The Wishsong of Shannara — “The Sword of Shannara” Series

Wishsong of Shannara cover

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In The Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks, Brin Ohmsford’s wishsong can change reality, and she must use it to destroy an evil book called the Ildatch. It is the third book in the “The Sword of Shannara” series.

Plot Summary

Brin and Jair Ohmsford, teenage children of legendary healer Wil Ohmsford, can use a special Elven magic called the wishsong. Brin changes the nature of matter itself with the wishsong while Jair can only create illusions. Wil mistrusts Elven magic and gives his children strict instructions not to use their abilities. As Wil and his wife, Eretria, leave home on a short journey, they warn their children to be careful because there are rumors of evil creatures called Mord Wraiths roaming the Four Lands.

Brin and Jair’s friend Rone Leah arrives to protect them, and the Druid Allanon also suddenly arrives in Shady Vale. Allanon says that the Mord Wraiths have been corrupted by a demonic book called the Ildatch and have incited the Gnomes to attack the Dwarves. If Brin doesn’t come with him on a quest to enter the Maelmord and destroy the Ildatch, Allanon believes the Mord Wraiths will conquer all the Four Lands. Brin agrees to go, Rone insists on coming along as her protector, and Jair is left at home to inform their parents of the news when they return.

However, Jair doesn’t stay at home long. He goes out and runs into a tracker Gnome named Slanter, who is looking for Allanon. Jair uses the wishsong to distract Slanter and knock him unconscious. Then he takes three special family heirlooms called the Elfstones from the place where Wil has hidden them.

Jair then attempts to return home, only to find a small troop of Gnomes and a Mord Wraith waiting. He escapes unnoticed but is soon found and captured by Slanter in the woods. Slanter and other Gnomes march Jair eastward, but a human Weapons Master named Garet Jax interferes and, with the unexpected help of Slanter, defeats the Gnomes and invites Jair to travel with him to the Dwarven city of Culhaven. Jair insists that Slanter come along as well.

Brin, Rone and Allanon travel to the Hadeshorn, a magical lake that contains the spirits of the dead. Allanon meets the shade of his father, the good Druid Bremen, who warns Allanon that the end of the age is near. Allanon dips Rone’s sword, the Sword of Leah, in the Hadeshorn to make its blade capable of repelling magic. When a Mord Wraith attacks them, Rone fights it with his sword, giving Allanon time to destroy it with magical Druid fire.

In a sort of vision, Jair meets the ancient magical figure known as the King of the Silver River. The King tells him that the Mord Wraiths have polluted the Silver River, which will ultimately destroy all the land surrounding it. He asks for Jair to give him the Elfstones, and in return he gives Jair a pouch of Silver Dust and a mission to go to Heaven’s Well, the source of the Silver River, and purify the waters.

The King also gives Jair a vision crystal with which he can see Brin, wherever she is, and a one-time ability to use the wishsong to actually change reality, not just create illusion. The King says that Jair must use this ability to save Brin because without Jair’s help, Brin will not accomplish her mission.

In Culhaven, the Dwarf Council assigns the Dwarf Elb Foraker, Borderman Helt, Elf Edain Elessedil, Slanter and Garet Jax to go with Jair on his mission to purify the Silver River. The party runs into Gnome sentries, but Jair uses the wishsong to make all six of them appear to be Gnomes. Despite the illusion, they have to fight the Gnomes and narrowly escape.

Soon they see more Gnomes laying siege to the Dwarf fortress city of Capaal. Capaal protects a system of dams that hold back the polluted waters of the Silver River. The Gnomes plan to unleash the poisoned waters on all the western lands if they win. The party splits temporarily, but they all manage to get through the siege camp and into the fortress.

At Capaal, three Mord Wraiths arrive to aid the Gnomes in their siege. They summon a Kraken, a massive demon monster, to attack the city walls. The Kraken breaks open the gates of Capaal, and the Gnome army pours in. In the ensuing fight, the party is split again. Jair tries to escape the city but is kidnapped by a Mwellret, a lizard-like creature who can use magic.

On Brin’s journey, a monstrous evil creature called a Jachyra appears. Allanon makes Rone promise not to join him in fighting the monster. When Allanon is severely wounded, Rone forgets his promise and attacks the Jachyra with the Sword of Leah. The Jachyra turns its attention to Rone and throws his sword into the river, but the distraction allows Allanon to burn the Jachyra with Druid fire, apparently killing it.

Allanon tells Brin that he is dying and that she doesn’t need him because she is the one the Mord Wraiths must fear, the one that no force can stand against. He wipes his own blood on her forehead and binds himself to her in a magical ritual she doesn’t fully understand. The spirit of the Druid Bremen emerges from the nearby river, the Chard Rush, and carries Allanon with him into the waters.

Brin staggers to a nearby trading center, carrying a wounded Rone. When bandits break into their room at night, Brin unleashes the wishsong on them, singing pain and madness into them until they flee from the room, bleeding from their ears, mouths and noses. When she realizes that Rone is dying of his wounds, she uses the wishsong to heal him.

They find an old man named Cogline to guide them to the Maelmord where they will find the Ildatch. They travel with him, his giant moor cat Whisper and his highly capable granddaughter Kimber Boh. Hoping to learn the whereabouts of the lost Sword of Leah, Brin visits the spectral creature known as the Grimpond and uses the wishsong to make it tell her the truth. The Grimpond says that the nearby tribe of Spider Gnomes have Rone’s lost sword and adds that Brin will die in the Maelmord.

