What I’m Reading/Watching: The Shannara Chronicles

Let’s just say that the new MTV series, The Shannara Chronicles, has brought back my love of all things Shannara. It’s been a long time since I lost myself in the world of elfstones. I received my first Shannara book as a gift from my mom one Christmas in high school. I remember the colour of the book (maroon), the picture of Shea and Flick on the cover, and the sword. But honestly, I don’t remember much of the story.

I do, however, remember loving it. I remember reading every Shannara book I could get my hands on. Since those days, there have been many more Shannara books published, and, as all things do, my brief obsession passed and I moved on to other books.

But this series! I mean, yes, there are some cheesy parts, some parts that make me go, “Really? That’s the best your graphics department could do?” But there are other parts that make me go, “Yes! This is why I loved Eretria.” Of the things I do remember about these books, that character is one of them.

A few months back I took a stack of old books that I was done with (i.e. never saw myself reading them again, and had already loaned them to everyone I knew who would be interested in reading them), and exchanged them for new ones. Of these, I picked up a copy of the First King of Shannara. This is one of the Shannara books I never got around to reading the first time I lost myself in the world of Terry Brooks. I’d almost forgotten about it hidden away on my basement bookshelves. But the first episode of the series reminded me, and well, now it is on my bedside impatiently waiting to be read.

(My copy of First King of Shannara and LIFE STORY Movie Magic magazine Shannara article)

But I wanted to know how closely the MTV series followed the books, so I found myself at the bookstore browsing the fandangled new copies of “The Elfstones of Shannara”, which is Book 2 of the original series and where the television series is starting up. The second book probably makes a better show because of its strong female characters. Let’s admit it, there still aren’t a lot of fantasy series that have characters as strong as both Amberle and Eretria, and the dynamic of those two is just hilarious in the show.

It may be that because I don’t remember much of the original book series, that the television series is that much better for me (because usually I dislike book/movie/television transition. But, browsing through Elfstones and reading all the good parts, I thought the television show was following the book quiet closely.

Now, would I recommend you read the books if you’re watching the television show and have never picked up a paper copy of the Shannara books in your life? You bet – especially if you love to read like I do. Shannara is a beautiful, well thought out world. And it happens to transition to TV well too.

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