Literature: The Heritage of Shannara
The sequel to Terry Brooks's best-selling Sword of Shannara Trilogy
, Heritage of Shannara
is a quartet of novels that follows the Scions of the Elven House of Shannara as they attempt to save a world that's done its best to outlaw what they are.
The series opens with Scions of Shannara
. It's been three hundred years since the death of the Druid Allanon, and the Four Lands are barely recognizable. The Southland-based Federation
has expanded to include most of the known world. The Elves have vanished, the Dwarves are enslaved, driven to the edge of extermination, and magic is outlawed. Worse yet, dark magical creatures known as The Shadowen
have appeared, their very presence sickening the lands.
Realising that something has to be done, Allanon's shade sends Cogline, a former Druid, to summon the Heirs of Shannara: Par
, and Wren
. He then hands each of them a charge: Par must recover the Sword of Shannara, Wren must find the Elves and convince them to return to the Four Lands, and Walker must bring back Paranor and the Druids. Most of the remainder of the book is spent with Par and Coll, and their friend Morgan Leah, who, with aid from Padishar Creel
and the Free-Born
, attempt to find the Sword.
As the book closes, things are looking grim: a traitor enables the Federation to destroy the Free-Born, Coll is captured by First Seeker Rimmer Dall
, who convinces Par that he has accidentally slain his brother, and Morgan's magic sword is shattered. Worst of all, Dall allows Par to escape with the Sword, which he cannot seem to activate, after revealing that the Federation is in fact under Shadowen control.
In Druid of Shannara
, we shift focus to Walker Boh, who after finally accepting the Call to Adventure
, attempted to retrieve the Black Elfstone, needed to revive the Druids, only to be left half-dead from joint attacks by the Asphinx (a snake whose bite petrifies its victims) and Rimmer Dall's Shadowen. He is saved by Quickening, Elemental daughter of The King of the Silver River, who recruits Walker, Morgan Leah, and a Federation assassin named Pe Ell
to help her retrieve the Black Elfstone from Uhl Belk the Stone King, a rival Big Bad
. With assistance from a Tracker named Horner Dees, a tunesmith named Carisman, and a whole lot of luck, the group manages to dodge the Stone King's monsters, retrieve the Black Elfstone, fix Morgan's sword, and seal up Uhl Belk within his own domain, though at frightful cost to themselves.
In Elf Queen of Shannara
, Wren Ohmsford and her companion Garth
make the journey to the island of Morrowindl to recover the Elves. They find the Elves besieged by so-called demons, later revealed to be Shadowen of the Elves' own, accidental creation. Wren discovers that she is not just an Ohmsford, but also the granddaughter of the Elf Queen
, which, along with her use of the Elfstones, triggers an identity crisis that will nearly cripple her at a number of vital moments. Realising that Morrowindl will soon be destroyed, the Elves shrink their capital city down, allowing a party of nine men (including Wren) to try and transport their entire Race to the beach, where a Wing Rider will take them back to the mainland. They are successful, though only a few of them survive.
The series comes to a conclusion in The Talismans of Shannara
. Walker has become the first of the new Druids, Wren and the Elves are back and preparing for war with the Federation, and only Par has yet to fulfill his charge, by successfully using the Sword of Shannara. Nor will he, if Rimmer Dall has anything to say about it. Using a Brain Washed And Crazy
Coll as bait, he captures Par and begins the torturous process of breaking down his mind, trying to convince him that he is a Shadowen, even as he dispatches the might of the Federation army and the deadliest of his Shadowen to harass and eliminate Walker and Wren. The race is one to see which fails first: the Shadowen? The Shannara heirs? Par Ohmsford's mind? Or perhaps our own...
The character sheet can be found here
This series provides examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Beneath Tyrsis. Justified because the city is so large and old, built upon a massive cliff face which has been hollowed out, and that they were in fact designed to allow the people an escape route should Tyrsis be about to fall in a siege. It's also a nice Continuity Nod, since these very escape routes and sewers were used by the traitor Stenmin to let the Warlock Lord's army into the city at the end of Sword.
