Riga is an original character created for The Shannara Chronicles. Formerly a revered general in the army of the Elven King Eventine Elessedil, he is now the leader of an extremist group of Elven soldiers known as the Crimson.
Despite being an Elf, Riga has Mwellret blood running through his veins because his mother was attacked by a Mwellret while she was pregnant. The Stors managed to rip the baby Riga from her body before she died, but he had already been infected by the Mwellret attack and had taken on some of their traits.
Riga's Mwellret blood made him a weak child who couldn't stand the light, and he was prone to crippling pain. However, he also had the Mwellret trait of being impervious to magic, and he was able to turn his curse into a weapon.
As a general in Eventine's army, Riga watched his people slaughtered in the Third War of the Races and then fought the Dagda Mor and his horde of Demons. He became convinced that the source of all problems in the Four Lands was neither good nor evil but magic itself. Thereafter, he became leader of the Crimson.
The re-emergence of magic has the populace of the Four Lands terrified, and under Riga's command the Crimson is hunting down and killing down magic users, using fear and intimidation to sow discord. The Crimson slaughter anybody who practices magic, but General Riga's number one target is the Druid Allanon because Allanon knows the location of Paranor. If the Crimson can destroy Paranor, magic will be abolished forever.
Riga starts his quest by looking for Wil Ohmsford, knowing that where there is a Shannara, there is also a Druid. When informed by a farmer that a Flick Ohmsford lives in Shady Vale, Riga journeys there with the Crimson to find Wil. He and the Crimson end up burning the village as Flick goes into hiding. The residents of the Vale are forced to flee, heading to Storlock for medical help.
Changes Made for the TV Adaptation
- The Crimson is likely a proxy or substitute for the Federation, the main governing body of the Race of Man. The Federation is opposed to the use of magic and is also a key antagonist in many of the Shannara novels. The Crimson could also be a nod to the Red Slash, a unit of the Federation military featured in The Darkling Child.
- The TV series takes place around the time of The Elfstones of Shannara, a time when Elves weren't necessarily opposed to the use of magic. However, in later Shannara novels Elves do develop an abhorrence and distrust for magic, to the point that Elves like Khyber and Aphenglow Elessedil who choose to become Druids are viewed as dangerous outcasts.
- Although Mwellrets are resistant to magic, they are not necessarily totally impervious to it in the Shannara novels, unlike Riga. They also cannot infect other people with their traits just by attacking them.