BrooksBlog: How Much I Am Enjoying The Shannara Chronicles

Dear Readers,

Jambo! Now that I am back from a month of research and plot development in Africa, I am slipping back into my old life, writing the third book now in the Fall of Shannara cycle which began publishing earlier this year as well as watching the finished episodes of The Shannara Chronicles.

Because I have been absent for so much of the filming and editing, I wanted to write a little something about my reaction to what I have seen so far of the finished episodes. I regret I couldn’t put more time and effort into my job as editor and source material savant, but the loss of daughter Lisa hit us all pretty hard, and for a time there it was hard to think about anything else but how to get through life without her.

Watching the show on SPIKE has helped with this. It has given me something else to think about, especially since the show is not directly taken from a Brooks story but is a continuation of the events of Elfstones from last year’s show. This was unexpected, but not something I was ever against and Al and Miles knew from the beginning that I would support their work however they chose to proceed.

Let me say up front, I am impressed. I like this second season very much and for very specific reasons. As usual, it is beautiful to watch, probably one of the best three shows cinematically on television. The settings are still mostly in New Zealand and the feel and scope of the story is wonderful. As usual, also, our actors come through in capturing the essence of the characters they were selected to play. I never had specific ideas about casting, so I didn’t offer much advice on this when casting was underway. My hopes were that we would get good people and good results, however our writers chose to proceed. They told me early that they wanted a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic cast – because this was the essence of the world I had posited way back in the early ‘70s. So I was happy to see things work out that way because it feels so much more authentic.

But what I really liked was how quickly the show is moving. Elfstones is a much slower story, pace-wise, and that came through in the first season. But this time out there is something wild and crazy and frightening every time you turn around. You don’t dare go out for soda or popcorn – if you do, you’ll miss something crucial. So I really like the faster movement of the action and the quickness with which we get on to the next scene. I am also pleased with the special effects, some of which you haven’t even seen yet.

Really, this all argues from what I keep saying. The books are one thing, the TV show is another. We don’t need them to be the same. We need them to mirror each other in general but not in the specifics. So viewers unfamiliar with the books have something to look forward to when they get around to reading them. And readers have something to look forward to when they watch the show.

I learned all this in large part from George Lucas, who was so generous in letting me write an adaptation of Phantom Menace rather than insisting I follow it scene for scene. The result was a dual experience where there were fresh scenes in the movie and others in the book. That’s what good art does. It allows people to have similar but different experiences with each new art form.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the last four episodes these next two Wednesdays, and I hope you will watch them with me and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

All good magic, Terry

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Written by 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)!