Monday, December 1, 2008

My, how my tastes have changed... (a Drizzt rant)

Before I begin, let me make myself clear. I have been a fan of Drizzt, but this is by no means a defense of the drow renegade who has ruined the enjoyment of D&D for seemingly every writer on the internet. There are two camps on the issue: those who love their dear drow to death and the "Gah! If I ever hear you speak his name again I'll murder your gerbil!" crowd. Personally, I used to really like the fella. He was a sharp break from an old stereotype and it was refreshing. Unfortunately, so many people liked him that he formed his own anti-stereotype stereotype (if that makes sense). Now, after all the reading and ranting reading and raving, I still find myself going through a roller coaster of "like him" and "tired of the idea." Back and forth, back and forth.

But I'll say this for Drizzt. Even though he has shifted from a personal favorite to a tired archetype in my mind, his popularity has opened the doors for several other drow characters that I absolutely love... and likely would never have had the pleasure of knowing if not for Drizzt's popularity. Of these, my two favorites are Jarlaxle and Phaeraun... both drow who, despite their quirks, have attitudes much more typical of their race.

I particularly like Jarlaxle, who has totally eclipsed Drizzt as my favorite R.A. Salvatore creation of all time. What's not to like about this guy? Sarcastic and witty? Check. Dazzling display of swordsmanship? Check. Drow sense of opportunism? Check. Plays all sides to his own benefit? Check. Impersonates Drizzt to take advantage of ignorant surface dwellers? Check plus... my hero...

I am hereby casting my vote for Jarlaxle to ascend to godhood to replace Vhaeraun.

Are the drow worn out? My answer is an emphatic NO. Is the idea of a dual-wielding drow ranger worn out? Yes, but one drow shouldn't ruin the "drow experience" regardless of his notoriety.


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