Drizzt also comes from the old TSR stable and I read Drizzt’s adventures when I was about the same age as when I read about Sturm Brightblade. While Sturm was the noble upstanding hero who was viewed as being of good nature, even if he wasn’t of the stature required to become a Knight of Solamnia, Drizzt was completely different from Sturm. He was a dark elf and as such viewed as being evil by anyone who didn’t know him personally. He was someone struggling with his birthright and what was believed to be the right way.
He struggled against his expected role and followed what he thought was the right path no matter what the rest of his society thought was proper and right. He idolised the difference between morality and lawful. Just because it was lawful and what was expected in society didn’t mean that it was moral. He carved out his own place in the world (with his twin scimitars) while defying the ideals of the dark elf society.
Of course, he was introduced in The Crystal Shard which didn’t portray his own society but rather how he integrated into the rest of the world where the rest of the people had preconceived ideas about dark elves. It was the perfect allegory for the world I found myself in at that point in time. Nelson Mandela had been released from Robben Island a few years before and the country I live in was transforming itself around me.
There was a preconceived notion of white South Africans in the rest of the world and the previously discriminated against classes. We were all a bunch of racists, no matter the personal history of the person involved. Unfortunately, it’s still a preconceived notion which is still in place. Maybe by the time my son grows up the preconception would have changed but it wasn’t how it was for me.
It was only after the trilogy ended with The Halfling’s Gem and the first novel of the second trilogy was published, Homeland, that his actual origins and his society was explored.
Drizzt was a ranger and it was partly because of him that I chose to play a ranger character in all of the games of AD&D that I played back in the day. That is, when I could play as a character and not as the DM.
I’m not sure how many novels have been written about Drizzt in the Forgotten Realms world, but those first novels made Drizzt unforgettable and made sure he’d stay in my memory for the rest of my life.
I thought of a series of posts I’d like to put up as being my favourite fantasy characters that I’ve read.
There have been several favourite characters over the years and I have to find one character I like in every novel I read that I like or else that novel will end up in the corner unread. I don’t think I’m alone and it’s one of the most important things in writing: to get characters your readers are going to identify with and like. You can write about an antihero but there was must be something likeable about the antihero otherwise people aren’t going to want to read the novel. It would be like Star Wars being about Emperor Palpatine.
Anyway, the first of my favourite fantasy characters is Sturm Brightblade from Dragonlance. He first made his appearance his Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. This was not the first novel I read about him. There was also a series called Meetings or something like that which detailed the heroes early lives and I encountered Sturm in a book called The Oath and The Measure. I immediately liked him and identified with him. In the novel he was a young man who was trying to get into the Solamnic Knights, an order to which his father had belonged. I read the book around the time I was writing entrance exams and interviews, etc. to get into the high school which my father, my uncle and my cousin had all attended, so it was something of a family tradition. If I’d been living one block over or something ridiculous I would’ve been in the school’s zone and walked in. But because I lived outside of the radius I had to go through all the extras to get in. So while I didn’t have to head off to meet with Lord Wilderness I understood Sturm’s need to want to get in.
I read Dragonlance in a really backward fashion and could get Legends before I could get my hands on Chronicles. Obviously, reading Legends first I found out that Sturm had not survived Chronicles before and it made me question whether I even wanted to read Chronicles. But I couldn’t stop myself and as soon as I could get my hands on it, I devoured the novels. I think I read them about a dozen times.
I was shocked when Sturm died, even though I had expected it and there was a sadness over the whole novel because of it. The funny thing is that I don’t remember reading any of the foreshadowing of his death in the first novel. Reading it again, a few years ago I was surprised by how much foreshadowing there was and I had to admit that Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman had known right from the beginning what was going to happen with Sturm.
Sturm died a hero and revived the order he had been hoping to enter. I know that it sounds really corny but as a teenage boy there are difficult times which everyone goes through and I would often find myself hoping I could be as brave as Sturm.
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have a knack of creating characters I can identify and like and I suspect there will be at least one more of my favourite fantasy characters who will come from their writing. He/She might not be in Dragonlance though.