It’s no secret I’m a sucker for fantasy. My formulative years included reading lots and lots of fantasy. Even now, there’s nothing better than a fabulous fantasy/romance combo. But, back in the day, Terry Brooks and his Shannara series was one of my faves, so when I overheard a television commercial stating MTV was making Shannara into a TV series, I was skeptical. I mean, MTV? I’d only heard of their crappy reality shows and…don’t they make rock videos? Huh. But, BUT the commercial grabbed my attention and looked cool. I couldn’t help my building excitement.
I was not disappointed.
Now, I admit it’s been a long time since I read The Sword of Shannara (the first book in the series), so I don’t remember all the details. Which I think is a good thing. I can’t help but compare book details to shows and I’m usually annoyed by the inconsistencies. The Shannara Chronicles, though, doesn’t start out with book number one (I don’t know why), but that’s okay. Is there magic? Check. Cool world? Yep. Lovely and self-righteous elves, underrated humans, suspicious druids, untrustworthy gnomes, and scary demons. Oh yes. Romance, swords, fighting, betrayal, a quest to save the world from darkness?
Let me introduce you to the players.
Wil is a half-human/half-elf, the last Shannara ancestor and begrudging wielder of the elfstones. He doesn’t believe magic exists and wants to be a healer. Period. Needless to say, he’s dragged off his path by the druid Allanon. Despite being a wee bit too trusting, Wil has a kind heart and can’t turn his back on anyone in need. He doesn’t think he’s hero material, but since he’s the only one who can make the magic of the elfstones work, it’s either become a hero or let demons kill him. Put that way…yeah. He’s got the makings for a humble hero when pushed.
Then there’s Amberle, elven princess. The first female elf to run the Gauntlet (a grueling race run by blindfolded competitors), she’s determined and not afraid of a challenge. Since she was one of the Gauntlet winners, she became a Chosen, a keeper of the Ellcrys. What is the Ellcrys, you ask? Basically, it’s a magical tree that serves as the lock to a demon prison. And it’s dying…which is the whole focus of this story. An escaped demon kills all the Chosen besides Amberle. She’s the last one who can save the Ellcrys, keep the demons contained and save the world from darkness. I love Amberle. She kicks ass, but is still vulnerable. Plus, she showed the boys that they should underestimate girls at their own peril.
Eretria is one of the most interesting characters to me. She’s a Rover, which essentially means she’s a scavenging thief scorned by all the races. She was taken by the Rovers as a child and brought up in their rough world, taught to distrust and use everyone for her own purposes. Her sole purpose is to gain her freedom from her father/captor before he sells her off to the highest bidder. So when she meets gullible Wil…well, let’s just say he was an easy target. But taking advantage of Wil gets her eyebrows deep in the quest to save the world. We get a glimmer of her vulnerability and understand why she can’t give into it. She’s definitely an anti-hero, my favorite kind of character.
From the books, I remember Allanon the druid to be mysterious and everyone was always suspicious of his motives. He’s got some serious magic going on, seems to inspire chaos wherever he goes, and is always sending people off to their imminent doom. I love his straight forward, take no crap attitude. He doesn’t play games and tells people all the things they don’t want to hear. Makes for a lonely, lonely life.
There are a ton more characters I didn’t touch on – too much awesomeness for one post! I think it’s hilarious that Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) from LOTR is the elven king. Snicker.
There’s lots of elven politics going on, demon undermining and gathering for battle, unexpected allies joining together…basically everything you could want in an epic fantasy. We’re a handful of episodes into the Shannara Chronicles, and I’ve loved every minute of it. If you like fantasy and haven’t checked it out – DO!
Have you seen the show? What do you think?