Homeland (The Legend of Drizzt #1)

Homeland Book Cover Homeland
The Legend of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore
Fantasy
Wizards of the Coast
September 19, 1990
Paperback
343

Drow ranger Drizzt Do'Urden, first introduced in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, quickly became one of the fantasy genre's standout characters. But Homeland first reveals the startling tale of how this one lone drow walked out of the shadowy depths of the Underdark, leaving behind a society of evil and a family who want him dead. It is here that the story of this amazing dark elf truly began.

 

A while back a friend got me into Dungeons and Dragons, so I started to read up on the lore. While D&D is a multiverse and there are a couple different key worlds, the main world is called the Forgotten Realms. This is where most of the official adventure books take place and it has a long-established history of heroes, villains, and key events. One of the most well-known of those heroes is the drow (dark elf) Drizzt. Originally introduced in Salvatore’s Icewind Dale trilogy, Drizzt became such a fan favorite that he got his own trilogy later to flesh out his backstory.

What started as a standalone trilogy with Drizzt as a sidekick eventually became The Legend of Drizzt. This series started in 1988 and is still going at the time of this writing, more than 30 years later. But the series is broken up into separate story arcs that are each three or four books long. Even though the Icewind Dale trilogy was published first, it is not required reading for Drizzt’s backstory. A few things make more sense once readers are through both stories but reading through everything chronologically seems easier.

This story takes place in and around the drow city of Menzoberranzan. Drow are dark elves, long ago tricked by the wicked goddess Lolth into worshipping her and only her. Hate and xenophobia are cornerstones of daily drow life in a society where backstabbing and assassination are second nature. So, what happens when there is a drow whose innate sense of right-and-wrong does not fit the culture? When one realizes what they have been taught from birth does not feel right? This very much becomes a story of nature versus nurture for Drizzt. One that covers his life from birth to several decades into budding adulthood (he’s an elf, they live for centuries).

Normally, fantasy stories focus on a great battle of good vs. evil while characterization is secondary. That gets flip-flopped here. While later installments in the series use the typical fantasy formula, this story is about Drizzt. How he became the hardened veteran who first appeared in the Icewind Dale trilogy. This series also expands upon the drow as a whole, which works because they are fan-favorite villains among D&D players. But on the topic of Drizzt, it is always fascinating to see where a great hero starts. This series is aptly named “The Legend of Drizzt” but the first installment in this trilogy starts to show the man before the legend and how the pieces fell into place for one person, alone in his world, to become something greater.

March 15, 2020

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