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Literature / Legacy of the Drow Series

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"No race in all the Realms better understands the word vengeance than the drow. Vengeance is their dessert at their daily table, the sweetness they taste upon their smirking lips as though it was the ultimate delicious pleasure. And so hungering did the drow come for me."
Drizzt Do'Urden, Starless Night

The Legacy Of The Drow series is the third series of books set in the Forgotten Realms world of Toril, written by R.A. Salvatore. As the title suggests, it features a drow (dark elf). His name is Drizzt Do'Urden and the story of him and his friends has previously been told in The Dark Elf Trilogy and The Icewind Dale Trilogy.

The series consists of the following books:

  • The Legacy (1992)
  • Starless Night (1993)
  • Siege Of Darkness (1994)
  • Passage To Dawn (1996)

The first book picks up right where The Icewind Dale Trilogy ended, with Regis showing up for the wedding of Wulfgar and Catti-Brie. But some bad shit's about to go down, since Drizzt has some enemies who haven't forgotten about him and are willing to pursue him all the way to Mithral Hall: his sister Vierna, his old nemesis Artemis Entreri, and the mercenary Jarlaxle (who has been hired by Vierna, along with his band of mercenaries). His friends are there to defend him and save him from capture and a Fate Worse than Death, but when it's finally over the heroes have paid a terrible price.

In the second book, Drizzt feels that his very presence is putting his friends in danger of future attacks, and decides that he should turn himself in to the drow of Menzoberranzan so that they will be safe. Catti-Brie discovers his plan after he's long gone, and sets off after him. In Menzoberranzan, Drizzt learns that the drow are planning to attack Mithral Hall whether he is there or not...

In the third book, The Time of Troubles has arrived, and magic has ceased to work properly. This causes all sorts of chaos in Menzoberranzan, delaying the planned invasion of Mithral Hall...but eventually things return to normal, at which point the dwarves of Mithral Hall and their allies must turn back the numerically superior drow armies.

In the fourth and final book of the series, Drizzt and Catti-Brie have been sailing the seas with the pirate-hunter Captain Deudermont and doing what they can to make the world safer for honest folk. However, the demon Errtu (whom Drizzt fought and banished to the Abyss in The Crystal Shard) contacts Drizzt and lets him know that he, Errtu, has the soul of somebody Drizzt cares about in his possession, and that he will continue to torment his hostage until Drizzt releases him from his banishment. Worse, when Errtu finally does return to the world of mortals, he acquires Crenshinibon, The Crystal Shard, which makes him more powerful than ever.

