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Elminster: The Making of a Mage (Forgotten Realms) Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews


An old wizard with the power to delight youngsters and horrify adults reveals his early beginnings in this strong fantasy, which traces the evolution of a mage's powers. This joins others in the 'Forgotten Realms' series: readers with a prior familiarity will be the best bets for this strong winner. -- Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (December 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786902035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786902033
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

About me...

Thought by some to be an incarnation of one of the Great Old Ones, the being now commonly known as Ed Greenwood fell to earth in the heart of a shooting star on the Night of the Unicorn Moon. Overnight. he grew to bearded manliness, becoming by the end of that month the Canadian fencing-with-saxophones champion and a doctor of strange games played while wearing fishnets, before embarking on potty training (largely completed now), belly dancing training (belly attained, but Ed is still working on the dancing) and the road to greatness that he still hasn't found the first milepost on (perhaps he missed it among all the Yield and Stop signs).

Admired by many for the inspired lunacy of his school projects, he--

Oh. Sorry. The REAL version. Uh-huh.

--Boring bragging commences . . .

Ed Greenwood is an award-winning Canadian writer and game designer. Although most Canadians don't know his name, he has been in the top ten (usually top five) writers of bestselling Canadian fiction writers almost every year of the last two decades.

Ed created the Forgotten Realms® fantasy world for the Dungeons and Dragons game; it has been featured in board, roleplaying, computer and card games, comic books, and a bestselling novel line that has spanned twenty years and hundreds of titles by more than sixty writers, including R.A. Salvatore's famous Drizzt novels. Ed is currently Canada's only judge for the prestigious World Fantasy Awards, and has published over 170 books that have sold millions of copies worldwide in over a dozen languages. He has written three novels already this year, and by the time they are all published this fall, he will have written at least the first drafts of three more. Ed usually writes fantasy, but has also written science fiction, horror, romance, mysteries, song lyrics, poetry, and many, many magazine articles and columns. He even appeared (as himself) in comic books published by DC Comics and by TSR, Inc. Ed's novels regularly climb the New York Times and other major best-seller lists; his 1987 novel Spellfire has sold over three million copies worldwide in various editions, and the Waldenbooks bookstore chain reported that his novel Crown of Fire was its top-selling game-related publication of 1994. His writing has won many awards down the years, and he was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design's Origins Awards Hall of Fame in 2003. Ed has been a guest of honor at more than four dozen conventions all over the world, from Stockholm, Sweden to Melbourne, Australia.

In real life, Ed Greenwood is a large, well-padded, bearded man who is all too often mistaken for Santa Claus. He has worked in public libraries for forty years, and lives in an old farmhouse with more than 80,000 books. When he was younger, he loved exploring caves, fencing with swords, and camping. These days, he much prefers a well-padded fireside armchair where he can curl up and read books about exploring caves, fencing with swords, and camping. Or books about crazies in armor who ride dragons, hurl spells, and seek princesses in castles. Ed has lived for more than a decade in rural Ontario, but was born and raised in Don Mills, now part of Toronto. He comes from a literary family; his mother, Barbara Greenwood, is the author of several popular Canadian children's books, including A Pioneer Story, A Question of Loyalty, and The Kids Book of Canada. Ed's parents together wrote Stand Up! Speak Out! (a book on public speaking for novices), and his uncle W. G. Hardy was a major figure in Canadian literature decades ago, writing such bestsellers as The Unfulfilled, City of Libertines, The Scarlet Mantle, The Bloody Toga, and Alberta: A Bicentennial History.

Ed has been an editor of Dragon Magazine and a columnist for The Campaign Hack (Canada's longest-running gaming magazine), the media magazine Realms, Polyhedron™ Newszine, Cryptych, and several other fantasy and gaming periodicals. Ed is a charter lifetime member of the RPGA (Role Playing Game Association) and a lifetime active member of SFWA (the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America). Ed has been hailed as "the Canadian author of the great American novel" (bestselling fantasy author J. Robert King), "an industry legend" (Dragon Magazine), "one of the greats" (Games Magazine), and "a true genius" (bestselling SF and fantasy author Elaine Cunningham). Bestselling fantasy author Margaret Weis said of him: "Ed Greenwood is a master of fantasy adventure worldbuilding. His magic and wizardry are wondrous to all!"

