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The Sword of Shannara (1977)

– tekijä: Terry Brooks

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

Sarjat: Shannara (1), Shannara Trilogy (1), Shannara-Zyklus (Omnibus 1-3 - [Buch I]), Shannara Universe: Chronological (10)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
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From master fantasy writer Terry Brooks comes the first book in the famed Shannara trilogy. Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revealed that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destroy the world. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara - Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him.… (lisätietoja)
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The Sword of Shannara was also the first of the high fantasy best-sellers, and since I’m in the middle of a (partial) reread of the Wheel of Time series, I thought it might be worth seeing what this novel was like. I shouldn’t have bothered. It’s fucking dreadful. A “Valeman” on his way home one night is scared by some giant flappy thing in the sky, and then waylaid by a scary man over seven foot tall with a goatee. Except the scary man is well-known to the Valemen (they live in a vale, see), although he is very mysterious. Cue info-dump. The Valeman’s adopted brother is half-elvish, and is actually the only surviving relative of an ancient elvish king. Because of this, he’s the only person who can wield the Sword of Shannara, an ancient, er, sword, and defeat the Warlock Lord, an evil sorcerer who is about to invade the Four Lands and kill everyone. Or maybe just enslave them. It’s not clear. There’s the good guys – one of which is a dwarf, and another is Boromir in all but name – and they have to make their way to Druid’s Keep to retrieve the sword before the evil gnome army. But the gnomes get there first, and Shea (the naming is absolutely terrible in this book), the half-elf half-not-a-hobbit-honestly, is separated from the others and ends up travelling into absolutely-not-Mordor chasing after the titular sword. Meanwhile, the others are involved in defending Tyrsis – which is definitely not Minas Tirith – against a huge army of gnomes and rock trolls… This was the first of the big-selling Tolkien rip-offs, and I can’t honestly see what its appeal is. Did people just want another LotR with the serial numbers filed off? And were they so desperate for it, they’d accept this sub-literate crap? Even now, fantasy fans still recommend this book – and then they do that thing, which is absolutely fucking stupid, of explaining that the first few books are not very good but “it gets a lot better around book four or five”. Seriously, fuck off. I’m not going to read half a dozen shit 700-page novels to reach one which is “better”, especially since as a fan of the series, the person recommending it clearly has no idea what a good book actually is. Books like this should no longer be in print. They do the genre a disservice, they do its readers a disservice. ( )
  iansales | Apr 15, 2021 |
I really enjoyed this book. Yes, I could see the obvious imitation of Lord of the Rings. There were times when I was laughing because the imitation was so blatant, and it became only too easy to refer to the characters by the names of their Middle Earthen counterparts. But, for some reason, I still really enjoyed it.
 
The characters had some differences from the LOTR characters, most notably Allanon. He is ancient, mysterious and magical like Gandalf, but unlike Gandalf, Allanon does not have the trust of Shea (Frodo) when he appears to send him on his quest. Frodo trusted Gandalf completely, as a friend and a mentor. Allanon not only doesn't have Shea and Flick's trust, he doesn't even try to earn it, obscuring information and guiding them with half-truths. The company or 'fellowship' trusts Allanon more from necessity than because he as actually gained their trust. Gandalf was honest with Frodo from the start of the quest. Frodo knew it would be dangerous. He knew there was a good chance he wouldn't succeed. He knew he probably wouldn't survive.
 
Shea understood the undertaking was dangerous, but he never understood the full danger. He didn't realize that in order to wield the sword and defeat the Warlock Lord, he would have to undergo a test of mental and spiritual strength, whereas Frodo was aware of the fact that the Ring would test him in this way before he even arrived and Rivendell. Shea is brave, and he does accept the task forced on him by circumstances, but he doesn't have the strength that Frodo has. Frodo knew, and accepted everything that happened to him, and willingly volunteered to take the Ring to Mordor. Shea is practically forced to go along when Menion gets into conflict with Allanon, apparently with the sole purpose of getting Shea to come. And Shea would have had to come, but he would have been a stronger character if he had chosen this on his own. One gets the impression that, even if Sam had not come with Frodo, Frodo would have been able to hold his own in the wilderness (without Sam, Frodo may not have had the strength to resist the Ring, and we all know what would have happened in Cirith Ungol without Sam, but Frodo could have taken care of himself on his own, at least at first,) whereas Shea is practically helpless the moment he finds himself on his own.
 
Menion was difficult to pin with a LOTR counterpart. His ability to irritate Allanon made me think of him as Pippin, but his ability to fight made him seem more like Legolas or Aragorn. I really liked Menion except for two things. First, his obnoxious instalove with Shirl Ravenlock, and second, his very annoying habit of leaving his sword lying around only to notice it's absence when he most needs it.
 
Like Samwise, Flick managed to become one of my favorite characters. He is the character who I'd say paralleled his LOTR counterpart the most in this series, being loyal, brave when he had to be, and simple in his desires.
 
Durin and Dayel are one part Legolas, one part Merry and Pippin, since they care for each other and largely remain together, though the fact that Dayel has a fiancé waiting for him back home makes him seem very un-Lord of the Rings-like.
 
Hendel, being a dwarf, was the obvious character to parallel Gimli, but Hendel lacked Gimli's temper and impetuousness, so he seems to be a blend of Aragorn, Gimli and, oddly enough, Gandalf. Hendel is older than any of the others in the company, accepting Allanon, and he has far more battle knowledge than any accept the Druid, he even seems wiser than Balinor, who I would peg as the most Aragorn-like of the characters.
 
