Darken Rahl and Nicci Well Nicci-ish... now she's blond again in her new body, among others.
Panis Rahl and Walter's white hair is possibly a nod to the original hair color of Darken Rahl in the novels.
In the books, Kahlan's eyes are green. However, Bridget Regan's eyes are such a stunning shade of blue, they decided to make use of them.
Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the first book, the title of The Book of Counted Shadowsnote an in-universe book that serves as the instruction manual for the Boxes of Orden refers to how the boxes each cast a different number of shadows when they're in direct sunlight. In the series, the boxes display no such quality, but the book keeps its title.
In Season 2, a woman shows up and claims to be the Creator reborn in a mortal body. Later in the episode, it is revealed that she got her powers from all of the Sisters of the Light transferring their Han to her. She disappears at the end of the episode, and it is intentionally left ambiguous as to if she has any sort of connection to the actual Creator, though she knows things which are inexplicable otherwise.
In the Season 2 finale, the Keeper enters the mortal realm in the body of a boy.
Agony Beam: The Agiel. Though it leaves some nasty welts.
The result of Magic Misfire, when Zedd uses a spell to undo Cara's conditioning. Just as he warns, it has unpredictable consequences, meaning Cara never became a Mord-Sith, resulting in her never stopping Richard from using the Boxes of Orden to force Rahl's obedience. Zedd, being the caster, has Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory and is dumbfounded when he realizes he is the best man at Richard and Kahlan's wedding... with Rahl marrying them, since Richard controls him with the power of Orden. Zedd then hits the Reset Button by using the same spell on another Mord-Sith.
Also in the last episode in the first season, in which Richard and Cara are sent into a future where Rahl won, and his and Kahlan's son, a male confessor, took over the world by confessing everyone, the sort of thing the other Confessors had warned Richard about earlier in the series.
In-universe, it is believed that all the male Confessors become monstrously evil. Richard defies this belief... but we never learn whether he is right or wrong, as the male Confessor in question gets killed offscreen before he can grow up to show it either way. However, played straight in the alternate universe son of Darken Rahl and Kahlen.
The Keeper of the Underworld
The Boxes of Orden would always corrupt the user unless the power is tempered by a Confessor.
The Mord-Sith can deflect wizard magic, making Zedd virtually helpless when confronted by them.
Armor Is Useless: Richard and Kahlan wear no armor whatsoever yet suffer hardly a scratch while fighting dozens of enemies. The D'harans, on the other hand, almost always show up in chainmail or plate armor and get mowed down by the dozens. D'harans dying to Kahlan's knives are particularly egregious since chainmail is designed specifically to withstand edged weapons.
Mostly averted in Kahlans's case, especially in the first season. Although she is seen slashing across the chest of somebody wearing chainmail this only staggers him, rather than killing him. Kahlan's actual killing moves with the knives tend to fall into three categories: Punch Thust to the chest, where Narrow, Sharp, Pointy End beats Armour of Holes; slash across the throat where the target hasn't worn a coif or gorget, possibly for fashion reasons; and when all else fails an upward slice starting at the inside thigh and ending at the groin, aiming for the big artery in the leg.
As Lethal as It Needs to Be: The Dakras wielded by the Sisters of the Light and of the Dark. Their lethality is directly proportional to whom they hit: If it hits a Sister of the Dark, she's dead before she hits the ground. If it hits a main character, the thrower will have to release its magic to make the kill. In the latter case, the Dakra can be removed without any ill effects, even if it was previously embedded in the character's ribs.
Autobots, Rock Out!: The second season's battle theme has much more electric guitar to it than the first season's.
Back from the Dead: The Mord-Sith can do this by using the Breath of Life. It seems to heal the fatal wounds suffered, but it won't save you if your windpipe was severed, or if your body was too badly damaged, and it has to be used within a short amount of time after the death.
Zedd tries to bring a woman back in the episode "Wizard" and appears to succeed. However, it is revealed that it was the Keeper who brought her back as a baneling. Apparently, even wizards of the First Order are not strong enough to defeat death.
Bad Future: The first season Finale shows one where Rahl won, and the future is ruled over by his and Kahlen's son.
Battle Couple: Richard and Kahlan, even if they can't consummate their relationship. Until the series finale, that is and earlier in "Torn", when she was split apart.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Kahlan and Richard are both suitably dirtied after most battles, and Jensen gets one hell of a black eye after she's attacked in "Fever". Cara also looks suitably beaten and dirty after the other Mord Sith turn on her. Finally, Nicci gets some real injuries and bruises in "Bound". However, despite being on a long-ranging quest through the woods almost constantly, everyone always has fantastic hair. Well, they're in pretty wet climates — after all, most fantasy worlds take place in forests, and this one seems to have a decent amount of rain. So they can probably wash every few days. Not to mention that magic probably helps a bit...
