From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the fantasy universe. For the PC game, see Shannara (video game). For the original book trilogy, see Original Shannara Trilogy.

Shannara /ˈʃænərə/ is a series of high fantasy[1] novels written by Terry Brooks, beginning with The Sword of Shannara in 1977 and continuing through Witch Wraith which was released in July 2013; there is also a prequel, First King of Shannara. The series blends magic and primitive technology and is set in the Four Lands, which are identified as Earth long after civilization was destroyed in a chemical and nuclear holocaust called the Great Wars. By the time of the prequel First King of Shannara, the world had reverted to a pre-industrial state and magic had re-emerged to supplement science. In the later novels, science becomes more advanced.[not verified in body]


The Shannara series is set in a fictional world called the Four Lands. The Genesis of Shannara trilogy reveals the Four Lands to be located in the modern Pacific Northwest region of the United States and Canada. Much of the landscape has been changed by a future holocaust, but some landmarks remain. For example, the Columbia River still exists.[2]

Each land is named after the compass point it faces: the Northland, the Southland, the Eastland, and the Westland.

Maps of the Four Lands (in French):


  • King of the Silver River[3]
  • Skull Bearers were Druids once upon a time, but they were subverted by the Ildatch along with Brona, who would later become the Warlock Lord. They "sacrificed their humanity"[4] to become "winged black destroyers";[4] but in doing this, they tied themselves to their master, the Warlock Lord, and became his "dread minion[s]".[5] Reviewers and critics had mixed opinions on the Skull Bearers. Praise for them came from Frank Herbert, the author of Dune, who also liked all of the "monsters" in The Sword of Shannara. He said that "[Terry] Brooks creates distillations of horror that hark back to childhood's shadows, when the most important thing about a fearful creature was that you didn't know its exact shape and intent. You only knew that it wanted you. The black-winged skull bearer, for instance, is more than a euphemism for death."[6] Tom Shippey wasn't so positive, as he thought that the Skull Bearers were very familiar to those who had read The Lord of the Rings: he found that the Skull Bearers were "analogues" for the Nazgûl.[7]
  • Demons is a common name for many different creatures.[8] novels by Terry Brooks.
  • The Dagda Mor is the antagonist of the series[8] novel The Elfstones of Shannara, by Terry Brooks. He is the most powerful Demon that is locked inside the Forbidding. As such, he is their leader[9]—most of the others obey him out of fear, with a few notable exceptions, such as the Reaper.[citation needed] He channels his magic through his "Staff of Power".[9]
  • The Changeling could mimic the appearance of any living thing.[9] Though he "had been denied the full use of his powers [while in the Forbidding]",[10] he was one of two Demons Dagda Mor brought out of the Forbidding to help him; this was due to how "the possibilities were endless. All things, whether human or animal, fish or fowl, no matter their size, shape, color or abilities — he could be any of them."[10]
  • The Reaper was known for its killing. Unlike almost all of the Demons that were trapped behind the Forbidding, the Reaper served Dagda Mor "out of whim and not out of fear or respect."[11][non-primary source needed]
  • Allanon is a described as Brooks' "most enigmatic character",[12] Allanon is very secretive and appears only when needed. He is never completely honest, telling many white lies or half-truths, and informs others with information only if it includes possible risks, if the information is crucial to the task at hand or if the situation calls for it.[13] Allanon often called on the aid of the Ohmsford family in the novels, as they are descendants of Jerle Shannara and therefore the only ones who can use the Sword of Shannara. He called upon Shea Ohmsford in The Sword of Shannara, Wil Ohmsford in The Elfstones of Shannara and Brin and Jair Ohmsford in The Wishsong of Shannara.[citation needed]
  • The Druids are an order of historians, philosophers, magic-users, teachers and researchers.[14] Druid Magic, like most of the magic that originates in the Four Lands, is elemental. It draws from the earth, air, fire and water in various forms. Its power is enhanced or weakened by the strength of the user. Some users would find more success with talismans like the Sword or the Elfstones than others, as we've seen in the books. Sometimes the magic of a talisman or an external source links with the magic innate in a user, causing various results. Unlike science, magic is uncertain, and the results of its application are not alway predictable.[15]
  • Shea Ohmsford is the protagonist of the Sword of Shannara.[16] In the universe, he is the last known person with the blood of Jerle Shannara, making him the only one who can wield the powerful Sword of Shannara to vanquish the Warlock Lord.[17] A major theme of The Sword of Shannara revolves around Shea. Part of his quest, in addition to killing the Warlock Lord, includes finding a belief in himself, so that he will have confidence to go on.[18] This is a search that every subsequent Brooks protagonist must undergo.[18] Scholar Tom Shippey believed that Shea was too familiar to those who had read The Lord of the Rings: he found that Shea and Flick were "analogues" for the hobbits of Tolkien's stories.[7] Terry Brooks stated in his autobiography that "[his] protagonists [Shea and Flick] are cut from the same bolt of cloth as Bilbo and Frodo Baggins."[19]
  • Garet Jax is known as the "Weapons Master"[20] Garet first appears when he rescues Jair Ohmsford from a band of nine Gnome Hunters, defeating eight of them single-handedly—he killed six, knocked out their leader, and one fled. The ninth, Slanter, doesn't even attempt to fight, saying that he was only working with them because he had to, and he has heard stories about the fighting prowess of Garet. Terry Brooks expressed his desire in the beginning of Dark Wraith to further explore the relationship between Jair and Garet Jax.[21]