Chronologically preceded by The Icewind Dale Trilogy and followed by Paths of Darkness. Elaine Cunningham's Starlight and Shadows trilogy picks up after Siege of Darkness.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Action Girl: Catti-Brie has settled into this role completely when this series takes place. Every time there's an enemy to be fought, she's right in the thick of it along with the guys. She also confronts Artemis Entreri, who once terrorized her, and proves that she's no longer the least bit afraid of him.
  • Affably Evil: Jarlaxle.
  • All Webbed Up: Catti-Brie in Starless Night.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The drow attempt this on Mithral Hall.
  • And I Must Scream: It turns out that this was the fate of Wulfgar. He was given to Errtu in the Abyss, who tortured him in every way imaginable for years. Thankfully, he has been freed by the end of the series.
  • Ape Shall Not Kill Ape: Drizzt had sworn an oath to this effect after fleeing Menzoberranzan in his youth, and is horrified when he ends up breaking it in self-defense in The Legacy. Later on he realizes that the only reason why he'd been able to keep that vow for so long was because he'd gone decades without even seeing another drow, and that keeping a vow by never being in a situation where breaking it is possible isn't being virtuous, it's just being lucky. He discards the vow.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Drizzt is one of the most notable examples of this trope. In Starless Night, Drizzt is ridiculed, beaten, and tortured by Vendes Baenre. When she tries to escape, he chases her down. Catti-Brie and Entreri, who are injured in another room, hear her screaming as Drizzt kills her without remorse.
  • Berserk Button: A drow elf in The Legacy makes the mistake of trying to force Drizzt into surrendering by threatening to kill Regis. He dies horribly.
  • Bound and Gagged: Drizzt manages to get himself into this situation quite often. As well as some of his friends, namely Regis and Deudermont.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Drizzt confiscates a hand-crossbow, along with arrows slipped with sleeping poison, from one of the drow soldiers. It comes in handy later on. The ruby pendant and the magical mask continue their functions as repeated Chekhov's guns, as they have already been in the previous series.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Vierna, albeit non-verbally.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Subverted in that Wulfgar got better later, but played straight by the fact that his temporary death nullified Wulfgar and Catti-Brie's engagement, freeing her up to potentially be Drizzt's love interest.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The drow launch their invasion at night, but apparently never considered the possibility of the defenders managing to hold out until the sun comes up, negating their significant advantages in night battles. One drow wizard actually tries to blot out the sun with a darkness spell, which is hilariously ineffective.
  • Disney Death: Turns out that Wulfgar wasn't actually dead. (Although death would have been more bearable.)
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • Entreri manages to do an impressive three times in the same book. Subverted in that he doesn't stay dead any of those times.
    • A trait of outsiders in general. They essentially have Resurrective Immortality, being banished to their home plane, unless killed there.
  • Double Entendre: "Wield me!", "Take me!" Catti-brie to Drizzt, after being possessed by her intelligent sword Khazid'ea, which prefers Drizzt as a wielder but is shaped wrong for his fighting style.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Drizzt and Catti-brie misinterpret Errtu's riddle in Passage To Dawn, thinking that it's from the drow priestesses of Menzoberranzan. Harkle points out their mistake, and his disappearance when he pushes his fog of fate spell too far reminds Drizzt of how Errtu vanished during their first fight.
  • Elves Versus Dwarves: Quite literally in Siege of Darkness.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Entreri is determined to beat Drizzt in order to prove that having friends and emotional attachments is a weakness, that it makes you vulnerable.
  • Enemy Mine: First when Drizzt and Artemis Entreri briefly team up to fight some drow, then in the next book when Catti-Brie and Enteri team up to rescue Drizzt; Catti-Brie because she wants to save him and needs all the help she can get, and Entreri because he wants to get the hell out of Menzoberranzan and needs Drizzt to show him the way. Drizzt isn't pleased to see Entreri when they finally free him, but agrees to the temporary truce and proceeds to join them in fighting their way out of the city.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The adopted daughter of Matron Faen Tlabbar, despite being a devout priestess of Lolth, is mentioned to be "loyal, even loving."
