The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Menzoberranzan, in the Underdark, is a home to the dark elves known as the drow. The drow society is a cruel one dominated by the female drow and their goddess, Lloth, the Spider Queen. One’s station is important in drow society, and ambition is prized by Lloth. Houses dominated by the matron mother ascend to importance through assassination and magic. “Don’t get caught” is the overriding rule of drow society.

Drizzt is born while the House Do’Urben is eliminating another house to improve its station. Drizzt, a misfit, is honest, unambitious, and compassionate, like his father, Zaknafein, the weapons master. As he matures, Drizzt comes to doubt the stories told to keep the drow in line. As he grows more skilled as a warrior and more dissatisfied with drow society, Drizzt makes friends with a magical cat, Guenhwyvar, and realizes that he will have to leave Menzoberranzan to preserve his honor. Drizzt kills two drow in self-defense, thereby gaining ownership of Guenhwyvar. After discovering that his mother and sisters have sacrificed his father to Lloth to acquire an advantage during the attack on House Hun’ett, Drizzt leaves Menzoberranzan.

Ten years later, the war between House Do’Urben and House Hun’ett ends with House Do’Urben victorious, but House Do’Urben’s matron mother, Malice, still is not in Lloth’s favor. She can regain Lloth’s favor only by punishing Drizzt for his defection. Malice sends her eldest son, Dinin, and her daughter Briza to capture Drizzt, who has been living on his own in the tunnels of the Underdark. Drizzt prevails in the encounter but realizes how savage, isolated, and lonely he has become. He goes to Blingdenstone, home city of the svirfnebli gnomes, and surrenders to assuage his isolation and loneliness. He finds friendship and acceptance with Belwar Dissengulp, whose life he had saved shortly before he had left Menzoberranzan.

Matron Malice animates the corpse of...

(The entire section is 799 words.)