November Ask Terry Posted

Terry Brooks
Terry Brooks
For many years the only chance a fan had of speaking to Terry was to meet him at tour events or conventions.

With the establishment of this website in 2000, Terry began accepting two questions from each fan per month. On the last day of the month, five questions are randomly drawn. Terry answers these five questions and they are posted monthly for your enjoyment.

Below are the questions selected last month and Terry’s answers! Enjoy!

Note: This section may contain spoilers!

Grettings, Readers!

Time for another entry into the Ask Terry library. Past time, actually since I am several behind. But, whatever, here we go! On with Ask Terry:

Gina Miller writes: When I finished Measure of the Magic, it felt incomplete. We left everyone divided and leaderless, and it was an incomplete transition to the Shannara world. Will there be a bridge to make the transition complete?

Terry Brooks replies: Yes, there will be a finish to the set. Just not for awhile. Probably not for as along as five years. I intend to write the end of the Shannara series first, then go back to the pre-history. Obviously, if I intend to keep my promise to all of you, I have to write from Measure up to the First Council of Druids. Let’s hope I live that long.

Darin D. Forcey writes: I was wondering with the last three short stories you released, which are only available as ebooks, will they be available in a physical book version? I don’t care for the electronic version of books. I like a book in my hand that feels like a book and smells like a book.

Terry Brooks replies: These stories will eventually be collected with others and publishes as a hardcover book. But that, too, is likely to have to wait awhile. With both a movie and TV show in the works, my time has suddenly shrunk to almost nothing for all but immediate book projects. I will try to stay on top of it.

Anonymous writes: What books do you recommend? I’ve been reading your books since I was 12 and would like to know what you like to read. I also like Raymond Feist, Peter Brett, and Tolkien of course. Looking for another author to like.

Terry Brooks replies: Well, you can check out my book recommendations on the website and maybe read some of the interviews I’ve given which are on the website when I talk about what I like to read. Really, I read all over the place. I think it is important to writers not to confine themselves to one or two genres. I tend to read outside fantasy more than inside.

Travis Mack writes: I have read your responses to your readership’s questions about Grianne. Your admonition that sometimes things do not work out for the best for some is decidedly contrite. I do not think that we, your fanbase, have any lack in understanding that this is true. What is so troubling is that you spent the better part of a decade developing this BELOVED character and then utterly demolished her in just a few short chapters. Witch Wraith should have been named literally anything else considering just how VERY little face time Grianne got in that book! What do you have to say about this? The entire plotline to destroy her the way you did seems to be an afterthought.

Terry Brooks replies: Well, it wasn’t an after-thought. But the revelation that she was being returned to the Four Lands as the Ilse Witch needed to be held back until close to the end. I wanted some expectation that she would return as Grianne, but I didn’t think that was the right ending. Also, let’s not be too quick to use the word “destroyed.” Was she actually destroyed? No, she was sent into the Forbidding as the Ilse Witch. Is that the end of things as far as she is concerned or are there other possibilities. Let’s hear from all of you on this.

George Gould writes: Hi, Terry, I am a huge fan of the Shannara series and love reading each of your books! I was wondering, do you regret killing off Allanon at the end of the first Shannara trilogy? Was the trilogy originally intended to be a standalone series which was then later added on to?

Terry Brooks replies: Actually, only Sword of Shannara was intended as a stand-alone. This was because it took so long to write and there was no guarantee it would go anywhere. After it did, I set out to write a long series, thinking about what I wanted it to look like. I did intend to finish off Allanon in Wishsong because I wanted to move the story ahead 500 years and bring in a new Druid. Things progressed from there to where I am now. You have to let epic fantasy of this size develop organically. You can’t plan too far ahead. You can only reconsider with each finished book.

See you next month!

All my best,

Please completely fill in the form below and send the two questions you want to ask Terry this month.

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Shawn Speakman

I am the long-time friend and webmaster for Terry Brooks as well as the author of The Dark Thorn, an urban/epic fantasy hybrid novel Terry calls "a fine tale by a talented writer." Join me on Facebook and Twitter (@shawnspeakman)!

  1. Matt

    On question 4 I think Terry has made it clear that we haven’t heard the last of Grianne. She is the Ilse Witch again but keep in mind that Bek was able to save her from Morgawr with the Sword of Shannara. Maybe someone else can wield the sword again to help her find her way back – or – maybe she can find a way to release herself to the Tanequil again. Which ever way it happens, I think we should just have patience. I believe Grainne’s legacy will be availed.

    I was personally saddened by how quickly Khyber Elessedil was killed. She became one of my favorite characters after Straken.

    • Cody Meldrum

      Completely agree with the Khyber comment. She was great in the High Druid trilogy, becomes Ard Rhys and BOOM she’s gone! Didn’t like that so much, but it sure made for some great reading. After reading that scene I closed my book, slammed it down yelling, “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!” Great writing. Loved and hated it at the same time.

  2. Matt

    I disagree with Travis Mack’s comments about the end of “Witch Wraith”. Was I sad to see Grianne treated as she was? Yes. But two things, in my opinion:

    1.) That’s the point. The conclusion of “Witch Wraith” got an emotional reaction from me as I watched a character I spent 6 books following, and then 2 more anticipating, absolutely dragged through the muck.