Blond Guys Are Evil: Panis Rahl... sort of. Panis Rahl is nowhere near as evil or sadistic as his son, Darken. Panis may have been corrupt, but not to an extent that is unusual of a stereotypical king. Also, he seems to be genuinly looking for redemption when he finds Richard. He gets it.
The Journeybooks need to use blood as ink to work. Rahl apparently likes to use the blood of people who've failed him.
The Keeper also uses it to create banelings, who stay alive only if they kill someone every day.
Bowdlerization: Some of the darker things from the books have been toned down, mostly stuff that just wouldn't make it onto TV.
Most notably, there's considerably less nudity (though still some for Fanservice), the potentially offensive Mud People are nowhere to be seen, and while rape was a common tool of pretty much every villain in the books, it's only been alluded to a few times.
In a Season One episode, Darken Rahl claimed that his father raped Richard's and Jennsen's mother. However, this was a part of an attempt to deceive Jennsen, so it is unknown if this is true. General Trimack later offers a slightly different story, that Panis had seduced their mother in disguise. This is still rape by fraud, if not by force, since she consented to sleeping with a young shepherd, not an old man in the form of one.
Bullet Time: The series loves this one. It shows up about 30 seconds into the pilot, and is present in nearly every fight scene, of which there are a lot.
Bus Crash: We learn from Cara that Dennee and her son were killed by order of Darken Rahl. Technically, Dennee killed her own son so that Rahl does not get him, and then Cara killed Dennee, leading to a Heroic BSOD from Kahlen, Dennee's sister.
But I Would Really Enjoy It: Richard and Kahlan would love to sleep together, but if they do, Richard will essentially become a mindless slave, and would be unable to save the world. They manage to find a few ways around it (i.e. the anti-Confessor potion, the painter-world where magic doesn't work) but it always gets snatched away before they can take advantage of it. Kahlan does get the chance to do this when Richard is confessed by Annabelle, but she realizes that he is not doing this out of love for her and stops him. But then they sort of do, when an amulet splits Kahlan into two beings — one that embodies her sense of duty along with her Confessor power, and one that does not have the Confessor power or reasoning abilities. The interesting thing is, all throughout Season 2 they seem to be in a relationship anyway, hugging, kissing, holding hands, etc. at every opportunity. They just can't have sex although the season 2 finale reveals that, since Richard already loves Kahlan unconditionally, her Confessor power doesn't affect him, so presumably they can after that.
Cara refuses to admit her feelings for Leo until after he dies, believing love to be a weakness.
Also Kahlan from the beginning of the series until either "Identity" or "Denna".
Canon Discontinuity: Darken Rahl claims he was the first baneling. However, in the Alternate Reality Episode, he has somehow survived without killing for nearly a year. The most likely possibility is that he simply lied. Supported by the earlier statement that banelings cannot use magic. Alternatively, as the first baneling, and as a direct conspirator with the Keeper, it could be that his deal works differently from the usual "kill one person a day or you die" banelings. Also, it's not stated that banelings can't use magic; just that Cara couldn't use the Breath of Life specifically, which would kind of conflict with that "kill to live" deal.
The Casanova: Richard has to impersonate one in "Princess". Zedd notes "his reputation isn't the only thing that precedes him into the room."
Cat Fight: Between Cara and Triana. The fact it takes place at a bath house (while Cara is bathing, no less) increases the Fanservice by a couple orders of magnitude.
First, there's Princess Violet, who's just as much of a royal bitch as she was in the books, at about 10 years old.
In the first season finale, we meet Nicholas Rahl, who Confesses a playmate and forces him to cut off his own finger because the boy didn't want to play the same games as him. Later Nicholas kills his own mother and then confesses Darken Rahl's trusted general and has him kill his father.
Then in the second season, we meet a young boy whose mother became a Baneling in order to stay around and take care of him. After she dies (again), the boy is taken in by a monk. The kid then reveals himself as a Baneling, kills the monk, and cheerfully walks to the settlement he was just told has lots of other kids his age...
