Legend of the Seeker

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A Live Action TV adaptation of the Sword of Truth series of books. Executive produced by Sam Raimi (who also served as an executive producer for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), Robert Tapert, Joshua Donen, Ned Nalle and Kenneth Biller.

The first season roughly follows the plot of Wizard's First Rule: There's an evil wizard named Darken Rahl, who wants to use the Boxes of Orden to take over the world, and opposing him are Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, wise and sarcastic wizard of the First Order; Kahlan Amnell, a powerful, determined and idealistic Action Girl belonging to the mighty order of the Confessors; and Richard Cypher, a kind woodsman full of compassion who is also an extremely capable fighter prophesied to become the True Seeker, using the mighty Sword of Truth to kill Rahl and save the world.

While the characters, setting, and central conflict are the same as the book, other aspects of the story were changed in adaptation. The series was cancelled after its second season.

It is notable for (despite insane amounts of Fanservice for both genders, sometimes quickly developed and impulsive plotlines and a lot of slowed down sequences) treating the matters of free will, extremism and responsibility very extensively. It is one of the rare works which, like the book series, has an undisputed place on the most equal level of the Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality.

Now has a character sheet.

Tropes used in Legend of the Seeker include:
  • Acting for Two - Bridget Regan when she is split in "Torn" and Craig Parker plays both Darken Rahl and his lookalike in "Walter".
  • Adaptation Dye Job - Darken Rahl and Nicci Well Nicci ish... now she's blond again in her new body, among others.
    • Panis Rahl and Walter's white hair is possibly a nod to the original hair color of Darken Rahl in the novels.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication - In the first book, the title of The Book of Counted Shadows[1] refers to how the boxes each cast a different number of shadows when they're in direct sunlight. In the series, the boxes display no such quality, but the book keeps its title.
  • Adam and Eve Plot - Defied by Richard and Kahlan in "Eternity".
    • Also turns out to be Nicci's plot in "Tears".
  • Agony Beam - The Agiel
    • Though it leaves some nasty welts.
  • Alternate Reality Episode:
    • The result of Magic Misfire, when Zedd uses a spell to undo Cara's conditioning. Just as he warns, it has unpredictable consequences, meaning Cara never became a Mord-Sith, resulting in her never stopping Richard from using the Boxes of Orden to force Rahl's obedience. Zedd, being the caster, has Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory and is dumbfounded when he realizes he is the best man at Richard and Kahlan's wedding... with Rahl marrying them, since Richard controls him with the power of Orden. Zedd then hits the Reset Button by using the same spell on another Mord-Sith.
    • Also in the last episode in the first season, in which Richard and Cara are sent into a future where Rahl won, and his and Kahlan's son, a male confessor, took over the world by confessing everyone, the sort of thing the other Confessors had warned Richard about earlier in the series.
  • Exclusively Evil: In universe, it is believed that all the male Confessors become monstrously evil. Richard defies this belief... but we never learn whether he is right or wrong, as the male Confessor in question gets killed offscreen before he can grow up to show it either way. However, played straight in the alternate universe son of Darken Rahl and Kahlen.
  • Anti-Magic - Jenssen
    • The Mord-Sith can deflect wizard magic, making Zedd virtually helpless when confronted by them.
  • Autobots Rock Out - The second season's battle theme has much more electric guitar to it than the first season's.
  • Back from the Dead - The Mord-Sith can do this by using the Breath of Life. It seems to heal the fatal wounds suffered, but it won't save you if your windpipe was severed, or if your body was too badly damaged, and it has to be used within a short amount of time after the death.
    • Zedd tries to bring a woman back in the episode "Wizard" and appears to succeed. However, it is revealed that it was the Keeper who brought her back as a baneling. Apparently, even wizards of the First Order are not strong enough to defeat death.
    • Combined with an unwilling Grand Theft Me: Dennee.
    • And again in "Princess", combined with a willing Grand Theft Me: Nicci.
    • Not to mention Richard himself in "Resurrection".
    • And both Cara and Thaddicus in "Hunger". Really, Legend of the Seeker seems to love this trope.
    • And then again in "Walter", this time, Darken Rahl.
    • Darken Rahl reveals to Richard that he has been a baneling for decades, slaughtering thousands to appease his master, the Keeper. By now it's pretty safe to say Death Is Cheap in this show.
    • Once more for the finale: Cara, Dahlia, Leo, Nicci, and Richard!
      • Potentially justified by the fact that the second season revolves around the barrier between the world of life and the underworld breaking down, so it fits with the overall theme.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses - Happens a lot. One notable example is Richard and Darken Rahl in "Extinction".
  • Badass - Chase, Kahlan, and Richard all qualify.
    • And Cara, definitely Cara.
      • Who's in charge again?
    • Nicci too, particularly when she took on three Han-powered up Sisters of the Dark by herself, killed two of them and absorbed their Han, then decapitated Merissa and took hers.
  • Bad Future - The first season Finale shows one where Rahl won, and the future is ruled over by his and Kahlen's Complete Monster of a son.
  • Badass Grandpa - Zedd.
  • Battle Couple - Richard and Kahlan, even if they can't consummate their relationship. Until the series finale, that is and earlier in "Torn", when she was split apart.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished - Averted. Kahlan and Richard are both suitably dirtied after most battles, and Jensen gets one hell of a black eye after she's attacked in "Fever". Cara also looks suitably beaten and dirty after the other Mord Sith turn on her. Finally, Nicci gets some real injuries and bruises in "Bound."
    • However, despite being on a long-ranging quest through the woods almost constantly, everyone always has fantastic hair.
