Poll: Walker Boh or Allanon?


Yesterday, I spent the day working on Unfettered.

Unfettered is the fantasy anthology that I am putting together to help pay off the medical debt from my bout with uninsured cancer in 2011. There are 23 short stories in the anthology, written by some of the best authors working right now.

If you love fantasy, you will want to pre-order it HERE.

Terry has contributed two different stories to Unfettered. The first is Imaginary Friends, a precursor to his Word/Void series. Set in Sinnissippi Park, it features an elf Pick and his trusty owl Daniel. It was originally published in a Del Rey Books anthology in 1991 but quickly went out of print. It is now available as an e-book and will be published in Unfettered for those of you who haven’t read it or don’t have a hardcopy of it.

The second story Terry gave me is fairly unique. In 2000, Terry published Ilse Witch. Several months later, on October 6th, Del Rey Books sent out a BrooksBooks newsletter with an original Shannara short story. Those who signed up for Terry’s newsletter received the short story in their inbox. It has never been published in a physical book before.

The short story in question is now titled Walker and the Shade of Allanon. Terry wrote it after he had finished Ilse Witch. In that book, the Druid Walker visits the Hadeshorn to meet with Allanon and get advice about his trip to Parkasia. The meeting happens off-page; Terry didn’t write the conversation as he wrote Ilse Witch. But when he was asked to write a short piece for the newsletter, he knew he had to write the conversation between Walker and the Shade of Allanon.

Which brings me to my poll question:

Who do you like better? Walker? Or Allanon?

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77 responses to “Poll: Walker Boh or Allanon?”

  1. That was a tough question. I enjoyed almost everything I read about Walker Boh, but I had to go with Allanon. Because much of his history was hidden in the beginning for the original trilogy, he was the very image of a druid to me. Mysterious and oh so wise. I had a serious attack of fangirl when I read The First King of Shannara and I read about Allanon as a child. It was almost too much to be honest, lol. He will always be my favorite druid.

  2. Allanon – The Original Trilogy will always win hands down! It holds a special place in the hearts of readers, as their introduction to the World of Shannara. While I like Walter Boh and the Heritage Series as my second favorite series – the same can not be said for The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Isles – Mogwar – Anthrax. It is durning The Voyage Series – that Terry’s writing style drastically changes. And he did not return to the old style until First King and then later to High Druid.

    That being said, I would like to see a collection of these short stories from The Paladin Series printed into a Hardcover Book with illustrations – his Anthology Series didn’t include artwork. And I look forward to buying Unfettered not just for a good cause, a cure for cancer, but for the love of words.

  3. Walker Boh is not only the best written Druid, but I think he may be one of the most well written literary characters in the genre. When I teach creative writing, which is rare, I always try to fit Walker into my discussions, because he modified and, in ways, undercut, Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey.” Because of this, I think he is Terry Brooks’ greatest creation.

  4. Well, since I discovered Allanon long before I knew of Gandalf, or any other great mage for that matter, this was a no-brainer. That painting in Sword of Shannara of Allanon with talking to the two boys just set the tone.

  5. I don’t know who Walker is, yet. I just know that Allanon is one of my favorite characters from any book, ever.

  6. I love your books Terry, but I have to say I always missed Allanon after “Wishsong”. He’s one of my favorite fantasy characters to this day.

  7. Allanon… While I like them both Allanon has always been my favorite character of any book. I’ve always felt like we never got enough of him and I would love more novels about him!

  8. I miss Allanon but he was too blasted secretive. I have been reading your books since I was a teenager and now at 41 I can’t wait to til the next one comes out! Terry you is da bomb!

  9. I can’t chose. They were perfect contrasts of each other. Walker Boh was everything Allanon wasn’t and Allanon was everything Walker Boh wasn’t. And yet somehow, they had so much in common. I can’t choose one over the other when every difference between them makes them both better.