The Listener from Season 1 plays with this. He can Read thoughts and is sold to different people, he even sees himself as an aversion until the Power of Friendship from Richard causes a Heel-Face Turn.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Darken Rahl, while bathing, refuses to tell Nicci where Richard is taking the Stone of Tears, and then attempts to seduce her. Nicci responds by superheating his bath water, nearly boiling him alive, and forces him to tell her where Richard is taking the stone. He plans to do the same later in revenge.
Color-Coded Characters: In several cases. D'Haran soldiers wear dark red & black, and the Sisters of the Dark wear brighter red. (Of course, Sisters of the Light do too, as Sisters of the Dark are rogues). Additionally, Kahlan wears white up until Denna appears in white, then she switches colors to a dark scheme.
And Zedd has that "I fixed Panis' penis" guilt. Really, everyone in the show except Richard.
Dark Magical Girl: Cara, for the entire series, but especially after she's "rebroken" by Darken Rahl and arguably before she follows Richard. She even comes to full blows with Kahlan
Deal with the Devil: Rahl has long ago made a deal with the Keeper. After his death, he offers deals to the recently deceased people in the Keeper's name. Those who accept (most do) become banelings, having to kill someone every day to stay alive.
Deadpan Snarker: Zedd and Cara get in on it at times. And Denna. And Sister Verna. And Nicci, particularly in Bound.
Death Is Cheap: Just about every main character has died at least once in the series.
Demoted to Extra: Adie is a prominent character in the books, who at varying points is even a love interest for Zedd. So far, she's shown up only in the pilot, and is probably trapped in Westland beyond the boundary.
Designated Girl Fight: Completely averted. The characters regularly fight enemies of both genders, with no indication that they try to focus on their own. Helps that there's no shortage of women who are just as dangerous as any man. And when there is a girl on girl fight, it's no less brutal than any other.
Determinator: Cara manages to keep fighting despite having her throat cut. Sure, she dies a few moments later, but she still holds on a lot longer than you'd expect. And she then comes back from the dead to keep fighting.
Deus ex Machina: In the final episode all seems lost, Richard was tricked into giving the Stone of Tears to the Keeper, and Kahlen kills him while under the control of Nicci. However, her tears turn into another Stone of Tears for some reason and they are able to seal the rift after Cara revives Richard with the breath of life. Apparently it was the Power of Love that made the Stone of Tears, that was pretty out of the blue to say the least. Justified somewhat, by a prophecy saying that as long as the Mother Confessor lives, the keeper will fail.
Devil but No God: Unlike in the book series, the Creator does show up.... Maybe. And like in The Salvation War, everyone who dies goes to Fire and Brimstone Hell. However, Darken Rahl implies at one point that it's only because the veil has been torn that everyone who dies goes there — in the normal course of things, only bad people go there, while good people go to some unspecified but presumably much nicer place.
At the beginning of "Elixir", Richard sees Kahlan bathing by a river and fails to notice his horses getting stolen less than 10 feet away from him.
Richard: I was... distracted. Zedd: What on the Prophet's good earth could have distracted you?! (sees Kahlan walking up in a state of undress, hair still wet)
In "Mirror", Richard again gets distracted by "Kahlan" (a thief disguised by a magical mirror which gave her the appearance of Kahlan) when "Kahlan" takes her clothes off and swims in a lake with Richard.
The Confessors father offspring by men who are "confessed", i.e. turned into the confessor's lifelong love slave. No one cares since sleeping with any man would automatically confess them anyway and the confessed were usually enemy soldiers in their former lives.
Deconstructed by Kahlan's father, who became an abusive parent after her mother's death, binding his daughter's hands so they're unable to confess him as well. When Kahlan tries to justify her mother confessing him with the maxim that confessors don't take honorable men as mates, he relates his back story of how his father drafted him into the D'Haran army to keep him from becoming a carpenter and his confession came right before he was due to leave from his tour of duty.
The Dragon: General Egremont to Darken Rahl; Darken Rahl himself to the Keeper in Season 2.
Even Bad Men Love Their Daddies: Throughout "Vengeance", Darken Rahl is trying to get Zedd and his brother to kill Panis Rahl. When he is killed by a Sister of the Dark and goes to the underworld, Darken...gives him a hug, and asks if he forgives him. We don't get to hear the answer, but Panis is clearly moved.
Even Evil Has Standards: Rahl and the Mord-Sith are completely caught off guard by just how badNicholas Rahl is. Well, they didn't seem surprised at what he'd do, just the fact that he did it to them.
Evil Genius: Giller to Darken Rahl, later Nicci and then Marianna to the Keeper.
