Literature: Sword of Truth
"People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.
— The Wizard's First Rule
A series of High Fantasy
novels — ahem, stories that have important human themes
—written by Terry Goodkind
. It started in 1994 with the publishing of Wizard's First Rule
and ended in 2007 with the eleventh in the series and final book of the Chainfire
. There is also a prequel
novella, originally published in the Legends
compilation of short stories and now available on its own, called Debt of Bones
. In story-internal order, the books are as follows:
- Debt of Bones (1998)
- Wizard's First Rule (1994)
- Stone of Tears (1995)
- Blood of the Fold (1996)
- Temple of the Winds (1997)
- Soul of the Fire (1999)
- Faith of the Fallen (2000)
- The Pillars of Creation (2001)
- Naked Empire (2003)
- Chainfire (2005)
- Phantom (2006)
- Confessor (2007)
In addition to these books, Terry Goodkind has written other novels related to the main Sword of Truth
series. The Law of Nines
serves as a sequel of sorts to the main series and features an entirely new cast of characters. The Omen Machine
, billed as "A Richard and Kahlan Novel", takes place immediately after Confessor
, but is not connected to the Myth Arcs
of the previous series. The First Confessor
is a self-published
e-book which features events in the backstory of the main series.
- The Law of Nines (2009)
- The Omen Machine (2011)
- The First Confessor (2012)
- The Third Kingdom (2013)
- Severed Souls (2014)
The TV adaptation, called Legend of the Seeker
, has its own page.
Richard Cypher is a woods guide living in a mostly-pastoral nation called Westland, cut off from the rest of the world—known to them as consisting of two other lands, called the Midlands and D'Hara—by a magical boundary that is in fact a window to the underworld; all who enter it die. After coming upon an "odd-looking vine", he spots a mysterious and beautiful woman who appears to be chased by four armed men. Offering to help her, he finds she is being trailed by assassins.
She explains that she has come in search of a great wizard, who supposedly came to Westland years ago, to help defend the Midlands against a man named Darken Rahl, who hopes to bring all the world under his dominion. Richard knows that what she says is impossible; nothing can get through the boundaries, and Westland doesn't have any magic. Yet he has never seen a woman like her, nor men like those hunting her. He decides he should take her to Zedd, a slightly crazy old man who is like a grandfather to him, and who always seems to know everything that goes on...
As you might have guessed
, Zedd does, indeed, turn out to be the wizard, and the three characters team up to stop Darken Rahl before all is lost. Richard is given the titular Sword of Truth, which uses the power of its user's personal anger to strike down enemies.
The two first books, Wizard's First Rule
and Stone of Tears
, are fairly standard fantasy fare, complete with dragons, an evil wizard out to rule the world, the discovery that he wasn't working for his own sake
, a potentially world-ending plot, a magic sword, a wise old wizard, a mysterious woman with strange powers, and a gratuitous S&M sequence
. For a long time some people thought Goodkind was ripping off Robert Jordan
, as his stories contained many things that had exact counterparts in Jordan's novels. From the third book on, things get slightly less derivative
, with the introduction of a new Big Bad
and increasing focus on Richard's struggles as a leader. By the fourth book the plot is still pretty standard but at least going under its own power.
Around the fifth book, Goodkind began introducing Objectivist
themes and aesops
inspired by Ayn Rand
in the Sword of Truth. Things went overboard in the eighth book, Naked Empire
, which contains the infamous evil pacifist
plot. The last three books, collectively called the Chainfire Trilogy, brought back plenty of the early themes and events of the series, and Confessor
, the last book, was specifically one huge throw-back to Wizard's First Rule
Goodkind has stated a distaste for cliffhangers and other ways of forcing people to buy future books, which is why, aside from the Chainfire trilogy, the books have mostly self-contained plots; some new danger is introduced, the characters wonder about its meaning, and it is defeated. However, all of these book-plots are tied by the Myth Arc
of either the Imperial Order
or the Keeper of the Underworld
There's also a spin-off book, The Law of Nines
, which follows a completely different cast of characters and shifts genres
from High Fantasy
to a contemporary thriller with fantasy elements
. It takes place in the magic-free world created at the end of "Confessor", the inhabitants of which developed technology to replace the magic they had lost. The story follows the exploits of Alex Rahl, a distant descendant of Richard's half-sister Jennsen, whose life is changed forever when he meets a woman named Jax who claims to be from a parallel universe where magic still works.