- Action Girl: Wren Ohmsford, Matty Roh, and possibly Damson Rhee. Generally speaking, this series boasts a lot more physically active females than the original trilogy did.
- Actually, I Am Him: Matty Roh, thanks to Morgan jumping to conclusions at their first meeting.
- Aesop Amnesia: The Elves in the backstory. They forgot about the results of their original abuse of magic namely the creation of the Shadowen, and went on to repeat said abuses, resulting in the "demons" of Morrowindl.
- Alliterative Name: Tiger Ty. Doubles as an Awesome McCoolname.
- Body Snatcher: The Shadowen.
- Bad Ass: Padishar Creel, Walker Boh, Garth, Morgan Leah.
- Bad Future: What the Shannara heirs are racing to prevent: a future where nothing grows, everything is dead, and people are just prey for the Shadowen.
- Bears Are Bad News: The Koden in Druid is a giant, blinded, magically mutated bear that serves as the guardian to the entrance of the Stone King's realm. It ultimately subverts this trope, letting the group pass unharmed in exchange for its freedom.
- Becoming the Costume: Arguably what happens to Coll when he puts on the Mirrorshroud, with some overlap with The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body. Rimmer Dall, Manipulative Bastard that he is, could even say that he told Coll this outright, since he claimed the cloak would "make him appear as a Shadowen". Problem is, he didn't mention it would do its job all too well.
- Big Applesauce: It's hinted that Stone King Uhl Belk's lair, revealed to be the petrified remains of an Old World city, might be New York.
- Big Bad: The Shadowen, led by Rimmer Dall. Uhl Belk, the Stone King, is a rival Big Bad who appears in Druid. The King of the Silver River sends Quickening and her companions to head him off before he can achieve the same threat level as Dall and his cohorts.
- Big, Badass Bird of Prey: The Rocs (with special mention going to Tiger Ty's mount, Spirit) and the War Shrike, Gloon.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Shadowen Creepers, which combine this with Hollywood Cyborg are essentially a gigantic cross between a worm, a cockroach and a crab, with Combat Tentacles, and metal plating. The Stone King keeps one (The Rake) as his watchdog. The Wisteron, the most dangerous of the "demons" on Morrowindl is also a good example, described as "half-spider, half-monkey, all monster".
- Blessed with Suck: All of the Ohmsford heirs, and Morgan as well. They have powerful magic that can help them slay Shadowen, sure. It also means that they're targets for every Shadowen out there, constantly have to be on the lookout in case they become addicted to it, and are in constant danger of passing out or mutating due to its overuse.
- Blind Seer: The Addershag, in a particularly disturbing (and not exactly good) version.
- Break the Cutie: Rimmer Dall attempts this on Par, and to a lesser degree, Coll. Wren, Walker, and Morgan endure what might be seen as a lighter version of this.
- Cloning Blues: The Elves on Morrowindl tried to clone an army via magic. The clones eventually degenerated into the "demons" that are the main threat in Elf Queen.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Carisman.
- Combat Tentacles: Each Creeper has several.
- Cool Down Hug: Performed by Damson Rhee on Par during the finale.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Dall's plan for Par involves this, combined with the above-mentioned Break the Cutie.
- Darker and Edgier: As compared to the original trilogy.
- Deadpan Snarker: While most characters can get the occasional snark in, Stresa is made of this.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Morgan and to a lesser degree, Par and Coll were in this situation before the series began. Par Jumped at the Call and Coll follows him; Morgan and (following the loss of his arm and his friends) Walker remain this way for quite some time, throwing themselves into the quest for the Black Elfstone in a desperate attempt to find some meaning in what they've endured. Walker eventually finds it by the end of Druid; Morgan has to wait until Talismans before he finds his place.
