Friday, June 12th, marked the finish of the filming of the Shannara TV show in New Zealand. With filming now complete, attention will be focused on editing and refining the various episodes of the first season and the telling of the story of The Elfstones of Shannara in video form.
I am left with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I am greatly anticipating the adaptation. I love the cast; I think each inhabits the character they play. I am in awe of the sets, both indoors and out, which are so much better than I had any right to hope for. I think the writers have done an incredible job with turning the book into a TV series. I am pleased beyond words for the support given by the people at MTV. I am confident that readers are going to be pleasantly surprised with the result.
On the other, it feels like the end of something in my own life. This part is a little harder to explain; the correlation is not immediately recognizable. I’ve been writing the Shannara books for almost fifty years—started Sword when I was still in law school back in 1968. I have been published for almost forty of those years. That’s a lot of water under the bridge. In all that time, I was always the master of my own ship. The writing, the creative process, was always something I did alone. At the end, my editor was there to help straighten out the kinks. But at the end of the day everything was on me.
So now, all of a sudden, I am engaged in a project in which other people are doing the overwhelming majority of the work. I am an advisor but not much more. I must let go of my baby and trust that others will treat her kindly. I can do this, and I have. Mostly. But there is a feeling of loss in doing so. All the blood, sweat and tears, all the energy, can’t be recaptured in this new process. The creation is collaborative on so many levels, and everyone must work together for the common good. But not everyone agrees on what that common good is at every turn, and sometimes things get testy.
So I have to accept that I am not the guiding light or the one who makes the necessary decisions. I am just another voice providing ideas and sometimes advice or solutions and always encouragement. It is foreign to everything I have done in writing the books, and adjusting to this – no matter how enlightened and dedicated I tell myself to be – doesn’t come easily.
But the filming is complete and the series will soon air and time has moved on. Turning Elfstones into a TV show marks the end of an era for me. I am telling myself to celebrate this milestone, this change in the way my life works, this next step in the evolution of the Shannara world. I am always saying to my readers that once the books are finished, they belong to the readers. By the same token, they belong to a large extent, to those who adapt them into other forms. I have always felt that about the artwork and the graphic novels and such. Do I have any business feeling any different about this latest creative effort?
I don’t think so. I have to let it go. I have to let it be something more than it is. What I see now tells me it will be worth doing so. Others have a vision, too. Give them a chance to find out what they can do.
That’s what life is all about.
48 responses to “BrooksBlog: THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES Wraps Filming”
Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Although I have no right to say so, I wonder if part of this feeling of yours comes from a place that is having trouble letting go of your creation. But I, for one, am glad that you are becoming more selfless, and letting this creation grow its wings and fly. Because I believe that although your creation has morphed, I will see beauty in its change and growth.
AND I AM SO FLIPPIN’ EXCITED ABOUT SEEING THIS COME TO LIFE IN FRONT OF ME!
(Calm down, Aaron. Take a deep breath. It’s not released quite yet.) So thank you for taking on this project. I am so very glad you did.
I don’t believe that it will be an end to an era but maybe a beginning of a new one. I think it is great that you are there to advise and observe your idea coming to life. I am very excited and cannot wait until The Chronicles of Shannara finally premiers. I hope it is an on going effort, because Shannara has so much potential and is a long and enjoyable series.
Um, the bugging of a new one signals the end of an old one…
Um, he can still continue to write. Just because his books are coming to life and becoming a TV series doesn’t mean he stops writing about Shannara. My comment was intended to be ‘adding’ another way to have his fans enjoy his work.
No one can ever take away from you what you have given your fans in written word. To us it is likely the series will be a shadow of books. I started reading the books in my teens and still to this day your books are the bench mark to fantasy in my eyes. I look forward to the series but will always hold those childhood memories of reading the first books fondly.
Sorry for your mixed feelings, It’s a lot like watching your children make their own decisions, not quite what you wanted or dreamed for them, but in the end you are proud that you have a hand in the individual that they have become and have decided to live in their own way. Guides, sages, and “in the old days”, a feeling of being left behind, just when they were getting interesting! You did a great job! The best part is that we got to come along for the ride! Thank you.
