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Elric and Drizzt

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  • Elric and Drizzt

    Over at the Wizards of the Coast boards, someone suggested that R. A. Salvator's Drizzt Do'Urden is a "rip off" of Elric. They come from an evil, corrupt society, and don't fit in.

    This person described them both as "good and noble". I'm not sure if that's the phrase I'd use for Elric though.

    I'm not too familiar with Drizzt, but has anyone seen any connections here?

  • #2
    Isn't Drizzt and his people dark elves? ( I need to read up on this).
    [/i]

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    • #3
      I think Wizards is primarily a marketing operation.
      Elric has never really been a marketing operation and I wouldn't
      really want him to be. There are different principles in play.
      You also have to remember that certain writers like Leigh Brackett inspired me to come up with Elric. This is an ongoing process. All I object to are straight lifts of my stuff.

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      • #4
        To TheAdlerian

        You're looking at them in the wrong way... (No, I don't mean read them upside down or back to front!) :lol:

        Your average, stand-alone author, in addition to the story and the characters, has also got to create something of a setting for the story and characters to fit into. This, to some degree, takes a little bit of world-building, if only the bare minimum amount. Some authors go to great degrees to do this, to make their world intricately detailed, while others focus mainly on the immediate parts of the world the novel is focussed upon and allow for a great deal of reader-imagination to do the detail work.

        Your shared-universe game-based novellist, like in this example the Forgotten Realms, takes a naturally different route. The assumption is that the reader is at least vaguely familiar with the majority of the setting as described in all the other publications based around that game setting. I'm sure you're aware that the FR setting is very large and very detailed what with the vast array of published material TSR/WOTC have spun out over the years.

        The depth comes from the familiarity with the setting that the main intended reader would be expected to have, the knowledge of things that are explained in greater detail elsewhere which do not really need to be detailed in the novels- the campaign world and the expectations of what can and cannot be done in accordancewith the game rules. While enough 'explanation' is provided to give 'outside' readers a fun read (hopefully) the dedicated FR enthusiast will more than likely get more out of it than someone like yourself reading it just for fun, to see what it's like, because of that knowledge.

        The books themselves can't usually be too 'epic' as they are there to support, and not define, the setting. The epic changes derive from the game publications themselves, be it via a special campaign designed to introduce the 'faithful' to the changes a la the FR Avatar Crisis of yesteryear, or the more recent GW worldwide campaigns like their Storm of Chaos or Ichar V campaigns where the players' game results from across the world were incorporated into the setting's evolution. While the novels are part of the setting, the main development will always be focussed on the game aspect which the novels are there to support.

        The stand-alone novellist has to address such things on his own, by and large, without the armies of staff said games companies employ.

        Drizzt himself, apparently, was conceived in the five minutes or so before Bob Salvatore went into a meeting with TSR's bigwigs to discuss the possibilities of Bob writing for them. His direct source would have been the basic, as then rather undefined, D&D Dark Elf race (which, yes, likely owed a debt or two to the Melnibonأ©ans).

        Based on how I understand the FR elven heritage (and I'm by no means an authority) the Dark Elves there are a racial group, the equivalent of human dark-skinned people (feel free to substitute the appropriate Politically Correct reference if you so desire), who were subverted to evil by Lloth/Lolth, the Dark Goddess of the FR elven pantheon. He's black not in opposition to Elric, but because Dark Elves in FR are black- otherwise he wouldn't be a Dark Elf.

        Originally Drizzt was to be a sidekick-type character to Bob Salvatore's Wulfgar character in the Icewind Dale series, but the readers liked Drizzt far more and wanted more Drizzt, and so further installments and developments were centred around Drizzt and the Dark Elves of Menzoberranzan, leading to the illicit love affair many FR players have with those dark-skinned denizens of the Underdark.

        As to why the readers loved Drizzt more- I'd say that Mr M and Elric inspired the fans, who prompted Bob S to develop Drizzt more. Mr M and Elric did have an influence on Drizzt but not in a rip-off sort of sense, IMHO.

        Now Malus Darkblade of GW fame, on the other hand... :twisted:

        EDIT- looks like those two posted while I was still typing... Darn these long winded rantings!!!

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        • #5
          Neato. I had forgotten about Drizzt. I remember my buddy loaning me The Crystal Shard in 6th grade, and Drizzt became my favorite character. I didn't get the tip on MM till I hit high school, and then Elric became my favorite. I think maybe the order was appropriate.

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          • #6
            First I ain't used to making long posts, and I could use some practice in getting a point across with a tad more clarity... :?

