Poll: Who Is Your Favorite Original Shannara Trilogy Protagonist?

Wil Ohmsford painted by Darrell K. Sweet
Wil Ohmsford painted by Darrell K. Sweet
Protagonists matter.

In The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara, and The Wishsong of Shannara, they matter more than in a usual novel. It is not every day that a person gets the chance to save the world, and the protagonists from those first three Shannara books save the Four Lands and Beyond three times over!

Writers ask a lot of their characters. Terry is no different. Return to Shea Ohmsford. He is pulled from his sleepy life in Shady Vale, thrust into a grand adventure, realizes that adventure could get him killed, and almost does get killed! Numerous times. Yet he fights and perseveres, drawing on strength he didn’t know he had, and by the end of The Sword of Shannara, he is a changed person who has defeated the Warlock Lord.

Wil Ohmsford might have had a harder time of it in The Elfstones of Shannara. Harassed every step of the way to the Wilderun and back, he embodies the best of what it means to be a hero. Sacrifice. He breaks a psychological part of himself to use the Elfstones, smashing his man blood aside so he can access the power in his Elven blood. And not only that, but he is stalked by arguably the most fearsome villain in any of Terry’s books—the Reaper.

Then he has his heart broken on top of everything!

By the time The Wishsong of Shannara came around, Wil’s children knew to be leery of Allanon. Their family history dictated that. Brin and Jair knew they were entering danger before they even left Shady Vale. They went anyway. And through their actions—and more importantly their love for one another&mdahs;they overcome one of the roots of evil in the Four Lands. They are an example of how wonderful siblings can be and the ties that bind us together.

These are characters who had a significant point of view in one of the books, point of view characters who must be present at the end of the book for the story to work.

The poll question is:

Who is your favorite original Shannara trilogy protagonist?

And no, I won’t put Allanon down as a choice in the poll. While he is a protagonist, he is not the center of an entire book—and besides, he’d win easily!

So vote. Make your voice heard. And comment below why you voted the way you did!

64 responses to “Poll: Who Is Your Favorite Original Shannara Trilogy Protagonist?”

  1. I like Wil. He persevered when it was just him. Shea had Flick. Brin had Jair. I am also partial to Wil’s story because my name came from that book. I like all of Terry Brooks’s stories.

    • I love the fact that your name is taken from a Shannara book. I was playing an online racing game and one guy had his “name” as Menion. I asked him if he is familiar with Terry Brooks and he said he chose his name from one of his books. I thought it was cool that you could find a Terry Brooks fan in every nook and cranny.

  2. I chose Flick because he didn’t have to go with Shea. He wasn’t, technically, related to him, but he chose brotherhood over blood. A man to be admired and a brother to be loved.

  3. You’re right, I wanted to vote for Allanon. Lol! Or Amberle. The Elfstones was possibly the first book that made me cry over the fate of its character(s). Even though it’s been many years since my last reading, when I think about what happened, some of the feelings come back. I remember thinking that Wil probably knew he was in for a wild ride & trouble, but, like Flick & Shea before him – he went anyway. He was awesome.

    • i voted will because of his story abut i have used the name Amberle in a few online gaming characters because i love her story along with her name being so pretty

    • Yeah, the first time I read Elfstones, my heart was crushed… God, that scene still hurts me to this day and it’s been well over ten years.

  4. I would pick Rone Leah actually. Unlike the Ohmsfords, he kind of wanted his role in the world of magic on magic so that he could help. The Ohmsfords had more of a de facto obligation.

    Given the choices, I chose Jair.

  5. Grianne, Always Grianne. to overcome what she did will Always be the hardest. Otherwise Allanon of course….
    If I have to chose between these i guess Shea because the warlock lord are the worst antagonist.

  6. Id have to say wil.. he knew what he was getting into being the history of allanons last visit.. he was warned to keep away from allanon.. he is also the reason brin decided to go.. not because she knew he would do the same but because she was afraid he would just to save her from the hardships.. it changed his life irrevocably and he was the true beginning of the heroes of the four lands.. everything that came after was due to his use of the elfstones.. not to mention he was harried from the beginning.. the demons knew where to look and where they were headed from the beginning.. and through it all he managed to protect amberle and himself not to mention eretria and countless others with no real help even though the odds were against him from the start.. true epitome of a hero.

  7. I vote for Will. He was caught between a rock and a hard place from his desire to be a healer to the need to kill to survive, to his identity as a Man from Shady Vale and his Elven heritage. Then there was the love that grew between him and Amberle and the raw attraction between him and Eritria (hope I got that name right).

    That being said I likes Jair and Brin and Shea and Flick almost as much.

  8. Although Elfstones is my favorite book and I love Amberle, I chose Jair. He was the youngest out of the lot and had the least to work with (especially in terms of life experience), and when I first read the trilogy he was the character I felt the most identification with.

