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Literature / The Neverwinter Saga

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Dahlia and Drizzt in Gauntlgrym
The Neverwinter Saga is a sequence of four books written by R.A Salvatore and is the seventh entry in his long-running The Legend of Drizzt series. It is chronologically preceded by Transitions and followed by Companions Codex.

The books in the series are:

  • Gauntlgrym (2010)
  • Neverwinter (2011)
  • Charon's Claw (2012)
  • The Last Threshold (2013)

Gauntlgrym begins with King Bruenor Battlehammer abandoning his office in Mithrall Hall and go journeying in search of the eponymous ancient dwarven city. He is, however, not the only one coveting the stronghold: the young elf Dahlia Sin'felle seeks a way into the city to cross the plans of Thayan ruler Sazz Tam in his endeavor to create a Dread Ring, an area that will produce undead for him. She hires the mercenaries Jarlaxle and Arthogate to help her find Gauntlgrym.

In Neverwinter Drizzt and Dahlia are on their way to Neverwinter Wood, where the sorceress Sylora Salm is trying to further the Thayan cause, which Dahlia tries to prevent. Nearby, in the city of Neverwinter, Herzgo Alegni is searching for a lost flying fortress and spends his freetime terrorizing his magically bound slave Barrabus the Gray.

Charon's Claw sees Drizzt, Dahlia and Barrabus travel once again to ancient Gauntlgrym so that they may destroy the sword Claw in the forges' fires. Barrabus hopes this will end his enslavement by the sword and looks forward to end his torment - and his life. Meanwhile in Menzoberranzan House Xorlarrin sets out to build a new drow settlement with the blessing of Lolth. The members of House Baenre have their long fingers in this plan aswell: their youngest and most promising male, Tiago, has contracted a legendary drow smith with magical weapon designs to accompany him to the forge of Gauntlygrym.

The final novel The Last Threshold concerns Drizzt's search for his lost companion Guenwhyvar, who is held captive by the Netherese Warlock Draygo Quick. One of Quick's pupils, the half-Tiefling Effron is also interested in Drizzt's new companions, because he seeks vengeance against Dahlia Sin'felle.

