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Jarlaxle: Who the Hell is he?

This is the page that dares ask the all-important question:

just who the hell is Jarlaxle anyway?

We all (should) know that Jarlaxle is a character in the Drizzt books by R.A. Salvatore. He's pretty cool. You want proof? I dedicated this web page to him!  

Facts about Jarlaxle:

He appears in Book 3 of the Dark Elf trilogy (Sojurn) and all three books of the hastilly dubbed "Oh! No! Drow!" Trilogy (The Legacy, Starless Night, Siege of Darkness) and we reeeeeeally hope he'll turn up in the forthcoming "The Silent Blade". If not, Salvatore will find a not-so-silent blade quivering in his door when he gets up in the morning. Note: I have subsequently learned that Jarlaxle does indeed appear in TSB, and I will update this page with trivial speculation as soon as I have read it. Thanks to all of you who submitted your own thoughts on the identity of Mr J. I hope to get them up shortly.

Other Jarlaxle appearances:

(This is by no means a complete list.)

Jarlaxle is a drow, a "Dark elf", member of a species so evil they make lawyers look good. Jarlaxle is a very untypical drow. He has shaved his head and wears freakishly multicoloured clothing (as opposed to the somber I'm-gonna-kill-you black of his peers).

He has a dozen lethal tricks up his sleeve (and up his pant leg, and hidden in the vast realms of clothing I just mentioned. This, combined with the peculiar magical nature of his apparel AND the fact that Jarlaxle isn't the sort of person you want to cross anyway makes sure he never gets criticized for his dress sense.)

He also wears a big hat with a large feather in it, to annoy people, and he wears an eyepatch over one eye (although he has two perfectly good eyes) which guards him against the psychic powers of people trying to kill him. He switches it from eye to eye, to confuse people.

Jarlaxle is a leader of the biggest mercenary network in Menzoberranzan. He has spies everywhere. Feuding houses hire him and he proceeds to play one off against the other. Jarlaxle always makes a profit. No matter who loses, Jarlaxle always wins. In the chaos of Menzoberranzan (which he helps maintain) Jarlaxle is the one person who escapes unscathed from every encounter.

And no one knows who he is.

He's an excellent swordsman - but he never fights.

He's an excellent knife-thrower. He never misses.

He speaks fluent "surface" language, he speaks the language of hell. He speaks svirfnebli, although with an accent.  


The problem: Is Jarlaxle evil or isn't he?

He should be evil, seeing as he's a drow (drow aren't candystriper type people). But he does some things that are occasionally, well, nice. What gives?

Other interesting facts: the svirfnebli tell Drizzt they learnt the drow language from a dark elf who lived with them once, a long time ago. Jarlaxle speaks to his svirfnebli contacts in their own language, and he speaks it perfectly, but with strange sentance structure that is either drowish or old-fashioned. This seems to indicate that Jarlaxle was the drow the deep gnomes were talking about - except his deep gnome contacts don't know where he learnt svirfnebli. If he is the same drow, what the HELL was he doing living with deep gnomes? If he isn't, how did he learn their language? (It isn't like the good svirfnebli and evil drow converse much. Their conversations are strictly limited to "DIE!" and sometimes "Aren't you dead yet? Oh well. DIE!")

Just so you know I'm not the only one who's totally obsessed: 


on to the subject of this email, J-guy. I picked out a few points to consider when reading The Darkness books.

He is not comfortable at the academy but he did graduate. No one knows his Origins with the possible exception of Yolande Baerne(Matron Baerne). She's about 2000 years old. He speaks perfect svifneblin, but with an sentance structure that is either very old or more like drow. He speaks the language of the lower planes.

He seems really old. No one remembers him at the academy. Maybe he is a displaced god endureing a 5000 year tenure as a dark elf for mischief. Hmmm. He could also be a Baerne, possibly Yolande's brother. Then again she doesn't seem to show any undue familiarity with his origins, she never threatened him. I WANNA KNOW! ARG. Of course, there is always the possiblily Salvatore just said. I know, i'll create a really mysterious character that is nice to Drizzt for no reason. I will then proceed to drive my readers mad. ..HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHaaaaaaaa!

There you have it.  



Theories:
1) Jarlaxle is a half elf. (I mean drow/elf not half elf as in human/elf. Sheesh. It would explain why he shaves his head, why he speaks surface languages and why he's occasionally nice.)

PROBLEM: how come he grew up in Menzoberranzan? And what's with the half elf thing? Oh I guess it's possible, but don't you think a half elf in Menzo would be Hook-Horror Fodder by now?

2) Jarlaxle is Zaknefain's brother. (& therefore Drizzt's uncle.)

PROBLEM: Zak never mentioned having a brother. Matron Baerne fried Zak and reanimated him. Jarlaxle didn't seem too upset about this. OK, so he wiped out the House Do'Urden. I suppose that could be payback. But drow aren't keen on relatives, so why help out Drizzt? OK so Zak wasn't that keen on killing relatives so I guess his bro might feel the same way... Except he didn't like Vierna very much. OK so she was nuts but.......

OK, so this theory has some possibilities. It doesn't explain why Zak would have such a weird brother.

3) Jarlaxle is a member of another religion. You know, the one mentioned in Daughter of the Drow, that I forget... except that it's a male dominated thief religion whose inhabitants live both in the Underdark and on the surface... and some of them are half elf so that ties in with theory #1...

PROBLEM: Salvatore didn't write Daughter of the Drow. Cunningham did. Okay, so the religion sounds like it would be up Jarlaxle's street... except Jarlaxle isn't a religious type of guy. And he admires the chaos Lloth causes. OK so this theory could still work, but there isn't a lot of evidence for it.

4)  Jarlaxle is a god. You know, one of those immortals that pretends to be human and hangs out in the Forgotten Realms annoying people?

PROBLEM: Jarlaxle a god????????????????

I don't think so. His reaction during the Time of Troubles seemed to be a purely mortal one. I mean yeah, he speaks the languages of the lower planes, and yeah, he refers a lot to Lloth in disresoectful terms, almost as though he knew her, but

a)I don't think so

b) I don't THINK so
and
c)I don't theeeeeeenk so!

5) Jarlaxle is Lloth's son.

PROBLEM: see a) b) & c) above.
 



This isn't actually what Jarlaxle looks like. This is Drizzt. For info on drows in general go to Drizzt's Underdark for not-so-serious commentary, go to Katie's Drizzt page  


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Salvatore is currently working on another fantasy series, the DemonWars. You can find more info on the series at the Del Rey Web Site