Drizzt - Homeland
Drizzt and Guenhwyvar.
Basic Information
Gender Female[1]
Race Panther

Guenhwyvar was a 600-lb.(272-kg) black panther who resided on the Astral Plane. She was summoned to the Prime Material Plane by the use of an onyx[2] Figurine of Wondrous Power.


This figurine was last in the possession of Drizzt Do'Urden, who treated Guenhwyvar as his Ranger animal companion. She could be summoned to her master's side for up to six hours every other day.[3] When summoned, the figurine emitted a gray mist which quickly solidified into the panther shape.[2] Due to her nature as an astral being not of the Prime Material Plane, she was highly resistant to biological poisons and quite resistant to physical injuries as well.

Forever would Guenhwyvar remember the renegade dark elf, whose heart was so strong and so good and whose loyalty was no less than the panther's own.
  — R.A. Salvatore, Siege of Darkness[1]


Guenhwyvar's figurine was crafted by the finest dwarven craftsman in the Cormanthor region and enchanted by Anders Beltgarden, a 75-year-old human ranger/wizard who lived not far outside Myth Drannor in 253 DR.[4] It was to be a parting gift for Anders' friend, the Bladesinger Josidiah Starym, before Anders died of old age,[5] but Josidiah saw an intelligence in the giant panther's eyes that he felt should not be caged, let alone killed; he thought her body should not be enslaved to magic and a master's command.[6]

The elf's arguments eventually appealed to the ranger in Anders, and he could not go through with the slaying.[7] He let the cat go, only to follow her to a hill where Josidiah was under attack by a trio of giants and several dozen orcs. With the help of the panther and Anders, the monsters were defeated, but the cat was mortally wounded from the battle. The pair rushed her back to Anders' tower in a portable hole and decided to quickly carry out the enchanting ritual to save the panther's life.[8] Anders called the cat "Whiskers," but Josidiah objected to what he considered such a silly name for such a noble creature. Josidiah decided on the high elven word for shadow, "Guenhwyvar." This, he realized, was the panther's true name all along.[9] Anders intended for Guenhwyvar's spirit to become fused with the onyx statuette; the statuette was to transform into the panther when instructed by its owner, like any other such magical item. However, during the final stage of the ritual, the magic of the binding also absorbed that of the extra-dimensional hole Guen was partially lying in, causing a brief rift to the Astral Sea. Therefore, rather than being absorbed by the statuette, Guenhwyvar's spirit was merely bound to the statuette and came to inhabit the Astral Sea. When she was called forth to test the ritual's success, the panther was not a slave like a normal Figurine of Wondrous power would produce, but the same panther, with all of her intelligence intact. Also, the figurine summoned Guen rather than transforming into her as a normal figurine would, making the magic item truly unique.[10]

The legacy dinin

Dinin Do'Urden in drider form as he fights Guenhwyvar on the cover of The Legacy

Josidiah used the figurine after it was gifted to him, but when he returned from his quest in the Underdark, he no longer carried Guenhwyvar's figurine with him.[citation needed]

The figurine's master before Drizzt was Masoj Hun'ett, who mistreated Guenhwyvar. After he killed Masoj, Drizzt took the figurine from his corpse, having established a bond with the summoned animal. After spending some years with Guen as his only companion, Drizzt and Guen became more than just master and servant. They became friends and eventually Guen became a sort of animal companion.[citation needed]

Guenhwyvar's gender and inspiration for the characterEdit

In The Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt Anthology, R.A. Salvatore explained that while writing The Crystal Shard, he was told by TSR that magical items could not have a gender, despite his arguments otherwise. To his "horror," he later discovered after the book was published that some of the more awkward uses of "it" were changed—presumably by a copy editor—to the male pronoun. Salvatore has subsequently responded to hundreds of letters from fans explaining this.[11]

For example, on page 182 of The Crystal Shard (of The Icewind Dale Trilogy Collector's Edition) and page 155 of the first printing of The Crystal Shard trade paperback:

"Guenhwyvar is no demon," Drizzt reassured his large companion. "He is a friend and valuable ally." The cat growled, as if it understood, and Wulfgar took another step away.
  — R.A. Salvatore, The Crystal Shard[12]

Despite these publishing errors, Salvatore explained that Guenhwyvar had always been a "she." Being a fan of Mary Stewart's Arthurian series, he decided to name her "Guenhwyvar" after Guenhwyfar, the Welsh version of the name for Jennifer or Guinevere.[11]



  1. 1.0 1.1 R.A. Salvatore (August 1995). Siege of Darkness (Paperback), p. 67. TSR, IncISBN 1-7869-0164-0.
  2. 2.0 2.1 R.A. Salvatore (July 2003). The Thousand Orcs (Mass Market Paperback), p. 30. Wizards of the CoastISBN 978-0786929801.
  3. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, p. 177. Wizards of the CoastISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  4. Various (December 1995). Realms of Magic, p. 8-31. TSR, IncISBN 0-7869-0303-1.
  5. Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves, p. 37. TSR, IncISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
  6. R.A. Salvatore (February 2011). “Guenhwyvar.” The Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt Anthology (Paperback), p. 101. Wizards of the CoastISBN 978-0-7869-5738-5.
  7. R.A. Salvatore (February 2011). “Guenhwyvar.” The Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt Anthology (Paperback), p. 105–107. Wizards of the CoastISBN 978-0-7869-5738-5.
  8. R.A. Salvatore (February 2011). “Guenhwyvar.” The Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt Anthology (Paperback), p. 108–113. Wizards of the CoastISBN 978-0-7869-5738-5.
  9. R.A. Salvatore (February 2011). “Guenhwyvar.” The Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt Anthology (Paperback), p. 114–115. Wizards of the CoastISBN 978-0-7869-5738-5.
  10. R.A. Salvatore (February 2011). “Guenhwyvar.” The Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt Anthology (Paperback), p. 115–116. Wizards of the CoastISBN 978-0-7869-5738-5.
  11. 11.0 11.1 R.A. Salvatore (February 2011). The Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt Anthology (Paperback), p. 86. Wizards of the CoastISBN 978-0-7869-5738-5.
  12. R.A. Salvatore (January 1988). The Crystal Shard (Paperback), p. 155. TSR, IncISBN 0-88038-535-9.