            I wasn't saying that you said Drizzt was a rip-off of Elric so much as I was generally saying that Drizzt isn't a rip-off of Elric. I'll certainly agree that a degree of hat-tippage should be accorded in certain aspects, inasmuch that early Dark Elves owe their existence to Melnibonأ©ans, but were that to happen it wouldn't just the author who'd be required to adjust their headgear. But then the early influence of Mr M upon the gaming world is a given nowadays, which we all know and which is discussed better elsewhere around these parts. :)

            I'l have to have a re-read of these, as I donn't remember there being any discoloration for Drizzt, but I'm due a re-read anyway since it's so long since I read them and I haven't touched the last few books in that series yet- the tightwad in me is waiting for the PB release of the last few. :lol:

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            • #7
              Now Malus Darkblade of GW fame, on the other hand...
              Malus as a character has none of the redeeming qualities of either Elric or Drizzt, being completely dishonorable, self-serving and scheming. He becomes an outcast not because he disagrees with his people, quite the contrary he embodies their worst qualities to the point that his behavior is deemed unacceptable. He does not carry around an uber-sword, HE is the one possessed by a demon... who does not 'help' him in the very least. He is the bastard son of a petty noble and a Khainite priestess, not a prince. The only way in which he manages to become Chief Warlord of Hag Graef is when the former ruler is assasinated by his own would-be heir, who Malus then bests in a duel. He is physically very strong for an elf, is a warrior who knows little of magic and greatly distrusts sorcery in general. So while it is obvious Dan Abnett drew inspiration from Michael's work I'd say Drizzt's personality is far more like Elric's than Malus' is...

              Comment


              • #8
                Still fairly derivative however. This type of stuff tends to be commissioned - nothing wrong with that, and you can get some good commissioned writers who can tell a good story, but as with everything else 'mass market' don't expect anything too original.

                These sort of novelisations are products in and of themselves - novelisations appeal to the gamers to flesh out the game world and provide a bit of background.

                Dan Abnett I believe did a graphic novel for 2000AD, based on the Durham Red character. The Scarlet Cantos I believe it was called. Had some pretty damn good artwork.
                Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you look far back enough and are as well versed in mythology as I am, you'lle find that pretty much EVERYTHING has been done before...the 'Hero Of A Thousand Faces'...or in Malus' case the Antihero. In actuality Malus is a far more moraly ambiguous character than Elric is. Elric can actually be called 'noble' despite some of the decidedly evil things he is forced to do. Malus on the other hand has no such moral qualms or concerns, much like Yyrkoon. Except that he's quite sane, hates magic and doesn't have the hots for his own sister ...

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                  • #10
                    If you look far back enough and are as well versed in mythology as I am, you'lle find that pretty much EVERYTHING has been done before...the 'Hero Of A Thousand Faces'...or in Malus' case the Antihero.
                    We did a lot of that in my literature class at uni - those theories by Propp (and another guy who's name escapes me) who asserts that there are only 7 types of stories, or spheres of action I think he called them. George Lucas apparently sources Joseph Campbell as one of his primary sources for developing Star Wars. There's also that post modernist argument that everything has been done before, and so you can only pastiche and tell old stories in new ways.

                    I've never really been comfortable with those arguments - the fact that so much current literature is derivative does not necessarily mean that someone can't come up with something at least half original (its depressing to think otherwise).

                    Certainly it is depressing to think that human experience has surpassed the literary form. Post-modernism is fashionable these days - but I like to think that we're not forever doomed to be stuck with staid and derivative fiction.

                    Publishing is big business - Any writer who enjoys writing for writing's sake will know how difficult it is to get recognised and have a first novel published. It can take years, you have to do a dozen rewrites, and keep bouncing back from each and every rejection. It can sure take a toll on your motivation.

                    Most of the books that are published are commissioned works- this is most evident in film novelisations and in what we are talking about - background novels to wargaming. Someone will say "there's a new movie coming out next year, here's the screenplay - we'll pay you to turn it into a novel". And so 'Joe' Alan Dean Foster will go away and come back with something they can put on the shelves when the movie comes out. Terry Brooks is also a stinker for that - I wrote on another thread that he began his career with a less than subtle ripoff of LOTR.

                    I'm not saying that these books are necessarily unenjoyable, just that I'm cynical of the wholesale fiction which is commissioned, and churned out by publishing industry to fill a demand in the market. Not to say that there are no good commercial writers, or that none of this material has literary value.

                    In the end of course it comes down to what people find entertaining, and what their appetites are - for fine wine, or coca cola.

