Much of Allanon's early life is a mystery, save that after his parents abandoned him, most likely due to his magic, he served as apprentice to the seer and Druid Bremen, eventually succeeding him as the world's last known Druid.
Thirty years prior to the events of the Shannara Chronicles, the Third War of the Races took place. Allanon fought in that war alongside the young Elven King Eventine Elessedil and Shea Ohmsford, the last heir of the magical Shannara bloodline. Together they defeated the Warlock Lord and brought peace to the Four Lands.
During this time Allanon had a brief romantic relationship with Eventine's sister Pyria. However, this did not stop Allanon from leaving her to enter the Druid Sleep, a state of suspended animation, once the war was over. Pyria refused to give up her love for Allanon in spite of Eventine forbidding her from marrying the Druid, and she estranged herself from her brother, choosing to live in Wing Hove instead of at the palace in Arborlon.
Quest to Save the Ellcrys
Thirty years later, Allanon awakes when he senses the diminishing of the Ellcrys and the reemergence of the Dagda Mor. He immediately goes in search of Shea's son Wil Ohmsford in the hopes that the magic he inherited from Shea would aid in the coming fight against the Demons. Allanon finds Wil in an abandoned home the morning after he was drugged and robbed of his Elfstones by the Rover girl Eretria.
Though Wil is initially reluctant to travel with Allanon, he relents and the two eventually find the Elven Princess Amberle Elessedil in Wing Hove, visiting her great-aunt Pyria. Amberle, the last of the Chosen, had run away from Arborlon because she had been receiving visions from the Ellcrys of a demonic apocalypse and the murder of her boyfriend.
Allanon is reunited with Pyria only to learn she waited for him for thirty years after the War of the Races, not knowing that he had succumbed to the Druid Sleep. She is also shocked that he hasn't aged a day. Allanon barely has time to explain his absence and apologize before he is knocked out and she is killed by a Fury that is after the last of the Chosen.
Allanon manages to come to and kill the Fury, but he is wounded in the fight. He orders Amberle and Wil to ride for Arborlon while he hides and recuperates in a cave using a process that seems related to that of the Druid Sleep.
Once healed, Allanon saves Wil and Amberle and recovers the stolen Elfstones from Eretria's group of Rovers. On their way back to Arborlon, he meets a young Elf named Bandon chained and muzzled inside an abandoned house by his parents. Because Bandon was regularly kept hidden and locked away, he happened to avoid being killed by the Demons that killed his parents. Allanon warns Amberle that he cannot sense the boy's thoughts, meaning that Bandon is either actively hiding magic powers or possesses magic he is unaware of. Despite the warning Amberle insists that Bandon be taken to Arborlon where he can be cared for.
Allanon realizes that Bandon is a seer when he learns that Bandon's power is the ability to see visions of death for those whom he touches, and that his parents had probably kept him chained up out of a fear of his magic. The Druid tells Bandon that it isn't death he is always fated to see, but future possibilities. He insists that Bandon's ability is a gift, and he begins training Bandon to hone his potentially immense powers. However, the Dagda Mor takes notice and seizes Bandon's mind, locking it away from Allanon's reach and incapacitating the boy.
In the meantime, the Changeling had infiltrated Arborlon. The Demon kills Eventine while in the form of his son Arion, and then it assumes Eventine's form and takes the throne. As Eventine, the Changeling convinces Arion that the Druid is conspiring against the Elves, and he orders Arion to retrieve the Warlock Sword from the tunnels beneath Arborlon and to use it against Allanon. Arion uses the sword against Allanon and the Druid vanishes, apparently dead.
However, Allanon had been transported back to his cave, where he tries to heal himself for a time but is unable to muster the strength. As he lays dying, he is confronted by the shade of Bremen, who tells him that there was still more work to be done before healing him and giving him a powerful magical staff.
Renewed, Allanon journeys to the Northland just in time to protect Prince Ander from a suicidal attempt to kill the Dagda Mor. The false Eventine had ordered Arion and Ander to fight the Dagda Mor alone, using the Warlock Sword. Upon facing the two brothers, the Dagda Mor reveals that Arion had done his bidding by recovering the sword and killing Allanon, and that Eventine has already been killed. The Dagda Mor then spirits the sword away from Arion before killing him with it. Ander is saved by Allanon using a protective wall of magic, and he returns to the palace and kills the Changeling.
With the deaths of Eventine and Arion, Ander becomes the de facto King of the Elves. He drinks heavily after their deaths, intending to abdicate the throne to Kael Pindanon, a member of the Elven High Council, at his brother and father's funeral. It is only after some stern words from Allanon and memories of his family members dying with honor that he changes his mind while speaking at the funeral, vowing to fight for the Elves as their king, and to battle bravely in the name of The Four Lands.