Now has a character sheet
This series provides examples of:
- Lady of Black Magic: Nicci.
- The Lancer: Kahlan functions as Richard's second-in-command and sometimes equal in addition to his love interest. When she isn't available, her role is filled by Nicci. Lesser lancers include General Reibisch, Benjamin Meiffert, and Chase.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Richard Rahl signifies himself getting dangerous with the phrase, "bringer of death." Similarly, when Nicci is going to get dangerous, she slips into the persona of "Death's Mistress."
- Line in the Sand: Kahlan offers her soldiers the opportunity to opt out before their seemingly suicidal attack on the Imperial Order. After they leave, she orders the remaining soldiers to go after them and kill them, on the (eventually proven correct) assumption that they planned to sell the others out to the Imperial Order.
- The Little Black Dress: The only thing that Nicci ever wears, except in the last couple books, when one of the Mord-Sith keeps putting her in a frilly pink nightgown; even the narration thinks this is funny, especially when Nicci proceeds to make pronouncements of doom while still wearing it.
- Little Miss Badass: Rachel in the later books; not surprising, since she was adopted by Chase in the first book, and he's been teaching her everything he knows.
- Living Lie Detector: The Confessors' magic was created for this purpose, although it has other uses, such as self defense.
- Long-Running Book Series
- Lost Technology: Technically lost magic, but it fits the trope.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The boundary separating the New World from the Old World works like this, tempting those attempting to travel through it with their hearts' desire. It also appears to keep people alive when it traps them, since when Richard brings down the boundary, dozens of people who've been stuck there for years are finally freed.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: His name's actually Richard Rahl.
- Magi Babble: See also Magic A Is Magic A.
- MacGuffin: However, it's often quite clear what they do, and some actually get used.
- Magic A Is Magic A:
- Attempted, but it's never all that consistent. By the end of the series, it seems to boil down to "however Richard needs it to work."
- One thing that is kept consistent is that all magic has some kind of balancing factor or opposite. Additive magic has subtractive magic. The Sword of Truth runs on both anger and love. The Rahl bloodline's enchantment that ensures there's always a Gifted heir results in the Anti-Magic pristinely un-gifted. It comes back as a clue in The Omen Machine: Richard doubts the validity of the machine's prophecies partly because they're all uniformly doom and gloom, with no positive prophecies.
- Magic Knight:
- Richard qualifies in later books; though he never quite gets a handle on just how to use his magic, he's still able to use it to devastating effect, and he's an almost unbeatable swordsman, partially thanks to magic.
- D'Hara tries to avert this with the Lord Rahl. He's the magic against magic, they're the steel against steel. Some Lords Rahl don't like rules. Throughout the series, Richard is repeatedly reminded by his men something along the lines of, "Please, Lord Rahl, try to remember: We do the sword fighting, you do the magic."
- Mord-Sith. They're anti-magic knights. With a magic torture stick.
- A Confessor in the Con Dar is this. And creepy as all getup.
- Nathan Rahl wears a sword through much of the series. Many of his friends ask him why he needs a sword when he's a hilariously-powerful wizard. Then the Pristinely Ungifted show up. The Pristinely Ungifted aren't even immune to magic, they have no connection to it whatsoever. To them, magic might as well not exist except when it does something like hold someone off the ground (where they see the person in the air even if they don't understand) and some poorly-defined subset of Subtractive Magic, which they have some connection to because they're mortal.
- Merlin and Nimue: Richard's relationship with Sister Verna, and the other Sisters of Light.
- Million Mook March: The Imperial Order. They gather over a million troops for an invasion, and later the number swells with reinforcements to 2-3 million. By comparison, before Richard starts trying to consolidate the Midlands' forces, the largest assembled armies were in the 100-200,000 range, and the D'Haran led resistance is hopelessly outnumbered for the duration of the series.
- Mind Rape:
- Darken Rahl has the ability to project horrific visions into others' minds, which he does to Kahlan in Stone of Tears. However, the undisputed king of Mind Rape in the series is the Dreamwalker Emperor Jagang.
- Shota does this to Richard in Phantom, planting thoroughly lucid visions of Imperial Order atrocities in his mind.
- Actually, Shota makes Richard experience his own subconscious thoughts after he just heard a very graphic first hand account of what happens in a city occupied by the Imperial Order.
