Not much is known about Wil's early years except that he never once stepped foot outside Shady Vale, his home.
Quest to Save the EllcrysEdit
After the death of his mother to sickness, he resolves to leave his home in Shady Vale to study the art of healing at Storlock, despite the protests of his uncle Flick Ohmsford. Naive and out of his depth, he is nearly killed by a Troll and robbed by the Rover girl Eretria before the Druid Allanon finds him and tasks him with protecting the Elven Princess Amberle Elessedil.
Changes made for the TV AdaptationEdit
- Wil's Elven blood is changed from being one-eighth Elf to half-Elf.
- Wil's father is Shea Ohmsford, which means that Shea is a full-blooded Elf; in Elfstones, the half-Elf Shea is Wil's grandfather.
- Wil's father Shea is dead and remembered by most people, including his brother Flick, as a crazed drunk; in Elfstones, Wil's grandfather Shea is still alive and enjoying a quiet old age in Shady Vale.
- Wil makes it his goal to become a Healer by training at Storlock after his mother dies in "Chosen". In Elfstones, both his parents have died at an early age and he is already well-established at Storlock as the book begins.
- Wil is in a love triangle situation with Amberle and Eretria; in Elfstones a triangle exists, but with far less of a romantic dimension between Wil and Amberle.
Wil Ohmsford is a main character in The Elfstones of Shannara. He is the grandson of the legendary half-Elf Shea Ohmsford and the grandnephew of Flick Ohmsford, though not by blood since Shea is Flick's adopted brother.
Due to the loss of his parents at an early age to fever, Wil set out to become a Healer. Much to the dismay of his uncle Flick, Wil chose to leave Shady Vale to study with the Stors, the legendary Gnome Healers at Storlock who were the best in the Four Lands.
Wil spent several years in Storlock, learning the language and the art of Healing from the Stors. His life changed when Allanon, the legendary Druid thought dead for fifty years, appeared in Storlock heavily wounded and needing assistance. After he is healed, Allanon asks for Wil's help, telling Wil that the Ellcrys, the sacred tree of the Elven people, was dying, and with her death the Forbidding that sealed away the Demons of the old world would fall. In order to send the Demons back where they belonged, the last member of the Chosen, Amberle Elessedil, must carry the seed of the Ellcrys to the Bloodfire so the tree can be reborn.
With the Demons aware of Amberle's existence and searching the Four Lands for her, she would need magical protection to survive. Allanon had to remain in Arborlon to aid the Elves, and so the only one who could help her was Wil and the legendary Elfstones that once belonged to his grandfather. Though dedicated to his studies as a Healer, Wil is convinced by Allanon and readily offers to protect Amberle from the Demons and accompany her on her quest.
However, during his adventures, after successfully using the Elfstones once, Wil sensed an unpleasant change within himself. He also discovered an internal resistance to the power of the Elfstones, which Allanon later explained had to do with the fact that his Elven blood was very thin, whereas Shea was half Elf and had no such issue. Wil eventually realized that he had also created a psychological block that prevented him from using the Elfstones, one created not just by his fear of the magic but also over his internal conflict over inflicting harm after having pledged his life to being a Healer.
He was later able to break through his mental block, destroying the Demon known as the Reaper. Wil then suffered a terrible loss, as Amberle, for whom he had developed feelings, became the new Ellcrys. After recovering from the long journey, Wil eventually married Eretria, a Rover girl who had become a part of his and Amberle's quest.
Despite breaking through the mental block that had prevented him from using the Elfstones, Wil continues to sense that they are changing something within him, and not necessarily in a positive way. The effects of the Elfstones on Wil become apparent after the birth of his children, Brin and Jair Ohmsford. The Elven magic that had become a part of Wil was transferred to the two siblings, manifesting itself in the form of the wishsong. Centuries later, various members of the Ohmsford line such as Par Ohmsford, Grianne Ohmsford, and Railing Ohmsford all have varying levels of mastery over the wishsong.
Although Wil is only one-eighth Elf, his Elven features are prominent enough that he is mistaken for a full Elf multiple times in the book and can pass for Amberle's brother. His resemblance to his grandfather Shea is often noted; Shea was described in The Sword of Shannara as having tousled blond hair and penetrating blue eyes.