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SilverStormm

Anticipation for The Wheel of Time

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Q&A with the showrunner, after the show had been picked up, but shortly before being green lit

http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2018/09/wheel-of-time-tv-showrunner-hosts-q.html

Main take-aways:

   

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The books will not be mapped 1:1 to the TV show seasons. This sounds like the approach taken by The Expanse (which took all of Season 1 and then 4 episodes from Season 2 to adapt Book 1, then 8 episodes of Season 2 and 5 from Season 3 to adapt Book 2 etc) and the new His Dark Materials show (which will adapt 3 books across 5 seasons).
    Episodes will be 1 hour long each.
    There'll be more than 5, but definitely less than 14, seasons in total.
    Amazon hasn't greenlit the project yet but there's been positive sounds in the last few months (which is why he's been allowed to do the Q&A).
    New Spring may be adapted as well, possibly as a special of some kind once the series is fully underway (could be a good way of keeping Moiraine and Lan's actors interested when they're not doing much in the main series).
    The TV show will be a faithful adaptation of the books, but will of course have to condense some characters, storylines. Apparently the "latter middle" section of the series may be compressed a bit more (i.e. PoD through CoT, surprising nobody). Judkins notes himself as a Lady Stoneheart fan (from Game of Thrones) and was sorry to see her cut from the TV show, but these things are sometimes necessary.
    He wants to cast Rand and the Aiel as "tall gingers" if possible.
    On LGTBQ+ representati on, there'll be "pillow friends out of the wazoo."
    How channelling will be ha ndled is still being discussed, but Judkins liked how the magic was done in Doctor Strange and Avengers: Infinity War, which may serve as a template.
    Trollocs and other Shadowspawn may be a combination of CGI and prosthetics, but he feels that prosthetics is better for both actor and viewer immersion.
    Billy Zane will not be reprising his role of Ishamael from the Red Eagle informercial.
    Judkins is aiming for the quality level o f the LotR movies or GoT, definitely not Shannara.
    Brandon Sanderson, Harriet and the rest of Team Jordan will advise on the show's development, some more than others (I suspect Brandon will be busy with his own books to do a huge amount, though).
    Confirmed characters: Rand, Egwene, Cenn Buie (if less than in the book), Logain (in an expanded role), Tam, Bela, Padan Fain (who'll be less obviously a villain), Faile, Mat. His favourite Forsaken are Graendal and Moghedien, so it sounds like they'll be in as well.
    Unconfirmed characters: Aviendha, Min, Elayne. Judkins notes that the four-way relationship from the books isn't really viable for the show and will be changed. He refused to confirm if this means that some of these characters will be merged or cut. I suspect this is the most controversial take-away from the Q&A. My guess is that the characters will still be in the show and Rand may be sequential relationships with them, but won't be in a polygamous relationship with all of them at once.
    His favourite character is Egwene and his favourite scene is Dumai's Wells. His least favourite character is Faile, but promises she'll be awesome on the show. In terms of tough scene s to write, Tel'aran'rhiod is proving problematic (mainly as they won't know how it's going to be depicted until the vfx department comes on board).
    There'll be less braid-tugging and dress-smoothing than in the books. There will be one braid-tug in the first episode thoug h.
    No decision yet on filming locations. He hopes the budget will be large enough so they can visit the most appropriate lo cations around the world.

News of the green light, and some specialties here:

https://deadline.com/2018/10/amazon-robert-jordans-the-wheel-of-time-1202474485/

https://screenrant.com/wheel-time-tv-show-amazon/

Edited by Which Tyler
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14 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

Unconfirmed characters: Aviendha, Min, Elayne.

I bet Min would be the one to go. I tend to think you absolutely need the others. 

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11 hours ago, ganesh said:

I bet Min would be the one to go. I tend to think you absolutely need the others. 

I don't think you can get rid of any of them; but none of the three really need to be introduced in the first season (though Min & Elayne ought to be).

Elayne is needed more for Egwene's storyline; so she could drop out of the love-quadrangle very easily; leaving it for Min and Aviendha - which would be fine, and could work if shown as indecision and cheating on each of them; but nothing will work in terms of them all getting together and just accepting it. It didn't in the books, and I can't see a way of that working out okay on the show.