    2.) It was unexpected. Grianne is arguably the most powerful magic user we’ve ever seen in the series. Surely if anyone could undergo such a change and have the power to overcome it, it would be her. Despite the warnings given in “Wards of Faerie”, I assumed we’d eventually see Grianne resurrected as the former Ard Rhys. I was wrong. I didn’t see it coming, and thought it was an awesome twist to watch Grianne quite literally come full circle and end up exactly where she was when we first met her. Like the show “Seinfeld”, it ends as it begins, and I thought it was great.

    • Cody Meldrum

      I agree with you that I absolutely did not see that twist coming either. Grianne has become for many the favorite of all of the Shannara series and to see her dragged down “through the muck” was very disheartening, but not altogether unsurprising. We have not seen the end of Grianne and it will definitely be interesting to see which direction Terry takes things. I was more disappointed in the fight scene between her and Tael Riverine than I was with the twist on her character. When she was “ripped” from the Tanequil it was very poignant that she was not the Ard Rhys of old. Exciting things to come!

  3. Mark L.

    I’d say, enough Grianne. If there’s one character I really enjoyed and who was killed off too soon, it was Ahren Elessedil. But Grianne has had more than enough time in the sun, whether she gets a satisfying ending or not.

  4. Jeff

    with only five questions answered per month it really irritates me that question 3 made it through… I mean was Mr anonymous was asked for recommendations from terry when there is clearly a section for that on his site. Lo an behold … Terry’s answer was to check it out on his site. Was this question really one of the top five for the month?

  5. Kait K.

    I liked the twist of Grianne coming back as the Ilse Witch, even though I care less about that character than many others. Now there is more story to tell and an additional reason to revisit the world of the Forbidding.

    Dark Legacy brought me back to the world of Shannara in a way that the books starring Bek and Penderrin didn’t. I really, really loved the character of Aphenglow and so wanted her to have a happy ending. But she was left with one other remaining Druid, an uncle and an estranged mother, and no clear future. I was crushed when Cymrian died (even though I had a gut feeling it was coming, because when you’ve read enough of these books you get an idea about who is marked for death) because it left Aphen bereft (again) and because I thought there might be more story left to tell about that character. Even a week after finishing the series, I still feel bad about it.

    This trilogy was emotionally harrowing and I look forward to seeing the questions left unanswered addressed in future books: what will become of the innocent creatures like Tesla caught up in the Forbidding? will the Druids form anew and will Aphen play a part? how will Redden’s children (if he risks having any!) be affected by the overuse/misuse of Elfstone magic? and more I’m forgetting, I’m sure.

    It’s a good feeling to finish one story already feeling a great anticipation for the next.

    • Judah M.

      I was half-way through Witch Wraith and thought, “How are these storylines going to end in the next 200 pages!” This series is my favorite since Scions but has left so many questions! – Elfstones, Isle Witch, Druid Order, oh my!

      Hoping we see these answers soon!

  6. Anthony Cirilla

    Travis Mack’s accusation of triteness ignores the story as it unfolded in Witch Wraith. Railing was warned against his course of action by the King of the Silver River, and the ominous encouragement from the Grimpond should have been a huge red flag. The sacrifice of Grianne’s peace for his brother’s life shocked Railing, but his love for his brother led him to deceive his whole company about the advice he received from two supernatural beings. Treating it as though Terry gave us this bad ending to Grianne with no concern for her is literally ignoring the plot – the whole point is Railing acts unwisely and selfishly. Honestly, to me Travis Mack’s reading methods strike me as naive – interpreting the story only from the standpoint that it has an author, while ignoring the forces within the narrative which led to the event. A good writer knows how to let the forces within his story take shape and have a life of their own, and it is not trite to say that letting this happen will lead to disappointing events. It is precisely the powerful backstory of Grianne which makes what happens to her tragic, even though it does have some good to it – it does lead to the destruction of Tael Riverine. But the darkness of Witch Wraith is in keeping with the darkness of the trilogy as a whole – from the outcome of the initial expedition, we are lead to believe that this is not going to be a tidy quest – it is a different historical moment than even Walker Boh’s generation, which had better stars aligned, as it were. What happens to Grianne is painful, but absolutely nothing about it is trite. To come to that conclusion is to entirely ignore the work the narrative does in following Railing’s decision making process. It is paralleled by Redding’s use of the red Elfstones and the damage they cause to him – the story is about the necessity of pain in the struggle for doing right, and that struggle is meaningless if characters never actually fail in doing what was right. These are the kinds of stories that keep fantasy from being mere wish-fulfillment and make them about the actual struggles of the human soul, and what insights fantasy literature can bring to it.

  7. Kathryn Krisko-Hagel

    I was also saddened to see how Grianne ended up. I feel that she deserves a chance to return to the peaceful arms of Mother Tanequil. I also feel that there were many other things left hanging at the end of Witch Wraith: Railing had a few more strands and a gem left on his ring that could be used to undo some of the damage……….will that ever happen and if so what, the other elfstones went back into the Forbidding and will Tesla hang onto them and wait to be rescued as was promised, will we ever find out what the red elfstones were to be used for (or what the other elfstones are for), will the other elfstones ever be returned to the Four Lands, will the Druids ever get respect, is the Federation finished, will there ever be peace among the races………….I could go on and on. I sure do hope that all the loose ends left hanging at the end of Witch Wraith will come together in a future series.

  8. greymare.org

    Great blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..
    Any recommendations? Many thanks!

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