Wiki Headlines
It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
YMMV: Sword of Truth
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Richard is canonically the hero, but to many readers, he is a brutal Knight Templar at best and a Tautological Templar at worst in the later books.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Of a sort. The last three books seem to be a deliberate effort on Goodkind's part to recapture the first few books' feel, while toning down the heavy handed Author Tracts.
  • Anvilicious: Goodkind does not believe in ambiguity. The heroes are (written as) Right, almost every villain is completely evil, and, in later books the series' Objectivist themes become far more prominent.
  • Badass Decay: Jennsen becomes much less formidable after joining up with Richard, almost to the point of being The Load.
  • Canon Sue: Richard is basically a perfect human being: strong, incredibly handsome, good at everything, chosen wielder of the Sword of Truth AND the first War Wizard born in the last 3000 years. He repeatedly wins over enemies with his unconditional love, including someone who tortured him for months. Taken to an even more ridiculous extreme in the last few books, when Richard, armed with only a regular sword (not his usual Infinity+1 Sword), kills almost a hundred armed soldiers by himself. Following that, he is conscripted into a Ja'La team, where despite being more or less new to the game (he played it with children in previous books), he takes the most important position on the team and becomes, to paraphrase a character, "the best point man we've seen in the last hundred years". Keep in mind, this sport is run almost exactly like current day sports, so the equivalent would be someone who's played a few Pop Warner games stepping onto an NFL field and becoming the greatest quarterback in the history of the sport in the space of a few months. He even wins the equivalent of the Super Bowl, defeating the emperor's team, with points to spare.
    • Even less Genre Savvy readers cannot ignore the absurd amount of times people say: "You are a very rare person, Richard."
      • Richard is not just good, but perceived, at least by Goodkind, as damn near perfect. Richard, and often by extension Kahlan or Zedd, as they always seem to agree with him, is always shown as being above reproach, no matter what he does, or how it is perceived by those around him. Richard can kick a child in the face, nearly killing her, and doom an entire nation to death because they disagreed with his moral standpoint (more than once) and numerous other clearly villainous acts, but it doesn't matter because it was all somehow warranted. On the other hand, characters who are not on Richard's side cannot be forgiven the slightest of offenses and most if not all of them are revealed as rapists, even child molesters. If a formerly "good" character starts disagreeing with Richard, this is the beginning of that character's Face-Heel Turn (even some of them may turn to rape). That is because Richard is a picture of all that is holy and good in the world, and can never be allowed to be wrong. If he kills someone, that person deserved to die. If a country refuses to join Richard's D'Haran Empire, that country is evil, even if they were only "evil" by virtue of opposing Richard. By the same token, a formerly evil character's Heel-Face Turn will begin with them realizing Richard is right.
  • Cliché Storm: Everything from a common man of mysterious lineage, to a wise old wizard with robes and white hair, to a character that was turned into a small, fanatical creature when deprived of the artifact that was precious to him.
  • Complete Monster: Darken Rahl is an Evil Overlord and Evil Sorcerer who has made a bargain for power with the demonic being The Keeper of the Underworld. Darken keeps the people enslaved, banning fire and launching brutal extermination campaigns on those who have resisted him. Rahl also continues the order of Mord-Sith: girls raised to be vicious torturers who have their mothers murdered in front of them and are forced to torture their fathers to death. He also sexually abuses the Mord-Sith and especially enjoys tormenting a lesbian couple among them. A Serial Rapist as well, Rahl forces himself upon many women, and if ones with him consensually are repulsed at the scars under his clothing, he tortures them to death. Viewing children without the gift of magic as worthless, he has any of his ungifted offspring disposed of, while also sacrificing other children to the Keeper for power. Rahl's ultimate goal is to plunge the world into the Keeper's domain, where all that lives will suffer eternally.
  • Crazy Awesome: Nathan Rahl. Because he is a thousand-year-old wizard who had been imprisoned for most of his life in the Palace of the Prophets, he comes across as a wise and knowledgeable Badass Bookworm crossed with a reckless hormone-crazed teenager, colored with just the tiniest hint of insanity for flavor. Whenever he is on scene, something incredibly awesome and/or entertaining is about to happen.
  • Designated Hero: Richard can certainly come across this way, given his eagerness to slaughter all those who "choose death" rather than "life" in the later books. The only thing keeping him from being an Unscrupulous Hero or even an outright Sociopathic Hero is the narrative and the other characters referring to him as an incorruptibly pure hero. Kahlan is, if anything, even more bloodthirsty and willing to Shoot the Dog, and that's saying something. Zedd also drifts in this direction in the later books by a mixture of lectures and an extremely high kill count.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Gratch is awesome, which is sad because he's absent from the later books. Or maybe fortunate that he doesn't get caught up in the Author Tract.
  • Evil Will Fail: One of the main complaints with the series is that the later books turn this into an anvil to be dropped repeatedly on the reader's head in exposition and monologue form.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: In the later novels, the aesops start to draw strongly on Objectivist themes. The anti-Communist themes are pulled straight from Ayn Rand. People who try to give charity to others and "spread the wealth" ultimately turn poor people into lazy, greedy assholes and destroy the economy.