I am both excited and terrified at three prospect of the t.v. show. I have loved elfstones for a long time and on the one hand I can’t wait to actually SEE a version of the book BUT on the other hand a lot of books have been brutalized when turned into a movie or t.v. show
The good thing is we will always have the books, no matter what happens with the TV show. 🙂
terry I have been reading shannara since I was 16 , snd u are the only author I have ever been able to read. I swear to god your books come alive in my mind, it makes me cry, makes me laugh, and makes my heart race. since I found out they are making to tv my anticipation is unbearable lol but no matter what u are still the creator of all this pls remember that ! and all your fans love u
I am SO EXCITED this is coming to fruition! I am anxious to see the first trailer and receive the news announcing the premier date from the San Diego ComicCon next week! All fans need to get the word out. Finally something worth watching on TV!!
I, for one, am honored with how you shared your feelings and concerns about the Elfstones series on MTV!
I am looking forward to seeing the series and read everyones thoughts on how much they enjoyed watching! I believe it will be a success!
You are a truly gifted writer and I still get excited whenever you release a new book!
I am also very much looking forward to Magic Kingdom for Sale/ Sold movie to be released into theater’s!
Thank you for writing so many wonderful books that from the moment I open them I am transported instantly into their world!
After having read Terry since about 1982 and having the pleasure of meeting him on many occasions due in large part to his geographical location I was struck by what he said. In giving the books to the readers as Terry always says we have our own visions and views of what we have read. I at times feel we are on the journey right alongside Terry.I also feel that the readers are giving something up, not nearly to the extent Terry is but as long time readers of the books we are also letting someone else’s vision take over ours and it is something we have to let go of also. I really appreciated this Brooks Blog. It seemed to
Me to be a bit melancholy and I understood why.
If Terry is excited and satisfied with what he has seen then I know I will enjoy it. I have heard plenty GoT fans grouse about the differences between the show and the books; I on the other hand appreciate them. I look forward to MTV’s re-imagining of one of the original trilogy books!
I can only imagine the mixed feelings you might have. But a lot of series have done quiet well, even though they may veer from the books a bit. A few long time fans may have a few things to say, but they’ll get over it, and I feel you will gain many more readers. I’m a long time fan myself, but I also have an open mind of how things work. I must shamefully admit that I didn’t like the pronunciation outcome of Shannara, but I’ve gotten over it. Now I think it works well, along with any other changes that will be there. As Shawn said, we’ll always have the books. And let me just say I am so excited to see the series! Take a deep breath and enjoy what is to come. You deserve it! 🙂
I think it is important to remember that nothing of the original story will ever be lost. I like to think of the series as a whole new story that is remarkably similar to the book it is based on. I actually welcome any changes. That way it’ll be a little more exciting. The silver lining is that there will definitely be an upsurge in new readers that may never had discovered your works. And remember, you can always write more stories however and whenever you like!
Now to finish Shannara and start Magic Kingdom of Landover!!!!
I am taking this time to thank you Terry. I have read your amazing stories for years now, and re-read most of them more than once. I can understand the mixed feelings you have ( certainly not on your level though ) . No mater how the t.v. series turns out, we will always have your books, and I cannot envision a life where I would not go back and revisit them from time to time. Thank you again for bringing so much joy and wonder to our lives.
As a fan of all you do, that honesty is appreciated. Everything you say makes perfect sense, I’m sure I’d feel the same way in that situation, and I can understand how that could be hard. However, the books will always be their own thing to me… I have high hopes for the show, but I will always look at the books and show as separate entities.
At the risk of sounding like I don’t understand, I kind of feel that way as a fan too. I didn’t pour the sweat and tears into this story like you have, but your books have been a big part of my life since I was a wee one. As readers we all, in a way, have our own versions of your story… we picture the characters differently, the cities and landscapes are all viewed through are own unique perceptions and points of view. We all love it in our own way. Now we get to see what someone else’s take on your story is, and I think we’re all hoping it lines up, at least a little, with our own. I’m looking forward to it, and trying to remember this is just a different version of your story, and how I’ve pictured it all these years! I’m sure it’ll be a good one, but doesn’t have to be the definitive one! Cheers, Terry!
Terry, I was introduced to your books by my older brother, Sword, back when i was 12 and not a big fan of reading. Took me almost a year to read, and then a funny thing happened. I wanted the second book, then third. Fast forward a few years i was knocking them over in a couple days, didn’t want to put them down. That same brother got me Scions 3 years in a row as a bday present (once on purpose, second year he mistook what i was up to, third time becasuse it would be funny)…. I’m excited for the series, and i hope it lives up to the standards you have set in your writing. The stories are great, and i hope they get to spread to non-readers and a new collection of readers alike.