  • Eye Scream: Subverted in The Legacy. When Bruenor is suffering from Unstoppable Rage after what happened to Wulfgar, one of the dark elves he attacks slashes him across the face and destroys his eye. Brunenor isn't fazed at all by it, and proceeds to brutally pay the elves back for what they did to his family, but he ends up blinded in one eye.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Jarlaxle wears one of these despite the fact that both of his eyes work perfectly. The eyepatch itself is a magical artifact that prevents magic users from reading his thoughts.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Wulfgar, who was a Noble Savage Barbarian Hero in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, has suddenly transformed into an arrogant, sexist bully.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: While battling piracy on the Sword Coast with Deudermont they encounter a ship armed with a smokepowder cannon whose projectiles prove too much for the ship's usual projectile defense (a wind wall spell). Catti-Brie takes it out with a precision arrow shot to the magazine, which blows the enemy ship sky-high. Harkle Harpell explains that the cannon is powered by an alchemical concoction:
    Drizzt: Smokepowder?
    Harkle: From Gondish priests.
    Drizzt: Damn them all.
  • Fate Worse than Death: What Matron Baenre has planned for Drizzt, having him tortured almost to death, then magically healed, and then tortured almost to death again, ad infinitum, for centuries. Made more horrifying when it's mentioned that the same fate has befallen others, who aren't lucky enough to get rescued. Then there's what happened to Dinin (see Body Horror).
  • Firearms Are Revolutionary: In Passage to Dawn, Captain Deudermont's pirate-hunting ship faces off against a vessel armed with a smokepowder cannon, a rare alchemical invention that easily penetrates their wizard's wind wall spell, normally proof against enemy arrows. They find the weapon terrifying and are at a loss for how to deal with it, until Catti-brie manages to hit the powder magazine with a magical arrow.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Several surface nations send troops to aid Mithral Hall against the drow invasion, among them Alustriel Silverhand's Silver Marches, which sends an army of heavy cavalry.
  • Groin Attack: During their fight in The Legacy, Drizzt does this to Wulfgar. Wulfgar doesn't seem much affected.
  • Heroic BSoD: Bruenor is in this state during "Starless Night", devastated by the loss of his adopted son Wulfgar.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Wulfgar makes one in the first book to save his friends. Drizzt tries to make one in the second book, but eventually realizes that it would do no good.
  • Hope Spot: Drizzt gets one in The Legacy when he manages to get away from his drow captors only to realize a moment later that they have him completely surrounded. He is subsequently recaptured and viciously beaten for his efforts.
  • Hypnotized And Crazy: Early in the first book, Wulfgar is convinced that his fiancée, Catti-Brie, has been cheating on him with Drizzt. So he literally tries to kill Drizzt. Later in the book, it's revealed that he was hypnotized into thinking this and into feeling homicidally angry about it.
  • I Lied: Regis who is actually Entreri in disguise tells Drizzt that Entreri lost an eye and the use of one arm after their last fight. After Drizzt figures out something's up and Entreri finally reveals himself, Drizzt casually mentions this when it's made clear that Entreri very obviously still has use of both arms and eyes. Entreri's response is typical.
  • Jerkass: Berkthgar. He's an arrogant misogynistic barbarian who due to his own issues regarding Wulfgar's legacy, acts like he's entitled to Aegis-Fang and is just overall a massive egotistical jackass to everyone.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Artemis Entreri was a Karma Houdini in the trilogy before this, taking Regis captive and cutting off two of his fingers. In "The Legacy" he tortures Regis even more, to goad Drizzt into fighting for his friend's life. But when it's all said and done, Entreri ends up badly injured and hanging from a cliff by his torn cloak. He is stuck in that position for over a day before he is Regis. Regis taunts the helpless Entreri, takes several of his possessions, wonders aloud if he should bring help for the assassin...then decides that he's not feeling too merciful, and cuts the last remaining strands of Entreri's cloak, causing him to fall. And while Entreri does survive this, he winds up stuck in Menzoberranzan, and he is absolutely miserable there.
  • Life Drain: Entreri's dagger.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Catti-brie and Robillard both react this way when they realize that Harkle Harpell is approaching the Sea Sprite. Drizzt later says a Big "NO!" when Cadderly offers to retrieve Harkle after his fog of fate spell took him home.
  • Mind Rape: When Matron Baenre has Drizzt as her captive she commands her pet illithid to perform this on Drizzt to get him to reveal defensive information of Mithral Hall.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Regis in The Legacy, being impersonated by Entreri. And later, in Passage to Dawn, a doppelganger does it to Deudermont, albeit only briefly.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: A drow wizard tries to use a darkness spell to blot out the sun. The sun being freaking huge and very far away, all he actually succeeds in doing is putting a small black dot in the sky.
  • Nice Job Breaking it, Heroes:
