‘The Shannara Chronicles’ Is So Much More Than ‘Game of Thrones’

It's all of your favorite fantasy series rolled into one.

Check any review, MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles is supposed to be the series that’s meant seduce Game of Thrones fans. Sure, both are based on popular novels, with Shannara adapted from the Terry Brooks books of the same name. Sure, both are costumed dramas with endless blood, guts, and budding romance. And sure, both are a twisted, addictive watch. But The Shannara Chronicles is much more than GOT. With elves, druids, gnomes, trolls, demons, and magic, it’s also every other fantasy/sci-fi epic you’ve come to love.

HBO
Game of Thrones
Similarity: A resurrected army of creatures are threatening civilization.

In its first season, The Shannara Chronicles is all about holding back a mythological race (much like Game of Thrones’ White Walkers) from destroying civilization. Here, civilization, known as The Four Lands, is ruled by the elven people, whose life force is their sacred tree, the Ellcrys. However, said tree, whose main purpose is to keep trapped the biggest threat to their existence, the Demons, is slowly dying. Thus, with every fallen leaf, another evil monster arises from its prison, The Forbidding.

Xena: Warrior Princess
Similarity: The heroine is a sword-wielding princess in leather.

The task of saving The Four Lands rests on two reluctant youngsters, and one of them is elven Princess Amberle Elessedil (Poppy Drayton). Tough, sassy, and skilled with a sword, Amberle (basically Xena Lite) is given visions by Ellcrys, which clue her into the destruction to come and how to prevent it.

Walt Disney Motion Pictures
Star Wars
Similarity: An orphan boy comes to realize his power and lineage.

The other chosen savior, who works alongside Amberle, comes in the form of half-elf/half-human Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler). He’s a common boy who’s discovered by his own version of Obi Wan Kenobi, a centuries-old druid named Allanon (Manu Bennett), to fulfill his destiny. An orphan with great potential, just like Luke Skywalker, Wil isn’t aware of his ancestry until his dying mother hands him coveted elf stones that ultimately reveal he’s a descendant of the greatest king to ever rule, Jerle Shannara.

20th Century Fox
Avatar
Similarity: The life of its citizens revolve around a sacred tree.

If you got Avatar vibes reading about the Ellcrys, you’re not alone. Just like the Na’vi pray to the Tree of Souls in the James Cameron film, so do the elven to the mystical tree.

Warner Bros. Pictures
The Hobbit / The Lord of the Rings
Similarity: The elves are the fairest and wisest race.

This one speaks for itself. Sure, The Four Lands are populated by other races and groups, most prominently The Rovers, a band of thieves with no allegiance led by the remorseless Cephelo (James Remar) and his apprentice Eretria (Ivana Baquero). But it’s the exalted elven, led by King Eventine Essedill (John Rhys-Davies), that keep the peace.

Tara Aquino is an entertainment writer based out of L.A. She likes people, places, and things.