This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A Friend in Need: Towards the end of Gauntlgrym Jarlaxle of all people jumps into the maw of an erupting volcano to rescue Arthogate. This would have been an Heroic Sacrifice if not for him being crafty enough to save both of their skins in the last moment.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Jestry wants to be Sylora's lover and proclaims his love for her. Being a cultist of Asmodeus, she forces him to deny love even exists before turning him into a monster.
  • Artifact of Doom: Charon's Claw provides Artemis Entreri with eternal life but makes him a slave of the sword's holder.
  • Avenging the Villain: Effron wants to do this for Herzgo Alengi in The Last Threshold despite the fact being a massive aversion of Even Evil Has Loved Ones.
  • Batman Gambit: Drizzt manages to convince the others that he's a member of Jarlaxle's mercenary band, Dahlia is Jarlaxle's concubine, and Artemis is also Jarlaxle's concubine. It works because Jarlaxle is infamously that eccentric.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Sylora Salm and Herzgo Alengi are locked in a duel over which one of them should be the ruler of Neverwinter, representing the Thayans as well as Netherese respectively. Both of them are unacceptable for the people of Neverwinter and Drizzt.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Gauntlgrym ends with the fire primordial that is powering the forge of the titular city savely sealed once more and another catastrophic volcanic eruption averted, but the city of Neverwinter is completely destroyed, large parts of the Sword Coast devastated and Bruenor Battlehammer dead - leaving Drizzt utterly alone and without a direction to go in.
    • Neverwinter ends with Artemis Entreri successfully freeing himself of the power of Charon's Claw. However, Herzgo Alengi is on their trail and the drow have taken over the former dwarvish stronghold of Gauntlgrym.
    • Charon's Claw ends with Herzgo Alengi dead but Effron Alengi vowing revenge on Dahlia and Drizzt for his father's death. The Charon's Claw is destroyed and Artemis is freed without dying but they've made a powerful enemy of the Netherese. Worse, Tiago Baenre has discovered Drizzt is alive and on the surface.
    • ''The Last Threshhold ends with Drizzt has successfully liberated Guenwhyvar but their attack on Drago Quick's mansion in the Shadowfell was a complete failure. Dahlia and Drizzt break up nastily with the former trying to kill the latter. However, Drizzt believes Regis and Cattie-Brie may still be alive. Our heroes have also lost eighteen years of their lives.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Drizzt struggles with how the North has become increasingly defined by this with no more Silver Marches, the Luskan government being a bunch of pirates, and farmers forced to engage in banditry to feed their families. Drizzt hates it and becomes receptive to Dahlia's Social Darwinist philosophy or at least the idea he should stop caring so much.
  • Body Horror: Jestry is transformed into an umber hulk/human hybrid to wage war on the enemies of his cult.
  • Child by Rape: Effron Alegni is the product of Herzgo doing this to Dahlia.
  • Climactic Volcano Backdrop: The fire primordial-powered forge of Gauntlgrym serves as the fiery backdrop of several of the books, most notably Gauntlgrym where freeing the primordial causes the volcano to errupt and nearly sweep Neverwinter off the map.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Valindra Shadowmantle is a member of the Arcane Brotherhood, a lich, and utterly nuts. She frequently goes on long weird tangents, doesn't believe its possible to kill her, and even manages to confuse Szass Tam.
  • Crapsack World: Drizzt basically comes to view the post-Spellplague Forgotten Realms as having become this. As bad as it could get before, it was a place that at least had honorable and decent people who could be relied on. Starvation and corruption have made the North a place he barely recognizes.
  • Dark Lord: Herzgo Alengi and Sylora Salm are competing examples of this with the ironic fact that both of them are not even particularly high ranking members of their factions.
  • Dating Catwoman: Drizzt's relationship with Dahlia has shades of this as she challenges his morally upright principles with her sensuous amorality. Drizzt is so lonely after losing all of his companions and intrigued by the renegade elf that he is receptive.
  • Death Seeker: Barrabus the Gray would very much like to die, but Charon's Claw keeps him alive. He is one of very few humans that survived a century long timeskip because of his predicament and he jumps at the opportunity to destroy Claw and end his life.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dread Ring is a magical battery that you feed living beings to in order to power magic. It allows Syora to raise a huge black rock fortress as well as an army of the undead.
  • Evil Is Petty: Hezgo Alengi reacts with violence and abuse over every possible perceived (real or imagined) slight with his worst being how utterly incensed he is over a bridge being named after Barrabus rather than him.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The only reason the heroes have any chance whatsoever is the Shadovar (led by Herzgo Alengi) utterly loathes the Thayan-backed Ashmadai (led by Sylora Salm).
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: The Netherese want to conquer Neverwinter and add it to their empire. The Thayans want to exterminate Neverwinter and feed them to the Dread Ring.
  • Failure Hero: A contrast to the previous books in the series, Drizzt and company cannot catch a break. They fail to prevent the destruction of Neverwinter by a volcanic eruption, are constantly on the run from various threats, and only manage to barely eck out a win by destroying Charon's Claw halfway through the series. Artemis Entreri spends much of the first two books suffering Humiliation Conga levels of punishment from his slavemaster.
