Shannara Chronicles (SPOILERS)

shannara

It has been about four weeks since I first spoke about The Shannara Chronicles, or has our host Brian likes to call it Shamalama.  I was hoping by the time I wrote this spoiler full discussion, I would have news of whether or not we would see a third season. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, there is no information to confirm or deny another season. Now, let’s dive into the Four Lands.

As previously stated, the Shannara Chronicles was created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Unlike the first season, Season 2 of the Shannara Chronicles is a brand new story that occurs between books of the series. Gough and Millar have taken the foundation laid by Terry Brooks and created a story which fits nicely into the overall landscape of the Four Lands. The new characters that are introduced this season, are drawn from other characters within the Shannara series’ rich history. Hopefully, this detour from the source material will turn into another season, as Season 2 ends on cliff hanger that fans of the book series are anxious to explore.

Like my previous reviews, I will not be going episode by episode, breaking down every little detail of each episode. I will give a brief synopsis of the season and then discuss some important aspects of the story. Season 2 opens with Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler) recovering with the Healers of Storlock, a predominantly Gnome village. While at Storlock, Mareth (Malese Jow), a new character this season, stalks and eventually helps Wil out of a number of tight spots. Wil is seen as a hero to some and the villain to others after the events of last season. A large group of mercenaries and veterans from the Demon War has risen and wants to rid the Four Lands of all magic users. This group, known as the Crimson, blames magic users for unleashing the Dagda Mor and starting the Demon War which destroyed much of the Four Lands and effected all the races. Wil is known for his use of the Elfstones, and therefore, is at the top of the Crimson’s hitlist. Mareth is also a magic user, she is able to create illusions. She wants Wil to help her find her father, the Druid Allanon (Manu Bennett). This is the first major revelation of the season. Meanwhile, Allanon is awoken from the Druid Sleep and seeks to stop his old student Bandon (Marcus Vanco) from resurrecting the Warlock Lord, our evil to vanquish this season. Allanon is also being hunted by the Crimson, as he is the last Druid of the Four Lands. They believe if they kill him, magic will die with him. While Wil and Mareth are looking for Allanon and Allanon is looking for Bandon, King Anders (Aaron Jakubenko) of the Elves is seeking an alliance with the Human Queen Tamlin (Caaroline Chikezie) of the fable kingdom of Leah. Queen Tamlin wants nothing more to help the elves because it will also give her foothold into their kingdom, a place she coveted. During the First War of the Races, Tamlin sacrificed her husband to save her kingdom by making a deal with the Warlock Lord. This deal places a major role this season. In order to strength her chances at getting into Arborlon, Queen Tamlin offers her daughter Lyria’s (Vanessa Morgan) hand in marriage. Both Queen Tamlin and Lyria are new characters to the series. Lyria is also a love interest to Eretria (Ivana Baquero). Last season, Eretria helped Wil and Amberle Elessedil (Poppy Drayton) restore the Forbidding. Lyria is a strong willed, young woman who runs away often. During her last escape, she lived in a Rover community where she meat Eretria. This community was also led by the former Druid, Cogline (Andrew Grainger). Lyria was returned to her mother by the bounty hunter and weapons master Garet Jax (Gentry White). While Queen Tamlin and King Anders are working on their alliance, Bandon is collecting what he needs to resurrect the Warlock Lord. As Bandon succeeds, Allanon knows he and Wil must the fabled Sword of Shannara, a druid relic from the First War of the Races where Wil’s father first used the sword against the Warlock Lord, if they are going to stop Bandon from resurrecting the Warlock Lord. Wil retrieves the sword only to have it destroyed by Bandon during their battle over the Warlock Lord’s skull. Eventually, Bandon succeeds and resurrects the Warlock Lord. While this is all happening, Allanon is losing his powers as they are slowly being transferred to his daughter and successor, Mareth.  Back in Leah, the Crimson, led by General Riga (Desmond Chiam) have succeeded in taking over Leah. During the battle, King Anders was killed and Queen Tamlin was executed, leaving Lyria as its new ruler. Lyria, with the help of Garet Jax, the elves, Eretria, and the Gnomes eventually reclaim Leah. Wil is able to restore the Sword of Shannara with the help of Amberle and succeeds in stopping the Warlock Lord. And that ends season two…whew!

