The protagonist in The Dark Elf Trilogy, Drizzt Do’urden, is a character whose actions lead him to make critical decisions, such as leaving his home after being betrayed by his people. If one ever wanted to pretend to be a dark elf, he/she can become Drizzt…well except for the sword-wielding, and magical panther conjuring, dark elf he is. He is an empathetic character, which makes this fantasy even more fun and intriguing to read. Drizzt’s relatability, his internal conflict with himself and the unfamiliar world he sets out on, and the fantastical world the story takes place in makes this trilogy entertaining.
Despite Drizzt’s story existing in a fantasy world in Menzoberranzan, he is someone who deals with similar emotions as people do in real life. He grows to be a great fighter like his father, but he also experiences abandonment, betrayal, discomfort, depression, the opportunity for redemption; these emotions make it possible to relate him, or at least to imagine a realistic protagonist. One may grow to become a great doctor, firefighter, lawyer, engineer, but her/his heart may follow another path. If Drizzt was a flawless character, he would have been more difficult to relate to, care about, worry for, see him as a believable character, and be inspired by him. Someone might have closed the book and never opened it again. Whether it is a show or a book, finding some familiarity with the protagonist, or perhaps even the antagonist, makes for an appealing and fun character to follow.
There is a light versus dark element in these stories. Drizzt made a critical decision to leave his people, the Drow, due to not having what he considered an “evil heart.”His family has expectations for him that conflict with his taste and heart. Someone runs away to another city or state to escape his/her parents sending him/her off to the military, law school, or somewhere their heart is not at. Okay, this example hardly matches with the requirement of having an “evil heart”, but he is escaping something he does not want to be attached to. Alone, he wanders aimlessly from his comfort zone into the wilds and mysteries of the Underdark, but to discover other cultures, creatures, and himself. He experiences other cultures around the world, some accepting him, while others reject him. He is accustomed to being accepted by his culture. There is evidence of discrimination and prejudice in various places throughout the novel.
Drizzt says, “The character of the person would outweigh the color of his skin and the reputation of his heritage” (Salvatore).
Drizzt proves through his fortitude he can overcome any perception of his physical appearance. However, his situation is a bit more extreme, as he is sent into exile and to survive on his own while being hunted by the familiar(the people he thought he knew). At some point in a person’s life, she or he experiences being alone, being betrayed, being against the odds, and being tested. He is exiled from his home in Menzoberranzan and hunted by the House Do’Urben’s matron mother, Malice’s son and daughter, Briza, and Dinin. She does this to avenge in Lloth’s favor, which is to punish Drizzt for being a deserter of his home and its ways.
“We – at least we of sincere character – always judge ourselves by stricter standards than we expect others to abide by” (Saalvatore).
Drizzt develops standards for himself as he copes with his new surroundings and characters. As he focuses on his struggle and how he feels being pursued by those he once trusted, he is determined to adapt in order to survive. However, he seems to lose the point that others have to connect with him in order for there to be harmony aIf he holds strict standards for himself to change, but they do nothing to change to accept him, then a community cannot exist between him and the other races.
Drizzt is exiled from his home, from the familiar, from everything he once trusted and loved. As a result, he travels alone, spends much of his time hiding in caves and living off the land. He reflects on his past at Menzoberranzan – proving his regret, doubt, but also certainty about his decision. Eventually, he will come across other cultures in the story: gnomes, dwarves, monsters, wizards, and humans to name some. His fighting style with a sword and the use of a magical panther is tested against different fighting styles from barbarians, monsters, magic, and other obstacles.Mentally, emotionally, and physically Drizzt adjusts to cope with his new enemies, allies, and environments.
The setting is a beautiful open world full of life. R.A Saladore paints a vivid picture of the world. A series that comes to mind that also has a vibrant world is the Lord of the Rings. With mountains, rivers, lush vegetation, various weather, the author draws readers into an immersive world to become lost in with the protagonist. From a detailed Underdark and passages in mountains, the details of slopes and tundra familiar from hikes in the real world, along with rich descriptions from the author, one can easily visualize Drizzt trekking narrow trails through the mountains, sleeping in caves and forests, walking upon monsters and other creatures besides himself.
This is a high fantasy series that fans of the genre will become lost in as they follow Drizzt on his adventure to find himself and place in the Underdark. It is hard not to care about Drizzt and see some familiarity with him. The world begs to be explored from Menzoberranzan to the Underdark, mountains passages and caves… As a reader and writer of fantasy, this series is right down my alley. However, I feel people who are not hardcore fantasy readers and writers will enjoy the character interaction, world-building, and themes hidden along the way.