Categorized | Authors, Interviews

Elminster Must Die, an interview with Ed Greenwood

Posted on August 10, 2010 by Matt-M-McElroy

Elminster Returns!

Elminster Must Die is the debut 4th edition appearance of one of the Forgotten Realms world’s most iconic characters, written by the creator of the original Forgotten Realms campaign setting. An instant classic, and a must-read for every Realms fan.

When the goddess of magic was murdered, Elminster’s world shattered. Once the most powerful wizard in the world, immortal, beloved of the goddess of magic, and the bane of villainy, he is now a tired old man. He is powerful but mortal, and with all the enemies a man who makes a habit of saving the world tends to accumulate. To make matters worse, Elminster has needs—feeding powerful magic items to the Simbul, his lover, is the only thing that keeps her sane—but their increasingly risky collection leads his enemies right to him.

Flames Rising is pleased to present a new interview with Elminster Must Die author Ed Greenwood.

How important is this story to the timeline within the Forgotten Realms?

    Very, and not at all.

    “Not at all” in that it starts in the spring of the Year of the Ageless One and doesn’t advance the timeline much, taking place over not all that many consecutive days, and largely (but not entirely!) in one place (Suzail) in one realm (Cormyr).

    “Very” in that it shows the reader what life in Suzail at this time is like, particularly in Court circles and within the Royal Palace, but also in taverns and clubs where largely-unclad dancers undulate on stages for audiences of social standing high and low, and in stinking, refuse-strewn alleyways where laws are seldom respected.

    In short, it brings the “new Realms” of the 4th edition Realms to life for the reader interested in Cormyr, and shows us what has changed – and how little has really changed.

    It reintroduces us to at least seven major characters of the Realms, familiar to readers from the 3rd edition Realms sourcebooks and novels, and updates us on what’s happened to them. It also mentions in passing something of the fates of many other places and people Realms fans already know.

    Have you had the chance to play the 4th edition Forgotten Realms RPG?

      Yes, and loved it. My first opportunity was with an excellent Dungeon Master at D&D Experience two years back, at the Living Forgotten Realms® launch. It was fresh and fun.

      Since then, only sporadically, because my players and I are just too busy and too farflung around the world to get together for play sessions often (and we hardly use rules at all, after thirty-some years; it’s all roleplaying and freeform storytelling).

      I design for 4th edition more than I actually get to play it, but that’s something a lot of game designers have to wrestle with.

      What was the biggest challenge in writing this particular book?

        My usual big challenge: cramming all I wanted to put into the book into the wordcount limit I had to abide by. Which is why things get faster and faster towards the end of the novel, as I started to rush and chop and try not to leave out anything important. When I plot books, I always think I can do scenes in fewer words than they really need. I’m still learning, after 130-plus books . . .

        What do you think Elminster Must Die will mean to your readers?

          This novel will show everyone that the Realms is alive and well, that its underlying “grand stories” are still unfolding, and that Elminster is old and very weak and mortal, but not quite ready to lie down and die yet . . . but that lots of people would like to help him do just that, right now!

          Elminster Must Die will mean to readers that there are plenty of vivid stories to tell yet in the Realms, and that I’m plunging right into the heart of one of them. Come along for the ride! I’m not superb in the saddle, mind you – so there’ll be some excitement, all right!

          Do you have a message you’d like to share for your fans?

            Sure! The Realms is vivid and rich and wide, not a fading or (ahem) “forgotten” thing. I still have plenty of stories I want to tell in this world I love, and it still holds a lot of secrets – including some that have been there since at least 1986, that just haven’t risen into view yet! Elaine’s working on a new book! Bob’s working on new books! Paul Kemp is, and – no, can’t tell you about that just now! Stick around, you haven’t seen nothing yet!

            Ed Greenwood – August, 2010

            Elminster Must Die is now available at

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            2 Responses to “Elminster Must Die, an interview with Ed Greenwood”

            1. Erik de Bie says:

              Great interview, Flames! Thanks for supporting our favorite literary world. 🙂


            2. Dakota says:

              Let me just say in a nut shell, I’m not the biggest Ed Green fan…Not saying he’s not a brilliant writer and USED to be one of my favorites…I could go into the fact that the first four or even five if you want to count elimester in hell…they were my bible. He hit the note with them, but now he’s digging up an old character…and don’t get me WRONG, I LOVE THE IDEA. i want elimester back so bad i’d kill haha. But Ed has just lost it…in this new book elimester doesnt seem like the same guy…even if he has changed. It’s just not the same, coming from one of elimester’s bigest fans….sorry.

              Sorry for all the mispelled stuff, i’m in a hurry.

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