Poll: What Is The Most Lethal Evil In The Original Trilogy?

mallenrohFantasy is filled with creatures.

And Terry Brooks has written some of the most memorable!

From the Warlock Lord and his Skullbearers to the Dagda Mor and his Reaper, Brooks heroes have long had to confront the very worst evil know in the Four Lands. The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara, and The Wishsong of Shannara are filled with them. After all, it takes a potent villain to bring out the most heroic in someone.

Sometimes that evil wins battles. But never the war.

What do you think is the most lethal character? Is it the Reaper? Or is it the Dagda Mor pulling its strings? Is it a pack of Furies or a poisonous creeper? Or is it the Illdatch, a book that was capable of creating the Warlock Lord, Mord Wraiths, and almost subverted Brin Ohmsford?

Or could it be Mallenroh, a witch whose ambition is only stymied by her sister and location?

Would love to hear what you think! Vote and comment below!

77 responses to “Poll: What Is The Most Lethal Evil In The Original Trilogy?”

  1. As an individual entity (i.e., with no help from any other forces, beings, etc.), the Jachyra wins on the bad guy’s side. This is a being that got STRONGER from being hurt and nearly killed Allanon, and was so badass that Terry (wisely) refrained from even SHOWING us how Garet Jax (the most badass guy on the good guy’s side) managed to take it down.

  2. Whaaa??? It has to be the Warlock Lord because unlike the Ildatch, Brona was not inherently, intrinsically evil. He chose to be. And while the demons and the Jachyra in particular were truly frightening, a very well organized effort with multiple armies and magic, including the Sword of Shannara had already been used against him and defeated by the time Allanon and the ‘last hope’ of Shea Ohmsford came along.

      • But Antrax wasn’t connected to ALL of the Creepers, like the ones you see with the Stone King and used as weapons by the Federation.

      • This is the original trilogy. The creeper in question is the one that stings Shea and Flick after they leave Cullhaven. They drove it off, but didn’t kill it.

        • That’s not a creeper… it’s a remnant of the Great Wars, it’s even described as a “mutant”. Along other lines, the creepers were fashioned out of Shadowen Magic – which is why they were destroyed in the Valley of the Rhenn (directly in front of Wren). The Rake (the creeper used by the Stone King) was also made by the Stone King along the same lines as the Maw Grit (originally similar to Quickening).

          • The one referred to is the one that attacked the group in the ruins after changing the trail marker Allanon had left behind.

            I think the Grimpond is worth mentioning. I would like to know more on that one’s lore in a future book or prequel for the series.

  3. The question is a bit vague. It depends on what definition of Lethal you are thinking about. Is it amount of lives taken? (Warlock Lord because of the wars. Is it amount of lives affected? (IIIdatch) Is it Known kills per creature?(Jachyra/Changeling) So it all depends on which way to view the question.

  4. I’m going with the Jachyra because they essentially took out two of the most lethal good guys in the series, Allanon and Garet Jax. I would love to see Terry do a series of short stories, along the lines of Paladins of Shannara, about some of these match ups! It would be fun to see the Reaper battle a Jachyra, or maybe a Jachyra vs a Creeper, or maybe the Dagda Mor vs the will of the Ildatch! Oh, the possibilities!

  5. My conspiracy theory is that The Jachyra and The Klee (in The Gypsy Morph) are long lost relatives. Both top my list of most lethal villians.

    • I also thought along these lines, but what about how similar the Klee and the Reaper were? I think that’s closer since the Jachyra is a creature out of faerie summoned to this world instead of being locked behind the forbidding

  6. For me it had to be the Reaper hands down…..it still gives me chills remembering reading about the chase through the forest as the hunters went down one by one….it couldnt be bargained with it wouldnt hesitate it had no other motive than murder for murders sake.

    • But at one point it became blatantly obvious that the big hole where it’s head/face should be was the weakness. There was nothing that said specifically it could only be killed by magic, unless you want to consider the last bit of lifeforce the Ellcrys had made it susceptible to man made/non-magical weapons. Which, in that case, Garret Jax would’ve been able to handle the Reaper. If Crispin can land blows with his weapon on the Reaper and break his sword, then Jax, a more accomplished weapon user, would’ve landed a killing blow.