I honestly hope the series makes it to Voyage of Jerle, they are my favourites!!
Best of luck with the series,
but more importantly,
Thank you for all your effort and helping with my love of reading. Your creations have taken me from my everyday life, and sometimes my troubles, and provided me with joy more times than i can count. If you are ever in Newcastle, Australia, would love to buy you a beer 🙂
U r never giving up stay one step ahead. Take magic to your creative level and require the cast to read sword of shannara… be a voice heard and know this is the next level…. cant wait. I never wouldve had the time to read your books had i not been assigned indoor lifeguard in the summertime whrn everyone swam outside. Witb no one in the pool, i could read, undisturbed for hours. Tv is so quick… all ur books should be caught up by 2026, no?
Thanks for sharing and giving us updates about the project Terry. i am most excited about this for Elfstones is my favorite among the books. 🙂 Excited for you. Thank you for being one of the authors that inspired me to take up the pen and write my own world too. May the Gods bless you always. Blessed Be!
An avid Shannara reader since the Sword! Can’t wait to see a visual re-telling of one of my most favorite written series come to life! Thank you Terry for allowing this evolution to take place an thank you MTV for supplying this outlet!!!
While I am excited and thrilled to know that Terry Brooks’ world of Shannara is being adapted to television ( and future dvd ), I also recognize that it will only be a “copy” or a new “representation” of Terry’s exquisite writing! Unfortunately in my past experiance, such endeavors, while good… always pale from the original presentation by a writer who has “magically” enriched my life since 1968! I still find, at the ripe old age of 62, that I am STILL EXCITED, EVERY TIME that Mr. Brooks releases HIS newest versions or stories about countless characters and places that I have grown to love! While excited about this new portrayal of these characters, I too am also fearful that these writers and producers will damage to some degree, what has, up until now ,been under Terry’s strict yet LOVING control. (Sort of like us, watching our children grow and move on…) Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE the fact that this will open up “the World of Shannara” (and Terry Brooks’ writings) to a whole new generation and wider audiences. BUT… I for one, will remain always stedfast, in my love for Mr. Brooks, his writings, his characters, HIS Worlds… and will ALWAYS personally remain excited, as we together await and anticipate the release of his next book! THANK YOU, Terry… for bringing a bit more magic…into my/our life/lives!
From all the assurances I’ve read on this Web site and Terry’s Facebook page, it looks like his guiding hand will stay firmly in place as long as the series runs. And as long as it attracts new readers, it will be a success, because the books are what truly matter most.
The Roc may have left the Wing Hove, but she is in good hands.
Thanks to one and all for your support and understanding. I do value this more than I can say. It is my job to write a good book each time out. I get paid to do that. But when you write in to say the book means something and that my work has had an impact on you, then I get paid a second time. I will say again I think you will be pleased with the show once MTV gets around to airing it. I have now viewed all but one of the rough cuts of the episodes and they really are very good. Hang in there. The wait will be worth it.
Meanwhile, I have just started outlining the first book in the final trilogy. Am very excited, as always. Love to write. Love to be a writer. Love to have your appreciation of what I do. Hope to see more than a few of you on the road at one Con or another over the next few months.
Terry, reading your books is like disappearing into another life for me. I have always enjoyed reading them, I can’t wait for the semester to end so that I can take a much needed break to reread one of your books and I will continue reading them as long as you continue to write them. As for the series, I feel that it will never truly live up to our expectations or imaginations of what the world of Shannara should be. Each reader sees your characters through their own world views which makes it very hard for any actor to satisfy all of your readers. I am sure that the casting director did a fine job and that the screen writers did as well, but they can never measure up to the master himself or the characters we envision while reading your books. All that said I am pleased that you finally found a home for your live action version of the Shannara books and I am waiting patiently for season one to begin.
Thank you for all your hard work and wonderful tales which have given me immense amounts of reading pleasure throughout my life. Congratulations on the series and The Darkling Child, which I have just this night finished reading. It was very hard to pace myself, but I made it last longer than one sitting! 🙂 lol!
