The Sword of Shannara




 
Comparing and contrasting the novels
The Hobbit and The Sword of Shannara
as the reveal the conventions of a
middle-earth fantasy novel

 
 
The two novels The Sword of Shannara and The Hobbit are traditional earth fantasy novels. In both books characters encounter the forces of good and evil. The central heroes travel on great and dangerous paths to experience difficult situations. Magic plays a large role in both novels and saves the characters several times, which makes the story more exciting. The first novel is essentially a tale of good versus evil where as the former revolves around human nature. The element of adventure in both novels shows how characters find power within themselves not in others. The novels The Sword of Shannara and The Hobbit are similar in that they both travel on an "epic quest".
The journey shows readers how the Hobbit and Shea increase their experiences through this adventure. They both gain endurance, bravery, appreciation of their lives, and many other valuable experiences which make them wiser. Shea is tested more severely than any one of his companions. When an earthquake strips him of everyone and everything he has relied on, Shea is suddenly left to his own devices. He reacts bravely when captured by Skull creatures and saves his Troll friends using: "the stones". (Brooks 359) The magical stones have helped him more then once on his mission, but it was his strength and courage that triumphs. He learns the responsibility of manhood by conquering his fears and becoming a hero. Because he has failed to know himself, Shea failed to recognize the Sword of Shannara when it was in his grasp. After the Gnome absconds with the sword, Shea learns his responsibility and trusts his fate. When he enters Borona?s, he is ready to draw the sword and face the Warlock Lord. However, the nature of the sword's magic prves to be unexpected. The Sword of Shannara possesses the power to reveal truth, Shea wonderes how truth alone can defeat the Warlock Lord. The answer lies in the nature of magic, which Allanon explains is illusion given substance by belief. This understanding would be useless to Shea if he had not yet learned to trust himself, and accept what he finds there: the Warlock Lord cannot. The Hobbit?s experience and mind expands enormously throughout the novel. The adventure changes his life dramatically, from being a scared little creature in a Hobbit hole, not having any knowledge of the world he becomes a hero. The Hobbit fails his first mission when he is sent to spy on the trolls. Even though he is considered a failure by others, he felt proud because he had the courage to do something he has never done. He shows great bravery when he out-smarts the Gollum. The Hobbit asked Gollum a simple question which has many answers: "what have I got in my pocket?"(Tolkien 87) This was the first time when the Hobbit success with no one?s help. He didn?t wait long to show his fellow companions that he is more then they think. He defeats the spiders with the help of his magical ring and saves his entire team for the first time. They gave him great respect and finally accept him as part of the team. He thought to himself: "I am a blast".(Tolkien 161) The Hobbit receives great help from the use of his magical ring, which helps him do the unbelievable; it?s significant to his success. He become wiser because of the difficult situation he had to face. Soon, he becomes the leader of the group. He was forced to look out for any dangers and had to save his friends on several occasions. He became a very different person at the end of the novel. He took full charge when they reached the mountain of the dragon. He out- smarted the dragon to leave the mountain and had him killed. He made peace between all sides and prevented a war in where many would have died.

The characters soon come to realize that the "epic quest" is not something done for others but for themselves. The journey was for them to find courage and power within themselves not others. Shea learns to understand that the sword of Shannara does not have any magical power in it but holds the truth, which he had to learn and understand. He was