The Icewind Dale Trilogy Critical Essays

R. A. Salvatore


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Throughout the trilogy, R. A. Salvatore relies on stock fantasy characters and conventional plot structures. Exotic heroes band together to face diabolical villains in pitched battles of right and wrong. The fate of the stolen ruby pendant provides a common thread among the various subplots, which supply continuous action and frequent opportunities for heroes to display their particular virtues. Characters such as Drizzt and Regis represent the struggle between nobility and depravity. Racism is disdained implicitly as dwarves and humans mingle freely with halflings and drows. The only requirement for fellowship is virtue on the medieval chivalric model. In keeping with the popular role-playing games from which the novels emerged, factual historicity is important in establishing a baseline for the characters appropriate use of magical powers.

The Icewind Dale trilogy is one of the better examples of the formulaic fantasy adventure genre that blossomed in the wake of the enormous popularity of the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game during the 1980’s. Published in the Forgotten Realms series by TSR, Inc., which developed Dungeons and Dragons and markets games, books, video games, and related materials, these volumes are designed both in plot and in format to appeal to an audience of committed gamers.

Salvatore has written that talent, hard work, and a good measure of luck are all needed to be a successful novelist, which...

(The entire section is 506 words.)