I have a confession to make.
When I was like 11, I couldn’t get through The Lord of the Rings series of books and instead read Terry Brooks’ ‘Shannara’ series and felt the better for it. It’s Tolkien for people who don’t care what Frodo mixed with fatherberries on meal #19 of the day. Nothing personal against J.R.R., (aside from letting C.S. Lewis run rampant with mediocrity) I just found The Elfstones of Shannara to be a more fun time at the bedside.
I tried to reread the Brooks books as an adult and realized the time would be better spent cutting my face with knives. They’ve aged like Jerry Mathers and not in the sexy way.
Thinking it’s 2002, Warner Bros. has optioned the books to turn into expensive, soulless movies, riding the gaseous trail of a trend that has gone from wondrous victory to obvious manipulation in less than a half-decade. It’s a redundant bit of logic. If you’re going to make a fantasy series, you have to mine turf that hasn’t been spoiled and ransacked to death. At their best, the Shannara books are Tolkien-lite. At their worst, they’re also Tolkien-lite oddly.
Yet, because the studios have budgets to spend on development, the wheels are spinning regardless of the potential for traction. From Variety’s report on the sleepwalking decision:
"WB has franchise hopes for his 14-book series, which is set 1,000 years
in the future, in a world populated by elves, trolls, gnomes and
dwarves in a post-apocalyptic Earth. The Shannara family is a half-Elf,
half-man clan with magical abilities and warrior skills who must save
the world. "The Shannara" has never been optioned for film treatment
because the author has avoided it. That was until the fanboy enthusiasm
of Farah and co-producer Ryan Colucci wore him down. WB intends to
first develop "The Elfstones of Shannara," the second book in the
There was a time I’d have been giddy over this choice. Especially since Elfstones is by far the best book in the series (though I only read through Wishsong, which was worse than being in Dahmer’s stool). But now it just feels lame. It makes me wish I was 13 again and dumb.
But I’m 34 and dumb so I’m incensed. That said, I think Courtney Solomon will do a wonderful job with it.