    Mind you, I would have definitely voted for Allanon if he’d been an option.

  9. I went with Flick. He’s something of a “Samwise Gamgee” in that he supports Shea through everything he can. His loyalty is fierce and unflinching. Shea wouldn’t have gotten far without Flick.

  10. I liked Brin, even though she knew things were being held back, she still persevered and overcame the obstacles. With Allanon dying that would have been especially hard.

    I love Terry’s books and have probably reread most of them several times, but I have yet to get the new series. I also love the Magic Kingdom for Sale series and I think I’ve read all of them, unless there is a newer one with the daughter as an adult.

  11. I went with Brin Ohmsford because Wishsong is my favorite novel next to Elfstones, which is Amberle! And I always though Shea should be female, perhaps an alternate short story could be done for Paladins? But most of all, least fans forget is Allanon!

    Will we see a Paladins Hardcover or trade paperback in stores?

    • The original trilogy Sword, Elfstones, and Wishsong is considered the best in the series next only to the Hertiage – Scions, Druid, Elf Queen, and Tailsmasn! My next favorite is King of Shannara and High Druid, followed by Black Staff… All his book link to Shannara, although the mixing of sci-fi and fantasy in books like Armagon and Word has not served the series very well, they should be two separate series. Since Word deals with United States and a future world!


  12. In regards to “And no, I won’t put Allanon down as a choice in the poll. While he is a protagonist, he is not the center of an entire book—and besides, he’d win easily!” Totally agree. The first thing I did when I saw the poll question was look for Allanon’s name, as an involuntary reaction really. On a side note; as we’re coming upon the Christmas season, I had a Christmas morning ruined for me when I was in Junior High because of my favorite character selection. Guess which book I stayed up all night that Christmas Eve finishing and by association which two of the protagonists listed here are my least favorite? hmmmm? 😉

  13. I picked Jair. Not only was he the most inexperienced, but the journey he went on was amazing! He befriended a Gnome (who was a great character), quested with the best groupd in all the books, IMO, and witnessed the best fighter the world had to offer. His life afterwards must of been nothing short of rethinking his past. Loved his story and look forward to rereading it several times.

    • Slanter was one of the best introductions to Shannara, I wish his Gnomes had a greater role then always being the bad guys. I mean Rock Trolls eventually became good guys via The Scions of Shannara but never the Gnomes!

  14. I voted for Wil because I feel he had the most difficult of tasks in front of that challenged his mind, body and spirit.

    Also, my first loves name was named Amberle and she called me her Wil, while we were together.

  15. I also picked Jair out of the selected choices. He is one of the view Shannara kids who actually liked adventure and wanted to go out into the big scary world.

    • The Leah’s have two sides of magic. What they got from the sword.
      What they got from Shannara blood lines .
      Will the new Leah’s have one or the other lol or both. I would love to see all three.

  16. It’s so difficult to choose really. I really want to say Amberle or Allanon. The others are all still great, but I think the thing that got me the most was how everyone mistrusted Allanon even after he prooved to be right so many times. Whenever I read the pages with Allanon I always felt comfortable in a way.

    • I would have done the same, given what was being asked of Amberle: to become a tree and thus save her people, from whom she had removed herself years before. It strikes me as a much braver decision than simply going on a quest and coming back home.

  17. Well ,to me it was obvious who the winner will be. The Elfstones is an excellent book , the plot twists hit you all the time, and the ending made me want to ruin everything within touching distance. I was taken aback completely,I can recall…However , I voted for Brin. She’s the first one to have power of the wishsong which, as far as I’m concerned is one of the best magic features in fiction novels. Hope the series manage to reach a third or fourth season so wishsong is featured (I know I’m a little hasty). Also Brin is the first one to have been corrupted by magic, Wil was changed but not in that way.

  18. Are there still plans on an Elfstones TV Show? Seems Jair is the favorite here? No doubt the original trilogy Sword, Elfstones, and Wishsong is the best next to the Heritage Series. How about a Brona solo novel? And I agree the Gnomes should have their own story!


  19. Although “Elfstones” is my favorite book in the series, and I am a big fan of Jair, in the end I had to vote for Shea. The arguments made for Wil and Jair have been good ones, but ultimately Shea had even less to work with than they did. Wil and Jair had their family history to lean on at that point. Wil listened to Allanon because of Shea, and Jair had use of the Wishsong.

    Shea was just as inexperienced as the other two, but he had no history to rely on, only Allanon’s word. And he still went out and beat impossible odds to destroy the Warlock Lord.

  20. The Elfstones was and always will be my favourite story for many reasons (which could change because there are plenty I have not read yet) but Wil will always have my vote. He endured and sacrificed so much and won out in the end. Isn’t that the hero we all want to believe in?