- Disc One Final Boss: Uhl Belk, a rival Big Bad, in Druid, and The Wisteron in Elf Queen.
- Domed Hometown: The Elven capital of Arborlon in Elf Queen. It is surrounded by a magical dome called the Keel, which is meant to keep the so-called demons of Morrowindl out.
- The Dragon: Pe Ell, Federation assassin and Psycho for Hire, who appears in Druid, is probably the closest thing Rimmer Dall has to a Dragon. The Stone King has several candidates, including The Rake, The Maw Grint, and even The Koden.
- The Starscream: The Maw Grint. Originally an elemental created to serve the Stone King's will, it's now a giant, maddened worm who openly seeks to usurp Uhl Belk's power and is kept in check only by the power of the Black Elfstone.
- Dwindling Party: Wren's party in Elf Queen.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: It ends pretty well, but God do they get tortured first.
- The Empire: The Southland Federation plays this role, having gone through an expansionist, imperialist phase. It has occupied the empty Westland, annexed Callahorn and the Eastland outright, and is looking to move into the Northland.
- Energy Absorption: Southwatch feeds off of the magic in the Four Lands themselves, leaving them barren. The Shadowen have a more limited ability to drain lesser magics from from their victims.
- Enfante Terrible: The little girl on Toffer Ridge, a Shadowen child who tried to possess Par by embracing him. "Hug me?".
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Southwatch, the massive black granite monument built by the Federation to commemorate its victories. It's also the homebase for the Seekers and the centre of Shadowen activity in the Federation.
- Face-Heel Turn: Gavilan Elessedil, who turns on Wren and steals the Ruhk Staff because he believes he better knows how to control and use the magic of the Loden. He pays for it, but thanks to his initial likability and how clearly desperate, young, and panicked he is, you can't help but feel sorry for him.
- Fainting Seer: Eowen Cerise has shades of this, since she always seems weak and near collapse after having a vision/dream.
- Fantastic Racism: The Federation is Man-run and oriented, and hates Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, and anything else that isn't purely Man-blooded. While it's a recurring theme whenever the Federation appears, it's strongest expression is in this series.
- Feathered Fiend: Gloon, Tib Arne's Shadowen possessed War Shrike. Capable of altering his size at will.
- The Federation: As pointed out on the main page, this is subverted to Hell and gone. The Southland Federation is The Empire in a democratic disguise.
- Final Battle: Wren, The Elves, The Trolls, and The Free-born fight a desperate battle in the Westland, while Walker, Morgan and co. storm Southwatch.
- Final Solution: In the backstory, the Federation waged a war of extermination against the Dwarves, reducing their population to ruins.
- Five-Man Band: Walker's party in Druid: Walker's The Hero, Morgan The Lancer, Pe Ell The Big Guy, Horner Dees The Smart Guy, and Quickening The Chick, with Carisman eventually joining up as a Sixth Ranger.
- Foreshadowing: "You're dead, Garth."
- The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Rimmer Dall sends four Shadowen named Famine, Pestilence, War, and Death to keep Walker Boh trapped inside Paranor in Talismans. Famine and Pestilence can spread their respective namesakes with a touch, War is a Spikes of Villainy weapons user, and Death is about what you'd expect: a Grim Reaper figure with a Sinister Scythe. All four are nearly indestructible, forcing Walker to use their own magic to destroy them.
- Garden of Evil: Morrowindl, crossed with Hungry Jungle.
- Genius Loci: Southwatch, a living organism designed to leech off the planet's magic for Shadowen use.
- The Stone King was more-or-less in the process of turning himself into one of these for Eldwist as well, fusing himself with the land.
- God Guise: The Urdas and their treatment of Carisman, complete with the equivalent of Torches and Pitchforks when he disobeys them and leaves their village with Walker's party. It doesn't end well.
- Grand Theft Me: The main ability of the Shadowen, making it incredibly hard for the heroes to trust anybody. They're especially attracted to those with stronger magic, making Par a prime target.
