Have you started watching The Shannara Chronicles yet? If you haven’t, I think you should. The show is not at all what I was expecting (read: hoping for) but I’m finding myself enjoying it just as it is, despite considerable changes from the novel.
If you need a memory refresher, check out the premiere episode recap.
“Fury,” (actually labeled as episode 3 by MTV but don’t get me started) aired originally a few weeks back but is available for free streaming on mtv.com or you can buy it from Amazon. The last time I checked, the premiere is free but you have to pay to watch the subsequent episodes with Amazon.
This episode opens with the druid Allanon killing the Fury after we saw it kill Amberle’s aunt at the end of the first double episode. He appears to dispense with the Fury with minimal effort but we soon find out he is pretty seriously injured while Amberle runs off to think about how the other Chosen, including her boyfriend Lauren, have been killed just two days prior.
Wil follows her and they bond over their mutual loss; her boyfriend and his mother. They are soon interrupted by Allanon’s collapse and the two leave him in the Druid’s cave while they go to find healing mud from the nearby Silver River.
We then venture back to Arborlon and see a troubled Ander Elessedil telling his father he wishes he had been the one who died instead of Amberle’s father, Aine Elessedil. They alluded to her fallen father in the prior episode but tell us how (killed by gnomes) in this one.
The book, of course, has the benefit of unlimited time and page space and is able to go into much more detail but I think the show did just fine letting us know that Amberle’s father sacrificed himself to save Ander and died at the hands of gnomes.
Upon returning to the scene with Amberle and Wil, the two continue their flirtatious banter that marked the first episodes. Wil goes into the Silver River to retrieve the mud and when he returns, his fair Amberle is gone. Who should have returned but Eretria and another Rover? Thus, our two protagonists are captured.
They are taken back to the Rover camp where they meet the personable Cephelo, Eretria’s father. He pretends to be friendly to Wil but won’t let him see Amberle. We learn that Cephelo expects Eretria to fight and eventually kill Amberle in order to get Wil to show him how to use the Elfstones.
Allanon heals himself while Eretria wakes up Amberle in preparation for the night’s festivities but gives her a choice to either prepare for the death match or knock her out and make a run for it. Instead, Amberle turns the tables on her kidnapper, captures her, and tries to use her as leverage to free Wil. But the Rover leader has no love for his daughter and won’t make a deal.
Wil says he’ll do anything they ask if they promise not to hurt Amberle. Cephelo hands him the Elfstones and says he wants him to unlock their power.
Another Fury arrives at the camp and Wil must use the power of the stones to save them all. Allanon arrives just in time to save them from Cephelo, who has decided Amberle is more trouble than she is worth.
The trio heads toward Arborlon and happens upon a farm where a man and woman have been killed and put on gruesome display. Wil and Amberle find a young man bound and gagged in a weird Silence of the Lambs mask in the barn and they free him.
Bandon’s parents locked him in the basement and were killed by the demons when they moved through the area, leaving him trapped in the cellar. Amberle insists on taking him with them despite Allanon’s warning that he had magic and he was unable to read his intentions.
The group arrives safely back at Arborlon where they find out the Elven Council believes Amberle is the reason the Ellcrys is dying. Wil leaves Arborlon, leaving the Elfstones behind with Allanon. Bandon stops him and informs him that if he doesn’t go with Amberle to Safehold, she won’t make it alive. He won’t tell Wil how he knows what he does, but implores him to have faith.
Amberle and Allanon have to stand before the Elven Council and things are not going well. Amberle’s eldest uncle, Arion, tries to undermine the council’s trust in Eventine, Amberle, and Allanon. Wil storms in and, when Allanon announces he is the last surviving heir of Shannara, Will is allowed to address the council. He gives an impassioned speech on Amberle’s behalf and, as a result, the Elfstones are returned to him.
The Council allows Amberle to return to the Ellcrys, where she must complete a test. If she passes, she receives the seed and will embark on the quest, but if she fails, she dies. She agrees and when she places her hand on the tree, a door at the base of the tree opens.
She disappears inside to end the episode.
With “Fury,” the story is beginning to diverge even more than in the premiere. First, with Amberle and Wil being taken prisoner by the Rovers. In the novel the pair had been traveling with Allanon and were beset by a pack of Furies, which in the novel are large cat-like beasts with the faces of human women.
The novel describes their appearance and the blood-chilling mewling and howling sounds the furies make so well that I’m a bit sad they are now winged boring run-of-the-mill demons.
When the Furies attack, Allanon stays behind to fight and has Wil ride away on his horse. Unfortunately, the show skips over the entire King of the Silver River story by not including this part. The King plays a not minor role throughout the series, so I’m curious how that will be handled later, if at all.
I feel if this part isn’t reinserted into the storyline at some point that the series will lose out on a wonderful opportunity to use that history especially if they continue adapting the later novels’ into television episodes.
The other major difference in “Fury” is Bandon.
This dude doesn’t even exist in the novel. I’m curious where they are going with him. He appears to be getting set up for a major arc in the series but I have no idea where this will go or what he’ll do since he was not in the novel.
I started off a bit confused by this character’s addition but as I gave it more thought I realized that there are not that many major (well-rounded) characters in the novel. Perhaps the screenplay writers felt viewers could use a side story to follow when they need to build suspense into the main story line of Wil and Amberle.
I’m vastly curious about this addition and I’m reserving judgment until I can determine if the addition of the character adds to or diminishes the main story.
The addition of a test to prove Amberle’s worthiness is also new to the series. In the novel, when Amberle returns to Arborlon and the Ellcrys, she merely goes to the tree who touches her and they commune for a time. After the conversation, Amberle is given the seed to carry to Safehold.
In the series, Amberle enters the tree itself and must pass a test before she can receive the seed. This addition fits with the action-packed young adult dystopian vibe the series is going for and is executed well. I don’t see the need for the addition but it had been a while since we’d seen some action, so I understand why it was added.
Overall, I’m torn on the brothers Arion and Ander. In the novel, Arion is not an asshole, which is how he’s being portrayed in the series to date. He’s arrogant and disrespectful and shows no real leadership skills. He was complex in the novel, but not a stupid oaf like they’re making him in the series.
Mostly, I’m worried about what they are doing with Ander. I’m hoping that by casting him as the rule-breaker who doesn’t care about consequences, they are setting the stage for him to develop before our eyes into a strong Elven leader as he was in the book. He was one of my favorite characters and it will be a disappointment if he continues the way he has begun.
Have you been watching the series?
If you read the novel and are watching what are your thoughts on some of the changes? Please comment below or find me on Twitter, G+, or Facebook to discuss your thoughts on the series. If you’re ahead of me don’t spoil it, though!
I will be reviewing the next two episodes very soon and I like to be surprised.
Unless there are big hairy spiders for any reason. Then I’d appreciate a warning because those things scare the bejesus out of me.
Feature image is the opening credit splash from The Shannara Chronicles on MTV, screen capture by Samantha Fisher