  10. Allanon was one of the iconic characters that made me like the books in the first place. He was so dark, forbidding, and mysterious. Actually I used to know someone who was just like Allanon in the sense that he was dark and mysterious and was very experienced that taking care of himself, and appeared to have an interesting story behind him but you just never wanted to ask him because he was intimidating.
    What a fun pole question. I want to go and read the Sword of Shannara all over again now. 🙂

  11. Sword of Shannara was the very first Fantasy book I ever read. A friend had given me a huge cardboard box of paperback books, and I was “down” with my back in spasms and told to stay put for at the least, 10 days, I browsed through the mainly “romance” books, yuk, Then found Terry Brooks book about 11:00 a.m. I read till I had finished it, all in one night, couldn’t put it down. Cryed at the end, because it ended. Two weeks later, I was told that it was a Trilogy, and the hunt was on ! That was in 1981, and I now own every Terry Brook’s book written and looking forward to getting the newest ones.
    Thank you Mr. Brooks for showing me Fantasy books are for old ladies too! I”l be 70 in April !

  12. Did I mention I have read hundreds of Fantasy books, and the Shannara series at least over 2 dozen times, it’s like visiting olf friends.

  13. i liked Allanon,he has a very long drawn out history in the world of Shannara,as to where Walker Boh only lived like 130 years or so, Allanon had some 1500 years of life before dying by the damage inflicted by the jachrya in wishsong of shannara.although it would be really cool to write a story on all the druids from the first druid council to the latest one. that would make an awesome story.

  14. I love them both, each is special in their own way. Allanon was the first, so how does the saying go” you never forget your first love” and he was my first. So I have to go with Allanon, I never did get enough of him.

  15. I just voted for Allanon, but now my head is exploding, because I am remembering the way I loved Walker too. Oh well like I said,” Allanon was my first love” and I can add to that, no one fits his shoes quite the same.

  16. I chose Walker; it was definitely a difficult choice, but I got to know Walker as a character a lot better, and growing up I really enjoyed reading about him. Allanon was as much a plot structure as he was a character, and while he was well-developed as both, I find Walker easier to relate to.

  17. Walker had more personality. Also, ever since he had used the Black Elfstone, he had all of Allanon’s powers and knowledge, as well as all the other Druids’.

  18. I had to go with walker simply BECAUSE he wasn’t the very supernatural image of the druids that Allanon was made into. He was a new generation of druid; he had more ‘flow’, his various legacies and the weight of the blood trust, were all brought to bear in a deeply human, very independent package.

    While Allanon, and to a certain extent Bremen, hey, even Tay and Risca wore magic like a shroud, Walker commanded it to do his own will. From the time of John Ross and Angel Perez, right up until then end of Allanon’s lifetime, magic held complete sway over the development of the material plane on Earth. With the central conflict happening mainly in the four lands. The druids and staff bearers accepted all this as part of the struggle bewteen order and chaos. Magic for them, was as essential as breathing; with no magic, there could be no life or peace.

    Walker changed that in ways that the wpr;d is only starting to see, as it turns it out. To me, it’s like Walker discovered that it as actually the magic that needed the druids, Ohmfords, Leahs and so on. He denied magic it’s full sway over his being, despite his resignation to the legacy he knew he must fulfill. To the observer (or humble reader), it seems as though his will affected the magic, which started a course of action that I can’t wait to see play out with the new druids.

    Which brings me to the new druids, the one attitude that they have that was passed down from Walker, is that they shape the magic as much the magic shapes them, something that seemed to be lost on the old druids, most of all, Allanon.

    If the druids before Walker were the instruments of the magic that had claimed dominion over the balance, and the druids after Walker were/are the Players in the orchestra, I have to see Walker as the conductor. The Ohmsford way of controlling one’s own destiny, even in the face of it being predetermined is strongest, I believe, in Walker Boh.

    Now I’m probably reading to much into this and I had no idea that the question posed would take me off on that train of thought, but Walker Boh has always been such a huge influence in my life, as weird as that may sound. My inner world has always been much more vibrant than this one, and what walker stood for is something I think more real, and fictional characters should have a touch more of….Independent spirit

  19. I would agree with those who say Walker is Terry’s finest character. Without a doubt he is the protagonist with the most depth from any story. My vote went to him.

    Also, an error in the above article…. I believe Pick was a sylvan, not an elf.