- Green Aesop: Brooks was already putting these in the original Shannara trilogy to some extent, but it really picks up here. The "demons" of Morrowindl, and the Shadowen, are both the result of people overusing the naturally existing magical energy of the earth. It's pretty clearly a metaphor for environmentalist concerns about resource overuse and depletion. Also, Uhl Belk's desire to turn the entire world to stone, and the stone city that he has made his home, could easily be inferred to be a metaphor for urban sprawl.
- The Grotesque: The extremely sympathetic and pitiable Mole, who lives under Tyrsis' sewers.
- Healing Factor: Many Shadowen can heal or are otherwise capable of Pulling Themselves Together after taking purely physical wounds. It usually takes magical attacks, or massive physical trauma to put them down permanently.
- The Heartless: The Shadowen are disembodied wraiths carrying a piece of the soul of the person they originally were. How much of the original remains is unknown; they might better be described as The Soulless.
- Hellish Horse: The Horsemen's mounts: scaled, clawed and fanged monstrosities that nevertheless have an equestrian gait.
- Heroes Act Villains Hinder: Our heroes are on quests to gain the talismans they need to stop Rimmer Dall. All Rimmer Dall (as well as various Disc One Final Bosses like Uhl Belk and The Wisteron) need to do is prevent them from succeeding.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Quickening pulls one in Druid, allowing her magic to be unleashed in its rawest form, undoing all the damage the Stone King has wrought. Cogline pulls one in Talismans, helping Walker defeat the final Horseman, Death, as does Faun, when Wren is attacked by the Shadowen.
- High-Altitude Battle: Between Tiger Ty and Spirit on the one hand, and Gloon on the other.
- Hollywood Cyborg: The Creepers, which are all at least half mechanical.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Garth, after being poisoned by the Wisteron, requiring Wren to do the deed before he can become a Shadowen too. Considering how fond Brooks is of Expies, Generation Xerox, and His Story Repeats Itself, this may be intended as an echo of Helt's fate in Wishsong.
- Is That What They Told You?: Wren gets hit by this hard in Elf Queen—not only does she find out both her own grandmother and Eowen Cerise are keeping the truth from her about the origin of the demons and the full extent of the Elves' sins, something which first has to be revealed to her by Stresa of all people, but even Garth knew all along she was Ellenroh's granddaughter, and that the Elfstones were real, since her parents brought her to the Rovers and made him promise to care for her. It's no wonder she spends most of that book shifting from Rage Against the Mentor to Heroic BSOD to Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- It's Going Down: Southwatch which is incinerated when the heroes release the magic it was keeping captive.
- Killed Off for Real: Hirehone, Steff, Teel, Carisman, Quickening, Pe Ell, Aurin Striate (The Owl), Ellenroh Elessedil, Eowen Cerise, Cort, Dal, Gavilan Elessedil, The Wisteron, Garth, Cogline, Tib Arne, Faun, Rimmer Dall.
- Life or Limb Decision: Walker Boh's arm is petrified, by the bite of the Asphinx and he has to smash it off to prevent the rest of his body from becoming petrified as well.
- The Magic Comes Back: In The Scions of Shannara the magic is returning to the world 300 years after it had left the world in The Wishsong of Shannara.
- Manipulative Bastard: Dear God, Rimmer Dall. He messes with Coll and Par's heads so thoroughly that it's almost frightening, and seems to specialise in Break the Cutie. He drives them both towards the edge of fullblown insanity, leaving the brothers unsure of the difference between reality and fiction, and his default means of attack, in any situation, seems to be screwing with his opponents' mind. By the time he's done, neither the Ohmsfords nor the reader may be sure what to believe any more.
- Mercy Kill: Wren is forced to Mercy Kill Garth after he is infected by The Wisteron's venom.
