Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Dark Elf Trilogy: Homeland life of a Dark Elf is a ‘do or die’ life indeed. They follow the beliefs of a spider goddess named Lolth. She has a thirst for chaos and quite literally is chaos incarnate. Thus dark elves are commanded to follow her ways, and her ways only. Family members kill each other to gain higher ranks within the family. This is actually the same for each individual house. In order to go higher up the ladder, the families annihilate other families. Not so unlike our own hierarchy in the work place or government- without the ‘consistent’ murder however.

There is also a difference in the roles of each male and female. The female dark elves are considered priestess, higher than males and are literally stronger than the male elves. They are also very cruel, using the males as simply for reproducing. Once they tire of them or no longer need them, they simply dispose of them, and enjoy doing so. Males are just as cruel; though it’s obvious they are dominated by the way they often cringe at the slightest mistake before a female drow or Matron. This known lifestyle is referted to as a Matriarch. In a way, it can also be referenced to the Black Widow spider. The Black widow spider and the male, mate when it’s time to breed. If that male spider isn’t quick enough to get away once he’s done, he’s doomed. She will eat him and continue on with life. Fitting for a spider goddess right?

So, the male dark elves are considered fodder, basically used as servants of the females. This lifestyle is no different for Drizzt Do’Urden and for many years of his life, he learns his place as a slave to the female dark elves. To keep their men in place, beatings were common. Even if they simply voiced an opinion or asked a question, or if they even asked a simple question, they were beaten with a snake whip. I cringed at the way Salvatore explained that detail. The teeth of the snake rip through the skin and the poison literally burns and freezes the victim. Wow, that sounds horribly painful. He explains Drizzt experiencing the same unfortunate punishment, and yet, the dark elf learned to put aside the pain in order to make it through his life.

16 y/o Drizzt by J. L. Brown

Drizzt continues through his life, learning the ways of his family and the spider goddess, Lolth. Yet, he expresses that he felt she was not the goddess for him. That while he was a drow elf, the way of his people, was not for him. His father, Zaknafein, too expressed this similar thought process early on in the book. He takes Drizzt under his wing, once he is 16, and teaches him not to fight without passion. Not to kill in cold blood as his brother and sisters often did. He taught him to fight, and well, since Zaknafien was an expert fighter.

The story goes on about Drizzt leaving to the Academy at 19 to train and become a cold blooded killer. Zaknafien is distressed that his son, who he didn’t want to follow the drow way, will return just as that. Unable to kill his child, he simply remains away while Drizzt leaves.

He returns a man, with Zak thinking the Academy’s ways have changed him to a cold blooded killer. He is especially sure this has happened, since having heard that Drizzt possibly killed a surface elf child. Drizzt is upset that his father abandoned him and literally left him alone for so long. Outraged, the two spar off, angrily in the gym room. Then, truth is revealed about Drizzt, never having killed the elf child. Zak is overjoyed, and embraces his son, glad that the horrors of the Academy could not break his passionate spirit.

Drizzt "The Early Days" by Keelerleah
Keelerleah on DA

The head of the house, Matron Malice, is not pleased as she learns Drizzt’s compassion as cost their family good ties with the Spider Queen. When Drizzt leaves one morning, in the midst of a possible war against the Do’Urden family, Malice and her three daughters, confront Zaknafein, telling him they are aware of Drizzt’s traitorous ways and want him dead. His death will appease Lolth and put their family back in good favor with her. Zak refuses to kill his son, and to appease Malice, he offers himself as a sacrifice. That’s the tear jerker there! The parent giving himself up to save the child; it’s a very true evocation of love. Even today, while parents don’t always ‘die’ to sacrifice themselves, if they truly love their child, they give up and sacrifice much to keep them happy or safe. I know it all too well.

Upon returning, Drizzt is already suspicious, asking for his father. His mother and sisters only sneer behind kind smiles, and eventually the truth is revealed when Malice tells him he is the new Weapon Master. Drizzt becomes enrage, stating he will not do it! One of his sisters’ reach for her whip to beat him, but the very angry look in his eyes literally freezes her and she actually backs down! An argument ensues and Drizzt, using one of Zak’s tactics, creates a bright light and flees. Before the light is calmed, since Drow’s can’t see in the light, he is already long gone. With a magical companion, Guenhwyvar, whom he befriended long ago, at his side; the two leave into the caves forever exiled from Menzoberranzan.

- Nida

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Prelude: Personal review and opinions by Nida Sea

The Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A.Salvatore.
Drow… where do I begin? A society based on chaos; chaos against other races and chaos against each other. The drow or, dark elves, are considered a cruel race to all other races in the Realms. Their cruel and almost sadistic way of life is ingeniously explained in detail by R. A. Salvatore. His ability to convey a sense of confliction and misguidance within each drow character is amazing. The description of the brutality of the dark lives of these creatures actually makes me cringe.

I thought it almost sad that a society, while imaginary, lived this way. Then, I realized some real societies possibly similar if not completely, truly exist in our world. But, when the character Drizzt Do’Urden is introduced into the story, my heart is truly stolen! While the ways of his siblings and other kin are literally beaten into the poor leading character, it was astonishing and tearful to see that he kept to his true beliefs. This is something that almost aligns many people in their way of life today. 

He mentions his fighting spirit and skill with his twin scimitar blades to be instilled by the Weapons Master, also father, Zaknafein. This review is broken into 5 parts: One of a prelude, three of each individual book of the trilogy, and then a final conclusion of my own personal accord. I find new respect for this book and author, R. A. Salvatore, whom I’ve never read work from before until now, and only wished I, had read it sooner. Thank you.

-  Nida