While saving Ander from the Dagda Mor, Allanon managed to free Bandon from his mental imprisonment as well. He tells Bandon that he wants to train him to become the next Druid, the same way he was trained after his own parents abandoned him. Bandon refuses, but Allanon insists that under the current Demon onslaught, he doesn't have that choice anymore.
As Allanon begins teaching Bandon to harness his magic properly, Bandon becomes resentful of the Druid's harsh training and preoccupied with the feeling that he is only being valued for and defined by his magic. It soon becomes apparent that the Dagda Mor's hold on Bandon's mind has not been completely undone. When Bandon and Catania are alone together, Bandon is at first affectionate, but as their intimacy begins to increase Bandon gets a vision from the Dadga Mor and ends up trying to strangle Catania. She manages to get away, and Allanon decides to hide her from Bandon for her own safety.
Allanon confronts Bandon and tells him he will have to let go of Catania for her own good. Bandon refuses to accept the idea and lashes out with his increasingly powerful magic, catching the Druid unawares. Allanon quickly recovers, and manages to knock Bandon unconscious.
Later, Catania visits Bandon and brings him food to his prison cell in Arborlon. He convinces her to help him deceive a guard into unlocking his shackles, but after he is freed he flies into a rage when the guard manhandles Catania. To Catania's horror Bandon doesn't just incapacitate the guard; he brutally beats him to death and flees.
After the last leaf of the Ellcrys has fallen, Allanon, King Ander, and Slanter's Gnomes prepare to defend Arborlon long enough for Amberle to return. During the battle, Allanon engages the Dagda Mor in single combat to allow Wil and Amberle passage to the Ellcrys. Though the two were evenly matched for much of the fight, the Dagda Mor gained the upper hand and attempted to kill Amberle, who had arrived during the battle. He was held off by Wil and the Elfstones long enough for Allanon to recover and decapitate him, after which Amberle became the new Ellcrys and banished the Demon horde.
Wil is angry at Allanon for withholding his knowledge of what Amberle's ultimate fate would be if she saved the Ellcrys, but the Druid insists to Wil that if would not have helped any of them to know the truth in advance. He also tells Wil that he is proud of him.
Ultimately, Allanon and Wil part on amicable terms: Wil thanks Allanon for granting him better self-knowledge, and Allanon remarks that their time together probably isn't done yet, as a new evil seems to have been awoken.
Catania is left to explain to Allanon what happened with Bandon and how he escaped. She tells Allanon that she has failed Bandon, and the Druid commiserates with her, saying that he's failed Bandon as well.
Bandon is later seen carrying the Warlock Sword with his eyes gone completely black, standing at the magical henge where the Dagda Mor had once imprisoned his mind.
Changes made for the TV Adaptation
- Along with his magic, Allanon carries a sword and engages in physical combat quite frequently in the TV series; in the original trilogy he fights almost solely with his magic, the Druid fire.
- Allanon regularly uses his Druid cave as a quick way to heal himself from serious injuries. In the books, Allanon has no such recourse, aside from the Druid Sleep which would put him to sleep for decades, if not longer.
- Allanon fights the Demons using a staff given to him by the shade of Bremen; in The Elfstones of Shannara he received a staff from the Ellcrys that was a piece of the tree itself. He gave this staff to both King Eventine and King Ander to use.
- Allanon is overpowered by the Dagda Mor and it is only later later when Wil Ohmsford uses the Elfstones against the Demon that Allanon is able to decapitate him. In Elfstones, Allanon defeats the Dagda Mor in a one-on-one duel designed to buy time for Wil and Amberle's return to Arborlon.
- Allanon is physically unchanged by the war against the Demons; in Elfstones, he is visibly aged by at the end of the war due to overusing his magic, and he has large streaks of white in his hair.
- Allanon is of average height in the TV series. In the books he is exceptionally tall and is specifically described as being seven feet in height.
- Pyria Elessedil was added to the TV series as a romantic interest for Allanon, most likely in an attempt to humanize him. There is no such romantic relationship for Allanon in the books.
Allanon is a main character in the original Shannara trilogy. For nearly all of his life he was the last of the Druids. He dedicated his life to the protection and preservation of the Four Lands and repeatedly recruited members of the House of Shannara in the Ohmsford family to aid him on various quests to defeat evil.
Allanon was a young boy wandering through the ruins of Varfleet, having lost his parents to the destruction of the city, when he met the aged Druid Bremen. Bremen took the boy in and the two became attached to each other. Eventually Allanon sought to become like Bremen, and the old man taught him the Druid arts. Allanon participated in the Second War of the Races alongside Bremen, and studied in Paranor after the war for several years, until Bremen's passing.
Like Bremen, Allanon was the last of the Druids after the Druid Order had been eradicated by the Warlock Lord. He carried on Bremen's legacy as the only Druid of the Four Lands, preserving two kinds of knowledge: knowledge that had been salvaged from the Old World as well as the knowledge of magic that the first Druid Order had rediscovered. Initial descriptions of Allanon call him "the mysterious wanderer of the Four Lands, historian of the Races, philosopher and teacher, and practitioner of the mystic arts."