Evil Sorcerer: Darken Rahl, the Big Bad of the first season, who has some magical abilities, not that we see many of those. The one we see several times is his ability to do an Offscreen Teleportation during sword battles to stab the opponent in the back. He also has many sorcerers serving him, including a Wizard of the First Order named Giller. The Bad Future season finale also features Nicholas Rahl, the son of Darken Rahl and Kahlen Amnell, combining his parents abilities to become an even worse tyrant than his father.
Exact Words: Used whenever Darken Rahl or a D'Haren "give you what's coming to you" in regards to a bounty. Played with in Season 2 at Cara's trial.
Elders: She [Cara] has shown no remorse. It is our will that she also die by Confession. (later) Kahlen: I have looked into this woman's eyes and I see now that she is truly remorseful.
Of course the rest of the town didn't see things the same way...
Face-Heel Turn: Cara in "Eternity", although she grows out of it. The ending was surprising.
Fake Memories: Used to frame people and fool Kahlen in "Confession."
Fanservice: In the first five minutes of the pilot, we have Dennee's heaving bosom as well as a shirtless Richard chopping wood and hauling logs and planks around. The Fanservice continues throughout the series with sexy backs and Shirtless Scenes all around.
Characters in Season 2 that die are shown/implied to enter the underworld, which is described as waking up in "a pit of unimaginable suffering".
Though it may depend on the person, being a baneling and having to kill others every day to stay alive. As time runs out, a baneling's body begins to rot and feels a gnawing hunger before death. Before dying, a baneling said she found going to the Keeper's domain preferable to continue what she had become.
Fire Keeps It Dead: In season 2 the team starts having to burn the corpses of their foes as a matter of course because it keeps them from coming back as banelings, and keeps existing banelings from being resurrected. Zedd's Wizard's Fire gets a lot of use out of this.
Flash Step: DarkenRahl demonstrates this ability at least twice. He disappears and then reappears right behind his enemy (Richard in "Deception", and three Sisters of the Dark in "Unbroken".) He then proceeds to kick some serious ass on both occasions.
Fountain of Youth: Zedd is turned into a young man by Shota in "Wizard", so that he can do her bidding. Doesn't work out as intended, when it all goes to his head. Both Zedd and Shota can make anyone, including themselves, young, which means that they can live forever if they wished.
Frame Up: The plot of the episode "Confession", after Kahlan finds a man she had confessed to killing resistance members somehow was not really guilty. Richard, along with another woman, also suffer this before it's over.
Funny Background Event: Arguable on funny, but in "Mirror", as a Mord-Sith goes to inspect a fake "Zedd" tied to a tree in the foreground, the real Zedd looses a blast of Wizard's Fire that throws back nearby D'Haran soldiers dozens of feet away.
Gambit Pileup: The season 2 finale has just about every named villain's plans colliding, with nearly disastrous results.
Cara: Who would have ever dreamed that the Seeker could go twelve days without stopping to save helpless children from distressed farm animals! Zedd: Perhaps it's a sign that we're nearing the Stone of Tears.
Also, Darken Rahl in the second season finale. He seems to have caught onto the fact that Richard is the hero, so he's content to just sit back and wait for him to save the world.
Good Costume Switch: Borderline example with Cara. She still wears the Mord-Sith's trademark red leather, but early in Season 2 she modifies the outfit, removing the chestpiece and showing some cleavage. Though this may be a "practical" Good Costume Switch — Cara isn't really allowed to torture people, and her secondary weapon is seduction, so it does make life easier when she shows off a bit. (Not to mention that red leather is not the most comfortable of outfits.) The other Mord-Sith also cut off her braid, so from then on she sports short hair. Also Discussed — during the aforementioned chestpiece removal her sister offers a more normal dress. "I think this suits me better," is her response.
I Have You Now, My Pretty: After drinking a potion that renders him immune to Kahlan's confessor touch, Rahl takes advantage to admire her beauty and strokes her hair and brings up how she and Richard can never have intimacy, all in front of Richard. Then there's the alternate future where he marries Kahlan to have a confessor son.
Lily: The D'harans don't need to send an army. All they need is a few tears and an ample bosom.
Implausible Fencing Powers: Richard at one point uses the Sword of Truth to parry arrows out of the air. In fairness, it is a super magic sword. It gets even worse when he gets a case of Temporary Blindness in the last episode. He still fights as well as he does normally, killing enemies and parrying thrown daggers. Magic of the sword, apparently... Possibly a Call Back to a season 1 episode in which Richard learns to fight things he can't see.