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I don't see how they can cut Elayne. IMO, the other two could go without it changing things too much. I was never on the wagon with Rand basically having a harem.

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I would think you'd want Av there as the 'in' to the Aiel since there's like 70 million of them. Elayne is the queen of the largest nation and has a ton to do all over the place, so I think she's integral to the story. They probably could cut out all of the junk with the mother's side plot. That dragged so much. 

I hope they get an absolute scenery chewer for Ish. 

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‘The Wheel Of Time’: Uta Briesewitz To Direct First Two Episodes Of Amazon Fantasy Drama Series
 

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Uta Briesewitz (Westworld) is set to direct the first two episodes of The Wheel Of Time, Amazon’s series adaptation of Robert Jordan’s fantasy epic.

Amazon Prime Video will launch the one-hour series in over 200 countries and territories, from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D  writer Rafe Judkins, Sony Pictures Television and Amazon Studios.

The Wheel of Time, which has sold over 90M books worldwide, is set in a sprawling, epic world where magic exists, but only women can use it. The story follows Moiraine, a member of the shadowy and influential all-female organization called the ‘Aes Sedai’ as she embarks on a dangerous, world-spanning journey with five young men and women. Moiraine believes one of them might be the reincarnation of an incredibly powerful individual, whom prophecies say will either save humanity or destroy it. The series draws on numerous elements of European and Asian culture and philosophy, most notably the cyclical nature of time found in Buddhism and Hinduism.

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On ‎10‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 4:01 AM, ganesh said:

I bet Min would be the one to go. I tend to think you absolutely need the others. 

Chiming in after belatedly realising that the show might have a thread.

I agree, Min is the easiest character to cut. Her main contribution to the larger story are the viewings she does, but those could be incorporated into Egwene's dreaming, or other bits of Aes Sedai skill. A lot of the time, they can be left out completely without affecting the show, because many of her viewings are there to serve as foreshadowing for the reader, not the characters.

Other than that, she is tied to Rand completely, and has no larger purpose. Unlike Elayne, who is the Daughter-Heir and then Queen of Andor, and Aviendha who is our main introduction into the culture of the Aiel, and becomes an important figure in the Aiel hierarchy (also, she's my favourite character in the series, and if she's cut I will flip the fuck out). She also has the most tradition romance with Rand, in that they actually spend time getting to know one another and have feelings grow organically through shared experiences.

Regarding the love quadrangle, I think Judkins has hinted at making it more equally balanced, so it may be that he plans to make one or more of the girls bisexual. There are suggestions of that with the Aiel and their sister-wives anyway - Certainly, both Elayne and Egwene seem to think that being a sister-wife means you have a physical relationship with the woman as well as the man.

I'm happy with Rosamund Pike as Moiraine. She has the star power to draw eyes to the show, and she has the regal bearing and gravitas to play the character well. People online are moaning that she's too tall, despite the fact that Moiraine being short is never a plot point.

I really like the idea of reframing the first book with Moiraine as the main character - she needs to figure out which of these boys is the one she's been looking for... and so does the audience. There's a lot that a writer could do with that idea, and the various hints that it could be one, then another of them. In the books it's obvious because he's the POV character, in the show it needn't be.

Edited by Danny Franks

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On 7/4/2019 at 3:14 AM, Danny Franks said:

Chiming in after belatedly realising that the show might have a thread.

I agree, Min is the easiest character to cut. Her main contribution to the larger story are the viewings she does, but those could be incorporated into Egwene's dreaming, or other bits of Aes Sedai skill. A lot of the time, they can be left out completely without affecting the show, because many of her viewings are there to serve as foreshadowing for the reader, not the characters.

Other than that, she is tied to Rand completely, and has no larger purpose. Unlike Elayne, who is the Daughter-Heir and then Queen of Andor, and Aviendha who is our main introduction into the culture of the Aiel, and becomes an important figure in the Aiel hierarchy (also, she's my favourite character in the series, and if she's cut I will flip the fuck out). She also has the most tradition romance with Rand, in that they actually spend time getting to know one another and have feelings grow organically through shared experiences.

