Ard Rhys, or High Druid, is a title held by the leader of the Druid Order. Centuries have often passed with there only being one living Druid in the whole of the Four Lands, meaning that even though Druids existed, there was no functional Druid Order. Bremen, Allanon, and Walker Boh all served the Four Lands as the last remaining Druid, but they were never Ard Rhys since there was no Druid Order during their period of service.

High Druids

  • Galaphile — An Elf who was the Ard Rhys of the first Druid Order. The first order was a gathering of men and women from all Races, committed to preserving and recovering the knowledge from the Old World that had been lost in the Great Wars. However, once they realized that too little of the knowledge remained to revive the sciences of the old world, the Druids turned to the study of magic. At the end of the First War of the Races, the Druid Order divided the Four Lands between the Races: the Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Trolls, and the Race of Man.
  • Athabasca — Ard Rhys of the second Druid Order and a member of the Race of Man. In the aftermath of the First War of the Races, the Druid Order chose to renounce the study of magic. Bremen, a Druid who felt that magic could be controlled if studied carefully, continued to practice magic and was banished from Paranor. After years of wandering the world, Bremen eventually discovered that the rebel Druid Brona, the figure behind the war who was thought to be dead, was actually still alive and planning to attack Paranor and the rest of the world. Bremen returned to the Druids to warn them, but he was believed by only a few. Athabasca, who hated Bremen, also refused to believe. The Druids at Paranor were massacred with ease when Brona attacked, and soon after the Second War of the Races ensued.
  • Grianne Ohmsford — Ard Rhys of the third Druid Order, the first female Ard Rhys, and the first Ard Rhys who was a member of the House of Shannara. After the death of the last Druid Walker Boh, Grianne renounced her life as the Ilse Witch and created the third Druid Order. However, her time as Ard Rhys was fraught with controversy and led to an outright mutiny within the Druid Order, due in no small part due to her past as the Ilse Witch, which only engendered distrust and fighting. Once the battles within the Druid Order were over and the order was essentially destroyed, Grianne shed her physical body to became an aeriad in service to the tanequil, a magical tree similar in nature to the Ellcrys. Despite the troubled nature of Grianne's term as Ard Rhys, she did manage to forge an alliance between the Druids and the Trolls, and in her final act as Ard Rhys before giving herself to the tanequil, she negotiated a treaty that forbade the use of diapson crystal weapons in the Four Lands.
  • Khyber Elessedil — Ard Rhys of the fourth Druid Order. She was trained in the Druid arts by her uncle Ahren Elessedil, a member of the third Druid Order and an ally to Grianne. With the help of a few remaining Druids, Khyber created the new order out of the ashes of the third. During a quest into the Forbidding to find the missing sets of Elfstones which had been lost since the Age of Faerie, Khyber and Redden Ohmsford were captured by Tael Riverine, the Straken Lord. Khyber was ultimately drugged and killed in a rigged duel against the Straken Lord.
  • Aphenglow Elessedil — With Khyber's death and the death of other Druids due to a Federation attack on Paranor and the doomed quest for the missing Elfstones, it is left to Aphen to continue the fourth Druid Order and succeed Khyber as Ard Rhys. She is Ard Rhys for more than 150 years, during which time she brokered a peace that lasted for more than a century between the Federation and the other governments of the Four Lands. Aphenglow also resisted efforts of the Elven nation to reclaim the crimson Elfstones, insisting that the Druid edict on the collection and preservation of magic superseded any nationalistic claims on magic. By the time of her death she had made the Druids more relevant and acceptable in the eyes of the Races. After Grianne and Khyber, Aphenglow is the third woman from the House of Shannara to serve as Ard Rhys.
  • Isaturin — An Elven Druid specifically chosen by Aphenglow to succeed her as Ard Rhys of the fourth Druid Order. He is considered an even better magic wielder than Aphenglow, with powerful abilities such as being able to teleport himself short distances. Although he is a capable Druid, he is in the unenviable position of having his performance constantly compared to Aphenglow's immensely long and successful career as Ard Rhys. His time as Ard Rhys is short-lived, for he is killed by the sorcerer Arcannen. Arcannen masquerades as Isaturin for a time before being exposed and killed by Paxon Leah and the Druid Miriya. Later, Miriya is one of the names floated as a possible successor to Isaturin.
  • Drisker Arc — An exiled, former Ard Rhys who instructs Tarsha Kaynin on the use of the wishsong.
  • Ober Balronen — Assumed the position of Ard Rhys after Drisker Arc stepped down, although if Drisker had known that Balronen would try to claim the position, he would have stayed on. Balronen banned Drisker Arc from Paranor as soon as he became the new Ard Rhys.


  • An Airship is named after the position.
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