For the record, I am blown away by the Legend of the Seeker TV series, which is based on Terry Goodkind's books - I love the lush landscapes, the brilliant adventures, the likable characters, and the unusual brand of magic. And Craig Horner not only makes a compassionate and likable hero, but he's HOT HOT HOT enough to combust your eyeballs. Three words: shirtless bridge building. Meeeee Yow.
So I love the TV show. But essentially the writers of the show went through Goodkind's series and painstakingly plucked out scraps here and there, or revamped them into a form that wouldn't send the audiences scuttling furiously to Lost reruns.
The original books... well. Erm. Ugh. No nice way I can say it: They're a big repellent stew of Mary Sues and Gary Stus, rancid fantasy cliches, blatant ripoffs from better authors, and a horrendously villainous "hero" who is only somewhat better than the villains of the piece. To make matters worse, Goodkind doesn't believe that he writes fantasy -- he's writing Big Deep Fiction DISGUISED as fantasy, and he infuses them with insanely fanatical personal philosophies. I can't think of another series where it's seen as HEROIC to mow down unarmed pacifists.
So I'd advise everybody to watch the show. But, well, you can guess what I think of the books. Richard Rahl is the secret soulmate of Anita Blake.
- Wizard's First Rule - Introduction of our sociopathic Stu, who threatens to kill little kids and has a magic sword fueled by temper tantrums. Guess what, he's the Chosen One and he, a weird magic lady who isn't allowed to have sex, and a freaky old wizard go on a quest. You guessed it: he's the designated hero. Eek.</span>
- The Law of Nines - A spinoff/sequel to the Sword of Truth series, in which Richard's great-great-great.... grand-nephew Alex, who is exactly like him minus the hippie-killing and the magic sword, is battling the evil forces of Fantasy Communists.