    • Preceding this series, Drizzt and his friends spent a whole book chasing down Entreri to save Regis from his clutches. Then they leave him in charge of the thieves' guild, in a position right where Artemis Entreri can recapture him and put him through hell all over again.
      • They may have thought that Pasha Pook's former guards would be able to protect Regis, making it not so much a case of stupidity as of underestimating Entreri.
    • Subverted by Harkle when the Sea Sprite is nearly crippled after a fierce storm. He uses the fog of fate to get it out of the Sea of Swords...and lands it in Impresk Lake. Deudermont is initially angry at Harkle, but the nearby town of Carradoon has a shipyard where the crew can repair the Sea Sprite in safety and it's a short trip to the Spirit Soaring cathedral where Cadderly can provide the clerical help Drizzt needs. Everyone also realizes that they'd likely be doomed if they were still in the ocean, either by running out of food or being forced to surrender to pirates. The wizards' guild of Waterdeep will eventually be able to get the ship and crew back there, with the Lords of Waterdeep paying the tab.
  • Not What It Looks Like: After she loots Khazid'hea, the blade takes over Catti-Brie's mind and body temporarily to try to convince Drizzt that he should have the sword instead, since this is what the sword wants. This results in a partly hilarious/partly creepy scene where its psychic hold over Catti-Brie causes her to say to Drizzt the words that the sword wants to say to him: "Take me!" (Artist's rendering here.) Since the two of them are only friends at the time, Drizzt is pretty shocked. Fortunately, she follows that up with "Wield me!", making it clear to Drizzt that she isn't talking about sex and is possessed by the sword.
  • No One Gets Left Behind:
    • Drizzt attempts to outrun a drow raiding party sent to recapture him, tries to avoid a confrontation with Artemis Entreri, who is pursuing him in the tunnels, and attempts to join up with his friends while physically dragging the injured Regis along with him.
    • In the fourth book, Drizzt and Captain Deudermont have a few scenes like this. Once when leaving Mintarn when battling the pirates who have it out for the Sea Sprite, Deudermont contemplates this very fact as Drizzt's boat happened to get shot to hell by catapults. He contemplates the amount of time it would take, but he will *not* leave Drizzt behind, no matter the cost and another time while Deudermont is meeting with a representative of the Mintarn's leader. Drizzt and Cattie-brie are there to ensure nothing happens to their friend. Turns out it's a good thing they are there.
    • Subverted when the Sea Sprite finally finds the island of Caerwich. Deudermont specifically instructs his crew to wait two days for his landing party to return. If the party hasn't come back before then, the crew are to sail home.
  • Oh, Crap!: Harkle Harpell reacts this way when he learns that the pirates attacking the Sea Sprite in Mintarn have a smokepowder cannon. Deudermont, Catti-brie and Drizzt learn right away that he has very good reason to be so horrified.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Wulfgar gets rid of his jerkish sexist attitude moments before he dies.
  • Save the Villain: Averted in The Legacy when Drizzt and Entreri are both hanging off the side of a cliff. Drizzt has a hold on the side of the cliff, but the only thing keeping Entreri from falling is his grip on his sword, which is through Drizzt's foot and slowly slipping out. Entreri shouts that Drizzt's honour would not let him fall, but Drizzt, too fed up with the entire situation, lets him fall. Not that that stopped Entreri.
  • Suicide Mission: In Starless Night Drizzt attempts this when he leaves Mithral Hall on his own to go back to Menzoberranzan to turn himself over to his kin for sacrifice in the hopes that the drow will leave his friends alone.
  • The Siege: In Siege of Darkness when the drow attack Mithral Hall.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Back in The Dark Elf Trilogy, after fighting his way out of Menzonberranzan Drizzt swore he'd never kill another humanoid, drow included. In this series he realizes this was a bad idea and makes a new oath to never kill except in defense of himself or others.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The drow forces are split into two groups: one attacking Mithral Hall from underground, and the other attacking from the surface. During the planning stages, everybody seemingly forgot that drow eyes cannot tolerate sunlight unless they've become used to it. Or perhaps none of them thought that the battle would last the entire night and that they would still be fighting the good guys when the sun came up. In any case, when the dawn comes, the drow on the surface are blinded and pretty well screwed.
    • It has been made pretty clear in both the book and other material that the Drow are almost incapable of viewing surface races as equals. They certainly imagined that their superior training and advantage in the night would overwhelm the surfacer armies without any difficulty long before dawn became an issue. Also, the previous book mentions an abnormally high amount of lights in the drow city, so, apparently, they did try to build up some resistance.
    • It's also a near-universal truism of military tactics that it is always better to outflank any fortified position rather than attack head-on.
