Let’s step away from the political for a bit, and get with the geeking. I caught the first episode (part one of a two-parter) of Legend of the Seeker, a television adaptation of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, the same duo who brought us the fun (if rather campy) Hercules and Xena.
Long time friends and visitors to this site will know that I was (and to a certain extent, still am) a big fan of both shows. I’ve been a fam of Raimi’s for years, and I am interested in seeing what they’re going to do with the series in the long run.
My impressions so far, based purely on the single episode I have seen, are moderately favorable. The story more or less follows the opening events in the first novel, but there are some changes that make me curious about where they’re going to go long term. In the novels, Richard is Seeker because of his ability to see the truth. In the series, he is the Seeker because that’s what prophecy says (which is accurate, but the whole prophecy angle doesn’t show up in the first book at all).
Richard in the series is more of a traditional farm boy rises to be a hero sort of thing. That doesn’t mean the character can’t grow to something more, but it gives a very different starting point (and as a result, subsequent character arc) than the novel does.
Most obvious case in point with regard to what I’m talking about. In the novel, Kahlan doesn’t know Zedd is First Wizard, she only knows he went to Westland. Richard deduces that Zedd is the First Wizard, and in the face of his reasoning (haven’t read the book in years, so I don’t recall the exact reasoning) Zedd admits the truth despite his earlier attempts to hide or deny who he is.
In the series, Kahlan is guided by some kind of magic device straight to Zedd. She knows who he is (despite her probably never having seen him since he’s been gone twenty years), and there is no early indication of Richard’s strong, natural ability to reason (something that, admittedly, becomes rather more tiresome as the series progresses).
It’s like the TV series is following the basic plot outline of the book, but making some different choices and assumptions about things. I imagine that fans of the book will not be enamored of the series (depending on how tolerant they are of creative and adaptive license), and I suspect that the show will have a hard time finding enough of an audience to keep it on the air for more than a season or two (but you never know).
I’m willing to give the series a shot, because I have a certain amount of affection for any kind of fantasy TV — especially one produced by this team. I’m interested in seeing where they go, and how they handle the darker parts of the book.
As my impressions mature or change, I’ll be sure to share them.