Bestselling SF and fantasy author and game designer Michael Stackpole said this of Ed: "Creating fantasy requires imagination and a deft but subtle hand, which Ed Greenwood has long showed himself capable of in his creation of the Forgotten Realms world. His skill lies in his ability to make the ordinary magical and in integrating magic and legends so thoroughly in his work. His sense of humor and drama combine in wondrous adventure tales with depth and pacing that make his books single-sitting treasures."

Computer game enthusiasts will find Ed's short story "Moonrise over Myth Drannor" in the Myth Drannor Forgotten Realms computer game from Strategic Simulations, Inc., and his short story "Living Forever" in the Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor computer game from Ubisoft. Ed was one of the writers of the classic Interplay computer game The Two Towers, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Ed's lore has been used in over two dozen computer games, including the best-selling Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights series. Ed cocreated the Mornmist fantasy world (published by Vision Books) with noted fantasy author Lynn Abbey, and is developing more fantasy settings, as well as assisting in the preparation of an on-again-off-again Forgotten Realms television series and movie. Ed has contributed literally hundreds of articles and short stories to dozens of magazines, including Dragon, Dungeon Adventures, Gameplay, Troll, Games Unplugged, Realms, Game Trade, Amberzine, and The Excellent Prismatic Spray. He has written forewords for several books, including the Planet Stories/Paizo Publishing reprint of Gary Gygax's The Samarkand Solution (2008).

Ed also contributes weekly articles to the Wizards of the Coast site ( These include the long-running and now completed Realmswatch, Ed Says, Elminster Speaks, Realmslore, Waterdeep News, and Border Kingdoms columns, the current Eye On The Realms column, and Realms short stories such as "Never a Warpig Born" (2001); "One Comes, Unheralded, To Zirta" (2001); "Wisdom Comes to the Maimed Wizard" (2002); "Ladies Night at the Yawning Portal" (2002); "Only a Woman Can Take This Sort of Abuse" (2003); "The Night Tymora Sneezed" (2004); "The Silverfall Interview" (2005); "A Ghost Of a Chance" (2005); "Far Too Many Thieves" (2005); "Dark Times in Hastarl" (2005); "Revenge among Thieves" (2005); "The Lady of the Mists" (2005); "Every Revel a Masterpiece" (2006); "The Weaver of Dreams" (2007); "Volo Breaks a Hot Tale" (2008); "Night of the Dread Pudding" (2009); "The Rise of Bardic Beauty" (2010). In 2005, the Wizards of the Coast Legendology website published Ed's novelette Oroon Rising in serialized form.

Via one of his players, Ed regularly answers fan questions in the "Chamber of Sages" Candlekeep forums at Those wanting to hang out with Ed, hear his latest news, and buy new fiction by him should head to

