It was this morning that I learned that the New York Times bestselling fantasy author, Terry Goodkind, passed away at the age of 72. For me, it was a shock to see, especially upon discovering that his death had been five days ago on the 17th. While he garnered criticism and scorn from elements of the fantasy community over condescending statements and his Randian Objectivist philosophy, he was still a recognized author in the genre with over twenty books published under his name.
My first contact with Goodkind’s work came not through a recommendation or a bookstore, but instead on TV. From 2008 to 2010, a serialized show called Legend of the Seeker aired, based upon Goodkind’s main series of novels, the Sword of Truth. While not of the highest cinematic caliber, the series was fun and fantastic, mixing stand alone episodes with those which pushed the season narrative along. My interest grew so great that I began to seek out fan communities for the show – and that was when I discovered there were books about these characters I came to know and love.
Within a summer, I read all eleven books in the Sword of Truth series and even sparked my own love for fantasy novels. While in hindsight I can admit to flaws of the series, it was still the one responsible for drawing me into the genre, and even helped sow the seeds for a love of writing. To learn that the author responsible, who only in the latter half of his life turned to writing, has passed away hurt. The shock and surprise lingers as I write this, but more importantly I feel thankful to Terry Goodkind. Because if not for his work, my life would likely be radically different.
I want to end with a quote from one of his novels. Despite there being several I feel are honestly good advice, none sticks out and resonates in the manner this one does: “Your life is yours alone, rise up and live it.”