Season 1 of “Legend of the Seeker” has come to a close and summer reruns has commenced. Before the 2nd season starts, I thought this would be a good time to go through the season as a whole and how it relates to the book. Season One is based upon the first book, “Wizard’s First Rule”, of the “Sword of Truth” series by Terry Goodkind. While the show has taken some creative liberties, for the most part…I feel the core of the book is well adapted to the small screen. For those who haven’t read “Wizard’s First Rule”, this post is chock full of spoilers. I am going to try to relate the book to the relevant episodes on the show. Some of the questions that I will answer in this Book vs. Show rundown are: Is Darken Rahl really dead? Are Darken Rahl and Richard Cypher brothers? Finally…my thoughts on what to expect for Season 2 of “Legend of the Seeker”.
There’s no place better to start than from the beginning with the Series Premiere: Prophecy/Destiny. The series premiere for “Legend of the Seeker” is one of the best premieres that I have ever seen! I immediately started reading “Wizard’s First Rule” after watching the series premiere. What happens in this premiere is almost exactly how it is described in the book. From Kahlan running through the forest and Richard spotting her for the first time and the description of the dress – it was really spot on. The vine that bites Richard and how we are introduced to Zedd (watching the clouds naked) is how it is described in the book as we saw on screen. One of the big changes on the show is the role of the Book of Counted Shadows and because of the change, the story lines on the show had to be altered which in turn affects the events in the Season Finale: “Reckoning”. In the book, the Book of Counted Shadows is really burned, but not before Richard memorizes it. As a child, George Cypher was able to cross the boundary and retrieve the Book of Counted Shadows and in the process encounters a beast for which George slays and that tooth that Richard wears on the show is from the beast that George has slain. The tooth has other symbolism too. It is what keeps Richard safe from the shadow people when he crosses the border (it actually takes a long time to cross the border in the book). After retrieving the Book of Counted Shadows, George has Richard memorize it and once Richard was able to recite the book verbatim, they burn the book. As I mentioned before, this changes the course of events that lead up to the Season Finale. According to the Book of Counted Shadows, the way the Boxes of Orden are assembled determines the type of magic it dispels. If the boxes are put together correctly, you essentially can rule the world, if they are arranged incorrectly – you will suffer repercussions. Using what Richard already knows from the Book of Counted Shadows, he tricks Darken Rahl to assemble the Boxes of Orden incorrectly and he (Darken Rahl) dies/perishes because of it.
In the episode “Elixir”, we find out that Zedd is Richard’s grandfather. This is true, as we also learn in the episode “Bloodline”, that it is Zedd’s daughter who is Richard’s mother. In the book, Richard’s mother is already dead so at least bringing her back temporarily on the show and then killing her off is following the book in a way. She actually dies in
child birth a house fire. Also within the episode “Bloodline” we meet Jensen, who is Richard’s half sister. I had to look this up, but Jensen does exist but she doesn’t appear in the first book but in a later book in the series.
“Identity” touches upon some occurrences in the book. Within the book, Darken Rahl places a spell on Richard so that when enemies of Richard see him, they will actually see the Seeker, but friends of Richard will see their enemy – Darken Rahl. I will explain how this is relevant later.
The episode “Denna” was great and almost exactly how it occurs in the book. This story line occurs more toward the end of the book so I was surprised they introduced this story line so early then alone episode 8. The only creative liberty on the show (related to this story line) was the introduction of the “breath of life”, a power that a Mord Sith has to bring someone back to life after they have passed (in a certain amount of time). I understand why they did this on the show. The character Denna was well played on the show and I’m sure the people on the show wanted a way to bring her character back. The part when Kahlan and Richard kiss, really happens in the book…so the show did not jump the shark with that moment. In order for Richard to get through his torture sessions with Denna, he thinks about Kahlan and the kiss they shared in order for him to get through the pain. One thing that wasn’t explained in this episode, that we learn in the development of Richard’s character in the book, is that Richard gets through the torture by partitioning his mind which is a characteristic of a wizard. That is why Denna was not able to break Richard while torturing him. Also within the episode, Denna dies, within the book she stays dead but Richard sees her ghost or rather images of her. So in a way that is how Denna lives.
Following the episode “Denna” was “Puppeteer”. The true book storyline that appears in this episode is with Rachel, the Princess, and the Queen. Something that really differs is that Zedd replaces the character of Giller who is the wizard that is under the Queen’s keep. Giller is actually Kahlan’s wizard who leaves her to serve the evil Queen. In the episode of “Conversion”, we meet the actual Giller. Giller is not evil in the book, you think he is for betraying Kahlan (something we don’t know the back story to), but Giller dies nobly by not giving the whereabouts of Rachel, who manages to sneak the 3rd box of Orden out of the castle. Also it is Chase who actually adopts Rachel, not the cook that was introduced in “Puppeteer”.
In the episode “Sacrifice”, we meet up with Dennee (Kahlan’s sister) who we presumed was dead. In the book, Dennee is already dead. She does not have a baby, but I thought it was clever way to introduce why there aren’t male confessors. What they conveyed from the book and into the show is that male confessors are not able to control their powers and the “confessed” men (Confessor’s mates) kill them at birth before they become corrupt. Another roundabout storyline in this episode is Kahlan becoming the Mother Confessor. Kahlan already is the Mother Confessor (which is known fact known throughout the Midlands in the book) so it was interesting that the writers of the show came up with some back story of how she becomes the Mother Confessor.