  20. Allanon or Walker Boh! Although I have already responded above. I personally think Terry should create a third Druid in a new series. The Shannara Series needs a reboot or a re-imagining of the world. An Atlas of Shannara would be great.

    My vote is for A New Druid in a A New Series … and do all Druids have to be men?

    • After Walker comes Grianne Ohmsford, a female Druid. After her comes Khyber, a female Druid. And after her comes Aphenglow, a female Druid. Not to mention Seersha, a Dwarf female Druid. Looks like you have some reading to catch up on!

  21. I thought Allanon died to easily. Someone that was the baddest of the druids should have easily destroyed an overgrown Hyaena(Jachyra).

    • Eric, I would really like to see this poll – hopefully Shawn will post it next! My inclination is Grianne Ohmsford, as I am always interested in characters who are redeemed from a seriously evil way of life and earn their way back into goodness (which is why Piccolo and Vegeta remain my favorite characters from the ancient anime, Dragon Ball Z).

      That said, I think Aphenglow is proving to be an interesting character, so we’ll have to wait and see to find out who stacks up better!

    • That’s so hard. I think my favourite character out of them is Grianne, I did a monologue as her. It is so exhilarating being someone else, especially someone as conflicted as Grianne. I think she is my favourite druid although even though the others have only been in one published book yet, there are awesome as well.

      When I’m thinking about it does anyone know what is happening with the filming of the Elfstones? Any auditions information? 🙂

  22. Great poll. You can tell its great by the amount of replies its generating. I had to go with Allanon, and only by a slim margin. I chose Allanon only because he was the first druid. He set the bar so high. He is a remarkable character, he is personification of will. Now Walker on the other hand is such a tragic figure. I started out with such high hopes for him. He was Allanon reborn. He was the strongest of the Scions. His journey was AMAZING. All the things he had to go through to become a Druid were astounding. I was incredibly shocked and sad not only that he passed, but HOW he passed. Bad way to go. To think that he was ***SPOILER** killed by his own family is awful*** END SPOILER. Looking back it seems it was always going to end badly for Walker. He hated being a Druis and his death brought him the realeas he craved. YOU KNOW WHAT? i MAY GO BACK AND CHANGE MY VOTE!!!! LOL

    • what? he pretty much was killed be the Antrax not but his family he was killed by the blow back from the kill shot if Antrax

      • Paul, you are right. What I meant was that Griannes hatred of Walker and her plans to destroy the quest for Antrax was Walkers biggest failure. She played a big part in Walkers demise. It was just an awful ending for a great character. No treasures found and his failure with Grianne was brutal. Sad way to go….

  23. Walker Boh’s internal conflict before he becomes the Druid Walker is what I liked best, more than just the exploits of Druids.

    And anyone who hasn’t really ought to read “Imaginary Friends”. That story nearly brought me to tears, like nothing else by Terry Brooks that I’ve read.

  24. Could you have asked a harder poll question?! By the way Shawn, I just finished The Dark Thorn and I love the name dropping you did 😉

  25. I selected Walker because in many ways he reminds me of each of us. We all have challenges we must overcome, some greater than others. His strength of character and refusal to be like the others was evident in the reclamation of Paranor. After using the black elf stone to bring Paranor back, he went through a ritual where all of the former druids came to him with knowledge and power. He did not just passively accept that. He weighed, evaluated and determined the best course of action and would not allow them to control him.
    However, I will say this was hard because Allanon was a phenomenon in his own right. Mysterious, powerful, and yet not without compassion. He did not like the way he had to manipulate people and events to try and make it work for the betterment of all, but he also knew the dangers of exposing everything. It was up to each individual to develop the strength to overcome the obstacles put in their way.
    Life’s challenges are not always easy. Do we rise to the occasion when needed?

  26. There is no comparison Allanon hands down more power more knowledge how long would walker have lasted against the jachyra or would he have been able to rally the elves against the demons in elfstones??? And then when completely drained defeat the dagdar mor in a one on one.Look back the foes who Allannon fought were far more formidable than Walker.All,anon in a different league in every department

  27. I think the difficulty is that Walker Boh and Allanon depend upon one another to work. Allanon, in his status as the Druid par excellence, more than any other Druid (unlike Bremen, an outcast, Cogline, also an outcast, or any of the lesser druids, even Galaphile who remains a distant figure still), Allanon in some sense is the Ur-Druid,, the embodiment of druidry itself. He is authoritative, vested in his very name and presence, as shown in his own comment about himself in the first Wards of Faerie novel – “I am Allanon.”