Chronological list of novels[edit]

These sections list the book series in the order as their events occur within the universe of Shannara, as opposed to their actual chronology of publication (which began with the original trilogy, not word & void) which is listed by year of publication at Terry Brooks#Shannara series.

Word & Void[edit]

The Word & Void series (also called 'The Word and The Void') focuses on John Ross and Nest Freemark, forced acquaintances who use magic given to them from the Word to prevent mankind from being overcome by the demonic forces of the Void. The trilogy consists of Running with the Demon, A Knight of the Word, and Angel Fire East and is predominantly set in present-day Illinois. It follows Nest Freemark, a girl with magical abilities who has no known relationship to any Shannara character. Before the publication of Armageddon's Children it was unclear whether this trilogy existed within the Shannara universe. It has since been revealed as the "ultimate prequel" to the Shannara novels.[22][23]

The Genesis of Shannara[edit]

The Genesis of Shannara series consists of Armageddon's Children, The Elves of Cintra and The Gypsy Morph. The first book, Armageddon's Children, was released by Del Rey Books on August 29, 2006 in the United States and by Orbit Books on September 7, 2006 in the United Kingdom.[citation needed] They cover events during The Great Wars, which are alluded to often in the Shannara series.

Legends of Shannara[edit]

The Legends of Shannara series consists of Bearers of the Black Staff and The Measure of the Magic.

First King of Shannara[edit]

This is the prequel to the Original Shannara Trilogy.[citation needed]

Original Shannara Trilogy[edit]

Also published as The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Del Ray Books, these were the first three published Shannara novels (The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara, and The Wishsong of Shannara)[24]

The Heritage of Shannara[edit]

The next four books consist of The Scions of Shannara, The Druid of Shannara, The Elf Queen of Shannara and The Talismans of Shannara. These books are known as The Heritage of Shannara, are set 300 years after The Original Shannara Trilogy.[citation needed]

The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara[edit]

The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy consists of the books Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr.[25] It is set 130 years after the Heritage of Shannara. Similar to its predecessor, this is one cohesive story following the happenings of Bek Rowe, Walker Boh, and Grianne Ohmsford, among other characters.[citation needed]

High Druid of Shannara[edit]

The High Druid of Shannara trilogy includes the novels Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken.[citation needed]

The Dark Legacy of Shannara[edit]

Terry Brooks' most recent Shannara trilogy, set 100 to 120 years after the events in Straken, consists of Wards of Faerie, published August 21, 2012, Bloodfire Quest, published March 12, 2013, and Witch Wraith, published July 17, 2013.[25]

The Defenders of Shannara trilogy[edit]

Set 100 years after the events in The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy. The three novels will be loosely-connected, stand-alone novels.