Season two of Shannara Chronicles introduces some new characters and concepts to the Four Lands. Some of these concepts were explained really well and they enhanced the story, while others were kept secret and fell flat. One of the concepts had a major effect on an important character. The Armageddon’s Children concept introduced a new group of people into the Four Lands.  These people are half human and half demon, and they control creatures of dark magic, like Mord Wraiths, because of their connection to dark magic. This connection also allowed them to be controlled and to be used by the Warlock Lord. Cogline informs Eretria that she is one of Armageddon’s Children. Thorough the series, we see the struggle that Eretria has with controlling this newly found side of her to the point that she succumbs to it entirely. During one scene, she doesn’t remember killing the Chosen, which she was sent to protect. This introduction is one that is not fully explained as to how this sect of the population came to be and their overall role in the War of the Races and the Demon War. Her inclusion, doesn’t make any sense when coupled with her adventures from last season. This should have been introduced earlier in the series and then shown to grow over the last two seasons. Its introduction and maturity in ten episodes was too quick. Another introduction that was quickly made and unmade was the Crimson. This faction started after the Demon War and rose quickly to power. Under the leadership of General Riga, they ravaged the Four Lands and made magic users suffer. However, General Riga attempts to confront the Warlock Lord and loses his head in the process, quite literally. With his demise, the Crimson dissolves quickly. This organization could have had some real depth in the landscape of the Four Lands and should have be kept for further exploration in season three. Fortunately, we were given a bright spot to look forward to with Mareth. As daughter to Allanon, Mareth inherited Druid magic and was able to wield her father’s staff. However, her becoming the next Druid, opens up some many different storylines and possibilities. Since her character doesn’t exist in the books, this gives Millar and Gough the opportunity to create a powerful character. Mareth would add to the already powerful female characters of the TV series and could help grow the genre among young, female audiences. Her growth during the series from scared magic user to confident Druid was excellently done.

It seems the Shannara Chronicles is going to stay with this era of the series. The book series is known for jumping in time to the next set of heroes with a Druid as your only connection point. However, in the closing of season 2, we see Wil in a twisted and grotesque version of the Four Lands inhabited by demons. Most book fans know this as the Forbidding. It is intriguing that the writers of the series chose to go here so soon. As readers know, Wil’s story as ended long ago and only a few characters have ever ventured into the Forbidding, most unwittingly, and none stayed for long. Unfortunately, the leader of the Forbidding in the book series is the Dagda Mor. Wil has already faced and defeated him; and therefore, he should not be the villain of season 3. There are enough monsters in the Forbidding that I would like to see another villain other than the Dagda Mor; perhaps one created from Shannara lore, like an Ilse Witch type or other characters of the Void.

Hopefully we get a season 3. The TV series is taking a completely different direction from the book series and I am interested to see where the writers take us. First, Mareth taking over as the Druid of the Four Lands and she is going to balance saving Wil and serving the Four Lands. Additionally, will the writers start up the Druid Council, which makes several appearances in the book series? Also, I will Wil react and survive in the Forbidding? What creatures and characters will we see? The storylines are endless and the writers have over 25 books of lore to draw from. Only time will tell.

Overall all, I give the sophomore season to the Shannara Chronicles a solid 7 elfstones out of 10. With some character development and some story line upgrades, this show could improve even more. As soon as information about the Shannara Chronicles comes out, I will update the blog and alert through our social media pages. Did you watch the Shannara Chronicles? Let me know what you thought?

-Roy

 

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