      • Well, they're in pretty wet climates--after all, most fantasy worlds take place in forests, and this one seems to have a decent amount of rain. So they can probably wash every few days. Not to mention that magic probably helps a bit...
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The Mord-Sith's slave Mika rescues Walter in his eponymous episode because, when he was posing as Lord Rahl, he ordered the Mord-Sith to be gentle with her.
    • Cara in the latter episodes of season 2 for Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd.
  • Bi the Way: Cara who in all fairness comes from an order with a reputation for being Depraved Bisexuals even in the source material.
  • Black Shirt - Marianna, who was "waiting all her life" to help the Keeper tear the veil.
  • Blessed with Suck - The king in "Cursed" who was given, by Shota, the power to defend his kingdom forever which involves transforming into a monster by night.
  • Blondes Are Evil - Nicci is blonde after coming Back from the Dead.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil - Panis Rahl . . . sort of.
    • Panis Rahl is nowhere near as evil or sadistic as his son, Darken. Panis may have been corrupt, but not to an extent that is unusual of a stereotypical king.
    • Also, he seems to be genuinly looking for redemption when he finds Richard. He gets it.
  • Blood Magic - The Journeybooks need to use blood as ink to work. Rahl apparently likes to use the blood of people who've failed him.
    • The Keeper also uses it to create banelings, who stay alive only if they kill someone every day.
  • Bowdlerization: Some of the darker things from the books have been toned down, mostly stuff that just wouldn't make it onto TV. Most notably, there's considerably less nudity (though still some for Fan Service), the potentially offensive Mud People are nowhere to be seen, and while rape was a common tool of pretty much every villain in the books, it's only been alluded to a few times.
    • In a Season One episode, Darken Rahl claimed that his father raped Richard's and Jennsen's mother. However, this was a part of an attempt to deceive Jennsen, so it is unknown if this is true. General Trimack later offers a slightly different story, that Panis had seduced their mother in disguise.
      • This could possibly still be considered rape, since she consented to sleeping with a young shepherd, not an old man in the form of one.
  • Bullet Time - The series loves this one. It shows up about 30 seconds into the pilot, and is present in nearly every fight scene, of which there are a lot.
  • Bus Crash - We learn from Cara that Dennee and her son were killed by order of Darken Rahl.
    • Technically, Dennee killed her own son so that Rahl does not get him, and then Cara killed Dennee, leading to a Heroic BSOD from Kahlen, Dennee's sister.
  • But I Would Really Enjoy It - Richard and Kahlan would love to sleep together, but if they do, Richard will essentially become a mindless slave, and would be unable to save the world. They manage to find a few ways around it (i.e. the anti-Confessor potion, the painter-world where magic doesn't work) but it always gets snatched away before they can take advantage of it.
    • Kahlan does get the chance to do this when Richard is confessed by Annabelle, but she realizes that he is not doing this out of love for her and stops him.
    • But then they sort of do, when an amulet splits Kahlan into two beings - one that embodies her sense of duty along with her Confessor power, and one that does not have the Confessor power or reasoning abilities.
    • The interesting thing is, all throughout Season 2 they seem to be in a relationship anyway, hugging, kissing, holding hands, etc. at every opportunity. They just can't have sex.
  • Cannot Spit It Out - Cara refuses to admit her feelings for Leo until after he dies, believing love to be a weakness.
    • Also Kahlan from the beginning of the series until either "Identity" or "Denna".
  • Canon Discontinuity - Darken Rahl claims he was the first baneling. However, in the Alternate Reality Episode, he has somehow survived without killing for nearly a year.
    • The most likely possibility is that he simply lied. Supported by the earlier statement that banelings cannot use magic.
    • Alternatively, as the First Baneling, and as a direct conspirator with the Keeper, it could be that his deal works differently from the usual "kill one person a day or you die" Banelings. Also, it's not stated that banelings can't use magic; just that Cara couldn't use the Breath of Life specifically, which would kind of conflict with that "kill to live" deal.
    • He might have killed so many people, that the Keeper would allow him a break.
      • Or it might be a Literal Genie thing - Richard might have told him something like, "you may not kill people anymore, except when it's necessary to protect your own life." That would have left Rahl free to sneak off every day and kill someone.
    • The Keeper may not have had the time to bring him back, as he was unaffected by the spell.
  • Capulet Counterpart: Cara
  • Casanova: Richard has to impersonate one in "Princess." Zedd notes "his reputation isn't the only thing that precedes him into the room."
  • Cat Fight: Between Cara and Triana. The fact it takes place at a bath house (while Cara is bathing, no less) increases the Fan Service by a couple orders of magnitude.
  • Children Are Innocent: Oh, very subverted. First, there's Princess Violet, who's just as much of a royal bitch as she was in the books, at about 10 years old. In the first season finale, we meet Nicholas Rahl, who Confesses a playmate and forces him to cut off his own finger because the boy didn't want to play the same games as him. Later Nicholas kills his own mother and then confesses Darken Rahl's trusted general and has him kill his father. Then in the second season, we meet a young boy whose mother became a Baneling in order to stay around and take care of him. After she dies (again), the boy is taken in by a monk. The kid then reveals himself as a Baneling, kills the monk, and cheerfully walks to the settlement he was just told has lots of other kids his age...
    • The Listener from Season 1 plays with this. He can Read thoughts and is sold to different people, he even sees himself as an aversion until the Power of Friendship from Richard causes a Heel Face Turn.
  • The Chooser of the One: Zedd.
  • Chosen One
  • Cliff Hanger - Unless the show gets renewed, we can only wonder what Rahl will do to Nicci.
