In the beginning, there was darkness and chaos. Then J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit appeared, bringing with it a haven of light and order called Middle Earth, and there was much rejoicing. The light provided joy and gladness and order, as well as a lighted pathway through the surrounding darkness. This led to another, larger region of Middle Earth, wherein The Lord of the Rings was found. And there was much rejoicing.
And then...nothing. No matter how great the quest, no more great realms were discovered. Middle Earth was a wondrous realm, to which one could venture again and again. Joy and gladness occasioned those reunions, but frustrated nursed hopes for additional adventures. If only new paths could be found, with great discoveries awaiting them at their end, for life to again blossom with promise and hope for the future! Hope and joy could be simulated in lesser realms like Dungeons & Dragons, but such areas burned with less brilliance and vitality, lacking the structure and order brought into being by a wise creator. So hopes faded, and order struggled to fight off the ever-ravenous hordes of chaos.
Then lo, when all seemed lost, a new path was found. A path burning bright with lights, and the promise of a great new adventure. A path that led to another bright realm created by Terry Brooks called The Sword of Shannara. There more great heroes dwelt, and rose to defend their lands against a malevolent villain and his ravaging hordes. We accompanied our new dwarf, elvish, and human friends on their adventures, stood beside them as they risked their lives for others, grew with them as they overcame all the obstacles that threatened to stop and confound them...and there was great rejoicing.
Like J.R.R. Tolkien's realm of Middle Earth, this realm of Shannara could not contain all the order, excitement, and joy it promised. So it gave birth to another realm called Landover, wherein great adventures also took place. But the realm of Shannara proved even more robust. It burst with promise, with newness of light, and its depth and richness amazed all who found their way there. The light of Shannara grew brighter, more brilliant than most weary, dispirited wanderers could have possibly imagined. In a land filled with so many interesting places, heroes, and adventures, hope could never die. Order and promise could be sustained. Rejoicing, great rejoicing, could continue unabated, undimmed, forever.
And so, oh Great Creator, we thank you for lighting new pathways amid the darkness, and illuminating the wondrous realms of Landover and Shannara. On this most special day, may your heart burn with order, enthusiasm, and hope for the future.
Happy Birthday, Terry Brooks! Let there be much rejoicing!