Improvised Weapon: When the Sisters of the Dark blow Zedd and Richard's cover in "Princess", a fight naturally breaks out. Richard grabs a knife from the table, while Zedd starts hurling plates at the Sisters.
In Name Only: The series has little in common with the book aside from the characters, setting, and central conflict. This was made clear by Word of God(s) before the show premiered, as the writer and the director believe that they could not completely adapt the novels to the screen. A few episodes adapt the plots of later books, without the politics behind them, such as "Fury", which has a lot of parallels with Naked Empire, but excises the mind-boggling bits.
Infant Immortality: Played straight with Dennee's son, at least until he's killed offscreen, but averted in "Deception," which opens with several children finding a mysterious device. The next we see of them is their dead bodies having fallen around that device, along with everyone else in the village.
Infinite Supplies: No matter how many Sisters of the Dark are killed, there are always more that show up out-of-nowhere. It must be why they always wear red.
Zedd loves torching things with Wizard's Fire, though he does have other tricks. Especially starting in season 2.
Also, this is the only way to truly kill a baneling, torching its body so it can't rise from the dead yet again. You could also freeze it and then break it (which is how he killed another undead creature).
Landmine Goes Click: One unfortunate Sister of the Dark finds this out in "Bound" and has just about enough time to realize it before she goes boom. Richard explains a moment later that these types of mines only go off when you step off them, which is what saves Nicci from the same fate. This also holds for many Real Life land mines.
La Résistance: There's an ongoing underground resistance in the Midlands, though a few are shown to go a little overboard in their fight against Rahl.
Love Makes You Evil: Kieran, a previous Seeker, went mad with grief and started killing innocent people after his Wizard ordered his Confessor to kill herself, forcing his wizard to kill him with his own sword and trap his spirit in his remains. Worse, he possessed Richard's body and got his Confessor's spirit to possess Kahlan's, obviously not caring what either of them thought.
Luke, I Am Your Father: According to Rahl, Richard is his brother, but it's unclear if he was telling the truth. And before that revelation, Richard learns, Zedd is his grandfather. Confirmed at the start of season 2 by a former servant of Panis Rahl and Darken Rahl's ghost. Also confirmed by the fact that Cara's Mord'Sith powers fail when Richard dies and return when he is resurrected (Mord-Sith only have their powers as long as a Rahl is alive).
MacGuffin: The Stone of Tears drives the entire plot of Season 2.
Zedd becomes this after becoming young again and naming himself the Seeker in "Wizard".
Darken Rahl may also qualify, as he possesses magical powers and is an experienced sword fighter. He used both to defeat Richard during their first encounter.
Also Nicci, who is a capable combatant as well as the most powerful sorceress in the series.
The Mord-Sith, who are elite women warriors, have magical powers, including the ability to ressurect recently dead people.
Magic Map: One episode had a mapmaker selling maps to bounty hunters that revealed Richard's location as a glowing point of light.
Make Wrong What Once Went Right / Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Manages to be both at the same time. The first part of the Season Two finale takes place in what is, by all appearances, a much, much better world than the "real" one. As a result of the Spell of Undoing, Cara was never a Mord-Sith (and thus lived the peaceful life of a schoolteacher with two small children), and thus didn't arrive in time to interrupt Richard when he put together the boxes of Orden. As a result, the veil of the underworld was never torn, Orden and Confession tempered each other, Richard was marrying Kahlan, and Darken Rahl was now his trusted friend, brother, and advisor. Zedd, having Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, is the only one who remembers how things were "supposed" to be... but comes to accept, at first, that this might be better. It's only once the Keeper, who also has Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, throws things out of whack that he decides to hit the Reset Button again.
Marshmallow Hell: Richard gets this from the Margrave's (rather large) sister in "Princess".
Mega Manning: Nicci, to great effect. So far, she has stolen Richard's Han, Sister Ulicia's Han, Sister Merissa's Han, Kahlan's Confession powers, and the Han of well over a hundred other magic users, due to killing and stealing the powers of several Han-buffed Sisters of the Dark.
Moral Dissonance: One season 1 episode has a secondary character who steals Richard's identity and leaves Richard behind to take his place, despite knowing that he can't use the Sword of Truth, he can't read the Book of Shadows, he isn't the Seeker and therefore, by prophecy, cannot save the world and is therefore dooming it. And then he tries to sleep with Kahlan wearing the identity of the man she loves. And we're supposed to root for him and his implied romance with the actually heroic secondary heroine of the episode.