I think I understand this in a way I never have before on any other book to TV series adaptation. I read the Sword of Shannara when it was the only book in the series and have read all the books since. I guess that means I started reading at 2… Lol
But in that time there have only been two interpretations the one from you the writer, and me the reader. Every reader having a different interpretation. Now a TV series with lots of interpretations. Some I might like and others I sadly won’t… But I’ll watch for sure…
I would love to see Studio Ghibli take on the Shannara series. Starting with the First King all the way though the current novels. That have a very unique still in the Anime genre and I think that style in particular would lend itself to this series. I’m a huge fan and will continue to read as the story unfolds. Thank you Terry, for creating this amazing world!
Terry does not see the Four Lands as a cartoon. And besides, MTV owns the rights to Shannara now. No other studio may make a movie or TV series based on it. 🙂
Well if that wasn’t just a cryptic message from the creator of our beloved universe himself. Now I don’t know what to think. I know we all have to “wait and see” because no one has a clue of what it is going to look like, but that message makes me a little nervous. I know GoT has taken some serious hard right and left turns from source material as it is need to adapt the books to TV.
Now I don’t know what to think… Deep breath, get out the paper bag….
Ok, back to normal state of mind. Mr. Brooks is just messing with us, RIGHT Mr. Brooks? Right Shawn??? You guys are just messing with us here! Please for the all that we love and cherish tell us that everything is going to be alright and I don’t have to whip out the paper bag to start breathing treatments again!
Terry is merely once again reminding you guys that this is not a paint by the numbers adaptation of The Elfstnoes of Shannara. If you are going into it thinking it is going to be the story verbatim, then you’d better temper your anticipation. There are a number of changes that do not line up with the book. But those changes are consistent with the overall integrity of the story and work just fine. At least I think they do.
You say “no one has a clue of what it is going to look like.” Except Terry has seen all of the episodes now and he knows what the show is. The changes are almost unanimously praised by Terry with very few exceptions. The good far outweighs the bad, in Terry’s mind. That’s all he is saying here.
Come on now Shawn, “no one.” Well obviously Terry has seen them and yes, we do know he has signed off on them. I was just stating my feelings as a faithful reader and follower after reading his posting. Re-reading it still doesn’t give that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I know we all have to wait and see for ourselves and I know that everyone wants it a “certain” way, but no one particular person is going to get it they exact way they want it. By reading the above it looks as if didn’t come our exactly the way that Terry envisioned it. But he does make the good point that once he releases it, the story will evolve once it is put in a new medium.
As I said, Come on now…. I’m still eagerly awaiting the show. And I am certain once I see it I’ll be one of the first to post up here how much I love it!
Terry and I both understand how territorial and opinionated fantasy readers are. They are also a large force and that force can be for good or for bad. If people are going into this thinking it is a paint by the numbers adaptation — and then they see the trailer, don’t see what they hoped, and are super disappointed — those same people will go onto social media and crucify the show before they’ve even watched the first episode. That is not what we want to happen, obviously. That, Pete, is how shows/movies die before they are even watched.
Terry and I both know this. And it is super important that we get out in front of any fans who want to do that crucifying before watching the first episode. You wanting that “warm and fuzzy feeling” is not real at this point in the process. 🙂 And if MTV decides to take a certain angle with the TV show trailer that does not enthusiastically showcase the TV series to the fans — let’s face it, there are several demographics here that are very different (young MTV crowd, young Terry Brooks fans, old Terry Brooks fans, Game of Thrones fans, etc.) — then Terry and I have to be saying the right things at the right time to dispel worry. Worry becomes fear and then fear becomes a wave of social media angst without complete evidence in view. Make sense?
I’m sure Terry and I will be talking more about this as this weekend approaches. There are several trailers up for possible showing, all very different and geared to different demographics, and even now we are uncertain which one/demographic will win for first viewing. My instincts are telling me that it won’t be the book demographic and that has me — as the face of the book online presence — frightened for the amount of work I’ll have to put in. haha
I love the Shannara series (and Landover too) since 1991; so I’m long time dedicated fan.
Can we please have the final book in the Shannra trilogy as an extended length e.g.600/700+ pages (like the original Sword of Shannara)
…go out with a magical BANG!
If you want a book that long, you are going to have to give Terry another two years to publish it beyond his usual one year publication date. So three years. Would you be able to wait that long for a longer book?
Your books and the Dragonriders of Pern series were my favorites growing up; the public library always had copies of them.
When might we anticipate seeing pictures of the cast in character? I’m especially curious to see Wil and the Elves.
This weekend at Comic-Con, we will get our first glimpse of the TV series.
