprehend it's better NOT to murder one another for petty differences.
  • Cool Sword: Twinkle and Icingdeath are Drizzt's twin scimitars.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Wulfgar was regularly subjected to this along with Mind Rape in the Abyss.
  • Consummate Professional: Artemis lived for killing people in the most efficient way possible before he met Drizzt. It requires a number of breaking events to get him to loosen up even the slightest bit.
    • Also subverted in that Artemis often killed people he didn't have to because he was striking out at the world. He just deluded himself into thinking otherwise.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The Drow are a matriarchal version of this taken up to the eleven. Wholesale elimination of families is just another day at the office.
  • Defector from Decadence: Drizzt is the archetypal non-evil Drow.
  • Does Not Like Men: Drow society is based on men being labeled inferior sex-objects, slaves, and victims to female aggression. It avoids Unfortunate Implications because everywhere else has men and women as equal and the strong undercurrent men doing the same would be equally horrible.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Drizzt often makes monologues about the oddities of the Forgotten Realms, which somehow tie-in to real-life issues RA Salvatore wants to talk about like faith, racism, or justice.
  • Evil Weapon: Crenshinibon and Khazid'hea are extremely powerful sentient objects who can control their wielder if he or she is not strong willed enough.
  • Expanded Universe: Is a part of the Forgotten Realm's.
  • Expy: Bruenor Battlehammer starts as one for Thorin Oakenshield but gradually becomes his own character.
  • Fantastic Racism: A major theme in the books is Drizzt dealing with people judging him to be evil because of the color of his skin as well as funky-looking ears. Played with, almost to the point of subversion, in that nearly every Drow is Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Freudian Excuse: Almost every Drow alive grows up in an environment designed to teach you backstabbing, murder, lying, cheating, and betrayal are good things. Drizzt's morals surviving, or even developing, requires insane willpower as well as unique circumstances.
    • Artemis Entreri, it turns out, grew up in an environment almost every bit as horrific in its own way. This is what hardened him into the ruthless killer he is today.
  • Friendly Enemy: Jarlaxle, eventually, develops into this. Artemis and Drizzt never quite reach that level though they have bouts of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Drizzt was listed as a 16th level Ranger which in the extremely high-powered realms is impressive but not really "the greatest ever." Which is often how he's depicted in the novels. Ed Greenwood overruled the sourcebooks by listing Drizzt and Artemis as amongst the top ten best swordsmen in the realms, all of whom are Epic Level.
    • Realistically speaking, there's no way by D&D rules Drizzt Do'Urden should have been able to solo a Balor (an EXPY of a Balrog) then DO IT AGAIN.
      • At least not in the 3rd edition rules. Power Creep occurred quite a bit with various monsters between editions, and in the 2nd edition era Drizzt's odds really aren't that terrible against a balor.
    • It should also be noted that there's no indication Salvatore had anything to do with the official game stats of Drizzt or any other characters he writes. Drizzt's scimitar Twinkle is repeatedly characterized as a "defending" scimitar in the stats even though Salvatore has never alluded to this in any novel.
  • Genre Savvy: Jarlaxle avoids the fate of most villains in the series by recognizing Drizzt is a one-man wrecking crew.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Cattie-brie, the love interest of both Wulfgar and Drizzt is stated to have auburn hair.
  • Hypocrite: Drizzt has trouble treating monsters as people despite the fact he's considered one himself.
  • Item Caddy: One of the skills Regis develops in the new Companions Codex series. His new incarnation is a skilled alchemist, brewing potions for the party to use.
  • Invincible Hero: What Drizzt is for much of the series. It doesn't make him less entertaining but even Artemis Entreri, one of the most dangerous foes they ever face, is just not as good as Drizzt. It's what makes King Obould and Drizzt fight to a standstill so shocking as no one has done that yet after a dozen books.
  • Joker Immunity: Entreri suffers multiple Disney Deaths only to come back one way or another. After a 100 year time skip, he's one of the few people Drizzt knows who's still alive. Despite being a human.
  • Karma Houdini: Played with regarding Artemis Entreri. Cattie Brie, certainly, thinks he's one but he goes through several terrible periods of torture and imprisonment.
  • Killed Off for Real: Wulfgar appeared to be this, but was eventually subverted.
    • Most of the Companions of the Hall die before or during the hundred-year-time-skip.
  • Klingon Promotion: It might as well be called 'Drow promotion.' Drow society more or less functions on seeking promotion, which is achieved by creating a space directly above you.
  • Lady Land: Menzoberrazan is a cartoonishly over-the-top evil one, made palatable by being just one of the ways they're incredibly evil. They're just so much fun.
  • The Load: Regis, both in-universe and out. He's a fairly medium-skilled rogue in a party of awesome.
  • Mad Scientist: The Harpells combine this with absent minded professor. They use magic instead of science, though.