- Mind Your Step: The stairs of the house Richard moves into with Nicci in Faith Of The Fallen are in pretty sorry condition, so Richard talks some of the local thugs, who had been threatening him, into helping him fix them, telling them otherwise they wouldn't amount to anything. Two of them oblige, while the third, well, isn't swayed so easily.
- Mommy Issues: Nicci's relationship with her mother is a female example. Her unnamed mother's dogma being instilled in her at an early age is revealed to be the root of her near-insanity, and is probably responsible for more of her anguish than anyone else in the world.
- Moral Dissonance: The tactically sound but morally questionable strategies employed by Richard's armies on his instructions.
- More Than Mind Control: Jagang's brutal Mind Rape of the Sisters of the Light eventually makes them so terrified of his wrath that they do everything possible to help the Imperial Order, even when he isn't controlling them.
- My Girl Is a Slut: Dalton Campbell is the last one to realize his wife's infidelity, and he had prided himself on their fidelity, much to his dismay.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Despite having been with only Richard once (and only a couple people knew) and was going to marry him, several people assume this about Kahlan in The Temple of The Wind.
- Mystical Plague: In Temple of the Winds, Jagang unleashes a plague that's like a worse version of the Black Death on the Midlands' capital city. And he deliberately starts it with a bunch of young children.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: First there's Darken Rahl, but most of this the nommes de guerre the good guys end up with. Zedd is the Wind of Death; Richard is the Bringer of Death; Nicci is Death's Mistress. And you better believe they earned those nicknames.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Richard doesn't actually know anything about magic, but the powers he eventually develops work instinctively; he does impossible feats of magic without knowing the slightest thing about how he's doing it. Frequently used as an Ass Pull.
- Neuro-Vault: Wizard's First Rule revolves around Darken Rahl's attempts to extract the contents of the Book of Counted Shadows from Richard's mind.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Repeatedly, as a setup for the next book. Due to the way book 7 is written, in book 8 you don't even know why they broke it, just that it happened at the same time as the last book's events.
- In Chainfire, Nicci becomes very worried that she is to blame for Richard's "delusions", something that causes her a great deal of guilt. She also blames herself for using Subtractive magic to save his life, effectively giving the Blood Beast Richard's "scent".
- Noble Savage: Played straight with the Mud People.
- Number Two: Whichever side Nicci is currently on, you can bet she'll be number two.
- Nonindicative Name: Goodkind loves using this one.
- The Sword of Truth's magic doesn't operate based on truth, but on the wielder's perceptions, whether or not they're accurate.
- A death spell doesn't kill people; it's used to make people think the target is dead.
- A maternity spell has little to do with motherhood, instead creating Synchronization between the caster and the target (effectively taking them hostage).
- No Periods, Period: Exception-periods (or "moon flow") are mentioned three times:
- While a plague is going through the Midlands, Richard goes to see Kahlan, and is told she isn't feeling well. Naturally he immediately fears the worst, only to be told by her maid that it's just "that time of the month" and she normally wouldn't have mentioned it except to assuage Richard's fears.
- Richard is developing a rash on his neck, so Cara goes to a healer to get a salve. She gives it to Richard, and he starts applying it while she lists off the ingredients, only to get squicked out when she gets to "...and some of my moon flow blood."
- Kahlan's first time with Richard (whom she thinks is Drefan) is during her period, and attempting to arouse him for a second round she winds up tasting the blood.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Kahlan's name is, rather unintuitively, pronounced by Word of God as "KAY-lan".
- Not So Different: There's the fact that the Confessors, a faction of "good" women, have the same infanticidal tendencies as the House of Rahl, the leaders of the evil empire.
- Or how Emperor Jagang does all his horrible actions in the name of god while Richard does all of his horrible actions in the name of "Moral Clarity".
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Nathan Rahl acts like an idiotic manchild most of the time, but drops the act as soon as things get serious. Zedd likes to play up to people's expectations that he's a silly old coot, only to surprise them at the best of moments.
- Obligatory War Crime Scene: The series has shades of this, where there are several drastic and questionable actions the hero takes (having a prisoner tortured, mowing down peace protesters, imposing total war). Sometimes averted, where it's treated as if the hero doing this is ''completely right and just'' (the peace protesters), while in other places it's justified as the only option he has left (the total war).
- Obstructionist Pacifist: the beliefs of the culture that produced evil pacifists that are absurd to the point where they won't fight back or even try to get out of the way when people with weapons are nearby and trying to kill each other. Indeed, they are Too Dumb to Live.