Regarding the love quadrangle, I think Judkins has hinted at making it more equally balanced, so it may be that he plans to make one or more of the girls bisexual. There are suggestions of that with the Aiel and their sister-wives anyway - Certainly, both Elayne and Egwene seem to think that being a sister-wife means you have a physical relationship with the woman as well as the man.

The show will obviously need huge combinations of plots and minor characters, but for everything major that is included, I want it to be as close to the books as is reasonably possible. I want my favorite characters to look and feel as if they stepped out of the pages, and even characters I hate (oh wow, Gawyn, another bright idea?!) are someone else's favorites, so I hope that they too are portrayed faithfully if they make the cut.

I have no source, but I remember a discussion about a possible Gawyn/Galad combination where someone posted something that seemed to imply the showrunner would not be doing cuts of characters on that B-level. That said, if I was taking an axe to the story, I agree that Min would clearly be the easiest major character (B+) to cut totally. She's always a supporting character in a bigger plot. Perrin and Egwene already have prophecies from the same source so it only needs to be explained once to viewers without raising unanswered questions like Min's unique ability. Egwene, then Perrin, then Nynaeve are also available as main characters who join Rand's plot and, like Min, love him but are not afraid to question him and keep him down to earth.

Also, apart from the bloat in the middle books, I would say that the love quadrangle is the biggest weakness of the books. Instead of character interaction and development, it relies on Min's prophecy making her and Elayne just accept polygamous love for Rand as their destiny. I still completely expect Min to be cast, but that showrunner quote about polyamory rather than polygamy also makes me expect Elayne/Aviendha. Min only has minimal interactions with the other two girls, but the long subplot about Elayne and Aviendha learning to love each other as future sister-wives would be very easy to transform into romantic love.

If I could go back in time and change the books, my big axe version of the love quadrangle would be a polyamorous triangle. No Min and no prophecy. Aviendha comes from a culture that accepts polygamy and homosexuality, so her inner conflict is still about feeling that she has betrayed her honor by loving Rand after she promised her new friend Elayne that she would watch over him. Elayne is a princess from a more traditional culture, so her first conflict is balancing her new but intense feelings for Rand and her political obligations, then wondering whether she can share him and discovering that she can love Aviendha too. Rand's conflicts with both girls can remain the same: the development of his relationship with Aviendha stays as it was since all of it happened onscreen, but Elayne being the sole focus of the early books makes that relationship (which got by far the least pagetime and development) more natural than before. But of course this is just a dream, and I'm placing my bets on Show Rand/Min/Elayne/Aviendha + Elayne/Aviendha.

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22 minutes ago, ElizaD said:

The show will obviously need huge combinations of plots and minor characters, but for everything major that is included, I want it to be as close to the books as is reasonably possible. I want my favorite characters to look and feel as if they stepped out of the pages, and even characters I hate (oh wow, Gawyn, another bright idea?!) are someone else's favorites, so I hope that they too are portrayed faithfully if they make the cut.

I have no source, but I remember a discussion about a possible Gawyn/Galad combination where someone posted something that seemed to imply the showrunner would not be doing cuts of characters on that B-level. That said, if I was taking an axe to the story, I agree that Min would clearly be the easiest major character (B+) to cut totally. She's always a supporting character in a bigger plot. Perrin and Egwene already have prophecies from the same source so it only needs to be explained once to viewers without raising unanswered questions like Min's unique ability. Egwene, then Perrin, then Nynaeve are also available as main characters who join Rand's plot and, like Min, love him but are not afraid to question him and keep him down to earth.

Also, apart from the bloat in the middle books, I would say that the love quadrangle is the biggest weakness of the books. Instead of character interaction and development, it relies on Min's prophecy making her and Elayne just accept polygamous love for Rand as their destiny. I still completely expect Min to be cast, but that showrunner quote about polyamory rather than polygamy also makes me expect Elayne/Aviendha. Min only has minimal interactions with the other two girls, but the long subplot about Elayne and Aviendha learning to love each other as future sister-wives would be very easy to transform into romantic love.

