“Sword of Truth” – From Novel to Television. A Nerd’s Dream Come True

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An admitted full-on geek, I’ve been obsessed with fantasy novels since I first starting reading. Being a bit of a size queen I’ve always had a penchant for the thicker novels and on top of that, give me something in an extended series and I’m hooked. What really gets me going of course is anything with magic and dragons and all craziness in between. Essentially, my motto on books is that that they’re escapist tools so why read about World War II or Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul when you can delve into alternate worlds and realities- at least that’s how my brain works! So, when heading out to Quebec 13 years ago while in the 7th Grade I gravitated based purely on length alone (in an effort to impress god knows who) towards a novel called “Wizard’s First Rule”. It was 700 pages, had the word wizard in the title and had a huge red dragon on it… what more could a boy ask for? The book- first of 11 in its series- was written by Terry Goodkind and has not only enthralled me for the past decade but has of recent been developed into a so-far successful tv series: “Legend of the Seeker”. Rarely do we geeks get our fantasies made visual- comic book lovers aside of course that is… oh, and those “Lord of the Rings” people, so the news that this show was coming out put me in grinning ear-to-ear mode instantaneously. The big question that rises is: how will the show match up to the perfect image I created in my mind.

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It’s completely rawsome.
Oh, you wanted more? Well, to start, the story is basically an epic love tale of two made-for-each other hotties (unfortunately man and woman, but we’ll let it slide because in my version of the story he’s a little bi-curious but only for mid-20 twinks 😉 Richard and Kahlan… of course, par for the fantasy course, they’re basically the most powerful and important people in their world and again of course they are continually ripped apart and only rarely brought back together for super hot sex scenes. He’s got a big sword (pause for saliva) and the rarest of magically talents that border on artistry and she’s able to turn anyone into her absolute slave. Having set the scene, the 11-novel epic sees them through trial after trial as they continue to save the world and their people from whatever newest monster is threatening the land.

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Ok, book established, let’s get to the tv show. I will say that my immediate reaction to their choice of a Richard was a BIT disappointing… where I pictured the burliest and hairiest PumpJack model I could think of, they went with a youthful and babyfaced Craig Horner. Though, to be fair the boy can pull off a leather tunic. Kahlan is played by the gorgeous brunette, Bridget Regan… but enough about her 🙂 The show stays quite true to the first novel in its first couple episodes as it tackles the main conflicts and characters. Furthermore, a product of executive producer Sam Raimi- the well-known man behind both Hercules and Xena- this show also takes places cinematographically speaking in the gorgeous lush hills and forests of Australia but thankfully for the this show the writers have accepted the importance of violence and death in this series and allow for some pretty amazing fight scenes. Magic is sparsely used- but it`s the same in the books so I don`t begrudge them saving on special effects costs 😉 Still, when the fireballs do fly, it`s pretty damn cool!

Currently in its second season, the show has really started to take off in my opinion. New characters integral to the story have begun to be introduced and the frequent references to the lesbian-battle-vixen cult are carried over from the series (I know, I know, but it`s a straight dude writing this stuff so what do you expect?). While the storyline of the show follows the basic direction of the book, the television writers properly take carefully chosen side paths and introduce their own dramas and plot twists to elaborate their characters and maintain the interest of today’s viewer. Though the homo-erotic, daddy-son, incest-torture, ritual-abuse chapters from the first novel didn’t make the tv cut (booo), enough did to make this nerd smile episode to episode.

I do absolutely recommend the “Sword of Truth” novels if you’re looking for something lengthy and new, but for a great adventure show with a strong literary basis then “Legend of the Seeker” is definitely for you. Great effects, actually legitimate acting (for a Sam Raimi, faux-high-fantasy) and an engrossing and heartfelt storyline. First season available now on DVD and the second season still going strong! Give it a download!

  • Harlequin

    I read the Lord of the Rings when I was around 10-11, and it made me upset that Shelob wasn’t how I pictured her when I was that age. Granted, I had her with a long neck, lipstick, five eyes and curly hair, and she had a voice that matched Madame Mim from the Sword in the Stone….but STILL.

    I find we get tons of stuff tossed out into media, they just aren’t decent. lol Eragon sucked, Golden Compass sucked (Which makes me sad, since it’s one of the best trilogies ever written), Chronicles of Narnia (Although debatable) sucked, D&D REALLY sucked, Bloodrayne (Not a book, but still noteworthy, considering she made it onto Maxim) sucked.

    The next big geek adventure I’m looking out for is Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is coming out next year I think. It’s either going to be HUGE, or piss off a LOT of people.

  • I agree with all of the movie reviews: though for the most part haven’t read the books- have a thing with “children accessible” literature… adulthood snob 😛
    I’ve been watching the Last Airbender on tv for a couple seasons now and do like it… again, a bit youthful but enjoy the characters!
    D&D broke my heart with how terrible it was… but i’ll still watch em’ all!

  • Paul

    Awesome article, love the books!

  • Sarah

    I’m not too sure I agree. I too, have loved, read, and re-read a thousand times over all of these books in the past 11 years, and haven’t been too impressed with the episodes I have seen.

    I’ll get the first season and watch it beginning to end though. Maybe I’ve just seen the mediocre episodes and am missing the full picture. Thanks for the push in that direction with your article 🙂

  • Harlequin

    Yeah, a lot of them are geared towards a younger audience. I never actually read Eragon, but was dragged to the movies. If you haven’t read ‘His Dark Materials’ Trilogy (Golden Compass, Subtle Knife, Amber Spyglass), I really-really-really recommend it! Conspiracy, Golden monkeys, talking bears, gay angels, witches, rifts, dimensions…oh my!

    When I was watching D&D, I couldn’t get over how they kept referring eachother to their race, as opposed to their name. YOU THERE! Dwarf!… Yes, Elf?

    …………

  • My partner, son and I have/are reading the books and are watching the series. Separately the movie and book entities are great – but if want to slide them beside each other and do a direct comparison, the series will fall violently short of the storyline, character development, sexual tension and excitement that was oozing out of the pages of the novels.

    With that said though, Sam Raimi is in true fantasy form with the series. Using the books as a loose background for his storyline, he has recreated his Xena/Hercules genius in L.O.S.! We don’t miss an episode.

    As for Richard Cypher…my preference definitely leans to my mind’s ruggedly handsome interpretation of the novel BUT I won’t complain about the shirtless, wood chopping TV adaptation! There is definitely fantasy in BOTH!