  7. I would have to say the Jachyra. It takes a very strong amount of magic to kill the creature and even if it dies, the Jachyra poisons it’s prey when it inflicts even the smallest of wounds. No character has lived through an encounter with this vicious beast.

  8. OOOOOOO!!!!! What about Reaper VS Jachyra. I’d pay to watch that.The Reaper being so careful, so powerful, so precise and so cunning, while the Jachyra laughs at every strike against him.

  9. I feel that my vote has to go the the Changeling. Considering it’s powers and what it could potentially do, I feel that it is more lethal. Also did it have magic? I can’t remember… Second to Changeling I would probably pick the Ildatch and then the Reaper, even though I think that the Reaper is more ‘awesome’. I mean seriously, them tracking skills are EPIC!

  10. I would have to say the Jachyra was the most lethal. Brona and the Ildatch were more about corruption to me. They’d turn nearly anyone into something evil. The Jachyra would tear you apart for the joy of it. You have to remember, its species was so evil and destructive that it was sealed away long before all the other evil farie creatures were put within the Forbidding. While the Reaper lived up to its name, it felt more like something that may have developed its supremacy within the Forbidding over time rather than something that was pure, malevolent evil that thrived on destroying other creatures as was the Jachyra.

  11. You forgot the woman innkeeper in Grimpen Ward with the bum leg. Boy will she be pissed when Wil’s temporary relief wears off!!

  12. The word “lethal” to me implies that it has the most ability to kill, and is the most difficult to stop. Therefore, I was tempted to vote for Brin. The ease with which she could kill with the dark magic was unstoppable.
    However, the other word was “evil”.
    Brin in herself was anathema to evil. She was subverted, along with the Wishsong, by the Ildatch.
    Therefore, I choose the Dark Book itself, as it was pure Evil, and had the ability to cause countless deaths with ease by using it’s subverted hosts…

  13. I read the trilogy 28 years ago for the first time when I was 8 (gift from Dad). Of all the villains in the series, The Reaper is the only one to give me nightmares, reoccurring nightmares, for several months (Mom was not pleased with Dad about that). Still remains my favorite trilogy ever. Still scares me every time; even though I know what’s going to happen 🙂

  14. The Jachyra and the Reaper being two of the top votegetters is not really a surprise to me. The Reaper is like the Terminator of Elfstones. It can’t be bargained with, it can’t be reasoned with…and it absolutely will not stop, ever. The Jachyra, on the other hand, is more like an evil Incredible Hulk. Basically, you wouldn’t like it when it’s angry. The Jachrya(s) taking down arguably the two most popular characters in the first trilogy (Allanon and Garet Jax) are what give it a leg up imo.

  15. This is a great question with no clear answer, but my answer was almost immediate: Jachyra. That was the first creature to spring to my mind and had the most staying power with me. I did take the time to read various arguments before casting a vote, and there have been plenty of good ones, but in addition to it killing both Allanon and Garret Jax, and it being absurdly strong, tough (physically and resistant to magic attacks), and quick, it’s poison means even if you kill it it will almost certainly kill you. I suppose if any of the more lethal demons were immune or highly resistant to the Jachyra’s poison then maybe I’d change my mind, but given how old and powerful the thing is, I doubt that’d be the case.

    I would say in terms of the Illdach and Brona, while they each are certainly powerful and lethal in their own right, their power lies more in corruption and organization/leadership respectively than lethality per se. Brona would be a tough one in a one-on-one fight, but I don’t think he’d actually be able to stand up to the Jachyra. Then again, could Allanon have? I certainly could be wrong since we really don’t have all the facts about Brona’s capabilities, especially in terms of his offensive powers and his robustness to injury and poison.