- Offing the Offspring:
- Darken Rahl has a lot of kids, most of them he doesn't even know about. For their sake, they had better either inherit Rahl's magical powers, or make sure that he never finds them. Old Darken is admittedly obsessed with finding his one true "Gifted" heir, and doesn't appreciate ungifted offspring running around.
- Though Darken Rahl takes this to extremes, it's actually a long-standing tradition in the House of Rahl that goes back thousands of years. "Pristinely Ungifted" offspring of the House of Rahl are historically euthanized at birth, because of the inherent Anti-Magic quality they possess, and the fact that any children they have will also be Pristinely Ungifted, meaning that they could potentially wipe out magic entirely. Of course, Darken has forgotten about the reason for this tradition and just settled for getting rid of any accidental offspring that don't fit his criteria as his true heir.
- Also of note are female Confessors. Male Confessors are much, much stronger than female ones to the point where it becomes impossible to control them; according to the backstory, every one was a Complete Monster, using their powers to get whatever they wanted, and sparking off decades of war before they were wiped out. So, all female Confessors are forced to have their mate kill any of their male children immediately at birth, while the Confessor herself tends to be overcome with grief for some time afterward.
- Omniscient Morality License: Cited by certain characters as the reason they should be allowed to guide the main character's life. Subverted most of the time in that they're repeatedly called out on it, and probably caused a lot of the series' conflicts and strife by doing so. Only Nathan gets away with it on occasion, mostly because he's an actual prophet and has the prophecies, rather than interpreting them second hand.
- Once an Episode: Every book, a new Wizard's Rule will be revealed.
- Our Dragons Are Different: We only ever see red dragons, but the first book mentions several other varieties of differing size, intelligence, and temperament. Red Dragons are intelligent, proud, honorable, and skilled at magic. When asked whether she could land near an army without being seen, Scarlet, a red dragon, boasts that she could land in the middle of the army without being seen.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: Includes a werecat and Brophy, a man turned into a wolf by a magical spell.
- Pay Evil unto Evil
- Personal Dictionary: Goodkind is so scared of the Sci Fi Ghetto, he wants to pretend his books aren't fantasy, so he changes the definition from having fantastic elements to having no philosophical discussion, so his books magically won't count. They're still kept in the fantasy section, though.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Zedd, who isn't called "The Wind of Death" for nothing. Also, Richard leans toward it whenever he gets his magic working.
- The Philosopher: Supposedly, Richard.
- Pity the Kidnapper: Zedd and Annalia in Temple of the Winds. It nearly backfires when the group that captured them plans to trade them to cannibals.
- Playing with Fire: Wizard's Fire.
- Plot Armour/Story-Driven Invulnerability: Darken Rahl in Wizard's First Rule because of the magic of orden.
- Power Nullifier: The Rada'han, whatever the hell Six and Violet were doing in Phantom.
- Power Trio: In Wizard's First Rule, it's Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd, the last Seeker, Confessor, and First Wizard, respectively. In Temple of the Winds, it's Richard, Kahlan, and Cara. In Chainfire, it's Richard, Cara, and Nicci.
- Pretty in Mink: A few people wear fur, and surprisingly this has little effect on a character's morality.
- Proud Warrior Race: The Mud People, who among other cultural quirks, slap or punch one another on greeting as a way to show respect for one's strength. A full-on punch is reserved for chance meetings between adult males outside the village; Kahlan is greeted with an open-handed slap; inside the village, a gentle slap, little more than a light tap, is used, and the narration notes that this custom "preserves order, and teeth." Richard makes a good impression on the Mud People by laying out the first one he meets, who then quips while he's glad Richard respects him so much, he hopes that Richard doesn't come to respect him any more than he already does.
- Psychic Powers: Dreamwalkers. The D'Haran bond to the Lord Rahl is designed to block this sort of thing.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Kahlan talks like this when she gets angry. Most notably in Wizard's First Rule when Michael grabbed her in the wrong place.
- Rape as Drama: The armies of the Imperial Order rape the women of every city they conquer (but not the cities that join willingly). Many of the female characters and Richard have either had such an experience or have come close.
