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Shannara Explained: Elves

Time for some backstory! In this episode we talk about the Elves & where they came from.

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So as I mentioned in an earlier episode, linked right here, all the races in the Shannara Universe evolved from humans, all of them except elves.

As I have had some questions about this, I thought I would make this quick video to explain their history. In the Shannara Universe, there are two opposing forces known as the Word & the Void.

The demons that were locked away in the Forbidding that we see in season one of the Shannara Chronicles are Children of the Void, and they are faerie creatures. Since the elves locked them away, you can probably guess that Elves are faerie creatures as well.

If you’re thinking that, you’re partially right. The elves were faeries creatures.

Adapt or Die

Long before humans roamed the planet, was the age of Faerie. A time filled with countless wonders, both beautiful and terrible. There were Furies, Dragons, Elves, Darklings, Wites, Whisps, and Elementals. In the Shannara novels, we meet two of these Elementals that survived the ending of the Age of Faerie as well as the destruction of the Old World.

The first and most often seen is The King of the Silver River. He pops in time and again to help the Ohmsford's on their travels, as he was created by the Word to protect the land. The other old faerie we see is Uhl Belk the Stone King.

He shows up in the Heritage Series and is not very nice. Not very nice at all. Anyway, back to the elves. Eventually, the elves succeed in winning their seemingly unending war with the demons of the Void, by creating the Ellcrys and The Forbidding.

Let me know if you want to know about that, it’s pretty interesting as well.

So once the elves succeed in locking the demons away, we don’t really know what happens to them and the other Children of the Word, other than that they underestimated the destructive nature of humanity, as well as our phenomenal reproductive powers.

We Really Are a Cancer

Eventually, they were outnumbered, and as the earth started to be overrun by us, and misused, they began to die out. At some point either the Elves made a choice to evolve away from their need for magic, or it just happened naturally. Either way, they were able to hold on where their brothers and sisters were not.

At this point, the elves disappear, and we don’t see them or hear from them again until a set of novels Terry wrote to connect two of his series together, Shannara and the Word & Void series.

While Shannara is our far future, the Word & Void deals with the present and the events that lead to Shannara. Namely how we screw everything up, with a little help from The Void of course.

In the Word & Void books, the main hero is a Knight of the Word. They are charged with fighting The Void, to keep the apocalypse from coming. As you can imagine, from what we’ve already learned from Shannara, they don’t succeed.

Time For Some Questing

However, The Word doesn't give up. It sends two of the last Knights on two missions, to gather together all the survivors they can and take them to a place of safety so that they can ride out the storm that destroys the old world, making way for the world of Shannara.

One of the Knights is tasked with finding and convincing the Elves of Cintra to join the last of the humans and mutants that the other Knight is gathering in this safe haven.

The elves by this time have lost their innate magic, and almost no one remembered anything about magic. All they had left were some relics, like the Blue Elfstones, and the Loden, a white elf stone with very specific powers.

The Loaden allows the user to shrink the capital city of the elves, magically storing it inside, so that one person can transport the entire Elven nation from one place to another.

I am planning on doing a deep dive video on Elfstones in the near future since as of now we have 3 different elfstones that have appeared in the books, each set with a different color and purpose.

So I bet you’re wondering how the elves escaped our notice for so long if they had been hanging around the whole time, with no magic?

The Worlds Best Hide and Go Seek Players

While not technically a magical feat, the elves are apparently master hiders. Their city Arbolon was hidden deep in the Oregon Woods. The Knight of the Word reaches them, helps them locate the Loden and shrinks the city, including the Ellcrys and sets off for the waiting refuge.

After weeks of battles and close calls they finally arrive at a valley untouched by the deadening of the world, and here the Elven city and all the survivors gather. A magic wall of mist is created, surrounding the valley and its refugees, protecting them from a nuclear winter that is engulfing the world.

And that is the greatly abbreviated story of the elves. The books that deal with this history are outstanding and would be worth a read if you are into that sort of thing.

You can find a listing of Terry Brooks works at his official site.

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