  • MacGuffin: Crenshinibon for much of the series, as its abilities make it very attractive for power-hungry individuals.
  • Master Swordsman: Artemis and Drizzt are both. So much so that Word of God by Ed Greenwood on Candlekeep says they're two of the best in the Realms.
  • Merger of Souls: Crenshinibon, an Artifact of Doom taking the form of a crystal shard (from whence the first book of The Icewind Dale Trilogy gets its name), was formed from a ritual that merged the souls of seven liches. Upon its destruction in Servant of the Shard the souls are apparently separated and pass on.
  • More Than Mind Control: Regis' magic ruby allows its bearer to make the Suggestion spell an unlimited number of times, which more or less makes anything the bearer says sound like a really good idea but it needs to have some basis in reality.
  • Nay-Theist: Artemis lives in a world where gods routinely walk the Earth but adamantly refuses to believe in them. We later discover this is because of his Freudian excuse.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: King Obould establishes an Orcish Empire on behalf of Gruumsh, their Chaotic Evil God of War and Evil. Within a century, the orcs have become civilized traders and farmers who intermarry with the surrounding humans. Played with as this is actually what Obould intended all along.
  • One-Man Army: Drizzt is, more or less, the greatest swordsman in D&D fiction history. He carves an EPIC swath of enemies across the series.
  • Only Sane Man: Jarlaxle, at times, seems like the only villain in the whole of the Forgotten Realms more interested in power and influence rather than mayhem. It's doubly apparent in Menzoberrazan where he's quite literally the only sane man. This is reflected in his alignment since he's Neutral Evil (selfish) rather than Chaotic Evil (ax crazy) like most Drow.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: All of the original companions were extremely good warriors but Drizzt is implied to be leagues better than all of them.
    • The series was originally meant to center around Wulfgar before Drizzt's Ensemble Darkhorse status shifted focus to him.
  • Panthera Awesome: Guenhwyvar of course.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: While stretching it as no man can be the Paragon in Drow society, Drizzt is the greatest swordsman they've produced in centuries as well as likely to rise as high as a man can go.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Jarlaxle's hat (and a Nice Hat it is). Jarlaxle doesn't engage in the usual Evil Is Petty of the Drow but only does as part of his business dealings.
  • Private Military Contractors: Bregan Daer'the is a bunch of for-pay soldiers who work in Menzoberrazan society. They're also the place's closest thing to reliable professionals.
  • Purple Eyes: Drizzt's lavender eyes are remarked upon by anyone who sees it and are a pretty unique identifier as most drow have red eyes. They symbolically represent his more gentle and heroic nature compared to the rest of his brethren.
  • Reality Ensues: The Kingdom of Many Arrows, once established is powerful enough the Northern Nations have to bring it to the negotiating table despite being a kingdom of Always Chaotic Evil orcs.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Drizzt is incredibly religious. It's just he had to rebel against his own culture and seek out a new god in order to find one he liked.
  • Religion of Evil: Lolth worship is, appropriately enough, treated like this.
  • The Rival: Artemis Entreri is one of the few human beings on the planet who can match Drizzt sword-for-sword, even if he's never quite able to conclusively beat him.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Averted with Drizzt, if only by technicality. His actions do, however, lead to the downfall of House Do'Urden.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Drow society worships spiders and use them as a frequent motif.
  • Straw Feminist: Averted with the Drow as they do not seek to promote women in any way but naturally assume their superior (or enforce it with violence). They are also racist to any non-Drow as to consider females of other species equally inferior to their men.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After being The Load for much of the series, Regis does this during the new Companions Codex series. He becomes an accomplished swordsman who can pull his weight in a fight, carries some very useful magical items, and also becomes a skilled alchemist, brewing potions that heal and strengthen the party.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Harpells are the wizard version of this, though they often border on Crazy Awesome.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Drizzt often wonders about this with Goblins and Orcs. Which bothers him because he's aware it makes him a Hypocrite.
  • Whip It Good: Many Drow priestesses have whips made out of magical snakes with multiple heads.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The quest to recover Mithral Hall is a dwarf king gathering a small band of friends, including a halfling, to retake his ancestral homeland from a dragon.
  • Worthy Opponent: What Drizzt and Artemis start to think of one another. Subverted, at the beginning, given both of them genuinely hated the other due to their difference in lifestyles.
    • Drizzt develops these feelings toward King Obould, the Chosen of Gruumsh.
    • The Drow race as a whole, or at least Menzoberrazan, start thinking Drizzt as blessed by Lolth due to the amount of chaos he causes their species.
  • Villain Protagonist: Jarlaxle and Artemis for the Sellswords trilogy.
  • Visionary Villain: King Obould desires for the orcs to become a civilized settled people rather than remain savage raiders. He succeeds.

Alternative Title(s): The Legend Of Drizzt