    • Similarly, the villain in The Law of Nines is said to have garnered support by offering what was essentially medieval welfare to the "lazy." (As did a minor villain in "Stone of Tears".)
    • "Soul of the Fire" describes a minority group that keeps itself in power by controlling the schools and teaching everyone in their society that they were the victim of a horrible injustice in the past and are therefore owed a great debt by the "evil" majority (and the horrible injustice may not have actually happened in the first place). Parallels to real-world groups are left as an exercise to the reader.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With A Song of Ice and Fire. The ASOIAF fandom has made it an almost-game to take the piss out of Goodkind and his works.
  • Fan Nickname: Inverted in that it's a nickname that comes from the Hatedom who call the author Badkind because he neither tells people to be good nor kind and in fact the opposite.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Dalton Campbell.
  • Memetic Mutation: "This looked like a chicken, like the rest of the Mud People's chickens. But this was no chicken. This was evil manifest."
  • Moral Event Horizon: At least three or four acts in Demmin's resume, any one of which could be taken as the final crossing for any other character.
    • Sebastian arranging the death of Jennsen's mother, along with four of his own soldiers, in order to ingratiate himself to Jennsen and fool her into trusting him.
  • Name's the Same: For the last time, it's not that Zedd.
  • Narm: Richard comparing a Mord-Sith's lesbianism to steamed peas: "I might not like what you like, but that doesn't mean I don't like you anymore for liking it."
  • Never Live It Down: The chicken thing is pretty much all people remember about the Chimes of Death. A lot of people overlook them killing women and children via drowning, burning, and falling off cliffs.
    • Michael's usually remembered for his speech against fire.
    • Listening to some critics you'd get the impression that killing peace protesters is all Richard does in the later books.
  • Nightmare Retardant:
    • The Chimes, demonic entities that exist to choke the world of magic, eventually almost causing the end of the world, are first introduced to the main characters... in the form of a chicken.
    • When Naked Empire's Big Bad is introduced, all attempts by Goodkind to make him seem terrifying are undermined by his name: Nicholas the Slide. Just try not to imagine him as a brightly-coloured, anthropomorphic piece of playground equipment.
  • Only the Author Can Save Them Now: Jagang, Darken Rahl and Nicholas the Slide would have had no problems achieving their goals if it wasn't for Deus ex Machina. This is most blatant in the case of Nicholas and the vial of antidote.
  • Padding: The series increasingly suffers from this as it progresses. In particular, you could condense the last three or four books of the series into one, simply by removing all of the extraneous dialogue, chapter-long philosophical rants and, yes, yet more chapters of extraneous monologuing.
  • Quality by Popular Vote: In any online discussion of these books, its supporters will cling to this trope like it's the last lifeline on the Titanic. It's true that the books sell well, and thus, in the eyes of its most diehard fans, that alone means that critics of its flaws are automatically wrong, failed to understand it or are just jealous.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Jennsen and the other major characters of The Pillars of Creation got a rather poor reception from many fans due to effectively reducing Richard and Kahlan to a cameo appearance in their own series.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Terry Goodkind tries to avert this by making villains as repulsively evil as possible so that the Designated Heroes' tendency to Pay Evil unto Evil doesn't make the audience turn on him. On the one hand, it means that the villains have all the odious habits that the heroes do, including the self-righteousness, and with extra rape (the only crime the heroes are not at some point guilty of) piled on top, but on the other hand, the heroes are the ones whose Kick the Dog moments we always get to see up close, while the villains' are usually just reported from afar.
  • Seasonal Rot: The books see a general decrease in quality as the series goes on, although there remain a few good books later in the series.
  • Snark Bait: This series is a particularly big magnet. There are many websites and forums that mock passages from the books.
  • Squick: The Sisters of the Dark get their powers of Subtractive magic by having sex with "nambles"- monsters with barbed penises.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Several. The most obvious is probably Shota, the witch woman. Towards the end of the series, Richard comes to her demanding her help. She explains to him that, by his own principles, she has no obligation to help him and really just wants to be left alone. How does Richard react to being called out on his hypocrisy? He ends up steamrolling her and accusing her of "posturing". Eventually, he has to trade his sword for the information he wants.
  • Tear Jerker: Raina's death in Temple of the Winds.
    • Warren's death in Faith of the Fallen-seriously sucky timing there.
    • Also Cara's Wedding. The juxtaposition of what they used to be, to what they have now is incredibly moving.
    • And then in The Third Kingdom, her husband, Ben, is killed covering her and Richard's escape. Seeing her so broken afterward is heart-wrenching.
    • And this exchange in Stone of Tears:
    V: What about my wrinkles?
    W: Someday, when you get wrinkles, I'll love them, too.
  • The Untwist: Zedd, the strange old man Richard is friends with, is indeed the great wizard Kahlan was sent looking for at the beginning of the first book.
  • The Woobie: Rachel, Jennsen.
  • X Meets Y: The Lord of the Rings meets Atlas Shrugged.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy