★★★/★★★★★ The Shannara Chronicles Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar Based on The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks.
“Don’t mistake terror for bravery.” -Wil
After finishing this series, and completely disconnecting it from the books, I’ve realized, it was not as bad as some of the latest adaptations that have come out based off of books. So go into this story knowing you do not have to read that series. (I’ve seen quite a few people try to tackle the book and most hated it, but this is better, don’t let the book deter you) It grew a lot from the first episode to the last, and there were only ten of them.
“What we’re doing… this isn’t about saving any one race. This is for every one of us. And I think we all deserve saving.”- Wil
This series follows an elf, a half elf, and a human girl as they try to save the world they are living in. This world is a post-apocalyptic version of America, where humanity as we have today was somehow destroyed, technology obliterated, and the old timey Robin Hood and ye olde kingdoms came back. Humanity evolved depending on where they were living into different species, and named themselves over the stuff of myth, orcs, elves, trolls, gnomes, and the regular old humans. Of course, they all hate each other, but must come together when the tree that protects them from evil, Ellcrys, begins dying. A presence from the past is brought again after the event and then a battle of good versus evil commences, not only involving the main three heroes, but the two princes of elves. The king must also fight with his sons over the legality of what needs to be done after an old friend returns to help, since the king himself had denied much of the events that lead to the evil force being banished. It is a mess, but a beautiful mess that does not get overpower by the narrative, because it is all done in a very well -written and linear way.
“If you want to survive in this world, you need to start taking care of yourself, because no one’s gonna do that for you.”- Eretria
The majority of my experience seeing this series is of me shouting “Yas Eretria!!!Slay away!!!” Ivana Baquero, plays Eretria, the human girl who belongs to a group of humans called Rovers, who are sort of mercenaries with no home. It is common to trade people among themselves, women. (this has changed by the way, which I am so thankful for) Eretria was traded to a leader of a caravan as his daughter, and as such enjoyed more freedom. There is a difference here between book and series, as she is emotionally abused and forced to steal instead of enjoying the freedom given to her in the books as the leaders daughter. (Cephelo, her “father” is not shown as abusive at all in the books towards her or anyone else, but as a charming thief that dies trying to protect his people) Due to the addition of a different relationship with him, much of her character is her struggle to flee from this life while at the same time resigning herself to her identity as a Rover, as such, she completely stole the show with a stronger and wiser version of the character. She is also shown as less innocent, and with a knowledge of her ability to use sexuality as a means to an end. She is bisexual, and manages to get parts of her way in her different escape attempts, and this felt like a wonderful plus to who she is, she knows her assets and uses them when needs to, unlike her other counterpart Amberle, who is a damsel in distress, who needs to be rescued by Wil and Eretria alike.
Wil is the main character, half elf, half human (1/8 elf in the books), who is unaware of his true identity as the heir to the Shannara bloodline and bearer of the elfstones. Austin Butler has also done a good job portraying this character, maintaining an air of innocence that I quite enjoyed. He is manipulated wonderfully by Eretria, although not in the way you think, but in perfect contrast to his identity. The one issue with him is the lack of backstory, we could have done with more of his past, especially sine they have changed who his father was. (P.S. Eretria and Wil is one of the best ships ever, if you’ve read the books, you know what I mean.)
Amberle is the princess of the elves, who gets selected as a chosen one and must then go recover the seed of the tree alongside Wil and Eretria in order to save everyone, and she is my most disliked character. My dislike does not root from the love triangle that obviously springs between the trio, but due to the over dramatic tone and bad acting I saw from her. Poppy Drayton was not a good choice for Amberle, whenever they found themselves in a dramatic part, she managed to make it even more dramatic, detracting from the story, and diverting our attention from what is happening to focus on her cheesy lines. I did enjoy that she took part in fighting in the series, since in the books she never takes up arms, as she was never trained.
Other characters were also well written and developed, particularly Allanon, the druid that wakes from a long sleep to help the elves find a solution, he also gets a short background story I wished had been explored more thoroughly. Another favourite was Ander, shown as a party boy with a dark stain in his past, which still haunts him, as well as his ability to take charge after tragedy strikes and he must step away from his old ways. And we cannot forget about Diana Tilton, a commander in the elven Army, and an invention for the show, was almost perfect in all of the scenes she appeared in.
“All I wanted was my life to be my own. To be free. Turns out fate has a twisted sense of humor.” -Eretria
The one other thing that also stole the show was the opening theme song, “Until We Go Down” by Ruelle. I could not stop listening to it, so I went and checked out the rest of her EP “Up in Flames” and I loved it. The best part of the song was the instrumental part, although the few lyrics were to the point and perfect for the story.
“And I feel it running through my veins
And I need that fire just to know that I’m awake
Erased, I missed till the break of day
And I need that fire just to know that I’m awake”
It is an aesthetically pleasing series, with some good character development and acting, that offers a nice introduction to the lore without any info dumps. I highly recommend everyone to see it over reading the books, those can be read after seeing this.