  1. The High Druids Blade (July 8, 2014)
  2. The Darkling Child (July 2015)
  3. Book Three (July 2016)

Television and film rights[edit]

In 2007, Warner Bros. purchased film rights to the Shannara universe.[26] Warner Bros.'s film rights expired in 2010.[26]

Sonar Entertainment acquired TV rights to the Shannara universe in 2012.[27] In December, 2013 it was announced a series based on the second book published, The Elfstones of Shannara, was being produced for MTV. To begin airing in July 2015, it is being produced by Jon Favreau and Smallville showrunners Miles Millar and Al Gough.[28][29]


  1. ^ Speakman, Shawn (2008). "Terry Brooks' official website". Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-05-02. [dead link]
  2. ^ Brooks, Terry (2007). The Elves of Cintra. Del Rey Books. pp. 287–288. ISBN 978-0-345-48411-6. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  3. ^ Speakman, Shawn (2008). "Terry Brooks' official website". Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-05-02. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b MacRae, Cathi Dunn (1998). Presenting Young Adult Fantasy Fiction. New York: Twayne Publishers. p. 74. ISBN 0-8057-8220-6. 
  5. ^ Brooks, Terry (1977). "Summary of The Sword of Shannara". Archived from the original on 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  6. ^ Herbert, Frank (1977). "Some Author, Some Tolkien". The New York Times Book Review (April 10, 1977): 15. 
  7. ^ a b Shippey, Tom (2001) [2000]. J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century. London: HarperCollins. pp. 319–320. 
  8. ^ a b Speakman, Shawn (2008). "Terry Brooks' official website". Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  9. ^ a b c Gong, Minnie (2007). "The Elfstones of Shannara Character List". The Shannara Files. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  10. ^ a b Elfstones Pg. 10
  11. ^ Elfstones Pg. 11
  12. ^ MacRae, 99.
  13. ^ MacRae, 73.
  14. ^ Speakman, Shawn (2008). "Terry Brooks' official website". Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  15. ^ Brooks, Terry (2008). "July 2008 Ask Terry Questions & Answers". Retrieved 2008-08-30. [dead link]
  16. ^ Speakman, Shawn (2008). "The Wondrous Worlds of Terry Brooks: Novels". Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  17. ^ MacRae (1998), p. 58
  18. ^ a b MacRae (1998), p. 76
  19. ^ Brooks (2003), p. 190
  20. ^ Gong, Minnie (2007). "The Wishsong of Shannara Character List". The Shannara Files. Retrieved 2008-06-24. [dead link][dead link]
  21. ^ Brooks, Terry (2008) Dark Wraith of Shannara
  22. ^ Shawn Speakman. "The Great Wars". Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2006-09-17. [dead link]
  23. ^ Shawn Speakman. "A Letter to the Fans". Retrieved 2008-08-07. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Novels". The Official Terry Brooks Website. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^ a b Wood, Gerald (August 7, 2007). "Terry Brooks' Shannara series to be filmed?". Science Fiction World. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  27. ^ Sneider, Jeff (September 10, 2012). "Sonar, Farah to adapt ‘Shannara’ for TV". Variety. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  28. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (December 6, 2013). "'Shannara' Series in the Works at MTV With Jon Favreau, 'Smallville' Duo". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  29. ^ Molloy, Tim (July 12, 2014). "MTV Orders Fantasy ‘Shannara’ to Series; ‘Catfish’ Gets 4th Season". The Wrap. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]