  • Talking Weapon: Khazid'hea, which is looted by Catti-Brie. It's a sword that can cut through anything, which also speaks telepathically to its current wielder. Initially it wants Drizzt to take it, since the sword wishes to be wielded by the best warrior in the world, so it changes the shape of its pommel to a unicorn—symbol of Drizzt's chosen goddess, Mielikki—to make itself more appealing him. However, Drizzt prefers scimitars, so he tells Catti-Brie that she should take the sword instead. Originally this frustrates the sword, and it tries to change Drizzt's mind. Eventually, Catti-Brie fights a battle of wills with the blade as soon as she figures out what it is, and in doing so not only asserts herself as the more dominant mind but also causes the sword to decide that it would rather be wielded by her than by Drizzt.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Drizzt has this attitude early on in The Legacy towards other Drow. However, he drops it pretty quickly once he realizes that it is likely to get him and all his friends killed.
  • Throwing Your Axe Always Works: Although he didn't do this in the Icewind Dale novels themselves, The Legacy and Passage To Dawn both feature Bruenor throwing his battleaxe like a missile weapon. And it works.
  • Tomato Surprise: Errtu's prisoner is not Zaknafein, but Wulfgar! (And plus, he's here to stay.)
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • In The Icewind Dale Trilogy, Catti-Brie was mainly a love interest for Wulfgar and a Distressed Damsel. In Legacy Of The Drow she's now an Action Girl.
    • Errtu as well. In his last appearance, he is killed fairly easily by Drizzt and Guenhwyvar. Now, it takes not only Drizzt and Guenhwyvar, but Bruenor, Kierstad, and Wulfgar, and even then it's a drawn-out battle.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Bruenor flies into one after the loss of Wulfgar.
  • Victory by Endurance: The humans, dwarves and deep gnomes guarding Mithril Hall's outside passes don't defeat the drow and their slaves in Siege Of Darkness through the exploits of any particular leader or unit. They win by managing to hold out until sunrise, which destroys the drow's morale and causes them to flee.
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia: In Passage to Dawn, Harkle Harpell uses "The Fog of Fate" to help the heroes solve a riddle. He ends up giving them too many hints, straining the limits of the spell, and as a result, is catapulted back home, having lost all memory of his participation in the quest.
  • Villain Ball: Errtu juggles these when he acquires Crenshinibon.
    • He repeatedly argues with it over his determination to kill Drizzt, and even uses his anti-magic gem on it when it pushes him too far. The resulting explosion critically weakens the shard, allowing Regis to capture it and preventing it from aiding Errtu when Drizzt and the others have him on the ropes.
    • Instead of just tearing the heroes apart when he finally confronts them, Errtu repeatedly tortures them. This gives Kierstaad time to bring Aegis-fang to the cave, allowing Wulfgar to get ahold of it and free himself.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Entreri has a mini-one near the end of the first book.
    "No!" he wailed...."Damn you! Damn you, Drizzt Do'Urden!"
  • Villainous Rescue:
    • Entreri frees Catti-Brie and then teams up with her to rescue Drizzt, who is being held prisoner by Matron Baenre, so that Drizzt will lead him back to the surface and away from the city of the drow.
    • In Siege Of Darkness, Matron Baenre and her entourage are hunting the Companions. Errtu, realizing that Matron Baenre could easily kill Drizzt before he can force Drizzt to end his banishment, intervenes when Baenre summons a glabrezu to bolster her forces. Errtu gives the glabrezu an Anti-Magic gem with instructions to reveal it if it seems the Companions are doomed. Matron Baenre and her forces have nearly overwhelmed the Companions when the glabrezu uses the gem. The drow priestesses lose their magic spells, but the Companions' magical weapons are still sharp even without their magic. Matron Baenre is helpless to stop Bruenor nearly cutting her in two with his axe.
  • Worf Had the Flu: When Errtu first confronts Drizzt in the previous trilogy, he thought he would simply be able to tear Drizzt apart. Drizzt manages to get in a lucky hit with Icingdeath, which ends up destroying Errtu. When they meet again in Passage To Dawn, Errtu makes full use of his magic and very nearly gets a Total Party Kill on the Companions.
  • Xanatos Gambit: That's what the Mithril Hall invasion is for Lolth. If the drow manage to conquer it, Menzoberranzan will be strained by the need to govern such a remote territory, and it will cause a lot of chaos in the city, which will definitely please her. If it fails... yes, she loses some followers, but the city's thrown into a decades' long clusterfuck.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: The dwarven priestess Stumpet Rakingclaw has her soul imprisoned by Errtu when he captures Crenshinibon. When Regis retrieves the shard, he also finds the gem containing Stumpet's soul. His smashing it allows Stumpet's soul to return to her body and heal a nearly dead Catti-brie, who prevents Errtu from escaping the rest of the party.