If I could go back in time and change the books, my big axe version of the love quadrangle would be a polyamorous triangle. No Min and no prophecy. Aviendha comes from a culture that accepts polygamy and homosexuality, so her inner conflict is still about feeling that she has betrayed her honor by loving Rand after she promised her new friend Elayne that she would watch over him. Elayne is a princess from a more traditional culture, so her first conflict is balancing her new but intense feelings for Rand and her political obligations, then wondering whether she can share him and discovering that she can love Aviendha too. Rand's conflicts with both girls can remain the same: the development of his relationship with Aviendha stays as it was since all of it happened onscreen, but Elayne being the sole focus of the early books makes that relationship (which got by far the least pagetime and development) more natural than before. But of course this is just a dream, and I'm placing my bets on Show Rand/Min/Elayne/Aviendha + Elayne/Aviendha.

Combining Gawyn and Galad makes sense, on a lot of levels. They follow similar journeys of mistaken loyalty and disillusionment, and the only real difference is one falls in love with Egwene and one doesn't. I think the Whitecloaks as a whole will have a reduced role, and Galad's character being folded into Gawyn could be part of that.

Regarding Aviendha/Elayne, I agree that the show is likely to make that more romantic as well, but I'd be surprised if they removed Aviendha as a romantic partner for Rand, given that they do have the most sustained build to their relationship. Elayne and Min both get a good meet/cute, and then immediately fall for him. I don't think modern TV audiences will have a whole lot of time or sympathy for that. Aviendha is determined not to like him at all, and fits far better with the modern sensibility of reluctant romance. If they get actors with the right chemistry, that couple could burn up the screen.

I agree with your rewrite of the central romantic quadrangle. Min is a favourite character of many, but she just never quite did it for me. Because of her viewings, she is too quick to submit to what she knows is fated - she loves Rand, even though she barely knows him. And I always thought she came off as an enabler rather than as someone who challenged him. Maybe that was the only way she could stay close to him, but I don't think it helped his mental state particularly.

Another change I'd make would be Rand/Egwene. Give them a sibling-like relationship, from the start of the show, because the nascent romance between them never adds up to much anyway. And then, when Elayne is introduced in whatever episode, she becomes an obvious potential romance.

One of the reservations I have with the way the first book looks to be translated to the screen is that staying faithful to it would mean introducing three potential girlfriends for Rand, all within the first half of the first season - Egwene then Min then Elayne. I don't think that would go down too well with people expecting strong, independent female characters and an egalitarian approach to gender issues.

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5 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

Combining Gawyn and Galad makes sense, on a lot of levels. They follow similar journeys of mistaken loyalty and disillusionment, and the only real difference is one falls in love with Egwene and one doesn't. I think the Whitecloaks as a whole will have a reduced role, and Galad's character being folded into Gawyn could be part of that.

At the moment I feel that Galad and Gawyn are both big enough to be cast if the show is trying to include all major characters, but at the same time they do offer one of the biggest potential merges, even easier than fan favorite Min. When characters are merged, I hope the show will manage to do that by making the chosen character feel the same even if they're picking up pieces of someone else's plot: for example, if Galad got Gawyn's White Tower plot, he could end up doing the same things but for reasons that feel true to Galad - with a great emphasis on him choosing to believe in the Tower as the legitimate authority. The Whitecloaks are in the background during the middle section so Galad might be the easier cut, but even Gawyn might be in a little danger: Gawyn/Egwene is the flimsiest and most offscreen of the supporting love stories (and she's the far more important character with her own huge plot) and cutting it wouldn't lead to any of the reader backlash that no Rand/Min would.

I confess that Min is my least favorite of the love interests, which was practically heresy at one point, for exactly that loving but a little too close to passively enabling vibe that she had. I loved Nynaeve's sisterly concern for Rand in the later books, so my big axe version would also emphasize that as Rand's major non-political relationship during his breakdown (they really need to look for a good comedic actress who can tackle Nynaeve's mix of massive temper, reckless courage and endless loyalty without becoming aggravating). IMO, Rand/Aviendha and Elayne/Aviendha were the best quadrangle interactions because we saw those relationships develop naturally over time.

Since the show is making Moiraine the main character of the first season, it should be easy to minimize the childhood crush angle and just have Rand, Perrin, Mat and Egwene as the young friends, with Nynaeve as the slightly older one, rather than the three boys + one tagalong girl grouping that positions Egwene as the love interest. Her defining character traits are ambition, political cunning and a wish to learn, and the show could lean into that right from the start even more emphatically than book 1 did: then her hook would be the country girl who wants to be a career woman instead of her starting out as the first love interest right before two others are introduced.