    • The Warlock Lord would have HAD to have beaten the Jachyra because… he has no physical form anymore. I quote “he was just lies, and when the Sword made him face the truth about himself it destroyed him” -Allanon to Shea, Sword of Shannara. How, since Allanon makes a point of telling Shea that the Warlock Lord only existed in the Nether could the Jachyra have harmed him? Also, the Mord Wraiths (that summoned the Jachyra) were less corrupted by almost 1000 years, yet still summoned the Jachyra… I feel it’s obvious that both the Warlock Lord and the Mord Wraiths were untouchable by the Jachyra, and since Allanon was able to kill Mord Wraiths much easier than he was able to kill the Dag da Mor the Dag da Mor is also more deadly than the Jachyra.

      • That assumes that the Jachyra has no capability to harm insubstantial entities. Given we don’t know whether it can though, I agree that we would give the edge to the Warlock Lord (see my response to Zak below). Lethality only partially depends on whether a creature can be harmed by another, such that if the Jachyra were able to harm insubstantial creatures, even if it was easier to kill it compared to the Warlock Lord, it could still be considered more lethal. However, given the power of the Warlock Lord I don’t think that would be the case. I don’t think the question of who summoned whom factors into the equation though. The Mord Wraiths need not be more powerful nor more lethal than whatever it is they might summon. There are plenty of stories in fantasy and horror in which an unwise individual summon something that ends up killing them.

        Your logic gets even more stretched at the end. Who could kill whom is certainly relevant to lethality, as it seems you are suggesting, but of course it cannot be a prime factor. You’re saying that because the Mord Wraiths summoned and couldn’t be harmed by the Jachyra (an unsubstantiated claim), Allanon could kill the Mord Wraiths but the Jachyra can’t, and that Allanon could kill the Dag da Mor, then the Dag da Mor must be more lethal than the Jachyra. But what about the fact that the Jachyra killed Allanon? This clearly shows that you can’t use who can harm whom as a determining factor for power, let alone lethality.

        • They couldn’t be harmed because they too are insubstantial and ethereal and don’t have a physical being to be harmed. This is actually perfectly reasonable because the Jachyra is a physical being and (just because it comes from before Faerie) doesn’t mean its connected with magic aside from what’s innate to it.

          Also, you may (and probably are) forgetting that Allanon was hindered by his need to protect Brin and Rone (who was unconscious)… it’s not exactly fair to compare his ability to deal with the Jachyra in that situation.

          Also, logic doesn’t become streched by making leaps, it’s still logical… however considering it’s all in theory you might not agree with it.

          Finally, lethality IS the ability to kill if you define it so…l considering the Warlock Lord is described as “dwarfing” the magic from the druids well and that destroyed many Mord Wraiths easily I’m still going to have to go with him. Also, let’s look at the challenge proposed to Allanon for a second when he didn’t have to defend useless people. Allanon worked VERY hard to kill the Skull Bearer in the Druids Furnace, yet didn’t have to work all that hard to kill a Mord Wraith once the ambush had been broken (in the Valley of Shale). Allanon had to work almost as hard to kill the Dagda Mor. Finally, it is EASY to say that the Jachyra isn’t as powerful because even though Allanon had to defend Brin and an unconscious Rone, he still killed the Jachyra, but ended up dying when defending this Duo.

          Finally, I was expressing my opinions, while I don’t expect everyone to agree, please don’t question my logic, ask please, I do have reasons for everything… you know, whether I’ve coherently expressed them or not.

          • I apologize for the way I expressed my disagreement. I still stand by my arguments regarding summoning and the use of one-on-one pairings as as a definitive factor in lethality, but I shouldn’t have impuned your logic in that way.

  16. I feel The Warlock Lord was the most evil and most powerful. Or maybe you tell me. We know that Bremen Tey Trenenwyn and Risca were no match for Brona in the FKOS. Risca even sneaks into his tent and just feels a whisper of Brona’s might he flees and is wracked with despair at the awesome power of the Warlock Lord. Also Brona was a druid, he has all their knowledge, then all the dark knowledge he find then he goes. Alright, time to conquer the world, no one, is a badder mofo than me. Time for some Chaos. Also he couldn’t be harmed by any normal weapons or the magic that the druids wielded which is why the Sword needed to be made. And the first time i read it I felt truth was such a… anticlimactic answer (though not surprising with Brook’s history of law) but then you realize how cloaked in lies and secrets most people are, and once you expose them (or yourself are exposed) the pain and despair that comes of it. So it took one of the most raw ideas to defeat him. Though I too. would have liked to witness his magic more actively like have him just roast armies with a thought or a wave of his hand.
    The Jachyra is just a popular answer because it kills two of the baddest good guys ever. I’m thinking the warlock lord could have just dominated it like a bad dog.