                    For my sins - the literary studies I did have largely been responsible for ruining my enjoyment of everything I have ever read or seen since. Not that I didn't find them interesting at the time - but sometimes I think people see things in stories that aren't necessarily there. Take LOTR for instance, largely derided as literature, and referred to by my literature lecturer as 'communist propaganda'. There's a theory out there that Tolkien's LOTR were allegories for both world wars, the industrial revolution and nuclear proliferation. Even though Tolkien himself is on record as saying that there is no allegory in LOTR. Now assuming Tolkien knew what he was doing when he was writing the book - why shouldn't we take him at his word?

                    Sometimes a chair is just a chair...
                    Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                    Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Malus as a character has none of the redeeming qualities of either Elric or Drizzt... ...Drizzt's personality is far more like Elric's than Malus' is...
                      Ermm...

                      Dust thou's greater degree'eth of versement in mythology enable thou to recogniseth a joketh? While I'm glad it prompted a few more comments and a shifting of the conversation, I think it might have been taken too literally... :?

                      Ahhh, whatever... :lol: It's all good.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just wanted to say that I didn't think that Drizzt necessarily was a ripoff of Elric. Just curious if anyone has noticed some connections.

                        As for their being only seven stories... is the human condition that limited? (This is not a rhetorical question, I'd like to know!)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If there's only seven stories, then I've wasted a shedload of money on redundant books over the years!!! 8O :lol: :lol: :lol:

                          There's always the possibility that whoever it is way back when who said that was just spouting a whole load of mumbo-jumbo which sounds impressive to people inclined to listen, but which amounts to little, just to get his name in his field's latest textbook/reference work. Then again, I've never heared of the dude, so take that for what it's worth... Although it does spring to mind mid-rant that one of those ancient Greek philosophers said something about that- Plato, or one of his ilk. I could be wrong, and probably am... I have heared of the theory somewhere, just not of the originator. He can't be that famous I guess! Hee hee :lol:

                          It all depends on whether you're the type to dramatically examine, surgically dissect, and nitpickingly pour over every little word in your chosen latest read, or whether you're the type to pick up a book and enjoy it for what it is. To follow devilchicken's example, I like LOTR and I like the Shanarra series- it is so blatently obvious where Mr Brooks got his inspiration from, and while my opinion of The Sword of Shanarra drops a peg, I don't hate it because of that. I hate Dave Eddings' work, but at least he just steals from hmself! :lol: The same applies to films and almost everything else out there. If the academic analysis of every little thing is what gets you off, then it's all good- no personal criticisms here.

                          Glaringly obvious theft deserves pointing out and the guilty party should be ridiculed beyond all standards of taste and common decency, but the way I look at it if you're gonna criticise any and every similarity for the sake of being able to comment on every and any similarity, or for the sake of attempting to impress people by being able to do so, then you're a bit sad... But that's just my take. I'm the last person to say that that's the only correct way to look at it. Hell, I often find myself spotting this sort of stuff when I'm reading, or watching telly, or films, or whatever, and for a while when I was younger, and thought myself cool and smart because of it, but then I told myself to grow up... :oops: :D

                          Games Workshop, of course, are the obvious exception, as they have proven themselves to be down-and-dirty theives over the years, and deserve every criticism they find heaped upon them, even if it's not entirely warrented! All in a fun way, of course... Everyone needs a hobby!!! 8)

                          Whatever the theory behind the 'seven stories' idea, they themselves can be boiled down to one single story premise/idea/pattern- something happens to something, somewhere, sometime, for some reason, in some way, with some eventual result. Maybe I should get that published? :roll: It's gotta be worth something, right? Hey! No theiving it!! It's mine!!!

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                          • #14
                            i once heard that every song is a love song.
                            i suppose the same could be said about stories, if one were to think about it?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I like LOTR and I like the Shanarra series- it is so blatently obvious where Mr Brooks got his inspiration from, and while my opinion of The Sword of Shanarra drops a peg, I don't hate it because of that.
                              If you make an almost carbon copy of a very well known book, rename the locations and characters and still call it your own - what's not to hate? There's a little more than 'influence' there - you don't need to dissect the book to smell a turd.

                              Frodo by any other name just isn't the same...

                              TB is a bit of a bugbear for me - because he began his career with an out and out rip-off, and owes his success to someone else's hard graft as opposed to his own talent. Not to disparage his subsequent works as I've not read them - who know's I might enjoy them. Perhaps I should give him a second look... but then again my own tastes are a little discerning.

                              I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with being somewhat discriminating over what books we choose to read, or what movies we watch. After all, we make those decisions everyday. In fact its difficult to watch a movie or read a book without having some sort of opinion on it. It purely comes down to what you find entertaining - again a matter of personal preference.
                              Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                              Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                              Comment

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