    • It wasn't renewed, and he made it clear she was going to get a very hot bath at minimum.
  • Clip Show - Once per season: "Home" and "Creator".
  • Clingy Jealous Girl - Heart!Kahlan in "Torn."
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience - In several cases. D'Haran soldiers wear dark red & black, and the Sisters of the Dark wear brighter red. (Of course, Sisters of the Light do too, as Sisters of the Dark are rogues). Additionally, Kahlan wears white up until Denna appears in white, then she switches colors to a dark scheme.
  • Continuity Nod: General Egramort's questions in "Walter" to determine if the lookalike is the real Darken Rahl are both references to Season One episodes.
    • In one episode, Richard is forced to fight a D'Haran captain whom he had befriended; one who had his family in a nearby village and is generally shown to be a sympathetic character. At one point, the Sword of Truth is shown to be glowing white, which in the books occurred when Richard fought someone whom he forgave despite being his enemy. Scenes which immediately followed made it unclear whether the glowing white was genuine or a trick of the sunlight.
    • As a point of fact, in the books the sword glowed white when he used it toward someone he loved, not someone he forgave.
  • Cool Sword - Guess.
  • Courtroom Episode - Two of them. One where Cara is put on trial for her crimes as a Mord-Sith, and one where Richard is put on trial by a woman claiming to be the Creator herself.
    • Also in the episode Torn, where Head!Kahlen takes over Aydindril and dispenses "justice."
  • Curse Cut Short/Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Cara, who'd been forced to speak in rhyming couplets while posing as a Princess, delivers this gem to the Margrave in "Princess":

Dear Margrave the sight of your face makes me sick.
You decadent, pompous, self-satisfied--[socks the Margrave]

    • Partially subverted--if you listen 'very' carefully, you can hear her say 'dick' as she punches.
  • Dark Action Girl - Nicci.
    • The Mord-Sith.
  • Dark and Troubled Past - Nicci, Cara, Kahlan, Denee.
    • And Zedd has that "I fixed Panis' penis" guilt. Really, everyone in the show except Richard.
  • Dark Magical Girl- Cara, for the entire series, but especially after she's "rebroken" by Darken Rahl and arguably before she follows Richard. She even comes to full blows with Kahlan
  • Deal with the Devil - Rahl has long ago made a deal with the Keeper. After his death, he offers deals to recently deceased in Keeper's name. Those who accept (most do) become banelings, having to kill someone every day to stay alive.
  • Deadpan Snarker - Zedd and Cara get in on it at times. And Denna. And Sister Verna. And Nicci, particularly in Bound.
  • Death Is Cheap - Just about every main character has died at least once in the series.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Cara
  • Demoted to Extra - Adie is a prominent character in the books, who at varying points is even a love interest for Zedd. So far, she's shown up only in the pilot, and is probably trapped in Westland beyond the boundary.
  • Designated Girl Fight - Completely averted. The characters regularly fight enemies of both genders, with no indication that they try to focus on their own. Helps that there's no shortage of women who are just as dangerous as any man. And when there is a girl on girl fight, it's no less brutal than any other.
  • Determinator - Cara manages to keep fighting despite having her throat cut. Sure, she dies a few moments later, but she still holds on a lot longer than you'd expect. And she then comes back from the dead to keep fighting.
  • Deus Ex Machina - In the final episode all seems lost, Richard was tricked into giving the Stone of Tears to the Keeper, and Kahlen kills him while under the control of Nicci. However, her tears turn into another Stone of Tears for some reason and they are able to seal the rift after Cara revives Richard with the breath of life. Apparently it was the Power of Love that made the Stone of Tears, that was pretty out of the blue to say the least
    • Justified somewhat, by a prophecy saying that as long as the Mother Confessor lives, the keeper will fail.
  • Devil but No God - Unlike in the book series, the Creator does show up. ...Maybe.
    • And like in The Salvation War, everyone who dies goes to Fire and Brimstone Hell. However, Darken Rahl implies at one point that it's only because the veil has been torn that everyone who dies goes there - in the normal course of things, only bad people go there, while good people go to some unspecified but presumably much nicer place.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything? - In the sixth episode, "Elixir", the heroes with potion peddlers.
  • The Dragon - General Egremont to Darken Rahl; Darken Rahl himself to the Keeper in Season 2.
  • Dual-Wielding - See also: Knife Nut.
    • Cara has also been seen wielding two Agiels.
  • Dyeing for Your Art - Bridget Regan's natural hair is red and curly. Has it dyed dark brown and chemically straightened to play Kahlan.
  • Early-Bird Cameo - Though the seasons have been based roughly on the first and second books, they've used characters and plot points (Jennsen and the Priestess of Casca) from much later in the series.
    • Triana is first seen in the season 1 finale - as a skeleton. Cara identifies her in the Bad Future.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism - Heart!Kahlan vs Head!Kahlan in Torn, with both displaying negative extremes.
    • Cara versus Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd.
  • Enemy Mine - Defied. Darken Rahl tries to talk Richard into one when he is killed, but Richard flat out refuses.
    • However, Darken Rahl tries this strategy again in Vengeance and Extinction, with quite a bit more success.
  • Enfant Terrible - Nicholas Rahl who, among other things, has a playmate's finger cut off because he didn't want to play the same games as he did.
    • And taken to an extreme in the finale, when the little boy Richard is protecting turns out to be The Keeper.
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait: Richard
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Daddies - Throughout "Vengeance", Darken Rahl is trying to get Zedd and his brother to kill Panis Rahl. When he is killed by a Sister of the Dark and goes to the underworld, Darken...gives him a hug, and asks if he forgives him. We don't get to hear the answer, but Panis is clearly moved.