-Ed Greenwood, Dec 2013

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By R. Reinhart on February 25, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While I was reading the reviews for this book. The few one-star reviewers made NO SENSE. Calling Elminster a wuss. Excuse me he is only a kid. Actually pretty strong kid after seeing his parents murdered right in front of his eyes. Then they say there is nudity. I have read about nudity in some of Lackey's books and this is G-rated. I love the progression of the book just like in a PC generated D&D game which divided up each part of the book While I read the book I saw no typos and Greenwood did a great story. The fact is that there was not enough history and not to much. But I look forward to the rest of the series with great excitement. The only critical thing I have to say about the series is the fact that the order of the books are kinda of confusing. I will list what I think is the correct order:
1. Elminster: The Making of the Mage.
2. Elminster in Myth Drannor
3. The Temptation of Elminster
4. Elminster in Hell
5. Upcoming Elminster's Daughter.
I hope everyone will enjoy this great series.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 10, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read hundreds of science fiction and fantasy books along with hundreds of non fiction books -- included were dozens of D&D titles -- prior to this one.
Given the one-star reviews, I only bought this one book in the Elminster series -- usually, I buy all the books in a series -- but, the one-star reviews made me cautious.
This was a good read -- basically I went straight through over two days.
I think the one-star reviewers had an axe-to-grind. For example, nudity was "mentioned" in the book, but it was very non-graphic, and in good taste -- it fit the story line -- no basis for complaint, in my opinion. For example, lovemaking was alluded to in the book, but it was completely non-explicit and non-"sexy" -- it also fit the story -- no basis for complaint in my opinion.
I agree that the other reviewers are entitled to a different opinion as to what constitutes an enjoyable read. But, having read the book, the comments seemed a bit much, considering the actual verbiage in the book. The negative comments misinformed me.
I was very satisfied with the book, and will buy more by the same author.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Scott on February 8, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was a great story about a small boy growing to be one of the most formidable mages in the realm of Faerun. You get to see how he goes from one stage of his life to the next, trying to find his way, all the while having an overriding goal driving him.

You are given very good insight into the devlopment of Elminster and where he comes from. The story begins when he is a young lad. His world is shattered and he is thrust into the world with very little knowledge of who he is and his potential. His journey takes him in various directions, not always towards the way of magic, which you know is where he eventually winds up, but every step of the way has a purpose and meaning to him. Elminster learns what he is, and more importantly, what he is not.

The one drawback to the book is the lack of development of all the other characters in the book. This happens mainly because there are so many of them. Unsually in Forgotten Realm novels, there is a great deal of develpment of all the main characters, good and evil. In this book, Elminster's travels introduce him to all sorts of peoples and unless the author wanted the book to be roughly 1,000 pages long (or an entire trilogy), there just wasn't enough space to delve into all the players. This is somewhat discouraging because the foes of this book had huge potential. They could very easily have ranked up there with Matron Malice (from Drizzt's 2nd trilogy) if they had been explored to some extent.

Besides allowing a full exploration of the main character, the lack of development of other characters allowed the book to be very fast paced. Very few times did the book get bogged down in mundane details. At one point in the book Elminster is given the task of finding an ancient artifact.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By on November 5, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ed Greenwood did a great job with Elminster: The Making of a Mage. If you've read other books with the masterful Elminster in it, you will be pleasantly surprised when reading how his stupendous mage powers came about. The book is full of magic and intrigue, so you're kept interested throughout the book and even wanting more. For those of you who haven't read any of the Forgotten Realms series, you will still find a great read from this book. Elminster is a commanding mage who is centuries old. He is well respected by all in the Realm, including those that oppose him. Finding out why and how he became the mage that he is now will leave you enlightened and full of awe at the wisdom and character of Elminster.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By StarPilot057 on August 26, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In crafting the tale of the early years of Elminster, a powerful mage, Ed Greenwood has not consistently matched his protagonist's abilities with his circumstances. While Elminster is thrust into many situations of hardship and danger, he consistently utilizes a combination of luck, inherent power, and reliance on others to proceed through the story, avoiding the need to enrich the character development of this overly-fortunate mage. Greenwood's world-building skills are superb, as could be expected of the creator of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. The various locations Elminster explores each have their own distinct feel to them, embodying not only their physical presences, but the lives and feelings of their inhabitants. From the secluded elven forests to the oppressed town of Hastarl, you never lose the important connection with Elminster's location that sets the mood in each section of the story. Unfortunately, a number of factors cause character development to suffer, in relation to the potential for interesting and diverse interactions. The primary flaw in this area is generated by Elminster's constant wanderings, continually severing the connections with the supporting characters the reader is just beginning to come to know. While locales are described so potently that even a brief visit is a boldly shocking chance of pace, characters need time to change, to grow, and to learn throughout the course of the story. By periodically abandoning each set of characters, as if they were an unchanging part of the scenery in a particular part of the realm, Greenwood flattens them into unchanging figures, each with only a few patterns of interaction evident in the novel.Read more ›
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