Edited by ElizaD
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2 hours ago, ElizaD said:

I confess that Min is my least favorite of the love interests, which was practically heresy at one point, for exactly that loving but a little too close to passively enabling vibe that she had. I loved Nynaeve's sisterly concern for Rand in the later books, so my big axe version would also emphasize that as Rand's major non-political relationship during his breakdown (they really need to look for a good comedic actress who can tackle Nynaeve's mix of massive temper, reckless courage and endless loyalty without becoming aggravating). IMO, Rand/Aviendha and Elayne/Aviendha were the best quadrangle interactions because we saw those relationships develop naturally over time.

Since the show is making Moiraine the main character of the first season, it should be easy to minimize the childhood crush angle and just have Rand, Perrin, Mat and Egwene as the young friends, with Nynaeve as the slightly older one, rather than the three boys + one tagalong girl grouping that positions Egwene as the love interest. Her defining character traits are ambition, political cunning and a wish to learn, and the show could lean into that right from the start even more emphatically than book 1 did: then her hook would be the country girl who wants to be a career woman instead of her starting out as the first love interest right before two others are introduced.

Focusing on the Nynaeve/Rand friendship more would definitely be welcome. I really appreciated the little bits of it that we got. And yes, she could easily fill Min's non-romantic role as an anchor for Rand (in a less passive way).

I'm definitely on board for a Rand/Elayne/Aviendha triangle that resolves itself with 'and they all fuck happily ever after'. That seems to be something Robert Jordan wanted to hint at, but wasn't willing to write. It would be a pretty fresh idea, even for a premium show.

Moiraine as the main character in season one intrigues me, because it lets them completely obscure which of the boys is the important one. In the books, even though no one knows who the Dragon Reborn is, the reader knows because we're reading Rand's POV. 

Egwene was definitely the most eager to leave, and eager to become an Aes Sedai. Refocusing that through Moiraine's eyes works too, because she can see the ability, and she knows that the girl has to be trained, but they can allow her to be conflicted about taking a girl away from her home and family.

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10 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

I don't think modern TV audiences will have a whole lot of time or sympathy for that.

I read a decent article about how modern audiences are going to receive the show, and I think it's fair. Making Av bisexual with genuine feelings for both might be a good choice. If that is the case, then as much as I do like Min, I would cut her. 

2 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

Refocusing that through Moiraine's eyes works too, because she can see the ability, and she knows that the girl has to be trained, but they can allow her to be conflicted about taking a girl away from her home and family.

I believe Moiraine had said that she knew Egw was strong, like historically strong, so that could be a good narrative in leading viewers to guess who the Dragon really is. I assume they'd show Moir's motivation to find the Dragon, and maybe a flashback to the Foretelling. I would assume they'd end a S1 with Rand channeling at the Eye, which was really awesome. Plus, there's a couple of hints that Rand might have accidentally channeled before that. 

TBH, I don't think book readers overall are going to be satisfied, and I don't really care. People here seem to understand that. I've seen social media with complaining already. And, really, a shit ton of the series needs to be cut if you're going to make a viable tv show. They need to bring in people like me from GOT - I never read those books but liked the series overall, though I think it plodded a lot hewing to the books so much. 

Really, a S2 needs to end with Rand being established as the Dragon. I think they would waste too much time on book 2. Compress those timelines immediately. Everyone breaking into the Stone and that fight, when Rand finally grabs Callendor should be absolutely explosive. Plus it gives you the chance to have Ish explain the Wheel. With Mat inventing dynamite. I loved his aside when he saw everyone breaking in - oh, we're apparently having a party now? KABOOM!

They should also compress the time in the Waste considerably. There's a lot of sitting around there. I'm also interested if they're going to pull off Lews in Rand's head. They're probably going to have to show the opening scene sooner than later. 

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Now that it's on my mind, I was thinking how they were going to do the channeling. Because a bunch of people grunting and squinting at each other probably isn't good tv. It could be a really cool effect with different looks for men and women. Nye figuring out how to heal gentling should also be a bang moment. Actually, visualizing the channeling according to strength would be a cool look. I don't know how you'd do it. Balefire too. That needs to be absolutely terrifying. 