- Really Gets Around: Nicci, having had "relations" with men in circumstances that vary to an insane degree, from rape, to ritual sex with a namble, to being handed to random men as "punishment", to willingly/semi-willingly staying as Jagang's consort, to one case that could almost be called prostitution, to one scenario where she slept with a man she actually disliked just to get revenge on Richard and Kahlan.
- Really 700 Years Old: The Palace of the Prophets has a spell on it that slows down aging for anyone who lives in it. As a result, several members of the supporting cast are hundreds of years older than they look. One, Nathan, turns out to be one of Richard's distant ancestors.
- Redemption Equals Death: Denna actually sort of goes through this twice. The first time, she lets Richard kill her so he can be free, having fallen in love with him. The second time, her spirit takes on Richard's mark of the Keeper, sacrificing herself to save him. Luckily for her, though, the Heroic Sacrifice disgusts the Keeper so much that he tosses her back to be with the Good Spirits.
- Reminiscing About Your Victims: Darken Rahl makes himself smile by remembering what he did to a girl who laughed at his scars.
- Resigned to the Call: Richard really, really didn't want to be the only hope of the New World and the leader of D'Hara. He'd much rather have just gone home after defeating Darken Rahl and lived out his life with Kahlan. But he's The Chosen One, and he eventually accepts that he pretty much has to work all this shit out himself.
- Retcon: The Book of Counted Shadows is the key to unlocking the magic of Orden in the first book (proved by its role in awakening Richard's Gift). By the time the magic of Orden returns at the end of the series, it isn't.
- Ret Gone: The Chainfire spell does this to a person. Unfortunately, it also has the rather unfortunate side effect of causing The End of the World as We Know It.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: A variant; the Sword of Truth protects Richard from the initial effects of the Chainfire spell. Anyone else who touches it afterward can shake off the lingering effects (i.e., they can acknowledge Kahlan's existence and see her), but they don't regain their memories of her.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: At the end of Wizard's First Rule, Kahlan goes after Darken Rahl, resolving to do everything she can to kill him even if she dies herself.
- The way she does it is, according to Zed, something she shouldn't even know is possible, never mind being able to do it. She enters a state known as the Con Dar or Blood Rage. While in this state she is The Unfettered, and has unlimited access to her Confessor powers.
- Romantic Runner-Up: Nicci is a female example.
- Satan: The Keeper of the Underworld.
- Saving The World With Art: The sixth book Faith of the Fallen, puts Richard in the heart of the Imperial Order, powerless to free the people from the enemy government that preaches that people are inherently corrupt and shameful and that only through the Order's "benevolent" guidance can they be redeemed. After being forced to create a hideous sculpture idealizing this, Richard decides to instead create a sculpture showing the sanctity and beauty in the human potential, which he names Life. This sculpture has such a profound impact on the populace that it inspires a rebellion against the government and its teachings, instigating a civil war within the Capitol of the enemy.
- Schrödinger's Gun: Minor elements in one book will turn out to be crucial to the plot of the next, with practically no foreshadowing; this can sometimes seem much more like an Ass Pull than anything that was planned in advance.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Several, including Big Bad Emperor Jagang.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Subverted in that a character who has knowledge of prophecy explains how this might occur and how to avoid it.
- Selfless Wish: Inverted. Richard, when faced with a Sadistic Choice, chooses the selfish wish... knowing the selfless one will be granted in any case.
- Self-Made Orphan: Richard kills his father, Darken Rahl. Similarly, his half brother Oba Rahl kills his mother with a shovel. In both these cases, however, the injured parties were evil, abusive douchebags and clearly deserved it, and in the former case, neither even knew they were related until the deed was done.
- Sex Slave: Confessors choose men they've confessed as mates, although the effect of the Confessor's touch means they're completely happy with this.
- Shirtless Scene:
- In Stone of Tears, Richard takes off his shirt (while holding his sword) before laying waste to 30 blade masters for "fluidity." Du Chaillu didn't really seem to mind he'd killed all five of her husbands.
- In Faith of the Fallen, however, he chides three local youths for not wearing shirts, since it makes them seem like thugs, and advises them to instead put proper clothes on and learn how to fix a staircase.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Would you believe that Goodkind considers this series to be firmly on the idealistic side?
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Nicci. Her mother told her at an early age that beauty is only useful to whores. Grown-up Nicci is repeatedly described as one of the most beautiful women in the whole series.
- Stalker with a Crush: Nicci is a stalker with a crush on Richard.