  21. For me, Wil. He bears the highest psychological beating and change of the Ohmsfords, and while in the other two books we have a balance of seeing into the minds of both siblings and their adventures, Wil is the only Ohmsford in Elfstones whose perspective we see, so I think there is more of a chance for depth of character. Plus, as much as I love seeing magic and adventure, as I get older I appreciate psychological struggles more than the magical or physical.

  22. Why no Par or Coll? Either of those would be my favorite. Terrific characters, wonderfully developed, and belonging to Terry’s “Magnum Opus”. I still read “Heritage” every other year or so. With the choices given I voted for Flick.

  23. I chose Wil from the list, but truthfully, as much as I love the Ohmsfords, I always seem to love the Elessedils more. Eventine and Ellenroh are my favorite characters from the entire Shannara universe. They’re not even viewpoint characters, but they fascinate me and I love them. So if I had to pick my favorite character from the original trilogy, Wil Ohmsford would be a close second to Eventine. Eventine always does what needs to be done, without thought for himself. By the time Shea Ohmsford gets there, Eventine has already arrived on the scene, fighting and being wounded and placing himself in danger in his efforts to stop Brona, even though Eventine has no magic sword or special abilities. Eventine takes immediate action to protect his granddaughter when his youngest son dies, manages to forgive Amberle for abandoning him even though her actions tore his heart, and still has the fortitude to wholeheartedly trust Wil when he (finally) arrives. He loves life and peace, but he never shies away from a fight, and he never seems crippled by fear or self doubt. Even though he’s an octogenarian in Elfstones, he still puts his armor back on and rides out to fight the demons because screw old age and fear. He fights to the end and never decides to just let the Ohmsfords deal with the issues that are troubling his world. He and his family are deeply flawed people, but I love them and I find them fascinating and inspiring.

  24. My favorite book in the universe is The Elfstones. Wil puts up with so much. I cry with him at the end of the book every time! Its the only book sci-fi book that has ever made me weep!

  25. i loved all the members in the Leah family. especially Morgan in the heritage series 🙂 my top picks would me Par and Morgan… and Walker!

    but from the original – I go with Wil, I read this book when I was young and it was the first book that really spoke to me and I could feel the fear he and amberle go through. I remember being scared and terrified and desperately wanting to put to the book down because of it…. but I had to know what happened!! Sword of Shannara introduced me to the fantasy genre, Elfstones and Wil made sure id never leave.

  26. I voted Wil, because of the love he had for Amberle. But I would have voted for Tay and Jerle had they been on the list. I cried my eyes out when Tay gave his life for his friends… when he admitted his love for Preia, too… it broke my heart.

  27. I voted for Shea. After reading annotated Sword I remembered all he had go through to get the sword and then his battle against the Warlock Lord. My second place vote would be for Wil, but I just have a huge appreciation for Shea. In my opinion, you can’t beat the original! : )

  28. It was a tough choice between Jair and Wil! I chose Wil because he didn’t have a brother or sister to fall back on, just himself and that reminds me alot of me!

  29. All good characters but I chose Flick. He’s the only one without Elven blood, yet in his way he was just as strong, if not stronger, than all the others. He embodies the quiet, steadfast faithfulness and grit that my Scotch-Irish heritage has taught me to admire.

  30. The simple fact that Wil Ohmsford had to escape from and kill the Reaper makes him number one. No question. Need to do a favorite villain poll, too. I vote the Reaper on that one, hands down.

  31. For me it’s always been Flick. Back in the 70’s when I was a kid and fell in love with Shannara, Flick was the ultimate example of loyalty. Shea was little more than a distant relative, yet he was as loyal as if he were his twin. More than just a side kick, he was essential to the success of the quest.

  32. My vote went to Shea. As previously mentioned he was plucked out of Shady Vale obscurity by Allanon with nothing as a reference. Just the word of a giant, scary, dark Druid. Wil had Grandpa Shea, Brin and Jair had Daddy Wil while Shea had to start from scratch. And really…has anyone figured out the Sword of Shannara after Shea? Not really. An effective unique weapon Shea mastered that really has only come into play once since. When Walker used it bring Grianne out of the Ilse Witch. And in the end it was Shea Ohmsford who convinced me to come back for more and still going after more than 35 years! Hey how about an elfstone that can conjure up ALL the dead Ohmsfords? Now that would be a gathering…an Ohmsford moot if you will.

  33. I voted for Brin as I think as well as bringing something new to the books, its easier to care about her survival as she is more a live. Though I do think she can be a little bit of a wet blanket at times and could do with a bit more of hr mothers backbone. Otherwise I would probably of voted for Shea as he seems a stronger mind than a lot of the others despite being pulled into something he knew nothing about.

  34. Out of these choices I say Jair. He is the only one in the whole group who actually enjoys his journey. The other all do what they have to but they all hate doing it or moan about it a lot. While they have reason to do so, Jair takes an impossible situation and makes the most of it.

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