Stythys the Mwellret takes Jair to a Gnomish jail to try to force him to give up his gift of the wishsong. Garet Jax and Slanter free Jair, and they rejoin Helt, Foraker and Edain. The party forces Stythys to guide them to Heaven’s Well. He takes them through the Caves of Night and betrays them, but they defeat him. Helt dies to help Jair and the others escape Gnomes. Then Edain and Foraker have to fight off Gnomes to let Garet, Slanter and Jair continue. The Jachyra reappears and Garet stays behind to fight it.

Rone recovers the Sword of Leah from the Spider Gnomes. When a Gnome attacks Brin, she uses the wishsong to tear him to pieces. She is disturbed by how much she enjoys killing the Gnome and feels like the wishsong has a mind of its own — that the magic is beginning to use her instead of the other way around. Hoping to prevent the death of her companions, Brin escapes from them and goes to the Maelmord valley alone.

Brin kills two black monsters guarding the entrance to the Maelmord, and then bonds with the Maelmord, making it accept her. She feels alive and joyful but also knows that something has gone horribly wrong because the Maelmord is evil, so feeling united with it must make her evil, too. She is drawn to Graymark Tower, stronghold of the Mord Wraiths, and finds the Ildatch inside it. She picks up the book and it speaks to her. Then it possesses her and controls her actions.

Jair finally reaches Heaven’s Well and purifies it with the Silver Dust. In the Well, he sees a horrifying vision of Brin possessed by the Ildatch. Jair uses his one-time-only ability of true wishsong to transport himself to the Maelmord. Brin attacks him, but he evades her with illusion.

Then he hugs her and uses the wishsong to send her mental images of their life back in Shady Vale. The sweetness of the memories brings Brin back to herself, and she casts down the Ildatch and destroys it with the wishsong.

 

Jair is teleported back to Slanter, and Brin is left in the Maelmord, which is quaking and dissolving. Whisper the moor cat rescues her and guides her back to Rone, Kimber and Cogline. There, they are joined by Jair and Slanter.

A week after the Ildatch’s destruction, the world has returned to normal. The Mord Wraiths have vanished, and the Gnomes have retreated into their own country. Brin goes to the Chard Rush, and Allanon’s spirit emerges to speak with her. He says that the last magic in the world lives within her and her family line and that his legacy was passed to her.

Allanon asks her to remember him, and she promises that she will. Brin bids farewell to Kimber, Cogline and Whisper, and Jair says goodbye to Slanter. Brin, Jair and Rone go back to Shady Vale and find that the King of the Silver River has returned the Elfstones to the Ohmsford family and that their mother and father are waiting for them.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

Brin and Jair can use the wishsong to magically alter the world around them. Brin changes the nature of matter itself while Jair can only create illusions. Brin kills two black monsters guarding the entrance to the Maelmord, and then bonds with the Maelmord. She is disturbed by how much she enjoys killing some Gnomes and feels like the wishsong has a mind of its own — that the magic is beginning to use her instead of the other way around.

The Ildatch is an evil book that corrupts those who use its magic. Brin picks up the book, and it speaks to her. Then it possesses her and controls her actions.

At the Hadeshorn, Allanon communicates with the spirit of his dead father, Bremen, who prophesies the end of the magical age. Brin goes to the Chard Rush, and Allanon’s spirit emerges to speak with her. Magic lives within her family line.

The Mwellrets are lizard-like creatures descended from humans. They can use magic to compel other species to do their bidding. The Mord Wraiths use magic to summon a Kraken from the ocean out of a freshwater stream. The Spider Gnomes are a superstitious people and chant to summon the dark powers.

Authority Roles

Wil loves his children but is so afraid of the potential negative effects of magic that he makes them feel like their gifts are a burden that must be hidden.

Allanon puts Brin in a very dangerous situation when he asks for help on the quest to defeat the Mord Wraiths, but he does outline the general level of danger for her. Still, Brin feels like she can never fully trust him because he won’t reveal the full truth to her.

Profanity & Violence

Jair uses the wishsong to distract Slanter and knock him unconscious. When a Mord Wraith attacks them, Rone fights it with his sword, giving Allanon time to destroy it with magical Druid fire.

The Gnomes plan to unleash poisoned water on all the western lands if they win the battle. A Kraken, a massive demon monster, attacks the city walls of Capaal.

When Allanon is severely wounded by the Jachyra, Rone attacks the Jachyra with the Sword of Leah. The distraction allows Allanon to kill the Jachyra with Druid fire.

When bandits break into their room at night, Brin unleashes the wishsong on them, singing pain and madness into them until they flee from the room, bleeding from their ears, mouths and noses.

Helt dies to help Jair and the others escape Gnomes. Then Edain and Foraker have to fight off Gnomes to let Garet, Slanter and Jair continue. The Jachyra reappears; Garet stays behind to fight it.

When a Gnome attacks Brin, she uses the wishsong to tear him to pieces. Brin kills two black monsters guarding the entrance to the Maelmord.

Sexual Content

Rone and Brin kiss a few times.

Discussion Topics

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