- The Stoic: Nicci . . . just Nicci. Undoubtedly the most stoic character in the entire series. After going through an insane life of hardship and self-loathing, she eventually becomes so hardened that she is raped and doesn't even bother to acknowledge the person doing it.
- Summon Bigger Fish: The big-time magical spells and their counters tend to work out this way. A magical plague can be cured by invoking the chimes, entities whose arrival can destroy magic entirely. The Chainfire spell, which can destroy the world, can only be countered and undone by the Boxes of Orden, which can also destroy the world.
- Super Strength: Nicholas has this.
- Straw Character: If a person isn't an Objectivist in the later books, they are either too cowardly to take control of their own lives, or are actively trying to enforce Communism and religion on the free people of the world. The latter are invariably killed, while the former are usually given a chance to see the error of their ways.
- Suicidal Pacifism: The people of Bandakar.
- Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom
- Superpowerful Genetics: The "gift" that enables one to use magic is hereditary, but eons of wizards killing each other have led to it becoming rarer and rarer; by this point, most children of lower-powered wizards will not be wizards themselves. The powers of a Confessor and the Anti-Magic properties of the "pristinely ungifted", however, are guaranteed to be passed on to their children.
- Takes One to Kill One: The D'Harans say that they are "the steel against steel so that the Lord Rahl can be the magic against magic." Since only the Lord Rahl has the ability to combat magical threats, everyone else has the duty to combat physical threats (and they tend to get concerned when he tries to deal with them himself).
- Take That: The evil politicians who are the primary villains in the fifth book are supposedly modeled on Bill and Hillary Clinton, with whom they share a set of initials. They get an STD and die.
- Taking You with Me:
- Wizard's life fire, where a wizard who knows he's doomed throws literally everything he has into Wizard's Fire; one demonstration of it from a Wizard of the Second Order (considerably less powerful than Zedd) is enough to vaporize people instantly.
- Kahlan also threatens to do this to Nicci, but she isn't intimidated at all.
- When Zedd is captured by the Imperial Order and forced to identify magic items, he tries to use a music box with a Sunset Spell on it in this fashion. Fortunately for him, he gets rescued in between triggering it and the explosion itself, which conveniently helps cover said escape.
- Tautological Templar: Discussed in the first book, when Zedd describes Darken Rahl's mindset as being like this. Later, however, in Naked Empire, the author argues, completely seriously, that it's not only morally permissible, but morally necessary, to kill anyone who stands in the way of protecting your own life, regardless of what other circumstances may apply.
- Terms of Endangerment: Jagang is very fond of calling women who oppose him, "Darling."
- The Power of Love: Double Subversion. The power of a Confessor is the power to turn anyone into a mindless slave by taking the small spark of love within them and enhancing it until their mind is filled with nothing but love. At the end of the first book, Richard, because he already loves Kahlan with his entire being, is able to withstand her power without losing his mind.
- The Scottish Trope:
- Subverted. The Sisters of the Light are constantly warning Richard not to speak the name of the Keeper of the Underworld, but it turns out that the implied dire consequences are merely superstition.
- Also played straight with the summoning of the Chimes, though it's not just saying their names. There's a specific set of criteria that the one saying it has to fit for it to work.
- Time Skip: The Law Of Nines, in addition to taking place in the second world created by Richard at the end of Confessor, is also set thousands of years after the main series.
- Title Drop: The title of each book is mentioned conspicuously in the text, except for in Soul of the Fire, the title of which bears tenuous relation at best to anything in the book.
- Toad Licking: In one of the novels, hallucinogenic toads are used as part of a tribal ritual, but they're not actually licked as the hallucinogens in question are transmitted through skin contact.
- Too Dumb to Live/Stupid Good:
- The entire belief system of the culture that produced the evil pacifists is so absurd that only a Straw Character could accept it. And, indeed, many of them do get killed, because they won't fight back or even try to get out of the way when people with weapons are nearby and trying to kill each other.
- Several Sisters of the Light show this in Stone of Tears and Blood of the Fold. Taken to the full extent with Pasha Maes.
- Took a Level in Badass: Richard learning the Dance With Death half way through Stone of Tears turns him from a woods guide who just happens to have a magic sword into a nearly unbeatable swordsman.
- Training the Peaceful Villagers: Richard to the Bandakarans that join him in Naked Empire. It's actually surprising just how well they take to violence, considering they're taught from birth that any and all violence, even in self-defense, is wrong.