    • I think you’ve actually convinced me. Allanon knew better than to go up against Brona, but he did try to kill the Jachyra. Granted he arguably didn’t have much of a choice and would have fought off Brona and sacrificed himself if it meant saving one of the Ohmsfords or someone who was required to save the world.

      Brona probably could have used his magic to prevent the Jachyra from even getting close to him, then torn it apart piece by piece. Thinking about it that way, he probably was the most lethal, he just didn’t need to do all the killing himself.

      • Also, you have to consider that since the Warlock Lord has no physical body anymore… the Jachyra couldn’t have even touched him.

    • Zak I think you have convinced me as well. Originally I was convinced the Reaper was the most lethal evil in the original trilogy, but you make a very good argument for The Warlock Lord. Now we just need to get Brona and the Jachyra in a cage match and have them duke it out.

  17. Admittedly, the only ones that were lethal on the grand scale you are asking for are the reaper and the jachyra. And the jachyra was the winner due to its nature, power, and ability to become more powerful with each blow landed on it. I think the closest players to its prowess at killing are more about corruption.

    • The term lethal, in my opinion, doesn’t just imply to physical attributes. In fact the definition of lethal is “sufficient to cause death”. Taking this into consideration I feel there is no way the Reaper can be more lethal than, say, the Dagda Mor. They both were stuck in the Forbidding for ages, and we as readers were never privy to the dynamics that went on in there, however when both demons escape during Wil’s time, the Reaper is absolutely subservient to the Dagda Mor. Proving the Dagda the more lethal of the two. Take a guy like Brona, pretty lethal, but post Great War. Dadga Mor has been lethal since the time of Faerie.

      • The Reaper is not “absolutely subservient” Brooks states that the Reaper doesn’t serve the Dag da Mor because he’s afraid, but rather serves him because he’s bored. Much like the Klee from Armageddons Children, Elves of Cintra and Gypsy Morph.

        • True, maybe a wrong choice of words. I guess that’s the beauty of Terry’s writing, much of it is in the interpretation of the reader. I would have to look up the exact wording, but in the 9-10 times I’ve read the book there’s never been any doubt in my mind as to who is the top dog as far as Forbidding escapees.

          • So he is and isn’t… He follows the Dagda Mor just out of whim, however even the Dagda Mor at one point shares how unsure he is of their relationship because the Reaper really has no reason to follow him aside from interest however (this is just a bunch of stuff I’ve thought of)… since Wil is undisputedly less powerful than Allanon and the Elfstones (while a potent weapon) require mind, body and soul to work and Wil was almost broken when he faced and killed the Reaper. Allanon on the other hand fought and worked very hard to kill the Dagda Mor. Since Wil isn’t as powerful as Allanon even though he had the use of the Elfstones, and the Dagda Mor was difficult for Allanon to kill I think it seems only reasonable to conclude that the Dagda Mor would indeed be more powerful.. Although even he isn’t very sure about that.

  18. The jachyra, without a doubt. Garret Max and Solomon were probably two of my favorite characters in all of the last two decades of fantasy fiction in my life. I’ve played several D&D characters over the years based on one or the other or any combination of the two.. and the dang jachyra killed them both..

  19. I voted Illdatch. All of the options are dangerous but you can blame all the damage of the Warlock Lord, his minions, the Mord Wraiths and all of their respective armies on the book. Personally I find the book the most evil, the others are all physical entities that while powerful could be fought or resisted. The Illdatch just scares me, I could fight against an enemy but the book I don’t think I could resist. “It’s just a book, what’s the harm? I’m not evil I could use it and be fine.” We are out own worst enemies.

    • I believe Caleb has hit it squarely, since the question is “What Is The Most Leathal Evil In The Original Trilogy.” Many have listed non-evil characters, many have listed evil characters not from the ‘original’ trilogy, both prior and after.