Murder Is the Best Solution: Over the course of Season 2, a couple characters express regret that they hadn't killed Darken Rahl, or allowed him to be killed, when he was a child. One of these people happens to be Zedd, who in the books has a brief inner monologue on the subject, before realizing he couldn't have wished for the death of a child, even one who would grow up to be Darken Rahl. Much the same feelings are expressed in the show.
In the season 2 finale, Kahlen goes into Con Dar and instantly confesses four Mord-Sith. She then orders them to kill each other. They do so by touching each other's heart with the agiel simultaneously.
Also happens in Richard's nightmare in the Fields of Perdition with Kahlan and Cara. And earlier in the first season when he uses the power of Orden.
My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: In "Listener", a young mind-reader rescued by Richard and Kahlan informs them both that yes, their to-date undiscussed feelings for each other are mutual, which opens an important can of worms.
The first time you see Jennsen is her tending to her goat, and previews of the second season show Richard developing a beard, like he wore during the second book.
In the first part of the season 2 finale, Sister Marianna is naked when she hears the voice of the Keeper in her dreams and rises to serve him. In the books, the Sisters of the Dark were always naked when they sat in the circle to speak with the Keeper in their dreams.
Never Split the Party: Meta version, by way of Pragmatic Adaptation: In the books, while Richard and Kahlan were nearly inseparable after the second book, they often went two or three books without seeing Zedd, who was off doing other plot-important things elsewhere, and it was rare to have all the main protagonists in one place for an extended period of time. In the TV series, though, they're never separated for more than a two-parter episode at a time.
When entering Con Dar (the blood rage), Kahlan gains the ability to confess anyone she wants without even touching them. When applied to Mord-Sith, they no longer die within minutes but remain loyal slaves.
Nicci also gains a host of new powers after absorbing Richard's Han.
Subverted in that neither needed to learn how to use these.
After realizing what his oldest son would become, Panis made sure to fulfill his part in the prophecy to stop him. Problem is, after doing so, he gloated to Darken about everything. Darken responded by killing him. This also led to the deaths cited in the next entry.
Not to mention when Darken Rahl destroys the Boxes of Orden in an attempt to stop Richard from using them and inadvertently tears the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead.
The most glaring example has to be the wizard Amfortas from the backstory. His meddling to try to prevent the Seeker Kieran from being confessed resulted in exactly that happening, followed by the Confessor dying and Kieran going into a frenzy of violence against innocents and forcing Amfortas to kill him, meaning that the Seeker failed his quest because of Amfortas's meddling. Then he trapped Kieran's spirit in his corpse, resulting in the possessions of Richard and Kahlan. He even planned to trap Richard in the tomb to prevent Kieran from escaping, nearly handing victory to Darken Rahl.
As in the books, the Confessors kill male confessors at birth out of fear of them growing to abuse their powers. In the first season, Richard successfully convinces the Confessors to spare the life of a newborn male confessor. Then the season finale shows us a full-grown male confessor, and despite his parents' best efforts, he's just as bad as they'd feared.
Also, after luring Cara into a trap with a threat to her (and his) son, Darken Rahl reveals that he had been killed at birth, just as she originally thought.
Offstage Villainy: Cara's misdeeds killing Dennee and participating in the slaughter of the other Confessors happened entirely offscreen. Accepting her Heel-Face Turn would've been much more difficult if we'd seen the act.
Oh Crap: When Kahlan goes through the Con Dar (aka Blood Rage) for the first time, everyone has this look on their faces. Even Richard is scared.
Once per Season: Like the books, it seems each season will feature a new Wizard's Rule. The pilot had Zedd briefly quoting the Wizard's First Rule+ People will believe a lie if they want it to be true, or if they're afraid it might be true, and the second season opener has him quoting the second+ Sometimes you do the most harm by trying to do the most good.
An odd non-marriage variant. Annabelle was afraid that Flynn would stop liking her after she lost her confessor powers, but he ended up liking her anyway. It probably helps that he seemed interested in the first place.
A first season episode featured one with an actual marriage.
In the season 2 finale it manages to keep Richard from being confessed by Kahlan, make Kahlan snap out of the Con Dar, andmakes a completely new stone of tears. The first bit is a nod to the end of the first book, and was in fact foreshadowed by Richard himself in "Eternity".
And in the episode featuring Kieran, Viviene and Amfortas (a previous Seeker, Confessor and Wizard), Kieran's rage can simply be explained as the result of grief at her death being magnified by the Sword of Truth, his own love protecting him from Viviene. Unfortunately, he just wasn't able to focus in battle like Richard can.
