Legend of the Seeker

Legend of the Seeker is a television show that’s loosely based on Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth novels. I have mixed feelings towards this series, as I have actually read the entire collection. I went through all eleven books of it, even after the anthology went downhill come book four.

For those who are not familiar with the fantasy series, here’s a snippet of my 2008 book review:

We have Richard Cypher, a regular forest ranger, who begins his quest when his father is brutally murdered by a powerful wizard. In his journey, he meets the exquisite Kahlan Amnell, his future life partner, and together they experience tales upon tales of sorcery, mythical beasts, and magical boundaries…for Richard is named the Seeker, the one who is destined to hold the Sword of Truth. As such, he struggles with the responsibility of bringing order in a world that’s about to be engulfed in darkness.

There are a number of things I like about the TV version. For one, Richard of the book is much too powerful that the writing almost feels narcissistic. He also tends to get overly philosophical. By that I mean he sounds like a preacher doing sermons. The TV series toned him down and they did away with the preachy bits. TV Richard is fun, energetic, responsible but also flawed. Craig Horner is perfect as Richard.

Speaking of perfection, it seems that casting is the series’ strongest point. I couldn’t imagine what Kahlan would look like in person. I also figured that her white robes would look tacky. Bridget Regan fleshes Kahlan out very well: angelic face, deadly countenance, and she rocks the white robe! Regan looks like a mother, a sister and a slave driver all rolled into one. Her chemistry with Horner is so palpable, you’ll feel sorry that they can’t be together (because Kahlan’s powerful touch would destroy Richard).

Wizard Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander, portrayed by Bruce Spence, is as charming, wacky and…well, he’s actually a lot more powerful than the book version since he seems to be using Wizard’s Fire often. (In the books, Wizard’s Fire takes its toll on the caster.) Season Two introduces Cara, the Mord Sith, played by Tabrett Bethell. I cannot picture a more suitable Cara, beautiful but hella scary!

Okay, it is with Darken Rahl, portrayed by Craig Parker, that I had mixed feelings about. See, I like Darken Rahl in the novels. He isn’t two-dimensional and he’s a blue-eyed blond. It’s not that I judge by the looks but the whole angelic demeanor is what tricks everyone into thinking he can be trusted. Plus it completely opposes what his name, Darken, stands for.

Thing is, Craig Parker is a very good actor. The writers initially did not do him justice by giving him two-dimensional scenes. Here, the main villain is literally DARK, with no explanations as to why he’s like that! I hate what they did to Darken Rahl at the beginning of the series, but you’d see Parker’s versatility in Season Two, episode 40, “Walter”, where he played a comedian who impersonated Darken Rahl. Parker would’ve looked good as a blonde, too. I mean, hello? Didn’t he play Haldir of Lórien, who is an elf, in Lord of the Rings? Why did they have to make Darken Rahl so cliché when they’ve employed an actor of his caliber??

Darken Rahl (left) and Haldir of Lórien (right)

Another thing I didn’t like about the series is how they completely rewrote many of the characters’ origins, resulting in loony plot holes. I’m especially looking at Richard’s relatives (his sister Jensen, and his father in the book that became his brother in the series). I hate what they did to Sister Nicci, too, and how her episodes resulted in Richard’s power — the essence of his war wizardry — becoming useless. This is the thing about deviating from the original source. If you re-write the characters’ origins, you had better map out their paths or the succeeding episodes could come bite you in your nether parts.

Overall, I enjoyed the series — mostly thanks to the cast. I just couldn’t stop complaining about how they took out some of The Sword of Truth’s best parts. Honestly, I also want to see Sorceress Adie and the beasties Gratch and Scarlet (the dragon)…Oh!! And Nathan Rahl!!

* Haldir of Lórien’s photo from http://www.haldiroflorien.com
** Darken Rahl photo from http://dadt.com/lots

6 Comments

  1. Andy Uyboco

    August 31, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I don't think the book series went downhill after Book 4. I think the best one of all was Faith of the Fallen (Book 6) because it showcased a human Richard who had to triumph based on his inner character instead of his powers.

    Book 7 and 8 were a bit tiresome, but the ending trilogy wrapped up the entire thing nicely.

    And regarding the TV series, yeah there were many loopholes and “huh?”s coming from me, but I did watch it till the end of season 2. It's not so bad if you just take it in the context that it's VERY VERY loosely based on the book (as in MAJOR MAJOR loosely). And I do agree that they did a good job with casting.

    I hear there isn't going to be a season 3 though. Apparently it wasn't so well received.

    From Wikipedia:
    The Tribune Company decided not to renew the series on March 4, 2010. On April 26 Ausiello Files reported that Legend of the Seeker had been cancelled and would not return for a third season. Fans of the series have responded by launching a renewal campaign titled “Save Our Seeker”.Terry Goodkind has expressed his support for the campaign.

  2. Monti

    August 31, 2010 at 6:38 am

    i fell in love with the legend of the seeker tv series because of richard cypher. i strongly agree with you that craig horner is perfect as richard. bravo to the casting director for choosing the actors playing zed, kahlan and cara. it's because of them that i'm so hooked to the series. season 1, can't get enough of the love story between richard and kahlan. season 2, can't get enough of cara who can really kick ass, a soft tough chick or tough soft chick. can't wait for season 3. i have the complete sword of truth ebook. will read it as soon as i'm done reading with the other book series i'm currently reading. 😀

  3. skysenshi

    August 31, 2010 at 7:41 am

    @Andy
    I loved Confessor, the final book. I hated the Jensen parts. Haha! As for the series, it's sad if I don't get to see a Season Three because I wanted to see more of my favorite characters. Maybe they'll show Adie etc. I finished Season 2 too, I think Season 2 was a lot better because Darken Rahl became more human. Plus, Kahlan and Richard's relationship deepened. AND CARA!!! I also loved the 40th episode, “Walter”. I think that was the best. Haha!

    @Tess
    OMG, did you see the photo of a younger Craig Parker I posted in your FB? He looks like Craig Horner!

  4. Monti

    August 31, 2010 at 9:14 am

    whoa! grabe! the younger craig parker looks like craig horner. yikes! no more season 3? is this confirmed? one less show to follow. 🙁 i'd like to cry now.

  5. skysenshi

    August 31, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    @Tess
    Diba diba diba? Bagay talaga silang maging relatives. Anyhoo…there's still Merlin. The show is also addictive. Will write about it tomorrow. Hehe.

  6. skysenshi

    August 31, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Ahhh! I forgot to mention Nathan Rahl! Editing my post now…

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