      Though not originally of ‘form’ but “…born of the age of faerie…older than the Elves-as old as the King of the Silver River, as ancient as the Word,”(*1) later put to paper, and originator or cause of many evil characters listed and present in the ‘original’ trilogy, this would seem the most logical of answers. Could/Would many of the most evil and dangerous of characters in the ‘original’ have been created/summoned without the Illdatch?

      (*1) quoted from THE WISHSONG OF SHANNARA Chapter 43

    • So based off of what we know I’m going to have to say that they could, but nobody we every know of using the Seeking stones, or the Crimson Elfstones has nearly the power to do that. After all it took a long time for Wil to kill the Reaper and for Wren to kill the Wisteron and for Redden to Kill the Ilse Witch, which I don’t believe many people would argue that they’re less powerful than the Warlock Lord.

  20. Though I voted, Warlock Lord, for me it’s none of the above. I’d have picked Antrax. Of all the villains over the series none of them come close to this AI Terror. Though I suppose the argument could be made that it should be excluded from the poll by it’s very nature. I chose Brona because I’ve always been fascinated by those who fell from grace, and finding out why they did (Anakin Skywalker was a great example). Of course, so was Grianne though we’ve yet to learn about Brona before the fall. I would like to see a book about him before he embraced the evil. What kind of druid was he, and what did the Sword of Shannara reveal to him? What did he find in the Ildatch? Did he have children as well? Possible story tie in? I hope we find out someday.

  21. Brona. I really hope we will see more about this character. What kind of Druid he was? How he fell, what did the Sword of Shannara show him? And did he have children? This character has always fascinated me, much in the same way that Star Wars went back to tell the tale of Anakin Skywalker. I’d love to read about Brona’s fall, and I’ve read First King, but at this point he’s already gone.

    • True. that would make a great story plus the ones that lead him astray. Did he start out a good guy?And was corrupted by some one or thing ? Was he born with magic or inherited it along the way

  22. Antrax was from the “Voyage of Jerle Shannara” series. And I wouldnt call it evil anyways. It was only doing what it thought was best to survive.

    To me, something lethal would be something that can and would kill you instantly. The Ildatch was definitely the root of evil, but was it lethal? Same applies to Warlock lord. They both certainly were the cause of more death, but more indirectly.

    My vote is cast for whom I would least likely to meet in a dark alley. Hence, the most lethal.

    For me, I have to vote for The Reaper.

    Even the Dagda Mor was weary of this killer.

    Jachyra was a very close 2nd. The deciding factor for me was the fact that its not known whether or not you could escape the Jachyra, but I assume its possible you could. But not the Reaper. It was a relentless hunter. So I give the edge to the Reaper.

    • Yeah I caught this a little too late. Narrowed down to what it is, I’m sticking with none of the above. I felt Antrax (semantics aside) was the most creatively evil creation of Terry’s. And that it worked in the world, amazing writing…

  23. The SHADOWEN because they were spawned by evil magic they were so deadly they could possess people and corrupted the land total subversion My#1 top

  24. True. that would make a great story plus the ones that lead him astray. Did he start out a good guy?And was corrupted by some one or thing ? Was he born with magic or inherited it along the way

  25. I agree with Steve C:

    “For me, I have to vote for The Reaper.

    Even the Dagda Mor was weary of this killer.

    Jachyra was a very close 2nd. The deciding factor for me was the fact that its not known whether or not you could escape the Jachyra, but I assume its possible you could. But not the Reaper. It was a relentless hunter. So I give the edge to the Reaper.”

    In a physical fight between the Reaper and the Jachyra I can see it going either way or mostly likely ending like the two fights we know about in the original trilogy with a Jachyra. We know that while Allanon was mortally wounded he did kill the Jachyra and it’s assumed that Garret Jax killed the won he fought as well. Given that the Dagda Mor was weary of the Reaper and could not control him hints at the Reapers true power. I think it’s very possible that a fight between a Jachyra and the Reaper would end in both their deaths.

    I do think that if a person were somehow able to get out of sight of a Jachyra the Jachyra would loose interest but not the Reaper and for me that makes him a lot more frightening and lethal.

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