Race Lift: Chase is Maori and General Trimack is black in the adaptation. Commander-General Trimack doesn't get much of a physical description, but in the books Darken Rahl only allowed pureblooded D'Harans into his elite Praetorian Guard—the First File which Trimack commands—and in positions of high rank. D'Haran purebloods are almost universally blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan phenotypes.
Rape as Backstory: Nicci reveals this, and getting revenge for it, as the reason she became a Sister of the Dark.
The Sisters of the Dark. Every time they show up, Richard and company end up slaying at least a half dozen of them, and that they actually wear red dresses makes it even worse. This is particularly Egregious considering that in the books, the Sisters of the Dark were some of the most powerful, intelligent, and dangerous of the Keeper's servants, and even one was considered to be a critical threat.
Anyone who Kahlan confesses has a 90% chance of being dead by the end of the episode.
Reset Button: Zedd tries an in-universe version in the form of the Spell of Undoing after Cara is brainwashed into turning against them. Naturally, it all goes wrong...until he tries it again at the beginning of the next episode.
Rhymes on a Dime: All women are expected to do this in the presence of the Margrave. Cara has trouble with it at first, then spontaneously composes a whole poem about torturing and killing a slave. The Margrave's sister impressively manages one while sobbing at the top of her lungs.
Rule of Cool: Much like the other New Zealand-based fantasies of that time period, armour is apparently not required for main characters for go head first into mobs of enemies every week.
Script Wank: The ending of the episode "Cursed," particularly Kahlan's conversation with Cora about the episode's Be Yourself message.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: "The Seeker will deliver the Stone of Tears into the hands of the Keeper." Well, yeah, but only because just about everyone opposed to the Keeper interfered with Richard's quest.
Shirtless Scene: Richard ends up shirtless with almost alarming frequency in the first season.
Shoot the Messenger: A monk trying to deliver a message to Kahlan meets Nicci at the wrong time and hears something he really shouldn't. Being Nicci, she decides not to take the risk of him telling anyone else.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In the first season, Richard saves a male Confessor baby (it is believed that all the male Confessors are Always Chaotic Evil, and as such they are killed at birth), hoping that the baby can grow into a decent person. But we never learn whether his belief is right: in the second season the child is killed off-screen along with all the other Confessors.
Squishy Wizard: Zedd, though he still occasionally manages to knock an enemy out with a blunt weapon from behind in cases where he can't use his magic.
The Starscream: Both Darken Rahl and Nicci (independently), during season two.
Tell Me About My Father: Reversed and gender flipped in "Bloodline," where Richard laments he never got the chance to talk to his mother, and the episode ends with Zedd saying, "Then let me tell you about her."
Temporary Blindness: Nicci blinds Richard with shards of broken glass in the Season 2 finale, which doesn't stop him from fighting the Sisters of the Dark and blocking their dagger throws with his sword. Fortunately, Zedd is there to help.
Tempting Fate: Happens in "Torn". Actually, it happens a lot. Especiallysince so many of them can instantly recognize the Seeker, the Mother Confessor, the Wizard of the First Order, and a Mord-Sith.
Richard: Let them go! Mook: Or what? (Richard knocks him out in a single punch)
A meta-version, and a semi-straight version. In the books, Kahlan is the last of the Confessors; here, there's still a handful left. Semi-straight version in that we see Dennee apparently get killed in the pilot, only for it to turn out she's still alive half way through the first season.
The handful of surviving Confessors apparently get killed off screen over the course of the next season, leaving Kahlan to indeed be the last of her kind... At least until Denee comes Back from the Dead. She's a hard woman to keep down, Denee.
Token Evil Teammate: Cara in Season 2; the "evil" bit is eroded away, though, over the course of the series.
Too Dumb to Live: Many, but one of the most notable is in "Cursed", at the battle in the throne room after the D'Haran invasion. Sounds of fighting can be heard from the throne room for a good 15 seconds before the D'Haran soldiers arrive yet the two guards at the door are standing with their backs to the door and with their weapons not drawn. Unsurprisingly, they are cut down within seconds.
The Trains Run On Time: After Darken Rahl is defeated at the end of the first season, his empire and armies start falling apart. A couple characters point out that while Rahl was a tyrant, at least he kept things orderly.
Tranquil Fury: Richard in "Bloodline" after Denna kills his mother and Richard gets the power of Orden.
