I will admit that I’m pretty easy to please but this thing looks better than I could have imagined. I’d consider myself very well entrenched in the world(s) of Terry Brooks, including and perhaps mostly his Shannara output, even though I’m not a mega fan in that way being a The Lord of the Rings diehard won’t allow. That said, I’ve never been someone who doesn’t acknowledge both the historical significance of Terry Brooks as it relates to direct impact on the modern fantasy publishing landscape and market and that I used to check for Brooks every time I was in the Walden Books paper back section to see if the next Shannara installment had hit.<
On the first, I won’t get into all of the specifics, as I’m sure others have, but Brooks and Del Rey did nothing less than establish the fantasy book market as something that could hit bestseller status and do so regularly. It’s kind of like Stephen King in horror, where he obviously didn’t create the medium, but he may have reinvented and reestablished the height of and viability of the modern market. While Brooks doesn’t do King raw numbers, not many do, he may have had a bigger impact in that regard relative to his specific genre. Sure, Brooks used a lot of Tolkien elements, he had admitted as such before anyone ever accused him, but his success, even if when stripping them down, was almost singularly instrumental in the elevation of the fantasy market.
When I was a kid I used to go to the public library to get my books and only a handful of fantasy or science fiction books ever got put in the New Featured section when you walk in. It’s where you saw the STAR WARS expanded universe novels, Gaiman’s American Gods, and whatever new Terry Brooks or R.A. Salvatore book was out. Not even George R. R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords (possibly the greatest fantasy book ever and the source material of some of the best shit ever seen on television via Game of Thrones) got that status.
So I saw this Shannara Chronicles trailer popup from SDCC and while I have some trepidation still, I don’t think anyone could have expected more. It looks reasonable good, looks large scaled, has people in the production of it that have quality product under their names. And it took me back to The Elfstones of Shannara.
Look, we all know why they might have decided to begin with Elfstones, but there are also other fairly clear and completely logical reasons.
First, there’s a female protagonist and she probably has the most cinematic journey in terms of being inside her head and getting to the hook of her story. The small instance we get of the very cute Poppy Drayton in the trailer really makes me feel like they might have something good there. Second, the villains are significantly better and varied. To this day, literally thousands of books later uploaded into my brain, I remember the Reaper and the Changeling. Let’s be very clear, both Elfstones and The Wishsong of Shannara are definitively stronger efforts by Terry Brooks than The Sword of Shannara. I’m obviously not sure how they will begin The Shannara Chronicles but I think the book has a great cinematic intro if they choose to go that route.
I’m not really into watching television while it’s broadcast, I’m kind of a stream-or-die consumer, and it better have no commercials type (and I can only imagine MTV’s commercials are some kind of way) but I will definitely look out for Shannara Chronicles if its hits some sort on on-demand service on cable after a few episodes are in the bag or when it hits Netlifx. I might ask for a screener if I can find the right person.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the Vale and made the trip through the Highlands of Leah. My previous door looked like this.