  • Even Evil Has Standards - Rahl and the Mord-Sith are completely caught off guard by just how bad Nicholas Rahl is.
    • Well, they didn't seem surprised at what he'd do, just the fact that he did it to them.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Kahlan/Bridget Regan seems to have attract a lot of this from fans, who knows why.
  • Evil Genius - Giller to Darken Rahl, later Nicci and then Marianna to the Keeper.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Panis.
  • Exact Words: Used whenever Darken Rahl or a Dharen "give you what's coming to you" in regards to a bounty. Played with in Season 2 at Cara's trial.

Elders: "She (Cara) has shown no remorse. It is our will that she also die by Confession."
(Later) Kahlen: "I have looked into this woman's eyes and I see now that she is truly remorseful." Of course the rest of the town didn't see things the same way...

  • Face Heel Turn - Cara in "Eternity".
  • Fan Service - In the first five minutes of the pilot, we have Dennee's heaving bosom as well as a shirtless Richard chopping wood and hauling logs and planks around. The Fanservice continues throughout the series with sexy backs and Shirtless Scenes all around.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Characters in Season 2 that die are shown/implied to enter the underworld, which is described as waking up in "a pit of unimaginable suffering."
    • Though it may depend on the person, being a baneling and having to kill others every day to stay alive. As time runs out, a baneling's body begins to rot and feels a gnawing hunger before death. Before dying, a baneling said she found going to the Keeper's domain preferable to continue what she had become.
  • Flash Step - Darken Rahl demonstrates this ability at least twice. He disappears and then reappears right behind his enemy(Richard in Deception, and three Sisters of the Dark in Unbroken.) He then proceeds to kick some serious ass on both occasions.
  • Fountain of Youth - Zedd is turned into a young man by Shota in "Wizard", so that he can do her bidding. Doesn't work out as intended, when it all goes to his head. Both Zedd and Shota can make anyone, including themselves, young, which means that they can live forever if they wished.
  • Gambit Pileup - The season two finale has just about every named villain's plans colliding, with nearly disastrous results.
  • Genre Savvy

Cara: I cannot believe we have gone a whole twelve days without the Seeker stopping to rescue children from rampant barn animals.
Zedd: Perhaps it is a sign that we are nearing our goal.

    • Also, Darken Rahl in the second season finale. He seems to have caught onto the fact that Richard is the hero, so he's content to just sit back and wait for him to save the world.
  • A God Am I - In Season 2, a woman shows up and claims to be the Creator reborn in a mortal body. Later in the episode, it is revealed that she got her powers from all of the Sisters of the Light transferring their Han to her. She disappears at the end of the episode, and it is intentionally left ambiguous as to if she has any sort of connection to the actual Creator, though she knows things which are inexplicable otherwise.
    • In the Season 2 finale, the Keeper enters the mortal realm in the body of a boy.
  • Good Costume Switch - Borderline example with Cara. She still wears the Mord-Sith's trademark red leather, but early in Season 2 she modifies the outfit, removing the chestpiece and showing some cleavage.
    • Though this may be a 'practical' Good Costume Switch--Cara isn't really allowed to torture people, and her secondary weapon is seduction, so it does make life easier when she shows off a bit. (Not to mention that red leather is not the most comfortable of outfits.)
    • The other Mord-Sith also cut off her braid, so from then on she sports short hair.
      • Also Discussed-during the aforementioned chestpiece removal her sister offers a more normal dress. "I think this suits me better" is her response.
  • Grand Theft Me - In Resurrection, Dennee is brought back and possesses the body of a recently deceased woman, and then later in the same episode, the same thing happens with Richard and a D'Haran commander. In Princess, Nicci possesses the body of another Sister of the Dark. Then, in Walter, Darken Rahl steals the body of the titular character, while Walter survives in the body of a D'haran warrior. Interestingly enough, each is also an example of Back from the Dead.
  • Hannibal Lecture - Cara, while tied up, tells Richard that they both know he doesn't have the stomach to actually kill her.
  • Heel Face Turn - Cara.
  • Heroic Sacrifice - Leo diving in front of Nicci's lightning to save Kahlan.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard - Zedd in the first season finale, when he tries to use wizard's fire against a Mord-Sith, who simply deflects it back at him, killing the old man.
  • I Am Spartacus - In the episode Brennidon
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: After drinking a potion that renders him immune to Kahlan's confessor touch, Rahl takes advantage to admire her beauty and strokes her hair and brings up how she and Richard can never have intimacy, all in front of Richard. Then there's the alternate future where he marries Kahlan to have a confessor son.
  • I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: Due to filming in New Zealand and the production company involved, viewers may recognize a number of names from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. One such example is Michael Hurst, who appeared in "Revenant" and directed eight episodes.
    • Alice from the Season 1 finale (better known as Summer from Power Rangers RPM) was also Herc's daughter.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers - Richard at one point uses the Sword of Truth to parry arrows out of the air. In fairness, it is a super magic sword.
  • Improvised Weapon - When the Sisters of the Dark blow Zedd and Richard's cover in "Princess", a fight naturally breaks out. Richard grabs a knife from the table, while Zedd starts hurling plates at the Sisters.
  • In Name Only - The series has little in common with the book aside from the characters, setting, and central conflict. This was made clear by Word of God(s) before the show premiered, as the writer and the director believe that they could not completely adapt the novels to the screen. A few episodes adapt the plots of later books, without the politics behind them, such as "Fury", which has a lot of parallels with Naked Empire, but excises the mind-boggling bits.