- Trojan Prisoner
- True Sight: The pristinely ungifted, being unable to sense magic at all, are unaffected by illusions.
- Ultimate Evil: The Keeper of the Underworld.
- Unblockable Attack: The Sword of Truth can cut through anything, so long as its wielder thinks it needs to be cut. This includes swords and armor.
- The Unfettered: Nicci.
- Unstoppable Rage: The Con Dar, which Kahlan goes into when she thinks Richard's been killed. Also, Richard goes into one whenever someone threatens Kahlan.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Bags", commonly uttered by Zedd. It's not clear what it's a euphemism for, but he's rebuked for saying it in front of children.
- Unwitting Pawn: Pasha Maes, manipulated by Ulicia. Later, in the Chainfire trilogy, Ulicia is the unwitting pawn of Jagang.
- Upgrade Artifact: In the second book, Richard is attacked by a group of expert swordsmen who are good enough that the "cut through anything" power of the Sword of Truth isn't going to be enough to save him. He then figures out a way to use the Sword of Truth to access the combined swordsmanship skills of all its former wielders, turning him into a master swordsman.
- Villain Ball:
- So, you've used a spell to make the Mother Confessor lose her memory, and be the next best thing to invisible. She has no idea who you are, so you can give her any impression of who and what she's supposed to be you want. Do you A. pretend to be her friend, so as to earn her trust and make things easier for yourself, or B. treat her like shit, beat her, berate her, and threaten her, and thereby inspire her to work actively against you? If you picked A, you're smarter than the Sisters of the Dark.
- In The Third Kingdom, newly resurrected Emperor Saluchan advises Hannis Arc to put down the villain ball. Arc has Richard captive, and plans to drag him around as he conquers the D'Haran Empire as a protracted revenge for the previous Rahl rulers killing his family. Saluchan points out that as long as Richard is still alive, he'll be planning and working to stop and kill Arc — and therefore a threat that Arc would be better off simply killing now.
- Villainesses Want Heroes: Denna, Nicci, most of the Sisters of the Dark... every evil female character at least attempts to throw themselves at Richard.
- Violence Really Is the Answer: The theme of Naked Empire.
- Weapon of Mass Destruction: At one point, Zedd detonates what amounts to a magical nuclear bomb in the middle of the Imperial Order's ranks.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Richard's bodyguards Ulic and Egan disappear entirely without mention after Temple Of The Winds, and their sudden and conspicuous reappearance in Confessor seems to suggest Goodkind realized he'd forgotten all about them. There's also the seer girl from Stone of Tears who returns to tell the heroes (at great length) about a city conquered by the Order in the last trilogy, then just wanders off later on, never to be referenced again.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Snakes for Kahlan, rats for Cara, lice for Nicci.
- With Us or Against Us: While they only actively try to kill the villains, Richard eventually comes to believe that if a person is unwilling to take responsibility for their life into their own hands (read: not an Objectivist), then the life of that person is expendable when it means ensuring the safety of his own people.
- Wolf Man: Brophy is literally a man sized wolf.
- Woman in Black: Nicci.
- Woman Scorned: Con Dar (see also Unstoppable Rage).
- World of Badass
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Deliberately averted, and for good reason. Richard notes he is quite aware that women can be just as dangerous as men.
- Writer on Board:
- Wrong Insult Offence: In the first book, a mob comes to Zedd's house intending to lynch him because he's a witch. He starts his dialogue with them by asking to clarify whether they want to kill him for sorcery, or simply demean him by calling him a girl.
- Xenofiction: at one point in Soul of the Fire, the narrative briefly takes the Point of View of a horse.
- You Can See Me?
- You Just Told Me:
- Used a few times in the first book.
- Also inverted once. A man entreats Richard and Kahlan to follow them, saying it was sent by their friend, the wizard. Richard instinctively asks, "Zedd?" and the man responds in the affirmative. But while they're following him, Richard notices something's off, and demands the man tell them their friend's name. The man repeats that it's Zedd, at which point Richard points out he'd know that because Richard told him, and demands the wizard's full name. The man is then revealed as a shapeshifting creature.
- You Will Know What to Do: Richard often knows instinctively what to do to solve problems or use his powers. It's subverted in the second book, however. Prophecy was counting on Richard grabbing a certain item from Adie's house in the first book because he would have a feeling about it. Instead, the feeling just made Richard uneasy about the item, and he left it right where it was.