In English class in high school a decade ago, we had an assignment to read a passage from a book that that was particularly significant to us, and I chose the part of Elfstones where Amberle talks about her fear of losing herself to the Ellcrys.
It will be very interesting to see how the TV Series… will fare in the ratings by not deviating from the novelization! Although no one expects a direct paint-by-the-numbers adaptation of Elfstones of Shannara, we don’t want to see drastic changes either? The Wheel of Time tv series did not do very well on TV! The Legend of the Seeker, another great fantasy novel series turned into a TV Series did not go as planned either? Everyone wants another Game of Thrones on HBO – Shannara has never been about gruesome violence and sex like Sparta or Rome TV series? MTV is a very unusual outlet for Fantasy, I would like to see the series on CW22 Network or CBS?
The head of programming at CW/WB when it had popular shows is the same woman MTV hired to fix their programming issues.
After Defenders… there seems to be another trilogy in the works to finally end Shannara! Not to mention, the side books planned to fill in the gaps in the timeline. But what is the real fate of Shannara? Will Terry Brooks and Del Ray open the door to other authors and writers to contribute to the series like Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms? The names Shawn Speakman (Dark Thorn) and Brandon Sanderson (The Measure of Light – Wheel of Time) have been thrown around? Del Ray has had a closed door to open submissions for quite some time without an Agent! DAW and TOR have remain open to aspiring writers, Amazon CreateSpace and Xlibris remain an open avenue for amature writers? Alot of fans like myself would like to see a series of short stories like Paladins… but written by fans and established fantasy writers to contribute to the series! Not that we want to see Shannara end? Or having Terry Brooks step away from the typewriter and retire from Shannara? But I think a time will come when either Del Ray or Terry Brooks will have to make a decision to open the door… and let someone else in!
Terry has said numerous times that he hopes no one else will write Shannara after he is gone.
But he is also aware that the children/grandchildren and the publishers of writers have a tendency to ignore a dead author’s wishes and have more books written for money reasons. Personally, I hope no one else writes in the series because that’s what Terry wishes. Time will tell.
I have been taking pilgrimages into the Shannara world since 6th grade, when I was offered the Elfstones to read by my grade school librarian. It began a love affair that has lasted until this day. Thank you Terry for being “not all here.” My wife is not a reader, but agreed to let me read her a few chapters from The Elfstones about 17 years ago, after finishing that book, We read all the rest together over the years, and cannot wait for the T.V. show, no matter what happens, it will be amazing. Thank you again for all you have given, and thank you in advance for what is still to come!
I have absolute faith in Terry Brooks. If he is happy with the how the series is portrayed on screen then I expect it will be every bit amazing as the book. I soo can’t w8 2 see the series.
The first real novel I ever read was Sword, summer of 87. My dad gave it to me as something to do during the summer. I was going into the 5th grade. I was so in love with the world and characters, that I instantly moved to Elfstones. Elfstones and Wishsong have been my two favorite books ever since. About every 4 years I pick them up and re-read them, and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I hope to own the entire set in new untouched hardbacks one day so I can give them to my kids to read and pass on. When I saw that a show was finally being made, it was with a mix of excitement and dread. I love adaptations unlike most people, because the additions and subtractions make me feel like I’m experiencing it again for the first time. But with all the movie and tv adaptations happening these days that have tanked imo, I pray this won’t be the same. It’s not the adaptations I don’t like, it’s the cheese factor that producers and writers seem to add. Anyway, I can easily see how Terry would feel the way he does as I’ve felt something similar with GoT going to television. It’s kind of like “well, that’s that!”. But as someone said earlier, we will always have the books, and now the tv shows, to pick up and read or pop in the dvd player to relive the experience. Immortalized on paper and on screen. Thank you Terry for creating something that brings just joy to so many people, including myself.
Hello Mr. Brooks. One of your first fans here, Tom Hewitt. Your baby is now an adult and has a family of its own. You have nurtured its world well, and it has thrived. Have no worries or fears, it has wings of its own now and you are always at the heart. Always.
I discovered your books only a few months ago and love the stories. Perhaps the surprising thing is that I am in my senior years!!
Very excited to see the series will be on tv and really hope the directors have done them justice! (Peter Jackson would have been a great choice)
I’ve just read The Darkling Child and hope there are still more books to look forward to. The tv series will open the door of Shannara to a whole new audience, there is no end . . .