*Spoilers and Such*
The Druid of Shannara opens with the King of the Silver River, a sort of Tom Bombadil analog that has taken on a life of its own as the series progressed. We might take this a central metaphor for the whole series: something that began as a mere pastiche of Tolkien and has over time evolved into its own separate universe. I wonder if the mention of "The Word" caught my eye when I was in Jr. High. I was studying the Gospel of John for Quiz Team at the time. If it did, I don't remember it. of course, Terry Brooks' word is a rather different thing than the Son of Man or even Marcus Aurelius' Logos. Still, the Christian resonances in this passage are unmistakable: a servant of The Word in imitation of its creator draws up earth into itself and begets a child that will go into the world and redeem it (of course this is only a creature doing this so there is no question of eternal procession, distinct persons, substances, etc.). The markedly mythic language that Brooks employs to describe the whole scene is a welcome change adding the richness of an implied mythology to the imagined world of the Four Lands. There are some similarities here to what Ursula K. LeGuin was doing at the same time in her Earthsea novels with the "daughter of god" character, Tehanu and I wonder if there is any connection or correlation. Looking back at the function that Quickening will serve, I see shades of God Emperor of Dune, and of course the name implies a connection with the Highlander Series. Who knows what was in the water or in the leaf-mold of the mind when this opening was devised. In this opening chapter I also encountered my first reminder of how little I remember about this book: I couldn't remember a thing about the story's villain, Uhl Belk.
Once the story moves on to Walker Boh, my memory revives a little (but not much). I do enjoy that Walker is a little more cerebral than the other heroes. It's interesting to have a main character in these novels who's closer to thirty than to fifteen. Maybe that's a clue as to why I this book evidently didn't make much impression on me all those years ago. Whatever may be the case, Walker definitely has a more philosophical (I use the term loosely) and emotional journey than the other characters thus far. The reappearance of Cogline in this section is also welcome. We sense that Walker's success on the quest will be proportional to his relationship with the old man. This is a nice little added complexity: Walker isn't just going on a quest to save the Four Lands, he's also going on a quest to find peace with himself and his adopted father. Again, I find that Brooks' skill as a writer has grown leaps and bounds since the writing of The Wishsong of Shannra even if this is all still very much in the realm of light fiction.
Well, times wasting and that's all I've really got for today. As always, we'll see how it goes. Best wishes all!