- Mistaken Identity: A Running Gag of the dramatic sort in Talismans, where characters continually rescue someone, thinking/hoping it is Par. First Morgan rescues Wren, then Damson and Matty rescue Coll. Although Wren wryly apologized for not being Par, neither rescuee is anything but grateful for the save. This is likely a Call Back all the way to Sword, where both Menion and Flick rescued someone, thinking/hoping it was Shea, only for it to turn out to be Shirl and Eventine, respectively.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Many of the creatures created by the Elves on Morrowindl, notably the Splinterscats, a cross between cat, porcupine, dog, and (mentally) human.
- The Mole: Many, many examples, if only because of the nature of the Shadowen. Teel, Tib Arne and Gloon, and Pe Ell are among the nastiest.
- Mooks: The Federation soldiers.
- Elite Mooks: The Seekers can cut their way through normal troops with ease, but tend to go down easily when confronted by Wren, Walker, Morgan, or the power-maddened Par.
- Not Quite Dead: Cogline and Rumor, thanks to the magical power of the Druid History that protects them from the Shadowen attack—at the cost of making them one with Paranor, unable to come fully back to the world of men until it does. However, in Cogline's case, this was merely delaying the inevitable: he gets Killed Off for Real in a Heroic Sacrifice saving Walker from the Four Horsemen.
- Not So Different: Rimmer Dall frequently uses this, on everyone from Par to Pe Ell.
- Number Two: Chandos to Padishar.
- Our Demons Are Different: The so-called "demons" of Morrowindl, which have no connection to the evil faerie beings locked up in the Forbidding (the capital "D" Demons) or the soulless once-men of The Word and the Void (the small "d" demons). They are magic creations of the Elves, gone mad, and evolved into monsters that somewhat resemble the Demons of the Forbidding, and are referred to as such.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The Drakuls of Morrowindl: Disembodied wraiths that make themselves sound like people you trust, convince you to lower your defenses and then drain the life from you, transforming you into one of them. Fortunately they're only found on one area of the island.
- Panthera Awesome: Rumour, Walker Boh and Cogline's moor cat, and a descendant of Whisper, from Wishsong. He's more than a match for most Shadowen.
- Police State: The Federation is a tightly controlled police state, where magic is outlawed, the Dwarfs are enslaved, and the Seekers have the power to arrest anybody at any time on the slightest pretext.
- Power Trio: Morgan, Damson, and Matty Roh form one in Talismans. Morgan is The Kirk, Damson The McCoy, and Matty is The Spock.
- Prophecies Are Always Right: Each of the visions the Grimpond gives Walker comes true.
- Prophetic Fallacy: ...but always with a twist. If Walker hadn't figured this out before the end, and looked beyond the obvious interpretation, the third vision would have come true with his death, just as the Grimpond wanted.
- Protagonist Title: Druid and Elf Queen are named for Walker Boh and Wren Ohmsford respectively.
- Psycho for Hire: Pe Ell of Druid of Shannara. He's a casual killer who became an assassin because he likes to look into people's eyes while they die. It's almost a religious thing for him.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Tib Arne, a teenaged Shadowen, who uses his childish and seemingly innocent appearance to trick others into trusting him. Note that the childishness isn't an act; when revealed as The Mole he's still remarkably little kiddish.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Four Horsemen are a very serious version that Rimmer Dall uses to harass Walker in Talismans. They manage to keep him trapped inside Paranor for almost half the book, and nearly kill him two or three times.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Red eyes are the usual tell for Shadowen, and they have them as both corporal beings and wraiths. The more powerful Shadowen can hide them in human form.
- The Reveal: The Shadowen are Elves who rediscovered the old magic and found a way to transform into wraiths. On a lesser note the "demons" on Morrowindl are degenerated Elven clones, created from the failure of the same magic. To say the Elves royally screwed up, would be an understatement.
