The Changeling is a character in The Shannara Chronicles, based on the character of the same name in The Elfstones of Shannara. It is an extremely dangerous creature that was one of the first three Demons to escape the Forbidding, along with the Dagda Mor and the Reaper.
Long ago, the Changeling presumably fought in the War of the Races against the Elves and other races of the Four Lands. It was then sealed away in the Forbidding by the Ellcrys.
Hundreds of years later, the Ellcrys began to die. With each leaf that fell, a demon was released from the Forbidding. The Changeling was the second demon to be released, after the Dagda Mor. The Dagda Mor sent the Changeling to kill the Chosen at Arborlon, which it succeeded in doing. It continued to remain unseen in Arborlon and stalk the Elves until its existence was discovered by Allanon, who later "killed" the Changeling. However, the Changeling proved much harder to get rid of than that. It killed the King and took on his appearance. After deceiving the Elves, it was killed when they learned of its existence.
The Changeling it is an extremely dangerous creature that was one of the first three Demons to escape the Forbidding, along with the Dagda Mor and the Reaper. The Changeling served the Dagda Mor for the duration of the War of the Forbidding as a spy inside the court of the Elves, informing the Demons of all the plans of the Elves, Allanon, and the journey to Safehold and the Bloodfire being undertaken by Wil Ohmsford and Amberle Elessedil. He was slain by the Eventine Elessedil, King of the Elves, during an attempt to kill Eventine—the king was left mortally wounded and died some time later, after the war was over.
The Changeling is loosely physically described as:
- "For the Changeling could be anything... in the sky, a searching hawk and a small raven; on the earth, a groundhog, then a snake, a multi-legged insect with pincers, then on to something new, almost as quickly as the eye could follow. All things whether human or animal, fish or fowl,no matter their size, shape, color or abilities - he could be any of them. He could assimilate their characteristics perfectly. Even the Dagda Mor was not certain of the Changeling's true appearance; the creature was so prone to adapt to other life forms that he spent virtually all of his time being something or someone other than what he really was."
- ―the Elfstones of Shannara[src]
Temperamentally the Changeling followed the Dagda Mor out of respect for the greater power that the Dagda Mor wielded. He possessed a huge capacity for evil, being selfish, hateful, enjoying duplicity and hurting others. He in particular was always the enemy of the Elves detesting them for their concern for lesser life forms.
The Elfstones of Shannara
After breaking out of the Forbidding, the Changeling infiltrated Arborlon to become Dagda Mor's personal spy. After killing Went, the old Elven groundskeeper, to observe the palace, he eventually took the form of Eventine Elessedil's wolfhound Manx.
For a long time afterward, the Changeling fed information to the Dagda Mor regarding Allanon's plans. After a time, the Changeling decided to kill Eventine. He killed both of the king's personal guards, Rhoe and Dardan, and then went after him. After the King escaped his bed and went into the hallway, he found that the doors were jammed shut. He picked up Dardan's short sword and managed to stay alive long enough for rescuers to arrive; at that moment, the King killed the Changeling while it was distracted.
The Changeling still accomplished its last mission, though: King Eventine later died of the injuries that had been inflicted by the Changeling.