Allanon was enigmatic and secretive, appearing in the Four Lands only when needed, and passing decades of time in a form of suspended animation called the Druid Sleep. He was never completely honest with those whose help he requested: his words were few and clouded in half-truths, and his companions were kept on a "need-to-know" basis. Beginning with Shea Ohmsford, he repeatedly called on the aid of the descendants of Jerle Shannara's bloodline. Many believe Allanon to be the greatest of the Druids and the last Druid of the second Druid Order, to which Bremen belonged.
Quest to Defeat the Warlock Lord
Allanon first reveals himself to the Ohmsford family when he calls on Shea Ohmsford to retrieve the lost Sword of Shannara and use it to destroy the Warlock Lord. He gave Shea the Elfstones to protect himself on his journey.
Quest to Save the Ellcrys
When the Ellcrys begins to fail, causing the Forbidding to crumble, Demons start escaping the Forbidding and attacking the Elves and the Four Lands. To stop them, Allanon sends Shea's grandson Wil Ohmsford and the Elven princess Amberle Elessedil on a quest to restore the Ellcrys, while Allanon remains behind in the Elven city of Arborlon to battle the Demon hordes.
Quest to Destroy the Ildatch
Allanon goes on one last journey with Wil's daughter, Brin Ohmsford, to enter the Maelmord and destroy the Ildatch, a malevolent book from the Age of Faerie which was also responsible for the corruption of the Druid Brona into the Warlock Lord. During their journey Allanon locks Paranor, the Druid Keep, away in another dimension to prevent its destruction at the hands of Mord Wraiths and their Gnome warriors. He also imbues the Sword of Leah with the magic of the Hadeshorn to aid Rone Leah in his role as Brin's protector.
During the journey with Brin and Rone, Allanon is mortally wounded in battle with an ancient being called a Jachyra and dies soon after. Before passing away, he wipes a bit of his blood on Brin's forehead, imbuing her with a trust meant to preserve and revive his legacy. At the Hadeshorn, the shade of Bremen appears and carries the dying Druid away, down into the lake.
Despite Allanon's death, Brin succeeds in destroying the Ildatch, with the help of her brother Jair. At the time of his death, Allanon had been walking the Four Lands for five hundred years.
Allanon's spirit dwells in the Hadeshorn along with the spirits of his predecessors, Bremen and Galaphile. Centuries after his death, he summons the descendants of Brin and Jair to him and charge them with saving the Four Lands from the threat of the Shadowen. He orders Par Ohmsford to recover the Sword of Shannara, Wren Ohmsford to find the Elves and return them to the Four Lands, and Walker Boh to restore Paranor and the Druid Order.
Centuries after Allanon gave Shea Ohmsford the Elfstones, they still belong to the House of Shannara. Although they are in the hands of the Elessedils, the House of Elessedil has been a part of the House of Shannara since the time of the Elf Queen Ellenroh Elessedil.
Usage of the Elfstones by Shea's grandson Wil contaminates his body with the Elven magic, a consequence of attempting to use the Elfstones while not possessing a high enough amount of Elven blood. The magic that becomes a part of Wil's body later manifests in Wil's children Brin and Jair as the wishsong. Centuries after Brin and Jair, their descendants often carry the magic of the wishsong, and innate magic has become an indelible a part of the Shannara bloodline.
Walker Boh, a descendant of Brin Ohmsford, eventually becomes Allanon's successor, ultimately fulfilling the trust given to Brin by restoring Paranor and absorbing Allanon's spirit and life experience with the power of the Black Elfstone. During his time as the last of the Druids, Walker consults the shade of Allanon at the Hadeshorn.
Although he restores Paranor and becomes the last of the Druids, Walker is ultimately unable to create a new Druid Order. As Walker lays dying, he wipes a bit of his blood on Grianne Ohmsford's forehead, who at the time was still the Ilse Witch, surreptiously imbuing her with his trust in the way Allanon had done with Brin. After Bek Ohmsford and Truls Rohk take the dying Walker to an underground lake, the shade of Allanon appears to bear him away to an afterlife in the Hadeshorn.
Later, after Grianne has renounced her life as the Ilse Witch and accepted Walker's trust, she creates the third Druid Order and becomes the order's Ard Rhys. Like Walker had done before her, Grianne consults with Allanon's shade.
Allanon's shade appears to Khyber Elessedil, Ard Rhys of the fourth Druid Order, before Khyber and others embark on a quest to find the missing sets of Elfstones, which have been lost since the Age of Faerie. His shade also appears for the Ard Rhys Aphenglow Elessedil, when Aphenglow is ready to die and travels to the Hadeshorn. Allanon's shade carries Aphenglow down into the lake.
Allanon is described as seven feet tall, with a dark face, a booming voice, and a hooded cowl that covers his disturbingly penetrating eyes.