In the episode “Sanctuary” we meet the character James. James is actually an evil character in the book. James is an artist who can paint magic spells (on people) and he actually works for Rahl. In the book, James paints a box around Richard which almost kills him as James’s signature style is to paint an invisible box around someone that gets smaller and smaller until it crushes them.
Now the analysis of “Reckoning” the Season Finale. Let’s get the biggest question/conspiracy in this episode out of the way. Darken Rahl is not Richard’s brother. He is actually Richard’s father! Ahhhh…definitely more menacing right? It is true that Panis Rahl is Darken Rahl’s father, but Panis was not Richard’s father. Richard’s mother was raped by Darken Rahl, and it is Zedd who brings her through the border and she meets and falls in love with George Cypher who takes care of Richard as if he was his own son. Considering the fact that the actor who plays Darken Rahl (Craig Parker) is not old enough looking to be Richard’s father…I understand the story line change.
This is how the book actually ends, which is definitely different from the season finale. Kahlan actually summons the Con Dar (introduced in the episode “Conversion”) (toward the end) when she hears that Richard has died by the hand of Darken Rahl and Denna (or so she was told). Kahlan is distraught to hear that Richard was at the hands of a Mord Sith, which is a known fact that most people do not live after a Mord Sith is done with them. She summons the Con Dar and when Zedd and Kahlan go into the People’s Castle she sees Darken Rahl carrying the Sword of Truth. As I mentioned before, in the book Darken Rahl puts a spell on Richard so since Richard was a friend, Kahlan thinks she sees Darken Rahl but it is actually Richard. Zedd figures out something is wrong, but it is too late as Kahlan confesses Richard. Richard is officially confessed (or is he?), and since he is confessed – Darken Rahl makes Richard tell him how to assemble the Boxes of Orden (as Darken Rahl discovers that Richard has memorized the Book of Counted Shadows), and since he is confessed; he has to tell the truth. Richard then tells Darken Rahl how to arrange the Boxes of Orden and since he believes that Richard is “confessed”, he believes that Richard speaks the truth. Darken Rahl arranges the Boxes of Orden incorrectly and he dies, just like he does on the show.
If Richard was “confessed”, how was he able to fool Darken Rahl? Richard was only pretending to be confessed. It is Richard’s love for Kahlan and her love for him that prevented her magic from taking over him. After Darken Rahl dies, Kahlan separates herself from everyone and Richard finds her by a fountain pointing a dagger at herself. She looks up at Richard and tells him that she can’t live with herself for “confessing” him and that the only way to release him from her magic was to kill herself. Richard tells her not to do it (of course) and she asks him to kiss her before she kills herself. He says no because she has “war paint” on her face and she is shocked that he refused her and then she realizes that he was still himself and that her magic didn’t work on him. She was baffled and he explained that he knew that he was hers completely and even though he was scared when she went to confess him, he let her confess him because he was willing to give himself over to her and he knew that there was no doubt in his mind that she loved him too. She is elated and they kiss and Zedd catches up to them and Kahlan tells him the good news and Zedd tells them he knew. They both are confused and Zedd explains that if they knew there was a possibility for them to be together without her changing him then the “magic” wouldn’t have worked. He further explained that they had to figure it out between themselves. They ask again how he knew, and Zedd says that he is a wizard of the first order (and he obviously knows things that goes beyond their knowledge), but he does tell them that they can’t go around telling people their secret because if everyone knew then it wouldn’t be special.
What to expect from Season 2 of “Legend of the Seeker”? Well…I envision that next season’s villain will focus on the Keeper. At the end of “Wizard’s First Rule”, Zedd says that the veil has been torn with Darken Rahl’s death and the Keeper is to come. In the episode “Sanctuary”, the Keeper was briefly mentioned which makes me believe that next season – it will be elaborated more. Also, even though Darken Rahl is dead, he is able to cause havoc from the underworld…so this is probably not the last time we will see Darken Rahl. I’m sure that next season we will see Richard and Kahlan’s relationship grow, but what was left open ended at the end of this season is if Richard was confessed or not. For the purpose of television, I do not think they will have Richard and Kahlan get together so quickly and they’ll probably find ways to test their relationship but at the same time keep them apart (for now). I also think we will see the beginnings of Richard’s magic, as we know he has Wizard’s blood flowing through him. In the episode “Revenant”, the show introduces the idea that the Seeker can perform magic, so I think there will be episodes related to the development of Richard’s magical abilities in Season 2. An interesting point someone brought up on a previous post of mine, in regards to the Season Finale, is if the show will elaborate on the fact that Richard becomes Richard Rahl. Part of me thinks this will be omitted from the show taking into the fact of all the creative changes made on the show, but it is something that could be touched upon in the future.
I am definitely looking forward to Season 2. Summer reruns are going to run right up to the end of October, so I figure the season 2 premiere will be in November sometime. For more information on the show, check out the show’s official website including the summer schedule. Full episodes can also be viewed on Hulu.com.