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Friday, January 13, 2006

R. A. Salvatore interview: What makes a hero

I have never read a book by R. A. Salvatore, author, as I understand it, of what is sometimes known as sword and sorcery fantasy. His latest book is Promise of the Witch-King. However, I heard Tom Fudge, of KPBS radio, interview Salvatore as part of the "These Days" program, on December 28, 2005.

Among other topics, Salvatore described how he learned to love to read, how he tries to write sequels so that readers can read them without having to go back (but so they want to), and the influence of J. R. R. Tolkien on fantasy writing.

I was especially struck by what he said about heroes in fantasy:
"In fantasy traditionally, characters who make the right choices are rewarded, and characters who make the wrong choices are punished . . . A hero isn't the guy with a biggest sword necessarily, it's the guy with the biggest heart . . ." (I'm not sure I heard the last few words correctly, but I'm sure that his point was that heroes are not those who kill the most enemies, but those who make the right choices. I don't always speak, or hear, clearly myself.)

1 comment:

Adam said...

I've read a lot of R.A. Salvatore's work, and I hope to read more soon.

His 'heroic' characters tend to follow that statement pretty well. His most famous hero, a drow (dark) elf named Drizzt Do'Urden, does kill a lot of people, but does so only out of necessity--contrary to his cultural heritage.

I strongly suggest reading the Dark Elf trilogy. The trilogy happens to be followed by nearly a dozen other books, but the original three are a good read, if you have the time. They're pretty quick reads, as well.