Elves, trolls, and druids, oh my!
MTV finally brought Terry Brooks’ Shannara novels to life in a super-sized series premiere of The Shannara Chronicles tonight, and it wasted no time in getting down to business. We met our heroes, our villains, and the quest for good to triumph over evil kicked off in an epic fashion. Since the series premiere (which began with book two, The Elfstones of Shannara) was two episodes long, let’s get right to recapping all the action!
The series began with Elf princess Amberle (Poppy Drayton) making the decision to run the Gauntlet, a brutal thousand-year-old race for elves where the first seven to finish become the Order of the Chosen, guards for the Ellcrys (the magical tree that holds an army of demons at bay in a realm called The Forbidding). But she’s the first female to ever run it, much to the surprise of her boyfriend and the other potential runners. And, lo and behold, she won! But when she touched the Ellcrys to be accepted into the Chosen, she got a vision of the future, and saw everyone brutally murdered by demons.
While Amerble received her vision, far away in a frozen cave the last druid of Paranor, Allanon (Manu Bennett), awoke from his mystical druid sleep, where he had been resting and preserving his body for 30 years to recharge his magic. “It has begun,” he said ominously. That can’t be good.
In the quiet town of Shady Vale, half-human, half-elf Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler) said goodbye to his sick mother. Before she passed away, she gave him three magical blue Elfstones that used to belong to his father. She told him to “find the druid,” and then died before she could tell him any more. He decided to leave his uncle Flick to study to become a healer so he could save people, something he was unable to do for his mother as he watched her die.
Back at the Elf city Arborlon, Amberle is drawn to the Ellcrys once again, and this time she sees a vision of her stabbing her boyfriend in the stomach with a dagger, eviscerating and killing him. She decided to leave Arbolon to make sure that vision never comes to true.
On his way to Storlon, Wil gets attacked by a troll, and saved by a human Rover girl named Eretria (Ivana Baquero). (Rovers are, evidently, the equivalent of bandits and raiders.) She took him to a tree house (which she lied and said was hers) and made him take a bath to clean up from his attack … but it turned out she drugged him to steal his things, including the Elfstones. After all, that’s what Rovers do!
In Arborlon, the Chosen discovered the Ellcrys is sick, and a doctor told King Eventine (John Rhys-Davies) and the royal guard that it’s never been sick before. Allanon arrived in Arborlon just then to reunite with Eventine 30 years after they had last seen each other, and the druid had not aged a single day, according to his elven counterpart. Allanon said that the Ellcrys called to him, and Eventine revealed to his sons that he knew magic existed all along.
Allanon sensed the Ellcrys is dying, and soon the demon army will be free. Each time a leaf falls, a demon is freed. The first one to rise? The leader, Dagda Mor, a druid who was corrupted by dark magic. Except now he looks like a nasty mixture of Voldemort and Nosferatu. He created a magical henge out of stone to protect him with a magical forcefield until the last leaf falls. The next demon set free is a changeling, a.k.a. a shapeshifter, and he sent the fell beast to Arborlon to kill the Chosen.
When Wil woke up the next morning, he’s greeted by Allanon who went looking for him for a specific quest. However, Allanon is pissed when he learns Eretria stole the Elfstones from him. That’s when Allanon revealed to Wil that his father wasn’t a deadbeat; rather the he is the last son descended from the legendary and royal Shannara line, and he has magic in his blood. Allanon brought Wil to the sacred grounds of the Druid’s Keep to find the Codex of Paranor in order to figure out how to save the Ellcrys. He used magic to uncover the codex, proving to Wil that magic exists. It also showed Wil that every time you use magic, it hurts you back, evidenced by the large chunks of skin missing from his hands. However, when Allanon used his magic, he had a vision of Dagda Mor, who taunted him, telling him the Chosen can’t stop him and their fate has already been sealed.
On the run by herself in the woods, Amberle came across Eretria. The Rover tried to drug her and steal her things just like she did with Wil, but Amerle proved to be smarter than Wil. After holding her would-be robber at knifepoint, Amberle gave Eretria her royal cuff and stole her horse, and left to find her aunt Pyreia. She had sought out her aunt to find out why exactly the Ellcrys was calling to her.
Back in Arborlon, the changeling demon took on Amberle’s form to slaughter all the Chosen in cold blood, including Amberle’s boyfriend. Unfortunately, Allanon and Wil returned too late to save them. In the aftermath, Wil found letters in Amberle’s room addressed to Pyreia, and Eventine told him Pyreia fell in love with Allanon and he banished her from the city since she refused to love an elf. Eventine has Allanon and Wil go to retrieve Amberle, but the changeling overheard their plan. They ride to Pyreia’s home and Wil finds Amberle bathing at a waterfall. After a very awkward and naked encounter, he told her why she needed to return to Arborlon.
In the woods, Eretria met back up with her Rover clan, including her adoptive father Cephelon. He was disappointed to learn that a meek little elf stole her haul, and threatened to sell her to another clan to a Rover leader who wants a wife. But when she showed him the Elfstones she stole from Wil, he quickly changed his tune. She told Cephelon all about Wil, and he remembered a story he heard about Wil’s father using the Elfstones to win the War of the Races. He made a deal with Eretria: if she finds Wil and brings him to Cephelon, she’ll get her freedom.
At Pyreia’s home on the beach, another demon, a lethal fury that looks like a nightmarish jet-black gargoyle, hunted them down since the changeling knew where they were. It disemboweled Pyreia and knocked Allanon out, before turning its attention to Wil and Amberle. And that’s where the premiere ended!
What did you think of the mega-sized series premiere of The Shannara Chronicles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
The Shannara Chronicles airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on MTV.
Find out what the must-see shows you need to watch in 2016: