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Literature / War of the Spider Queen

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War of the Spider Queen is a six-book series written by several authors and overseen by R.A. Salvatore. It takes place in the Forgotten Realms.

The series follows the adventures of a group of Drow as they search for the reason that Lloth, their goddess, has fallen silent. Their quest will take them around the world, and under it. Meanwhile, back at Menzoberranzan, the status quo has been upset.

The books and authors are as follows:

  • Dissolution - Richard L. Byers
  • Insurrection - Thomas M. Reid
  • Condemnation - Richard Baker
  • Extinction - Lisa Smedman
  • Annihilation - Philip Athans
  • Resurrection - Paul S. Kemp

There is a character sheet.

War of the Spider Queen contains the following tropes:

  • Anyone Can Die: Six companions set out from Menzoberranzan, picking up two along the way. Guess how many survive?
  • Break the Haughty: Quenthel in Insurrection. She got better, however.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Greyanna thought this was occurring between Pharaun and her twin sister. She later offers herself to Pharaun in exchange for his loyalty only to have him laugh in her face.
  • But Thou Must!: Invoked. Sure, Ryld and Pharaun, feel free to decline the mission given to you by the priestess of Lolth. She will then feel free to play her favorite game with you: torture you in various and creative and most of all skillful ways until you die. Then, get resurrected and get to do it all over again. Repeat until the priestess is bored. Was it mentioned that this priestess will most likely be a relative of yours?
  • Carnival of Killers: Gromph sending various demons after Quenthel.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Gromph uses the light crystal he took from Sluuguth to dispatch Nimor.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: It's a story about Drow in the Forgotten Realms, this trope was a foregone conclusion. The main characters of the series spend more time trying to kill each other than they do on their actual mission. Notably, Valas is the only member of the main party who does not betray someone else in the party or the party as a whole during the series.
  • Cobweb Jungle: Because everything having to do with spiders is sacred to Lolth, it's actually a crime to destroy a spider web in Menzoberranzan.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Subverted in the three-way deathmatch between Quenthel, Danifae, and Halisstra. Halisstra hit Danifae with one just as the latter was about to kill Quenthel. It didn't take, unfortunately.
  • Lovable Traitor: Pharaun, to Ryld. His traitor status with the others, notably Quenthel, is much more vitriolic.
  • Make Room for the New Plot: Congratulations, Ryld and Pharaun, you helped stop the slave uprising! Now go find out what happened to Lolth.
  • Molotov Cocktail: The stonefire bombs. Not only did they act as their real-life counterparts, they literally burned through stone.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The aftermath of the destruction of House Agrach Dyrr was never actually seen in story. Noticeably averted, however, during Dyrr and Gromph's battle in the Marketplace.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Pharaun barely hesitated before leaving Ryld for dead in Dissolution.
  • Offhand Backhand: Vhaeraun does one with magic when Quenthel attacks his priest.
  • Punched Across the Room: Things on the receiving end of one of Pharaun's Bigsby's (whatever) Hand spells are typically subject to this.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: A good portion of Dissolution.
  • Royal Rapier: Pharaun starts off with a pimped-out dancing rapier that turns into a ring when he doesn't want it around. Helpfully, the dancing part bypasses the fact that he's a scrawny elf wizard.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The heroes spend over five novels and several months to find out what happened to Lolth and how to fix it. With probably only about half an hour of marching before they finally find her, she wakes up all by herself and was never in any trouble to begin with.
    • The entire "crisis" was Lolth's plan to lure drow to her so she could find a suitable Chosen, or Yor'thae. Note the symbolic similarities between the constant rivalry among the drow and Lolth's spiders eating each other until the strongest one emerges.
    • As 5th edition, the Demonweb Pits are back in the Abyss and Lolth has lost some of her power.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Book 4 has:
    She pressed her lips against his, kissing him.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Quenthel and Gromph spend much of Dissolution trying to assassinate each other to various levels of failure. It gets to the point where it could be considered a Running Gag.
    • Greyanna and her sister, and then later Greyanna and Pharaun, all during the first book. This is pretty common among drow, however. Relatives are rivals, not friends.
  • Snake Whip: Favored by Quenthel. Heck, favored by all of Lolth's priestesses, due to its connection to sadism and oppression. A whip made of snakes is a status symbol among the clergy, and all know how to use them to full effect.
  • Status Quo Is God: Despite the hype, the only thing that actually changed as a result of this series was Lolth's domain, the Demonweb Pits, moving from a layer of the Abyss to its' own Plane, and even this later got undone in 5th edition.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: Type 1 with Ryld and Pharaun.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Both Quenthel and Danifae summoned bigger fish (namely a klurichir and a giant spider hoarde) against the yugoloth army in Resurrection.
  • Taking Over the Town: The Jaezred Chaulssin took over the ruins of Ched Nesad after its destruction. They fully intend to rebuild it, as the beginning of the process was shown at the end of Resurrection.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The shift of the Demonweb Pits from being a layer of the Abyss to its own Plane had already been revealed several years before the first novel was published by the 3rd Edition Guide To The Forgotten Realms.
  • Walk into Mordor: In order to get to the Planes of Soulfire, you have to walk through the Pass of the Soul Reaver. And survive a Mind Rape while you're there.

Alternative Title(s): Annihilation 2004