Appearance[ edit ] Elminster appears as a gray-bearded man of weathered visage, with a hawk-like nose and alert, dancing eyes. He speaks in a gruff tone and generally wears nondescript attire. He is almost always smoking a meerschaum pipe that spouts vile-smelling blue or green smoke. He can, however, be imperious, grave, and terrible. Furthermore, he is a natural storyteller and a consummate actor. He rarely reveals the full extent of his true nature to anyone who is not an extremely close friend.
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Seriously, either Ed Greenwood has way too much time on his hands, or people will simply read anything. Personally I think it is the second answer since Greenwood can pretty much get away with writing rubbish. This particular novel was very bad and very boring.
Ed Greenwood was initially a writer for TSR, the company that developed and marketed the first ever roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons. I actually quite liked the world of the Forgotten Realms. While it did lack in realism in parts I still found it quite well constructed. It is still a very popular game world and does form the backbone of many of the Dungeons and Dragons products that are released today.
Greyhawk tended to be more medieval where as The Realms had a much more Renaissance feel to it. However there were a few things that did annoy me. First of all there was a very strong distinction between good and evil. The kingdoms ruled by a good king such as Cormyr were good and the king was good.
He would treat his subjects well and despite the land being ruled by a monarchy, people enjoyed freedom particularly merchants. Some have critised other authors for being too idealistic in the worlds, however not much criticism has been levelled against Dungeons and Dragons products for similar things. As for evil, they are truly evil, but I have never viewed the world as ever being black and white.
Just because somebody lives in a nice apartment with all of the Mod-cons does not necessarily mean that they are civilised, and just because they live in a mud hut beside a river in a jungle and survive off the produce of the land does not necessarily mean they are barbaric. The other aspect I do not like is Elminster, pure and simple. If I could give one word as to why I do not like him it is this: Gandalf.
Seriously, it is very, very clear that Elminster has been modelled on Gandalf. In fact, as we explore the world of the Forgotten Realms we discovered that there is a circle of powerful mages that seem to be a direct copy of the Istari of Middle Earth.
The difference is that the Istari are not wizards simply because they are not human. They are spiritual beings that have been sent to Middle Earth as helpers for the people living there. In a way they are a bulwark against the power of Sauron. There is no Sauron in the Forgotten Realms, but there are these wonderfully powerful and fantastic, almost immortal, wizards that live there. I sort of did like it, but in a way, I never liked Elminster. Elminster lives in a region called the Dalelands, a forested region of the Forgotten Realms made up of a collection of farming communities in large clearings known as The Dales.
There is no connection between them, and in a way they are all independent communities there is no concept of democracy or a republic in the Forgotten Realms, which is very disappointing since Republics have been in existence for a very long time — in fact I have never seen the word republic used in conjuction with the Forgotten Realms, despite it having been a part of our vocabulary, since at least Plato.
However, I hated Elminster so much that I created a Daleland called Darkdale that existed in a cavern underneath Shadowdale where Elminster lives and made it a complete opposite of Shadowdale, right down to the powerful, evil, undead sorcerer that lived there. Needless to say, Greenwood never actually took my idea up.
Elminster: The Making of a Mage