  • The Gadfly: Effron has a habit of quickly bending his torso back and forth, so that his limp arm slaps against his frame and makes a clapping noise. Everyone who witnesses this is annoyed or disgusted by it - which is exactly why he does it.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Drizzt is no newcomer to this condition, as he developed his primal Hunter personality while being alone in the Underdark, but here he gets a different taste of it during his imprisonment in Draygo Quick's dungeon. Quick tactically uses isolation and slowly improving conditions to endear Drizzt to him. And it works, too: Drizzt remarks, that he can't hate Quick anymore, because he is the only one talking to and feeding him.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Bruenor dies peacefully and happily in the final battle of Gauntlgrym after having lived a long, fullfilled life, having rediscovered two mythic ancestral homelands and saving the continent from further destruction by a fire primordial.
  • Handicapped Badass: Effron is a powerful warlock with malformed legs due to being thrown off a cliff as a child.
  • Hate Sink: Herzgo Alengi is a pedophile rapist demon-worshiping torturer who has humiliated fan favorite Artemis Entreri for years.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: While trapped in the Feywild for eighteen years, Errtu attacks Ten Towns and Drizzt is blamed for it. He finds all of his previous heroism is forgotten in the wake of being a bringer of disaster.
  • History Repeats: It is not lost on Barrabus AKA Artemis Entreri that this is the second time he's been enslaved by a sinister bunch of psychopaths that force him to do their bidding.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Drizzt tries this with Entreri during the Fight against Herzgo Alegni in Charon's Claw during wich Entreri is under the control of the titular sword. He succeeds, but only after almost being killed, because he had to stop fighting to break the enchantment.
  • Just the First Citizen: Subverted when Herzgo is named this of Neverwinter. It's clear that they are actually trying to keep himself from naming himself as Lord of Neverwinter outright.
  • Karmic Death:
    • A rare good example Bruenor Battlehammer dies on a quest for another dwarven stronghold, cementing his place in dwarvish history.
    • Sylora Salm is left to die via Cruel Mercy from Dahlia before she's horribly mutilated then killed by Jestry on the orders of Valindra Shadowmantle. She's then raised as a mindless zombie like so many others of her kind.
    • Herzgo Alengi finally meets his end at the hands of Drizzt and Dahlia as they trick him into opening him up for an ambush by using Charon Claw as bait.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Draygo Quick and Szass Tam are this for the Netherese and Thayan factions.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Bruenor Battlehammer is irritated at first when he joins Cattie-Brie, Wulfgar and Regis in Iruladoon after his death, because he didn't turn up in the dwarven afterlife like he expected. When he sees his adoptive daughter dancing joyfully, however, he breaks down crying.
    • Jarlaxle has tears in his eyes when telling Arthogate of Bruenor's demise.
  • Morton's Fork:
    • Drizzt finds himself in one of these virtually every step of these books. There's no major good-aligned powers anymore so there's the Netherese, Thayans, and High Captains of Luskan all fighting it out. Even working with Dahlia is something he resents because she's also evil, even if she's A Lighter Shade of Black. It gets to the point where he longs to work with Jarlaxle and Artemis Entreri.
    • The citizens of Neverwinter don't want to ally with the Netherese but it's a choice between them or being turned into zombies.
  • Noble Demon: Artemis reflects on the fact that his employers and opponents are such monsters that he's actually one of the most honorable people around.
  • Noble Top Enforcer: Barrabus the Gray is a fairly Pragmatic Villainy orientated individual who is a vast-vast contrast to the utter piece of crap Hate Sink that Herzgo Alengi is. Its questionable whether he'd be a villain at all if not magically enslaved.
  • Not-So-Final Confession: Entreri, tells Drizzt that he always envied him for his life and his friends right before Drizzt throws Claw into the forge of Gauntlgrym. Everybody thought destroying the sword would kill him, but it turns out it doesn't. After an awkward pause, everyone just goes on as if nothing out of the ordinary happened.
  • Ragtag Band of Misfits: Sylora Salm the Thayan Sorceress, Jestry Ravellevin the Asmodeus-worshiping zealot, and Valindra Shadowmantle an insane lich are the bad guys for Neverwinter and as bizarre as a typical adventuring party.
  • Religion of Evil: The Ashmadai, or the Messengers of the Raging Fiend, who effectively worship Satan in the for of Asmodeus.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Drizzt thought Jarlaxle dead since the end of Gauntlgrym, but he is rescued by the drow mercenary in The Last Threshold. Drizzt even runs up to hug him, while he banters about his supposed death.
  • Ship Sinking: Dahlia and Drizzt's relationship hits an insurmountable wall followed by a breakup when Drizzt realizes he's still in love with his (long dead) wife and can't bring himself to open up with Dahlia. Dahlia tries to kill him as a result and it ends badly.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Szass Tam generally gives off this impression whenever he communicates with his minions in Neverwinter. He expects them to create a massive disaster and is annoyed that not only do they fail but they're a Ragtag Band of Misfits led by a Cloud Cuckoolander Lich.
  • Taken for Granite: When Drizzt, Dahlia and Barrabus assault the home of Draygo Quick, they encounter a Medusa that successfully petrifies Dahlia and Barrabus. They spend the next year as statues somewhere in the cellar of the house, until Jarlaxle bails them out when he is rescuing Drizzt.
  • Time Skip: Gauntlgrym covers nearly a century during Drizzt and Bruenor's search for the dwarven homeland. We see glimpses of their journey between large timeskips.
  • Trapped in Villainy: Barrabus the Gray AKA Artemis Entreri has no loyalty to the Shadovar and even despises them but is kept as their slave because he is controlled by the artifact, Charon's Claw.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Tiago Baenre becomes this after he rescues Ten Towns from Errtu.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Most interactions between Herzgo Alegni and Barrabus the Gray smack of this. Whenever Alegni percieves he has been slighted by Barrabus, he rings a magical tuning fork on Claw's blade that causes him agony - all the while lamenting how Barrabus' behaviour forces him to do this.
  • Worf Effect: Errtu faces down Tiago Baenre and is banished back to the Abyss, not even recognizing Tiago and confusing him with Drizzt. This establishes Tiago is equal to Drizzt in skill, though.