Orl Fane was even nuttier than Sméagol. Gollum/Sméagol had some sanity still in him. He may have had a dual personality disorder, and been addicted to the Ring, but he was still able to use his reason. Brona, 'the Warlock Lord,' 'the Dark Lord' (between Sauron, Brona and Voldemort, you'd think that authors would be able to come up with another title besides Dark Lord,) is obviously Sauron. The Skull Bearers are clearly Ringwraiths, though they aren't quite as fearsome as the wraiths, and, unlike the wraiths, they don't have a clear number.
 
Panamon Creel and Keltset Mallicos are more enigmas. Who are they supposed to represent? Panamon is the type of roguish character we see a lot of in fiction now, but is not present in Lord of the Rings. Keltset is another of my favorite characters in this series. He couldn't speak, and Shea and Panamon know little about him, but, in a time when trolls seem to have joined the Warlock Lord against the free peoples, Keltset is there proving that not all trolls are bent on destruction without question.
 
Much of the plot also mirrored LOTR, until Shea was separated from the others. This too had some similarities to LOTR, but in LOTR, Frodo willingly separates from the group, taking Sam with him. In The Sword of Shannara, Shea is separated by accident, and Flick is unable to go with him. Because of this I found the plot somewhat different, and I honestly wondered what would happen. The lack of a Boromir character also helped to keep the plot somewhat different. The closest person to Boromir was Palance Buckhannah, and even he was far more like Denethor (because he was mad) or Théoden (because he was being controlled by an evil advisor) than like Boromir. The Battle of Tyrsis is like a combination of the Battle for Helms Deep and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The destruction of the Warlock Lord is a mirror of the destruction of the Ring. Allanon's going away to sleep and recover his strength is like Gandalf's going to the Gray Havens. Shea and Flick's return home is like an odd combination of the returns of Frodo and Bilbo to the Shire at the end of their respective adventures. Like Frodo, Shea has been deeply affected by his adventure, but like Bilbo, he seems to be fairly content in his undisturbed, undestroyed home, and doesn't have to go to the Gray Havens.
 
The Sword of Shannara may be a blatant imitation of The Lord of the Rings, but at least it's a good imitation, which is more than I can say for Eragon. Since the villain was defeated and the threat to the world was ended, I honestly don't know where the plot of the next books can possibly go, but I'm willing to find out. ( )
  ComposingComposer | Jan 12, 2021 |
I tried reading this book in 2001 right around when "Antrax" was published, since I thought I would like to read it, and should probably start with the first book in the series. I don't think I ever managed to finish this one. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
The Prince of Tolkien imitators (after McKiernan's Iron Tower) the original Sword of Shannara, written rapidly by a law student in the 1970s.

The Shannara series eventually branches off into its own universe, dear reader, and Brooks actually becomes a decent to strong writer, although with an over-reliance on the present tense/voice, but this was the beginning, when he was a novice.

Butbutbut...

Some of the unique ideas and takes on old magical/fantasy tropes that characterize his Shannara universe begin here, with the first entry.

The Four Lands are the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust and winter, recalled as the Great Wars that lasted only minutes, and the long slow climb back to civilization. Mankind has splintered into mutant subraces from the combination of fallout and refuge- the claustrophobic Dwarfs whose ancestors once hid underground, the powerful, scaled Trolls who lived in the blasted wastelands, the yellowed and varied Gnomes who survived in the forests, and the far southern tribes of Men who remained recognizably men- and the story of the Elves comes later.

Guided by the council of Druids, wise men who inherited scraps of knowledge from their forebears, the lands have crawled into a medieval era- but in their rush to restore what was lost, some Druids turned to magic instead of technology, and with the loss of widespread use of technology, magic had a void it could now fill.

(Can you get more 1970s than that?)

One fell, and rose as a Dark Lord, the Warlock Lord; defeated twice before, he has now returned to the Four Lands, united the Trolls and Gnomes, and there is but one Druid who remains to oppose him and one artifact he fears- the Sword of Jerle Shannara, who once banished the Warlock Lord and can only be wielded by his descendants.

Of whom only one was not assassinated by the agents of the Warlock Lord, a half-Elven orphan living quietly in Shady Vale, a village of no import.

I would strongly recommend the serious fantasy fan read it for the impact and importance of the series on the development of fantasy, and as a gateway to the rest of the series, which becomes much more mature and interesting starting with the next entry, but honestly, this entry in the series today would probably be sent straight to young adult. The Sword itself is a clever idea I won't spoil, and a few characters are highly memorable, such as Padishar Creel- but it is telling that Brooks is at his best when he stopped trying to write "expected" fantasy and wrote to his own voice. Balinor is memorable, but I couldn't recall either Elven brother to save my life. The wild Leah and obstinate Flick are interesting characters, but Shea himself- a Frodo stand-in - falls somewhat flat. ( )
  BrainFireBob | Dec 22, 2020 |
pb
  5083mitzi | Apr 25, 2020 |
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Shannara-Zyklus (Omnibus 1-3 - [Buch I])

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Gli Oscar Mondadori (Bestsellers, 359)
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Die Sonne sank schon ins grüne Dunkel der Hügel westlich des Tals, und das Rot und Grau-Rosa der Schatten berührte das Land, als Flick Ohmsford mit dem Abstieg begann.
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Die ist die Ausgabe, die das komplette The Sword of Shannara enthält. Nicht kombinieren mit dem gleichnamigen Werk, das nur den ersten von drei Teilen enthält, in die The Sword of Shannara für die erste deutschsprachige Ausgabe aufgeteilt wurde.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

From master fantasy writer Terry Brooks comes the first book in the famed Shannara trilogy. Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revealed that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destroy the world. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara - Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him.

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