R.A. Salvatore‘s first published novel, The Crystal Shard, exploded onto the book scene in 1988 and cemented his name as one of today’s greatest fantasy authors. His first trilogy, set in the Dungeons & Dragons‘s Forgotten Realms, was such a huge hit that he was signed to write both prequels and sequels in the years following. Now, after more than twenty years and over twenty New York Times bestsellers, he continues to excite and amaze his readers with his heroic tales in his latest book, Neverwinter: Neverwinter Saga, Book II.
His most popular character, Drizzt Do’Urden, has been featured in more than two dozen books with no real ending in sight. A Drow Elf ranger is probably not the first choice most people would have picked to write about, but Salvatore did just that. I recently had the chance to sit down the author to talk about various topics, but one subject we touched upon was Drizzt and his weapon of choice, the scimitar. See here below an excerpt for our interview where Salvatore reveals why Drizzt carries scimitars.
Salvatore’s writings touch not just on the typical fantasy-styled stories, but also on diversity and racial discrimination. His approach of embedding the morals into an entertaining story, rather than broadcasting them in a preachy way, remind me of a traveling bard, a minstrel of yesteryear, if you will. I always finish his books eager for more but even more than that, I leave feeling like I learned something. I mean sure, there are dragons and swords and magic, but in the end all fiction boils down to escapism. And if you feel like you were part of the story and maybe even learned a life lesson…well, that is the sign of a great author.
Probably the most notorious thing Salvatore is known for is the death of certain beloved Star Wars character in the book Vector Prime. Not that he wrote that lightly, but when George Lucas himself says do it…you do it. Add to all that his video game work, his graphic novel adaptations, more original comic book writings and a multitude of short stories and you get one hell of an awesome writer. I was the envy of many friends when I announced that I was getting to interview R.A. Salvatore, it’s a burden I was definitely happy to carry. But throughout all the initial prep for the interview, one question kept creeping into my mind…of all the weapons in the known universe, why does Drizzt carry scimitars? They always evoked a sense of Middle Eastern flavor when I thought of them. Why would a dark elf use such odd weapons? So of course I asked him…
Geeks of Doom: I’m curious, why does Drizzt use scimitars?
R.A. Salvatore: Because I grew up playing hockey! [Laughter] No, the real reason is because the two traits of a fighter, whatever type of fighting you’re doing whether it’s boxing or sword fighting or whatever, you will tend to lean toward the power puncher or the finesse fighter. Drizzt is a finesse fighter because he’s an Elf, and a Drow Elf on top of it all. I want him to be doing some things that are over the top. Drizzt will get into a sword fight with someone and he’ll do a full spin. You’d never do that in a sword fight, you’ll get a sword between the [shoulder] blades. He’s quick enough he can do it. And if you think of that kind of fluidity that I was going for from the very beginning, the curved blades only add to that circular motion effect. That’s why I chose them.
R.A. Salvatore’s Neverwinter: Neverwinter Saga, Book II is available now in hardcover and Kindle. We’ll have more from my interview with the author real soon.