    It is against the backdrop of Allanon, sort of the dark Superman of the Druid Justice League, who Walker Boh, distrustful of the druid legacy, must define himself. Who more defines the manipulative Druids than Allanon, the one who even in death continues to shape the history of the Four Lands?

    As a medievalist and classicist, I would say that Galaphile as a Druid is a part of the myth – the ancient story that defines all Druids. Allanon is the epic – closer to us than myth, but so much larger than life, like Odysseus or Aeneas. Walker Boh is more like a medieval romance protagonist, like Gawain, trying to live up to his role as knight subservient to the knightly standard posed by King Arthur. These analogies are not perfect, but I think they are deeply, deeply intertwined in similar ways.

    But overall, my argument would be that Walker Boh is the most interesting and captivating of the Druids. The Druid of Shannara remains one of my favorite Shannara novels, so perfect in its craft and letting us live with Walker as he figures himself out. Allanon was awesome from the beginning, even as an untested youth, and I wouldn’t have him any other way. But Allanon is what a Druid is like when a Druid is best fit for the vocation. Walker Boh is more like what it would feel like for an ordinary person, or in this case someone who yearns to be more ordinary, who is called to be extraordinary when he does not want the burden. He is more like Spiderman than Superman, a hero who feels that his own powers are invasive into his identity, rather than a natural birth right.

    Whew, long winded. But yeah – Walker Boh, no question.

    • “I am Allanon,” by the way, reminds me of “I am Iron Man,” haha. I totally think Terry should sing an Allanon song to the tune of “Iron Man” and sell it on iTunes.

  28. Allanon is still one of my favorite characters of all time. Compare the confidant. Mysterious.and powerful Allanon of the 1st 3 books to the unsure Allanon in Allanon’s Quest and you get to see a whole different side to him that you are not expecting. While reading these comments reminded me of how much I love Walker it is still Allanon hands down for me.

  29. My vote was Walker. He spans essentially seven books and we go through so much with him as readers. His storyline is overall much better than Allanon’s in my opinion.

  30. Walker is the more interesting character for me, one of the coolest and most complex fantasy heroes ever. I don’t think as many people have read the Heritage series.

  31. Walker he is a Badass by far my fav in all of the four lands where he trys to be himself above all else though he dose like most Druid not tell all what is there but he dose it not really wanting to where Allanon did is just dose it was a means to his own end it may have been for the greater good he had no 2nd thoughts about it

  32. I chose Allanon because his clarity of thought, most likely due to his longevity, was truly awe-inspiring. He literally was larger than everyone else, in thought and purpose. No other druid has reached those heights since. Walker was a great character, but so internally flawed because of the disdain of his heritage that his demise was certainly tragic. I think it’s a matter of perspective. Terry hasn’t delved into Allanon’s history at all. Perhaps we saw a peek in First King, a little more in the short story he recently published, but I think Allanon probably started off a lot like Walker but had the strength of will, something that was alluded to from the beginning in First King, to overcome whatever demons chased him. Something Walker, sadly could not do, or was incapable of doing.

  33. People…aren’t they almost the same? Didn’t Walker absorb all that was good about Allanon when he was chosen? To me, it’s very tough to answer.

  34. I chose Allanon for both a historical and compelling factor. It’s 1984ish (I’m 42 now) and I’m in a second hand bookstore. As soon as I walk in I see the paperback edition of Elfstones of Shannara, sitting there, waiting to be picked up. It was like the owner knew I was coming in that day and placed the book in a very open location. I was immediately intrigued by the dark figure standing and pointing on the cover, with cloak billowing and face covered. Read the back, stare at the cover some more, and make the purchase. At that point in my life I don’t think I had ever read a novel so quickly. Then I realized I had read book two! Egads! It didn’t matter. I was hooked. Scenes with Allanon were my favorite. Harsh. Dangerous. Foreboding. Mysterious. I wanted more of Allanon. He was such a compelling character to me.