  • Infant Immortality - Played straight with Dennee's son, at least until he's killed offscreen, but averted in "Deception," which opens with several children finding a mysterious device. The next we see of them is their dead bodies having fallen around that device, along with everyone else in the village.
  • Infinite Supplies - No matter how many Sisters of the Dark are killed, there are always more that show up out-of-nowhere. It must be why they always wear red.
  • Kick the Dog - After he finds out that Richard has all three boxes of Orden, Rahl responds to this bad news by killing a kitten with his bare hands.
    • Actually Rahl and his men do it several times an episode.
  • Kill It with Fire - Zedd loves torching things with Wizard's Fire, though he does have other tricks.
    • Especially starting in season 2.
    • Also, this is the only way to truly kill a baneling, torching its body so it can't rise from the dead yet again.
      • You could also freeze it and then break it {which is how he killed another undead creature).
  • Knife Nut - Kahlan uses two for double the fun. Richard tends to use a knife whenever the Sword is unavailable for whatever reason, especially in Season 2.
  • Knight Templar - Richard quickly goes down this route when he first uses the magic of Orden, but snaps out of it.
    • Also note: Darken Rahl, a little more so than he was in the books, and the cold-hearted Kahlan created by the amulet.
      • How is Darken Rahl a Knight Templar when he is a Card-Carrying Villain?
        • Rahl has claimed that he does what he does to ensure peace and stability. Granted, whether or not he's telling the truth is questionable.
          • Considering D'Harans must be controlled by Fear as stated at the start of Season 2 it might not be too far from the truth.
  • Lady of War - Kahlan all the way.
  • Land Mine Goes Click - One unfortunate Sister of the Dark finds this out in "Bound" and has just about enough time to realize it before she goes boom. Richard explains a moment later that these types of mines only go off when you step off them, which is what saves Nicci from the same fate. This also holds for many Real Life land mines.
  • La Résistance - There's an ongoing underground resistance in the Midlands, though a few are shown to go a little overboard in their fight against Rahl.
  • Last of His Kind - Kahlan, eventually. At least, until Dennee is brought back from the dead.
    • Zedd is the last wizard of the First Order alive. Kahlan killed Rahl's wizard in a fit of "blood rage", and Rahl killed another one years ago.
  • Lighter and Softer - Compared to the book, which got pretty damn dark.
  • Light Is Not Good: In Season 2 Denna changes her leathers and Agiel from the usual Mord Sith red to white. But she's still evil.
    • Nicci tries to invoke this against the Sisters of the Light, in order to trick Richard into giving up his powers to her.
  • Literally Shattered Lives - How the Screeling is killed in "Marked."
  • Literal Split Personality - Kahlan in "Torn" gets split into two bodies, representing her "heart" (i.e., love for Richard) and her "head" (i.e., her powers and duty as a confessor).
  • Lotus Eater Machine - The episode "Home"
  • Love Makes You Evil - Kieran, a previous Seeker, went mad with grief and started killing innocent people after his Wizard ordered his Confessor to kill herself, forcing his wizard to kill him with his own sword and trap his spirit in his remains. Worse, he possessed Richard's body and got his Confessor's spirit to possess Kahlan's, obviously not caring what either of them thought.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father - According to Rahl, Richard is his brother, but it's unclear if he was telling the truth. And before that revelation, Richard learns, Zedd is his grandfather.
    • Confirmed at the start of season 2 by a former servant of Panis Rahl and Darken Rahl's ghost.
    • Also confirmed by the fact that Cara's Mord'Sith powers fail when Richard dies and return when he is resurrected (Mord-Sith only have their powers as long as a Rahl is alive).
      • This fails to take into account, though, that even as Richard (temporarily) dies, Panis Rahl is still alive at that point.
        • He was, but the powers are linked to the Lord Rahl, and he wasn't Lord Rahl anymore by that point. Also, he'd died and come back from the dead, which might help.
  • MacGuffin - The Stone of Tears drives the entire plot of Season 2.
  • Magic Knight - Zedd becomes this after becoming young again and naming himself the Seeker in "Wizard."
    • Darken Rahl may also qualify, as he possesses magical powers and is an experienced sword fighter. He used both to defeat Richard during their first encounter.
    • Also Nicci, who is a capable combatant as well as the most powerful sorceress in the series.
    • The Mord-Sith, who are elite women warriors, have magical powers, including the ability to ressurect recently dead people.
  • Marshmallow Hell - Richard gets this from the Margrave's (rather large) sister in "Princess".
  • The Medic - Bizarrely enough, Cara, the Mord-Sith, whose Breath of Life has saved at least one plot-important extra from death.
  • Medium Awareness Touched upon. When Cara died, Darken Rahl said that time could not be built up to live week to week. The clock reset with every kill.
  • Mega Manning - Nicci, to great effect. So far, she has stolen Richard's Han, Sister Ulicia's Han, Sister Merissa's Han, Kahlan's Confession powers, and the Han of well over a hundred other magic users, due to killing and stealing the powers of several Han-buffed Sisters of the Dark.
  • Moral Dissonance - One season one episode has a secondary character who steals Richard's identity and leaves Richard behind to take his place, despite knowing that he can't use the Sword of Truth, he can't read the Book of Shadows, he isn't the Seeker and therefore, by prophecy, cannot save the world and is therefore dooming it. And then he tries to sleep with Kahlan wearing the identity of the man she loves. And we're supposed to root for him and his implied romance with the actually heroic secondary heroine of the episode.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution - Over the course of Season 2, a couple characters express regret that they hadn't killed Darken Rahl, or allowed him to be killed, when he was a child. One of these people happens to be Zedd, who in the books has a brief inner monologue on the subject, before realizing he couldn't have wished for the death of a child, even one who would grow up to be Darken Rahl. Much the same feelings are expressed in the show.
