Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Shannara Chronicles

Back in 1977 Terry Brooks published The Sword of Shannara, something he later confessed was a bit of a surprise to him and he was even more astonished when called with the news of just how well the book was doing. Just shy of 20 years ago I picked up one of Brooks' other books, The Black Unicorn, and after reading the series it was a part of, I moved to the Shannara series. My life was changed. It may sound cliche, but that is exactly what had happened. Reading Brooks's work I realized that I wanted to tell stories like him, wanted to be a writer. Some of my first works were based off Brooks' characters that had become so much a part of me. Since then I have collected every book Brooks has written, met the man himself and had him autograph many of my books, and followed any and all news of him. This was why when I saw that they were making a television show based on his prominent fantasy series, I was too excited for words. That silence was broken the closer we got to the release date and I started bugging all my friends with my near constant updates on about the premiere. This morning I thanked them all for being patient enough with me not to yell at each new status post. Because last night was the series premiere on MTV!

So, since I had read all the books and waited so long to see the show, I thought I would give a little word on what I thought of it. It was EPIC!

After all the fear behind MTV being the ones to adapt the show, I was reassured every time Terry Brooks made an update about how happy he was with what had been done with the show. See, Terry has always been protective of his work, going so far as to turn down people that had wanted to adapt it when he saw what they wanted to do with his work. So with each new bit of information, I grew more and more confident that the show would be done right. And last night that was proven correct.

I will say that there were a few differences from the book, things that bothered me for a moment but then I could understand why they made the changes they did. After all, you want to keep some things a little bit of a surprise, a moment to catch people that think they know everything about what is going on off guard. Gotta keep them on their toes. I only had issue with one detail that kept getting mentioned, and I am sure will be brought up more in the future, that had been changed from the books. It would have been a very big, very compromising detail if they had started with the book before Elfstones, but since they started where they did in the story, I can almost see why they made the change. That being said I am sure I will forever cringe every time they mention it. Oh well, it is a small price to pay.

At other times I could only marvel at the amazingness of it all. The actors were wonderfully chosen, the sets were beautifully made, and the costumes were so skillfully put together. There was one scene, in which Allanon makes his appearance int the court of the Elven King Eventine, and every little detail of the scene was just so perfect. A shiver ran down my spine, I literally squealed, and I will probably rewatch the scene a dozen times between this week and next.

Have I made my point about this being a great success? I'll say just once more in case you missed it. This show took an already incredible series and made it great again for all of us. I truly hope that as I witnessed my son getting so excited over it, wowing at each new scene, and asking for a chance to read the books with me when I revisit the series, others out there that have not had a chance to read the books will discover the world I so cherish.

So thank you, MTV and Jon Favreau for bringing this incredible series to life for all of us. Thank you Terry for imagining such a world and inviting us all to join you there. And thank you to anyone else who gives the show a chance, falls in love with it all over again, and hopefully makes it possible for the series to continue on in the future. I have always believed the Shannara series was meant for great things, and I think I am being proved right.

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