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Characters / High Druid of Shannara

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Grianne Ohmsford

The former Ilse Witch, and current Ard Rhys (High Druid) of Paranor, Grianne is driven to atone for her sins, and rebuild the Druid Order. Needless to say, the fact that her past is common knowledge, doesn't make her especially popular, within Paranor or outside of it.

For tropes relating to her as the Ilse Witch, see The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara. For tropes relating to her in Witch-Wraith see The Dark Legacy Of Shannara.


  • Archenemy: She first meets Tael Riverine in this series, kicking off an enmity that will last until Dark Legacy, and turn very personal for both of them.
  • The Archmage: As Ard Rhys, Grianne is both the leader of the Druid Council and one of the strongest magic users in the Four Lands.
  • The Atoner: Her raison d'etre is to try and make up for all the people she killed as the Ilse Witch.
  • Big Good: As the High Druid of the Third Council, Grianne is in charge of small army of magically empowered do-gooders who seek to make the Four Lands a better place.
  • Broken Bird: She's not evil anymore, but she's still a very damaged set of goods.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Subverted. Grianne attempts to do so by training the new generation of druids, but the betrayals within Paranor convince her she will never be accepted, and finds herself happier coming to terms with that fact, leaving the world to become a spirit in service to Mother Tanequil. Later Reconstructed when, after her second fall to darkness, she ultimately decides to save Tarsha Kanen when nothing binds the two but a promise. Ultimately, Grianne's protection of her distant niece allows her to finally earn her redemption and return to the Tanequil.
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  • Heroic Sacrifice: Makes one to save Cinaminson.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Initially villainous in the Voyage trilogy, then serves as The Atoner in the High Druid one. Witch Wraith makes her nastier than ever, less her cold, calculating self from the Ilse Witch days and more an engine of destruction fueled by The Power of Hate. In the Fall tetralogy, she shifts between Anti-Villain and Anti-Hero before finally settling on the latter.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Grianne hates herself, and believes that nothing she achieves will ever be enough.
  • Lady of War: Very feminine and very badass.
  • Reality Warper: The Wishsong can alter the world into whatever shape Grianne wants it to be in.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: There are a lot of people in the Four Lands who will never forget that Grianne was once the Ilse Witch.

Penderrin "Pen" Ohmsford

The son of Bek Ohmsford and Rue Meridian, and nephew to Grianne, Pen, like many Ohmsfords before him, finds himself shafted into saving the world. Told by The Kingi of the Silver River that he must free his aunt from The Forbidding, Pen, along with Khyber Elessedil and his Love Interest Cinnaminson, goes on a journey to locate the legendary Tanequil tree, and using its powers, travel to The Forbidding and liberate Grianne.
  • The Empath: Pen can sense and read others' emotions, enabling him to predict how they will behave.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Of a sort—his powers also allow him to communicate with animals and plants, whether by literally speaking their language or merely feeling what they feel and influencing their emotions.
  • Good Parents: His parents are alive, well, very fond of him, and appear in the story, something of a rarity for Ohmsford parents.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: His father thought that he was this.
  • Nice Guy: His powers practically force him into this role.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Tanequil allows him to access The Wishsong, considerably boosting his abilities.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: His father and his aunt have The Wishsong. What does Pen get? A heightened sense of empathy.

Khyber Elessedil

The daughter of the Elven King, Khyber Elessedil is closer to her uncle, Ahren, then she is to her father. Joining Ahren and Pen on their quest to save Grianne, Khyber wields the Blue Elfstones on Ahren's behalf.

She reappears in The Dark Legacy of Shannara, well over a century old, and in charge of both the Druids and the search for the rest of the Elfstones. For tropes relevant to this appearance see The Dark Legacy Of Shannara

  • Rebellious Princess: Doesn't even really acknowledge her position as an Elessedil Princess, preferring to study with the Druids. She's more of a Lady of War by Dark Legacy
  • The Remnant: Leads the few remaining Druids after Shadea a'Ru's rebellion, and founds the Fourth Druid Council.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Princess of the Elves, wielder of the Blue Elfstones, eventual High Druid of Paranor. She joins the search for Grianne, and eventually heads up the Order.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Both within High Druid and between the series, eventually graduating to High Druid.

Tael Riverine

A high-ranking Straken Lord (Demon Lord) and one of the leaders of Demonic society following the death of The Dagda Mor. He conceived the plot to trap Grianne Ohmsford within The Forbidding in exchange for unleashing The Moric into the world. He later captures Grianne and tries to force her into mating with him. Escaping scott free, he returns as The Big Bad of Dark Legacy of Shannara.
  • Archenemy: He becomes Grianne's over the course of the trilogy, and returns to menace her again in Dark Legacy.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Like The Dagda Mor and the rest of his fellow Straken, Tael holds his position by virtue of having killed anybody else who thought they could take it.
    • The wraith of the Ilse Witch uses this against him in Dark Legacy. By very publicly outwitting, humiliating, and finally killing him, she breaks any loyalty that his demon forces- who only value rule by strength- had for him.
  • Big Bad: Directly or indirectly, all the problems that Pen and Grianne go through in this series can be traced back to Tael's manipulations. He plays the same role in Dark Legacy, where he's again looking to tear down the Forbidding.
    • Big Bad Duumvirate: Not directly addressed in-series, but with The Dagda Mor gone, Tael is just one of several Straken Lords who have stepped into his place. By Dark Legacy, he appears to have become the ruler of most or all of the Forbidding, however.
  • Dark Is Evil
  • Demon Lords And Arch Devils: One of several Straken Lords who have ascended to leadership positions among the Demons following the death of The Dagda Mor in Elfstones.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Like The Dagda Mor before him, Tael Riverine is a capable user of sorcerous magic, in addition to his innate Demonic abilities.
  • Full-Name Basis: He's either referred to by title or as "Tael Riverine", never just "Tael" or "Riverine".
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Tries it on Grianne, planning to use her to breed children for himself.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Tael's bright, frosty eyes are a standout in his otherwise dark countenance.
  • Karma Houdini: As of the end of High Druid.
    • Dark Legacy corrects the matter.
  • Large and in Charge: He towers over most of his minions and anyone from the Four Lands, even the Trolls.
  • Magic Knight: A powerful sorcerer and terrifying warrior.
  • The Man Behind the Man: To the traitor Druids, who believe that they are equal partners with him. Also to The Federation, during the brief time period when The Moric was impersonating Sen Dunsidan. In Dark Legacy he's had enough of that so he just invades directly.
  • Scary Black Man: Appears as a tall, muscular man with dark skin.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Not Tael personally, but all Demons are trapped within The Forbidding.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Grows them from his entire body with the exception of his face.
  • Stalker with a Crush: He's obsessed with making Grianne his mate, all the more after she escaped him, something no one else had ever done.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He goes increasingly berserk across Dark Legacy when he can't find Grianne. It gets even worse when he does find her, and she's an undead wraith who then duels him, kills him, and takes his place.

The Moric

A relative of The Changeling from Elfstones, The Moric is the right-hand of Tael Riverine. Capable of perfectly impersonating anybody that it devours, The Moric is loosed in the real world so that it might destroy The Ellcrys and bring down The Forbidding.

Sen Dunsidan

The Prime Minister of The Federation's Coalition Counsel, Sen Dunsidan knew Grianne Ohmsford when she was still the Isle Witch, and a pawn of The Morgawr. He never lets her forget this, and is one of her most implacable enemies. For tropes relating to him, see The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara.


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