  • Mutual Kill - In the season 2 finale, Kahlen goes into Con Dar and instantly confesses four Mord-Sith. She then orders them to kill each other. They do so by touching each other's heart with the agiel simultaneously.
    • Also happens in Richard's nightmare in the Fields of Perdition with Kahlan and Cara. And earlier in the first season when he uses the power of Orden.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That - In "Listener," a young mind reader rescued by Richard and Kahlan informs them both that yes, their to-date undiscussed feelings for each other are mutual, which opens an important can of worms.
  • Mythology Gag - The first time you see Jennsen is her tending to her goat, and previews of the second season show Richard developing a beard, like he wore during the second book.
    • In the first part of the season 2 finale, Sister Marianna is naked when she hears the voice of the Keeper in her dreams and rises to serve him. In the books, the Sisters of the Dark were always naked when they sat in the circle to speak with the Keeper in their dreams.
  • Naked People Are Funny - Like in the book, Zedd is introduced stark naked.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast - Darken Rahl is a baddy? No shit.
  • Never Split the Party - Meta version, by way of Pragmatic Adaptation: In the books, while Richard and Kahlan were nearly inseparable after the second book, they often went two or three books without seeing Zedd, who was off doing other plot-important things elsewhere, and it was rare to have all the main protagonists in one place for an extended period of time. In the TV series, though, they're never separated for more than a two-parter episode at a time.
  • New Super Power - When entering Con Dar (the blood rage), Kahlan gains the ability to confess anyone she wants without even touching them. When applied to Mord-Sith, they no longer die within minutes but remain loyal slaves.
    • Nicci also gains a host of new powers after absorbing Richard's Han.
    • Subverted in that neither needed to learn how to use these.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After realizing what his oldest son would become, Panis made sure to fulfill his part in the prophecy to stop him. Problem is, after doing so, he gloated to Darken about everything. Darken responded by killing him. This also led to the deaths cited in the next entry.
    • Not to mention when Darken Rhal destroys the Boxes of Orden in an attempt to stop Richard from using them and inadvertently tears the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod and Genocide Backfire - As soon as he learns of the prophecy, Rahl orders every first-born son in the town where the Seeker is to be born killed. Turns out he missed one...
  • No Pronunciation Guide - The series clears up the pronunciation of Kahlan's name (previously believed to be "KAH-lan" or "ka-LAN") to be "KAY-lin."
  • Not So Different - Quite a few episodes illustrate that the Resistance against Rahl can be a little extreme.
  • Offing the Offspring - As in the books, the Confessors kill male confessors at birth out of fear of them growing to abuse their powers. In the first season, Richard successfully convinces the Confessors to spare the life of a newborn male confessor. Then the season finale shows us a full-grown male confessor, and despite his parents' best efforts, he's just as bad as they'd feared.
    • Also, after luring Cara into a trap with a threat to her (and his) son, Darken Rahl reveals that he had been killed at birth, just as she originally thought.
  • Offstage Villainy - Cara's misdeeds killing Dennee and participating in the slaughter of the other Confessors happened entirely offscreen. Accepting her Heel Face Turn would've been much more difficult if we'd seen the act.
  • Oh Crap: When Kahlan goes through the Con Dar (aka Blood Rage) for the first time, everyone has this look on their faces. Even Richard is scared.
  • Omnicidal Maniac - The Keeper and eventually Nicci
  • Once A Season - Like the books, it seems each season will feature a new Wizard's Rule. The pilot had Zedd briefly quoting the Wizard's First Rule[2], and the second season opener has him quoting the second[3].
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping - Craig Horner (Richard) and Tabrett Bethell (Cara) occasionally let their Australian Accents slip. Many New Zealander actors don't even bother to hide it.
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience - People who die consistently wake up naked in the underworld.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage:
    • An odd non-marriage variant. Annabelle was afraid that Flynn would stop liking her after she lost her confessor powers, but he ended up liking her anyway. It probably helps that he seemed interested in the first place.
    • A first season episode featured one with an actual marriage.
  • The Power of Love - In the season 2 finale it manages to keep Richard from being confessed by Kahlan, make Kahlan snap out of the Con Dar, andmakes a completely new stone of tears. The first bit is a nod to the end of the first book, and was in fact foreshadowed by Richard himself in "Eternity".
    • And in the episode featuring Kieran, Viviene and Amfortas (a previous Seeker, Confessor and Wizard), Kieran's rage can simply be explained as the result of grief at her death being magnified by the Sword of Truth, his own love protecting him from Viviene. Unfortunately, he just wasn't able to focus in battle like Richard can.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation - In the book series, the Sword of Truth instantly slices through anything its wielder wants it to, including other swords. But sword fights are cooler on TV, so this ability isn't brought up.
  • Psycho Lesbian - Dahlia.
  • Punch Clock Villain - A surprising amount of D'Haran soldiers fall into this. At least one has raised a loving family in the Midlands. They are conscripts, after all...
  • Race Lift - Chase is Maori and General Trimack is black in the adaptation. Interesting in that the latter is nearly always described in the books (as in, every time he shows up) as having fiery red hair.
    • Commander-General Trimack doesn't get much of a physical description, but the most prominent D'Haran redhead would have been General Reibisch, the military governor of Aydindril and Richard and Kahlan's right-hand-man for most of the series until the first major battle with the Imperial Order. Which is in itself interesting, as in the books Darken Rahl had a hard-on for only allowing pureblooded D'Harans into his elite Praetorian Guard and in positions of high rank. D'Haran purebloods are almost universally blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan phenotypes, which would have made Reibisch (and Trimack, if true) very much exceptions to the rule.
