Sword of Truth vs. Legend of the Seeker

So, I’ve been away for a while. I can’t help it. I’m rewriting my book – which I only thought was finally finished, and I’ve also taken to reading the Sword of Truth series again. The first book Wizard’s First Rule was published in 1994 – I was in 4th grade. I guarantee you I was not reading these very adult books at that age. I was probably reading Bill Wallace books: A Dog Called Kitty, Beauty, etc. I did however start reading Terry Goodkind’s series of books in middle school.

My older brother got them for himself but after he finished one, I picked it up. Not exactly the most appropriate reading material for a 12 year old, but I always was a very mature reader. Our library at school had a “naughty closet” where they kept the books too advanced or too adult for the “children.” Those of us that had matured enough to not snicker at the fact that someone “went to bed with a whore” were allowed to read from this closet.

But I digress…

The point is that almost 9 years later, my older brother tells me there’s a TV series being based off this series of books. He recommended I watch it, but I saw a few trailers and just thought they had ruined the characters. I was totally disappointed. I refused to watch it for the first season. Then someone at work came in with a copy of the book. And then another person. And then a third actually told me they’d started watching the series and that I should give it a chance.

Well, by this time I had just signed up to Netflix, so I didn’t have to wait to catch the show on TV. I just streamed the first episode and watched it. I was really a bit surprised to find that my assessment from the trailers was all wrong. A few moments seemed a bit campy, reminiscent of TV shows from the mid-90’s, but it got steadily better.

I hesitate to admit that I blew through something like 19 episodes in one day. But I found the show very well done and highly entertaining, with only the occasional tongue-in-cheek, campy writing that can get old if overdone. However, I will not say that the show is exactly like the books. Too much seemed off from what I had remembered reading, so I decided to start reading the series again.

Turns out there are only roughly 3 or 4 episodes out of 22 that actually could have been taken from the first book. A few ideas or snippets of conversations between characters in the books may have developed the ideas for the rest of these episodes, but they’re totally their own. So while I do like the show, there are things about it that drive me insane. They changed some of the most ridiculous facts and without really needing to. Certain characters now have different hair color, age, dispositions, etc. I don’t like how they do that.

But I do recommend you give it a chance if you read and liked the books. It’s a similar story told differently. Just sit down and watch the show with the understanding that its the same characters but the TV series is handling their adventures in their own new way.

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Comments (4)

NikDecember 8th, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Sorry dude, but the book is far better than these fictional series! Just Gudkaind Terry had to be more demanding about the quality. I managed to stand exactly 10 minutes and quit this torture, a waste of time and nerves! Compared Books took me only a few months! I would not have lost the time to watch them in a situation that I have read the series, this is my opinion nobody involved with it.

bigjeffDecember 16th, 2010 at 8:30 PM

I was excited when I heard about it, I think I actually caught an episode just flipping through the channels and thought (like a giddy little schoolgirl) “OMG seriously?”

Well, it only took three episodes to completely destroy that. Everything about it is wrong, and I’m really surprised T. G. supports it. It’s one thing alter parts of a story that are impractical to reproduce on TV, it’s quite another to completely neuter a story in an attempt to make it TV friendly. The critics didn’t even like it, and the show has been canceled, so you can see how far that got them.

I think the philosophy Goodkind puts forth in the Sword of Truth series is a bit simplistic, but it is the centerpiece of story and he makes it quite clear from the very first book. From what I could tell there is nothing of the sort in Legend of the Seeker, which makes the entire exercise pointless.

I’m hoping Game of Thrones doesn’t suffer the same fate. I’m optimistic though, because it will air on HBO, and so far looks to be every bit as gritty and hardcore as the book. It’s hard to tell these things from trailers though.

PhillipJuly 20th, 2012 at 8:11 PM

The one things that people fail to realize is that all the changes that were made to the show that were a departure from the books were at the behest of Terry Goodkind himself. While this could be viewed as positive or negative by aficionados of the literary series, it was essentially an opportunity for Terry to spin the story in a way he never had the opportunity. While I am disappointed that so many events that I cherished from the book aren’t in the show, the production quality of the TV series was far beyond what most fantasy shows get (with the exception of some newer stuff like Merlin.) Take it or leave it, but Legend of the Seeker was just another brainchild of the man who gave birth to the legend.

KenFebruary 3rd, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Legend of The Seeker was a horribly written series. Let me explain. Screw up #1. In the first episode, Kahlan was actually in possession of the Book of Counted Shadows. In The books, Richard and George burnt the book after Richard had successfully recorded it to memory. Screw up #2 Zedd just hands Richard the Sword of Truth, without testing him like he did in the books. Richard’s father was still alive in the first episode. In the books he had been killed before the first book even started. That’s to name just a few.

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