The Trickster: When he's not blasting things with fireballs, Zedd displays quite a bit of cunning; see "Puppeteer" for him at his best.
Tsundere: Cara, whose tsun side generally involves threatening to torture people to death, and whose dere side involves threatening to torture people to death less vocally. Defrosting as of season 2. Hell, near the end of season 2, she has a 10-minute-long walk where she talks to a wisp (that we can't hear, conveniently) and pretty much goes through every Tsundere dialogue trope around. Well, that's just VERY rapid character development. This trope shows more through Mord'Sith's different methods of torture (i.e. pain vs. pleasure), which isn't limited to Cara alone.
Kahlan's Con Dar (the blood rage), accidentally activated by an evil wizard. Kahlan gets a mini one in "Extinction" where after a group of D'Haran soldiers ruthlessly burned down the Night Wisps' forest there are several long pans over her going wild on them with an uncharacteristic brutality.
Also, Richard and the Minders after Zedd removes their binding spell.
Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Cara, as well as Nicholas Rahl. Nicci also claims to Richard that this is true of her as well.
Villainous Breakdown: Rahl goes through a few of them, when he realizes Zedd tricked him so thoroughly, and when he finds out that Richard has all three boxes and the means to use them. It's generally not a good idea to be in the immediate area when he gets bad news.
Virtual Reality Interrogation: "Home" is driven by this. Darken Rahl has his pet wizard trap Richard in a dream about his home. Inside the dream, Rahl takes on several different characters to try and convince Richard that the goings-on of the series so far was all just a dream to learn the location of one of the boxes of Orden from him. Ultimately, the power of love combined with Rahl pushing too hard breaks the spell at the last moment.
Walking the Earth: One of the last of its kind after the great Reality TV invasions of the aughts.
Weird Moon: The episode "Home" features an enchantment that can only be cast when a constellation of three stars is encircled by the moon's crescent. It gets even worse, though — the spell ends when all three stars are eclipsed by the crescent portion of the moon. Not quite as bad as it seems, though: until pretty recently, the term "star" meant "any celestial object not the Sun or the Moon." "Planet" and "comet" are from old terms for "wandering star" and "hairy star" after all.
Cara is usually the one to ask this, and almost gleefully volunteers to pull the trigger, so to speak. She's usually talked out of it by Richard, though. Kahlan also advocates this as a solution occasionally, and again, Richard usually comes up with something that'll work without killing.
Averted in "Resurrection". Someone has their soul put into Richard's body while his soul is in the Underworld. They need to bring Richard's body back to town to revert the spell and the simplest solution would be to kill "Richard" and carry his body back. So Kahlan stabs him.
Workplace-Acquired Abilities: Richard's experience as a woodsman comes in handy on a number of occasions, such as being able to track which horse Annabelle and Fynn took because the tracks were deeper. Exploited in one episode where this is used against him, when a murderer framed a man by planting on him seeds from a particular area, knowing Richard would recognize them and implicate the man with them.
Here is the list of the prophecies that came true: Richard killed Rahl; Richard delivered the Stone of Tears to the Keeper; Kahlan's heart never stopped beating, so the Keeper lost; Leo was named Seeker; Darken Rahl became a tyrant.
One prophecy did not come true, however. Shota stated that Richard would fail in his quest. He didn't. Well, there seems to be a difference between the prophecies that the Sisters get from the Creator, and the ones Shota gets. We don't always see what Shota sees, so we mainly have her interpretation of things to go by.
Richard's quest is to stop Rahl. And Richard doesn't stop Rahl. Did Richard succeed in his quest? By the technicality, Rahl stopped himself.
Shota also prophesised that Kahlan would betray Richard. The closest we get to a fulfillment of that one is Kahlan's tentative, and never confirmed, guess that her leaving Richard for an episode (which she did to keep the prophesy from coming true) was the "betrayal" in question.
It was proven a couple of times that, although the prophecies that the Creator gives to the Sisters of the Light can't be averted, Shota's visions can. Hell, the first episode we're introduced to Shota is all about her trying to avert her own vision (and it does end up being averted completely).
It is explicitly said in this episode that Shota's visions shows "possible" futures.
You Can't Thwart Stage One: Averted, surprisingly enough, in the first season. While Rahl gets one or more of the boxes despite the heroes' best efforts in the beginning of the plot, they eventually succeed in stealing all three boxes and use them before Rahl can. After that, things go downhill for Rahl — though he certainly puts up one hell of a fight right up to the bitter end.