      • Reibisch, at least, was explicitly noted as being half-D'Haran in his first appearance, which is why Richard had to win him and his troops over.
      • The First file is explicitly stated to be all pure D'Haran, Trimack at least has the blue eyes, we can assume the hair as well.
  • Rape as Backstory - Nicci reveals this, and getting revenge for it, as the reason she became a Sister of the Dark.
  • Rape Is Ok When It Is Female On Male - In a season 2 episode, a young Confessor who doesn't have control of her power accidentally confesses a man who saves her life. She then is implied to have had sex with him while he's brainwashed into being her slave and after the magic is released he rushes tenderly to her side. Potentially mitigated by his being clearly interested in her before he was confessed in the first place, but still.
    • Pretty much true with every Confessor who takes a mate. They usually do it with a former enemy, and nobody thinks twice about it... except for the confessed after they are released. Kahlan's father, for instance...
  • Redemption Equals Death - Poor Michael
    • Also Panis Rahl.
  • Red Shirt - The Sisters of the Dark. Every time they show up, Richard and company end up slaying at least a half dozen of them, and that they actually wear red dresses makes it even worse. This is particularly Egregious considering that in the books, the Sisters of the Dark were some of the most powerful, intelligent, and dangerous of the Keeper's servants, and even one was considered to be a critical threat.
    • D'Haran soldiers
  • Regal Ringlets - Princess Violet sports this hairstyle.
  • Reset Button - Zedd tries an in-universe version in the form of the Spell of Undoing after Cara is brainwashed into turning against them. Naturally, it all goes wrong...until he tries it again at the beginning of the next episode.
  • Refuge in Audacity - How Cara wins over the Margrave in "Princess". Also a lighter shade of Evil Is Sexy
  • Rhymes on a Dime - All women are expected to do this in the presence of the Margrave. Cara has trouble with it at first, then spontaneously composes a whole poem about torturing and killing a slave. The Margrave's sister impressively manages one while sobbing at the top of her lungs.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: "The Seeker will deliver the Stone of Tears into the hands of the Keeper." Well, yeah, but only because just about everyone opposed to the Keeper interfered with Richard's quest.
  • Selectively-Lethal Weapon - The Dakras wielded by the Sisters of the Light and of the Dark. Their lethality is directly proportional to whom they hit: If it hits a Sister of the Dark, she's dead before she hits the ground. If it hits a main character, the thrower will have to release its magic to make the kill. In the latter case, the Dakra can be removed without any ill effects, even if it was previously embedded in the character's ribs.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right/Set Right What Once Went Wrong - Manages to be both at the same time. The first part of the Season Two finale takes place in what is, by all appearances, a much, much better world than the "real" one. As a result of the Spell of Undoing, Cara was never a Mord-Sith (and thus lived the peaceful life of a schoolteacher with two small children), and thus didn't arrive in time to interrupt Richard when he put together the boxes of Orden. As a result, the veil of the underworld was never torn, Orden and Confession tempered each other, Richard was marrying Kahlan, and Darken Rahl was now his trusted friend, brother, and advisor. Zedd, having Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, is the only one who remembers how things were "supposed" to be...but comes to accept, at first, that this might be better. It's only once the Keeper, who also has Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, throws things out of whack that he decides to hit the Reset Button again.
  • Shirtless Scene - Richard ends up shirtless with almost alarming frequency in the first season.
  • Shoot the Messenger - A monk trying to deliver a message to Kahlan meets Nicci at the wrong time and hears something he really shouldn't. Being Nicci, she decides not to take the risk of him telling anyone else.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In the first season, Richard saves a male Confessor baby (it is believed that all the male Confessors are Exclusively Evil, and as such they are killed at birth), hoping that the baby can grow into a decent person. But we never learn whether his belief is right: in the second season the child is killed off-screen along with all the other Confessors.
    • The son of Darken Rahl and Kahlan in the alternate reality of the season one finale indicates the belief was right.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal - Darken Rahl, while bathing, refuses to tell Nicci where Richard is taking the Stone of Tears, and then attempts to seduce her. Nicci responds by superheating his bath water, nearly boiling him alive, and forces him to tell her where Richard is taking the stone.
    • He plans to do the same later in revenge.
  • The Starscream - Both Darken Rahl and Nicci (independently), during season two.
  • Synchronization - The Maternity spell Nicci uses to hold Kahlan hostage.
  • Taking The Lightning Bolt - Leo, for Kahlan.
  • Teleporter Accident - One Made two Kahlans in Torn.
  • Tell Me About My Father - Reversed and gender flipped in "Bloodline," where Richard laments he never got the chance to talk to his mother, and the episode ends with Zedd saying, "Then let me tell you about her."
  • Temporary Blindness - Nicci blinds Richard with shards of broken glass in the Season 2 finale, which doesn't stop him from fighting the Sisters of the Dark and blocking their dagger throws with his sword. Fortunately, Zedd is there to help.
  • Tempting Fate: Happens in "Torn". Actually, it happens a lot. Especially since so many of them can instantly recognize the Seeker, the Mother Confessor, the Wizard of the First Order, and a Mord-Sith.

Richard: "Let them go!"
Mook: "Or what?"
Richard knocks him out in a single punch

  • There Is Another - A meta-version, and a semi-straight version. In the books, Kahlan is the last of the Confessors; here, there's still a handful left. Semi-straight version in that we see Dennee apparently get killed in the pilot, only for it to turn out she's still alive half way through the first season.
