Rovers are a class of people who have no set home and sometimes serve as mercenaries. They wander the Westland in large caravans, and can sometimes be found in the Southland as well.


Rovers are of the Race of Man, though there have been rare exceptions like the Elf Queen Wren Elessedil.

Initial depictions of Rovers were based closely on stereotypes of Romani people and Traveler communities. Rovers were seen by other people as being dangerous thieves, a temperamental people without a strong moral compass. They wore brightly colored clothes, sashes, and jewelry.

Rovers also adhered to a sexist belief system called "The Way" where women and their needs were considered secondary to men and men's needs. Eretria, the first female Rover to be depicted in the Shannara series, is incredibly strong and independent and has more freedom than most women, perhaps because she is the daughter of a caravan leader. In later books, The Way is not mentioned again and strong Rover women such as Rue Meridian continue to be center stage in the stories.

However, mistreatment of women seems to continue: The Rover Lariana was the daughter of a chieftain, but because she was not the firstborn child, she was treated like property and was told at the age of fifteen that she would be married off in trade. Because she refused, she was disowned and left to fend for herself on the streets.

Rovers bear no allegiance but were often friendly with the Druids and their allies, particularly during the time of Walker Boh. In later Shannara novels, Rovers are known to work as mercenaries, usually involved in the fighting between the Federation and its enemies. With the advent of airships, Rovers become experts in airship travel and are often hired out as airship crew for that reason.

Notable Rovers

  • Cephelo — Leader of his caravan of Rovers and Eretria's adoptive father. He tried to defend himself and his caravan against the Reaper using the Elfstones he stole from Wil Ohmsford, but as he had no Elven blood and Wil had not given the stones freely, they were useless to him and he was killed.
  • Eretria — The strong-willed and independent daughter of Cephelo who leaves her caravan to accompany Wil Ohmsford and Amberle Elessedil on their quest for the Bloodfire. Being away from her caravan is the only thing that saves her from being killed by the Reaper. She ends up marrying Wil and becoming the mother of Brin Ohmsford and Jair Ohmsford.
  • Garth — Reknowned for his tracking and survival skills, despite being deaf-mute. He is tasked by the Elven princess Alleyne Elessedil with the training and care of her daughter, Wren Elessedil.
  • Wren Elessedil — An heir to the Elessedil bloodline as well as the Shannara bloodline who was raised as a Rover by Garth. Thanks to the lifelong training she received from Garth, she is able to brave the dangers on the island of Morrowindl and return the Elves to the Four Lands, as she was charged to do by the shade of the Druid Allanon. She becomes one of the Elves' greatest rulers.
  • The Addershag — A blind, old woman in Grimpen Ward whom Wren and Garth seek out in order to get information on the Elves' whereabouts, as she is a seer. Wren assumes that the woman is a prisoner since she is shackled, but the Addershag reveals that she has the use of magic and is allowing her captors to keep her for the time being, as it amuses her. Despite appearing frail and old, she is quite clearly dangerous.
  • Redden Alt Mer — An airship captain nicknamed "Big Red" and half-brother to Rue Meridian. He is famous for his luck in that he has never been brought down in battle or ever been injured seriously. He captained the airship Black Moclips as a mercenary for the Federation but was imprisoned for disobeying orders. He escaped with Rue's help and offered his services to Walker Boh, who needed a captain for the Jerle Shannara. Redden Alt Mer taught Bek Ohmsford all about airships and later seized Black Moclips from the Morgawr, using it to take down two dozen enemy ships.
  • Rue Meridian — The half-sister of Redden Alt Mer, nicknamed "Little Red" because she shares Redden's skill with airships and bright red hair. She is an expert knife-thrower. Rue rescued Redden from prison after he disobeyed Federation orders and they were both hired by Walker Boh to crew the Jerle Shannara. On the ship, she fell in love with Bek Ohmsford and eventually married him, having a son with him named Pen Ohmsford.
  • Furl Hawken — Redden Alt Mer's second in command, who also went by "Hawk." A burly fellow with a large, booming voice, he sported a long, blond beard. He was killed while fighting alongside Rue Meridian against Mwellrets that had boarded the Jerle Shannara.
  • Spanner Frew — A Rover who built airships at his settlement. His settlement would move at least once every two years to avoid detection. He was described as being tall and large, with black hair and a thick beard.
  • Cinnaminson — A young Rover girl who, despite being blind, is able to see objects beyond the horizon and as well as through darkness. She could also sense things that aren't seen. She was captured by the assassin Aphasia Wye but was eventually rescued by Pen Ohmsford and his party. She later sacrificed herself to the Tanequil so that Pen could receive the Darkwand, but is then released by the Tanequil when the magic tree is convinced to take Grianne Ohmsford in exchange.
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