Drizzt Do'Urden is the main character of more than 20 books written by author R.A. Salvatore. Drizzt is a dark elf (also known as a drow), which hail from Menzoberranzan, a city located in the Underdark. The Drizzt books are set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting used in the fantasy role-playing game dungeons and dragons.
Drizzt Do'Urden was initially created as a supporting character in the Icewind Dale Trilogy when Salvatore's publisher needed to replace another character in his first novel, The Crystal Shard. Drizzt Do'Urden has since become a popular hero of the Forgotten Realms Books, appearing in countless literary works. Chronologically, Homeland (Book I of the Dark Elf Trilogy) depicts the emergence of this unlikely hero, a non-archetypal dark elf who has dissociated himself from the evil ways of his culture as well as his own home, Menzoberranzan.
The Saga of Drizzt Do'Urden Begins
The story of Drizzt Do'Urden begins in The Dark Elf Trilogy, authored by R.A. Salvatore and continues in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, Legacy of The Drow, Paths of Darkness, The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, Transitions, and the Neverwinter Trilogy. Other short stories also mention Drizzt Do'Urden, such as The Dowry, Dark Mirror, and Comrades at Odds. Every novel featuring Drizzt Do'Urden has made the New York Times Best Seller list, a number of which have even been adapted into graphic novels and video games, most notably the Baldur's Gate Series and Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone.
Drizzt Do'Urden Background
Drizzt Do'Urden has served as a cornerstone for R.A. Salvatore's Literary achievements, appearing in his books for over 20 years now. Drizzt Do'Urden is a drow who resists the nature of his own race and subsequently the drow stereotype, favoring friendship and peace over hatred and violence. His unusual personality creates the conflict that allows Salvatore to create so many novels with stories about courage and friendship. Drizzt Do'Urden can be characterized by his altruism, which enables him to fight the dark traits that are inherent in the drow.
Salvatore uses Drizzt Do'Urden to represent issues of racial prejudice, particularly in The Dark Elf Trilogy. For instance, Drizzt Do'Urden is concerned that if he and his love Cattie-Brie (a human) have children, their offspring will face persecution from both races. The altruistic nature of Drizzt Do'Urden can be seen again by the concerns he has regarding the difference in lifespan expectancy between them, as humans typically have far shorter life spans than that of drow.
The Creation of Drizzt Do'Urden
Drizzt was created by chance. After receiving Salvatore's manuscript for the future novel, "Echoes of the Fourth Magic", the managing editor off TSR's book department, Mary Kirchoff asked if he would rewrite it, using the Forgotten Realms theme as the setting for the book. She sent Salvatore a copy of Darkwalker On Moonshae written by author Douglas Niles, which was the only novel written at the time based on the Forgotten Realms setting. R.A. Salvatore sent her a proposal for a sequel to Darkwalker, but Kirchoff sent back a large map of the Forgotten Realms and told him she wanted a new story set in a different part of the Forgotten Realms world. After two weeks of phone calls, Salvatore found a spot on the map which was not already designated for another project, and located Icewind Dale there. According to Salvatore, the book was set on the Moonshae Isles because he thought that, it WAS the Realms. After finding out how big the Realms were, he relocated the story a thousand miles to the north.
R.A. Salvatore was under considerable pressure to create a sidekick for Wulfgar in the Icewind Dale series. Salvatore had sent an early version of The Crystal Shard (what would become his first published novel) to TSR, and one day Kirchoff called him. She was on her way to a marketing meeting concerning the book, and informed him that they could not use one of the characters. He asked for time to think, but she was already late for the meeting. Off the top of his head, Salvatore said he had a Dark Elf. Kirchoff was skeptical, but Salvatore convinced her it would be fine because he was just a sidekick. She asked his name, and he replied Drizzt Do'Urden. She asked if he could spell it, and he said "not a chance". Recalling the creation of Drizzt Do'Urden in an interview, Salvatore said, "I don't know where it came from. I guess that Gary Gygax just did such an amazing job in creating the drow elves that something about them got stuck in the back of my head. Thank God!" Although many readers have assumed that Drizzt is based on one of the many Dungeons & Dragons role-playing campaigns that the author has played, this is not the case. Salvatore's main influences were classical literature and works of J. R. R. Tolkien. "I like to think of Drizzt as a cross between Daryth from Darkwalker on Moonshae and Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings." Salvatore calls Drizzt "the classic romantic hero—misunderstood, holding to a code of ideals even when the going gets tough, and getting no appreciation for it most of the time."
Over 20 novels written by R.A. Salvatore have featured Drizzt Do'Urden to date.