- The Savage South: Toyed with. The Southland Federation prides itself on being the most civilised of the Four Lands, and on bringing that civilisation to the rest of the world. The end result of that pride, however, is the transformation of the Southland into a xenophobic dictatorial state, secretly controlled by the Shadowen, and bent on extending that dictatorship over the rest of the Four Lands. Needless to say, nobody in their right mind visits the Southland anymore, and the Eastland, Westland, and Northland all want the Federation out of their territories.
- Savage Wolves: The Gnawl, which tracked Par, Coll, Steff, Teel, and Morgan through the Wolfsktaag, and the werewolf creature that followed Wren and Garth throughout the Westland. Both are Shadowen spawn.
- Schmuck Bait: "Here, do you see this magical cloak? If you put it on it will let you appear as a Shadowen, thus fooling everyone in Southwatch. Why am I telling you this? Oh, just because I'm a Manipulative Bastard who likes taunting you with something you can't have—it's not because I'm trying to get you to steal it. Go ahead, try it on, it's perfectly harmless and I'll never know."
- Second Love: Matty Roh to Morgan, after Quickening's death.
- Secret Police: The Seekers, who are employed by the Federation to hunt down criminals, and magic users. Ironically, all of them are Shadowen. Might actually be State Sec given the ridiculous amount of influence and power they have, as well as their control of the Creepers.
- The Smart Guy: Morgan is the automatic go-to for plans and plots as the series progresses—this is first exemplified in Scions where he not only comes up with the idea of going to Padishar and the Free-born and is instrumental in the plans to get into the Pit, but he's the one to figure out Teel is The Mole. Walker could also be said to fulfill this role, though as Druid, Mentor, and all around Bad Ass this should be expected. In Druid, retired Tracker Horner Dees manages to be The Smart Guy to both Morgan and Walker, serving as their guide to Eldwist and the mountains.
- Spikes of Villainy: War in Talismans.
- Spoony Bard: Carisman is a "tunesmith", but while seeing various songs from him during Druid, they tend to vary greatly in effectiveness—he doesn't succeed in charming the Urdas, and his song to conceal them from the Koden would have led to their deaths had not Walker communed with it in time. He acts throughout the quest as a cross between The Load and The Heart, occasionally a Greek Chorus, and on very rare occasions he has a clever insight or aids as a distraction. But other than one moment when he succeeds in saving the party from a horde of rats with the sounds of a horde of cats, he's pretty much useless. Which is underscored when he gets himself killed in a completely ignominious, pointless, Sacrificial Lamb manner. He does at least elicit some sympathy from the reader at times.
- Storming the Castle: The finale of Talismans has Walker, Morgan, Coll, Rumour, Matty Roh, and Damson Rhee storming Southwatch, the Federation fortress. The results are pretty spectacular.
- Swamps Are Evil: Morrowindl has two— Eden's Murk, which is vast and impossible to find one's way in, and infested with Darters and various other "demons", and the In Ju, the lifeless bog where the Wisteron makes its home. Back in the Four Lands there's the Matted Brakes in the Westland (first featured in The Elfstones of Shannara) where Wren lures the Creepers to pit them against The Things.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Wren feels a certain amount for Gavilan.
- Team Pet: Faun to Wren, Rumor to Walker (although he acts more as a companion, protector, and loyal Bad Ass fighter).
- Tomato in the Mirror: Rimmer Dall goes beyond Not So Different and tries (with near success) to get Par to believe this
- Too Dumb to Live: Carisman. "I am the Urdas' king! They would never hurt me, they will welcome me back with open arms, and I can calm them and send them away..."
- Verbal Tic: Stresa has one of these. It is never stated if this is unique to him or true of all Splinterscats, but it may be worth noting that none of the Elves in Wren's party seem to find it odd.
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: Literally with the Urdas in Druid, though not particularly wacky.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Truth: Subverted, while the Sword of Shannara still has only the lameish sounding power of "truth", it is the only way to break through all the deceits, lies, mind rape, and manipulations Rimmer Dall uses to try and turn Par into a Shadowen.