    But I must say, Grianne was pretty amazing in her own right. Like Walker, she was a reluctant Druid yet had so much more baggage that she carried with her. I think I would have had a tougher time deciding if Grianne were a choice on the poll.

    As I sit here and type I’m being flooded with memories of Walker as well. Oh! His defense of the Keep was nothing short of brilliant and he had a moor cat as a pet. Who was awesome.

    I’m…I think my head is going to explode.

    Dammit. I give up. What a terrible mess I’ve gotten myself into so early on a Saturday. Should have walked away after I voted.

  35. No contest. Allanon was the true historian. Walker Boh did not have any choice in his becoming a Druid. I love to see Allanon’s story as he grew into Druidism….between the First King and the Sword.

    • Walker didn’t have a choice? I disagree. What makes him such a great character is his abhorrence of becoming a Druid and the conflict of doing or not doing so.

      • Yeah, Walker really didn’t want to become a Druid. He was the epitome of the reluctant Druid. His distrust of the Druid order was sky high. Walker was content living life out in the woods with his big ol’ moor cat without any bother. Then he got bothered and became a Druid, albeit unhappily.

  36. I first read The Sword of Shannara in 1977, and read all of Terry’s novels up to the Talismans of Shannara. Then, I “went on to other things”. However, after seeing The Hobbit in my local theatre, it rekindled my love of fantasy, especailly Terry’s works. So, I began re-reading with The First King of Shannara, and have finished about one book every two weeks. My goal is to read ALL of the Shannara series, up to the newest one, which I believe will be in August. Wow, what a pleasure to “come home” after over 25 years.

  37. I think the question is a little loaded. The figure of allanon is a mystery throught his time in the series. you learn about him but you didnt experience his journey with him. walker on the other hand is a familiar character to those aquainted with the books. You saw walker as an ordinary average guy, took the journey with him to become a druid, and the journey afterwards to parkasia. People would know Walker better than allanon because we have been there from the beginning with walker, where allanon was already a legacy when we met him so many books ago. It makes it hard to vote when you havent experienced the full story with both characters, but id have to go with allanon. Just because he was the earliest druid remembered by most peoples of the four lands and therefore he set the standard for being a druid. The Original.

  38. Allanon or Walker? Concealed or revealed? Tollers or Jack (Tolk.ein or Lewis)? Jesus or Paul? I regress.
    I chose Allanon, although clearly Walker is the more well developed and conflicted character. I prefer the mystery and strength which begs us ponder the transcendant nature and sublime emotional depth of Allanon.
    I was blessed to find Terry Brooks, a true master of ‘the myth that abides’,
    while homeschooling our children K-12 in the 80’s and 90’s. As a result, all are loyal fans who fervently guard their unique imaginations and innate belief in the magic. Two of the three enjoy writing, and our youngest writer is entering law school as a contingency plan.
    It is also a blessing to witness the mutual support of this author, and another ‘Knight of the Word’, Shawn Speakman. I pray good health, inspiration, and success for you both.

  39. I honestly had to sit back and think about this for a minute and then came up with an understanding that if I was to chose the most formidable I would chose Allanon. However, if i was to chose the character with the most depth and in touch with humanity I would chose Walker.

    I have been around the world in some pretty grimy places and for the last 17 years Terry’s books have kept me in good spirits. They are what have shaped my understanding of fantasy. I know I have read all of Terry’s novels 14 times and I split that up with listening to the audiobooks when I am working out.

    To Terry and his “knights of the word” thank you for giving me a bit of magic to light the path before my feet.


  40. I have been reading Terry Brooks novels and other publications since “The sword” 1957. Thank you for such good writing. I’m 78 years old with a bithhday coming up in April soon to be 79. God Bless and hope for better future health.

  41. I go with Allanon, I didn’t like Walker that much, I just didn’t for some reason…
    (and i’ve been trying to figure out why ever since)

    Maybe people could reply to this and say why I might?
    (I seriously don’t know why I don’t like him)

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