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SYFY WIRE fantasy

Long-running 'Valdermar' fantasy novel series riding onto TV from 'Jumanji' producer

By Josh Weiss
Valdemar Trilogy The Last herald-mage

Your next great fantasy binge is just on the horizon. Deadline confirmed Tuesday that Ted Field's Radar Pictures (Jumanji) recently scooped up the television rights to Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar novels. The series, which has run for more than 30 years across nearly 60 novels, is famous for its revolutionary and unflinching depiction of LGBTQ+ characters in the world of literature.

Kit Williamson (creator of Netflix's EastSiders) and Brittany Cavallaro (author of the YA Charlotte Holmes books) are on board as co-writers. They are slated to adapt the The Last Herald-Mage trilogy, which comprises Magic's Pawn (1989), Magic's Promise (1990), and Magic's Price (1991).

“I have hoped for decades that The Last Herald-Mage would be adapted for television," Lackey said in a statement to Deadline. "Now that Radar has optioned the trilogy, I am nearly breathless with excitement. I could not have chosen a better organization to take my work in hand, and Kit and Bri, the producers, absolutely know both their stuff and the material. I love the fact that this is going to be a long-form series: episodic TV gives the story all the room it needs. I hope our fans will be as thrilled to see their favorite characters come to life as I am."

Valdemar Trilogy The Last herald-mage

Set in the kingdom of Valdemar, the trilogy follows Vanyel, the openly gay son of a noble who leaves his abusive home behind in an effort to become the most powerful magic-user (known as the titular Herald-Mage) in the nation's history. In fact, he may be the one hope against an enemy hellbent on destroying everyone and everything. Along the way, Vanyel's resolve is strengthened by heartache and life-threatening encounters.

“Vanyel in The Last Herald Mage series was one of the first gay characters I encountered, and as a recently out 16-year-old I can’t stress enough the impact that these books had on me," Williamson said in a separate statement. "The Valdemar series was far ahead of its time in the portrayal of LGBTQ characters, and Lackey’s writing afforded them a level of depth and complexity that is still very rare, especially in genre storytelling."

“It’s an absolute dream to be adapting the Valdemar books alongside Radar Pictures and Kit Williamson. Twenty years ago, Kit and I became friends at boarding school, and bonded over our love for Mercedes Lackey’s work, and we’re so excited to begin the process of bringing it to the screen,” added Cavallaro.

Field will executive-produce the project, with Anthony Tringali, Maria Frisk, and Michael Napoliello attached as producers for Radar Pictures. Field is no stranger to the fantasy genre, having served as an executive producer on Amazon's upcoming Wheel of Time adaptation.

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