    • The handful of surviving Confessors apparently get killed off screen over the course of the next season, leaving Kahlan to indeed be the last of her kind... At least until Denee comes Back from the Dead. She's a hard woman to keep down, Denee.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The Sword of Truth gets used as a projectile quite often. Knives are thrown with perfect accuracy at least once an episode.
  • Title Drop - In "Brennidon"
  • Token Evil Teammate - Cara in Season 2; the "evil" bit is eroded away, though, over the course of the series.
  • The Trains Run On Time - After Darken Rahl is defeated at the end of the first season, his empire and armies start falling apart. A couple characters point out that while Rahl was a tyrant, at least he kept things orderly.
  • The Trickster - When he's not blasting things with fireballs, Zedd displays quite a bit of cunning; see "Puppeteer" for him at his best.
  • Tsundere - Cara, whose tsun side generally involves threatening to torture people to death, and whose dere side involves threatening to torture people to death less vocally. Defrosting as of season 2.
    • Hell, near the end of season 2, she has a 10-minute-long walk where she talks to a wisp (that we can't hear, conveniently) and pretty much goes through every Tsundere dialogue trope around.
      • Well, that's just VERY rapid character development. This trope shows more through Mord'Sith's different methods of torture (i.e. pain vs. pleasure), which isn't limited to Cara alone.
  • Unstoppable Rage - Kahlan's Con Dar (the blood rage), accidentally activated by an evil wizard. Also, Richard and the Minders after Zedd removes their binding spell.
    • Kahlan gets a mini one in "Extinction" where after a group of D'Haran soldiers ruthlessly burned down the Night Wisps' forest there are several long pans over her going wild on them with an uncharacteristic brutality.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Cara, as well as Nicholas Rahl. Nicci also claims to Richard that this is true of her as well.
  • Very Special Episode: Defied in "Elixir"... ultimately. But it still comes off as Narm
  • Villainous Breakdown - Rahl goes through a few of them, when he realizes Zedd tricked him so thoroughly, and when he finds out that Richard has all three boxes and the means to use them. It's generally not a good idea to be in the immediate area when he gets bad news.
  • Walking the Earth - One of the last of its kind after the great Reality TV invasions of the aughts.
  • Weird Moon - The episode Home features an enchantment that can only be cast when a constellation of three stars is encircled by the moon's crescent. It gets even worse, though - the spell ends when all three stars are eclipsed by the crescent portion of the moon.
    • Not *quite* as bad as it seems. Until pretty recently, the term "star" meant "any celestial object not the Sun or the Moon." "Planet" and "comet" are from old terms for "wandering star" and "hairy star" after all.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him - Cara is usually the one to ask this, and almost gleefully volunteers to pull the trigger, so to speak. She's usually talked out of it by Richard, though. Kahlan also advocates this as a solution occasionally, and again, Richard usually comes up with something that'll work without killing.
    • Averted in "Resurrection". Someone has their soul put into Richard's body while his soul is in the Underworld. They need to bring Richard's body back to town to revert the spell and the simplest solution would be to kill "Richard" and carry his body back. So Kahlan stabs him.
  • Woman in Black - Nicci in the season 2 finale.
  • Woman in White: Kahlan.
  • Workplace-Acquired Abilities - Richard's experience as a woodsman comes in handy on a number of occasions, such as being able to track which horse Annabelle and Fynn took because the tracks were deeper. Exploited in one episode where this is used against him, when a murderer framed a man by planting on him seeds from a particular area, knowing Richard would recognize them and implicate the man with them.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Cara the Mord'Sith...and well probably all Mord'Sith for that matter, by their conditioning.
  • Write Back to the Future: Kahlan's failed plan to get a message to Richard in the future in the first season finale.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Much as Richard goes on about not believing in Prophecy, every single one of them comes true. Well, for a given value of true...
    • Here is the list of the prophecies that came true: Richard killed Rahl; Richard delivered the Stone of Tears to the Keeper; Kahlan's heart never stopped beating, so the Keeper lost; Leo was named Seeker; Darken Rahl became a tyrant.
    • One prophecy did not come true, however. Shota stated that Richard would fail in his quest. He didn't.
      • Well, there seems to be a difference between the prophecies that the Sisters get from the Creator, and the ones Shota gets. We don't always see what Shota sees, so we mainly have her interpretation of things to go by.
      • Richard's quest is to stop Rahl. And Richard doesn't stop Rahl. Did Richard succeed in his quest? By the technicality, Rahl stopped himself.
      • Shota also prophesised that Kahlan would betray Richard. The closest we get to a fulfillment of that one is Kahlan's tentative, and never confirmed, guess that her leaving Richard for an episode (which she did to keep the prophesy from coming true) was the "betrayal" in question.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One - Averted, surprisingly enough, in the first season. While Rahl gets one or more of the boxes despite the heroes' best efforts in the beginning of the plot, they eventually succeed in stealing all three boxes and use them before Rahl can. After that, things go downhill for Rahl - though he certainly puts up one hell of a fight right up to the bitter end.
  • You Have Failed Me... - Rahl has a bad habit of executing and/or torturing those in his employ who screw up. The Keeper also does this, even to Darken Rahl himself!
    • Even people who do help Rahl are also double crossed, presumably so that they don't have to pay them a bounty.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Kahlan's * other* outfit includes this, with thigh high boots under a coat with side cut-outs.
  1. an in-universe book that serves as the instruction manual for the Boxes of Orden
  2. People will believe a lie if they want it to be true, or if they're afraid it might be true
  3. Sometimes you do the most harm by trying to do the most good