Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Favorite Shannara Characters: The Platypus Reads Part CLXXXV

So I've been doing a lot of gabbing here about the Shannara books and their relative merits as light adventure fiction.  Thus far, there's been plenty of analysis, but very little geek out of pausing to simply enjoy the books as fun stories.  In that spirit, then, I'm going to take a shot at naming my favorite characters from the first seven books and invite you to do the same.  Who are your favorite Shannara characters?  Here are mine (in chronological order?):

1. Allanon:  Tall, bearded, dresses in black, learned, mysterious past, and packing more firepower than half the star fleet.  For me, at least, he is the most interesting character in the first three books.  The little glimpses we get into his thought, history, and struggles blow everyone else away.  I also enjoy watching him age and change from the angry-young-Gandalf of The Sword of Shannara, to the more grandfatherly and sad figure in The Wishsong of Shannara.  We really get to explore what it means to have the world (or at least the Four Lands) on your shoulders with all the limits of an exalted, yet finite being.

2. Garret Jax: Hardcore.  How can you not like a guy who looks like he just walked out of an Akira Kurosawa film?  I love the mystery that surrounds this wandering duelist and there's some real pathos to his death.  This is a pulp character in the great tradition of Haggard and Burroughs. 

3. Walker Boh: Walker is basically a younger version of Allanon who keeps his angst in different places.  I like Walker.  Sure, he can be whiny, but no more so than most late-twenties-early-thirty-somethings.  At that age there's always going to be tension between who you are and where you're at and who you thought you were supposed to be and where you actually are.  Having Cogline as a mentor also helps.

4. Rimmer Dal: The classic evil genius villain -but also a hard-core fighter in his own right.  I think he was the first of this sort of villain that I came across.  Sure, the Operative in Serenity is more sophisticated and Sauron is more mythopoeic, but I just like Rimmer Dal.  He's a great anti-Allanon. and definitely ups the ante in the world of the Four Lands.

5. Wren Ohmsford: She's the first one of Brooks' "tough girls" to come off as a believable and likable character in her own right.  Wren preserves a sense of adventure and wonder at the fantastic world that Brooks has created without seeming sappy or unduly naive.  Her more level-headed drive, and understanding that even the greatest heroes need to rely on their friends puts her cousin Par to absolute shame. 

Alright, so there we go.  If you have a dog in this fight, feel free to jump in!  I'd love to hear who your own favorite characters are from the first seven books.

No comments: