Shea Ohmsford

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Shea Ohmsford
Shannara character
First appearance The Sword of Shannara
Species Half-Elf
Gender Male
Family adopted by Curzad Ohmsford, descendant of Jerle Shannara
Loyalty His family, Allanon
Magic item or equipment Right to wield the Sword of Shannara, the Elfstones

Shea Ohmsford is a fictional character and the protagonist of Terry Brooks' epic fantasy[1] novel The Sword of Shannara. 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.[2]


Shea is half-Elven and the adopted son of the Ohmsfords of Shady Vale. His father is an Elf and his mother is human; she was a distant cousin of the Ohmsfords who left him with them before she died; he is apparently 'dropped' on the Ohmsfords' doorstep one day. They raise him as their own, and he grows up in Shady Vale. About twenty years after he had been abandoned, Allanon walked into Shady Vale, bringing with him a warning: the Warlock Lord is coming. It is now that he finds out about his famous bloodline and why evil is coming for him. Also, he receives a gift from Allanon: three magical blue stones called Elfstones.

However, Shea does not believe Allanon fully. He does not leave until a few weeks later, when a Skull Bearer shows up in the Vale. Flick and Shea are forced to flee, with the Skull Bearer close on their heels. They manage to make it to Leah, where they reunite with their old friend, Prince Menion Leah. He agrees to guide them to Culhaven to find Allanon.

When they arrive, they find Allanon waiting. He calls together a council to discuss the possibility of hunting down the Sword of Shannara for use against the Warlock Lord. The decision is to send a small party to paranor, the last known location of the Sword, and track it down. This party consists of Allanon, Shea, Flick, Menion, Prince Balinor Buckhannah of Callahorn, the Dwarf Hendel, and the Elven brothers Dayel, and Durin Elessedil from the Westland.

On the way to Paranor, Shea falls off a cliff into a river. Separated from the rest of his companions, he manages to make it out of the river to be captured by Gnomes. Shortly thereafter, Panamon Creel and the Troll Keltset find him and rescue him, only to have to face a Skull Bearer a day later. Shea uses the Elfstones to kill the creature, but he was only able to do so after much pleading and finally taking them off Panamon's injured person.

The three make their way north, getting closer and closer to the Warlock Lord. They find the Sword in the hands of Orl Fane, an insane Gnome who regarded the Sword as his "One Ring",[A 1] but Orl manages to beguile his captors and escape with the Sword. After chasing him down and getting the Sword back, Shea confronts the Warlock Lord.

In the confrontation, the Warlock Lord attempts to overwhelm Shea's mind with fear, rationalizing that Shea would surrender and put the Sword down. He almost succeeds, but Allanon, who has been monitoring the confrontation from afar—he had not been able to cross the mountain prior to the confrontation—uses telepathy to communicate a few words to Shea: "Believe in the Sword, Shea. All else is illusion..." These words remind Shea of his mission, and he brings the Sword's power to bear upon the Warlock Lord, finally vanquishing him.

Shea then returns home to the inn, where The Sword of Shannara ends. In the time of the sequel, The Elfstones of Shannara, he is still alive. However, he does not appear in the novel to see his grandson, Wil Ohmsford, move to Storlock to train to be a healer because he had taken ill. Shea dies sometime between the conclusion of Elfstones and the beginning of The Wishsong of Shannara.

Reception and author's notes[edit]

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.[3] This is a search that every subsequent Brooks protagonist must undergo.[3]

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.[4] 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."[5]


  1. ^ Orl regards the Sword as The Lord of the Rings' Gollum regards the "One Ring". In essence, he refuses to let it go because it is "his".


  1. ^ Speakman, Shawn (2008). "The Wondrous Worlds of Terry Brooks: Novels". Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  2. ^ MacRae (1998), p. 58
  3. ^ a b MacRae (1998), p. 76
  4. ^ Shippey (2001), pp. 319-320
  5. ^ Brooks (2003), p. 190