Flashbacks to the Foresaken should be super cool if they pull it off right. 

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9 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

I'm definitely on board for a Rand/Elayne/Aviendha triangle that resolves itself with 'and they all fuck happily ever after'. That seems to be something Robert Jordan wanted to hint at, but wasn't willing to write. It would be a pretty fresh idea, even for a premium show.

Moiraine as the main character in season one intrigues me, because it lets them completely obscure which of the boys is the important one. In the books, even though no one knows who the Dragon Reborn is, the reader knows because we're reading Rand's POV.

I think the showrunner said something like "pillow friends everywhere" so they will be more direct about the lesbian relationships that Jordan hinted at in the Tower. I wonder how they'll handle Moiraine/Siuan: in the books it's all backstory and both are now focused on their causes, but the show might want to make it clear that they were (still are?) more than platonic besties.

The official description of the series says that Moiraine finds five young men and women in her quest for the prophesied savior, so I think the show won't even reveal the sex in which the Dragon has been reborn.

7 hours ago, ganesh said:

I read a decent article about how modern audiences are going to receive the show, and I think it's fair. Making Av bisexual with genuine feelings for both might be a good choice. If that is the case, then as much as I do like Min, I would cut her. 

I believe Moiraine had said that she knew Egw was strong, like historically strong, so that could be a good narrative in leading viewers to guess who the Dragon really is. I assume they'd show Moir's motivation to find the Dragon, and maybe a flashback to the Foretelling. I would assume they'd end a S1 with Rand channeling at the Eye, which was really awesome. Plus, there's a couple of hints that Rand might have accidentally channeled before that.

Really, a S2 needs to end with Rand being established as the Dragon. I think they would waste too much time on book 2.

Even if the show is making some updates, there's no way for an adaptation of a pre-2010s work to be totally free of every single thing that's tagged as problematic today. I can already see the angry thinkpieces about the way the One Power functions. I just hope the changes will keep that stuff from being overwhelming.

Leaked episode titles show that we're getting at least to the beginning of book 2. I don't know the number of episodes in the season: they might get as far as the departure on the Great Hunt, or the arrival in the White Tower, but I feel that it would be too much to shove the Cairhien chapters in season 1. The early books are so much more full of content that I wouldn't go two full books per season until book 7. A few years ago I read a great breakdown of the book arcs for a seven season show, but that blog is deleted now.

Siuan and Verin are major book 2 characters that will definitely be getting cast for the later season 1 episodes, and Liandrin or maybe Alviarin if they feel it's more important to establish her early by giving her Liandrin's early plot. Personally I would still include Liandrin and just conclude her plot with the win for the girls in book 4.

Even though they don't know whether the series will be a hit, I feel that they absolutely need to have a proper outline of how they want to do the entire story. That's necessary for deciding when and how to cut/include major plotlines even in the first season. For example, I'm interested to see how handle Tuon, the most important canon black character. Will they follow the books by having the Seanchan army offscreen for a couple of seasons and then cast Tuon only when they reach her book appearance, or do they want Tuon to be with the army the first time it shows up (either late season 1 or early season 2, based on what the titles imply about season 1, but more logically as the big new plot in season 2)? Also, I hope they keep in mind how many readers would love to see the Seanchan with their canon southern accent - the showrunner just said that the accents for a region will be based on the first big characters they cast, so Pike has made the Cairhienin posh Brits.

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11 hours ago, ganesh said:

TBH, I don't think book readers overall are going to be satisfied, and I don't really care. People here seem to understand that. I've seen social media with complaining already. And, really, a shit ton of the series needs to be cut if you're going to make a viable tv show. They need to bring in people like me from GOT - I never read those books but liked the series overall, though I think it plodded a lot hewing to the books so much. 

Really, a S2 needs to end with Rand being established as the Dragon. I think they would waste too much time on book 2. Compress those timelines immediately. Everyone breaking into the Stone and that fight, when Rand finally grabs Callendor should be absolutely explosive. Plus it gives you the chance to have Ish explain the Wheel. With Mat inventing dynamite. I loved his aside when he saw everyone breaking in - oh, we're apparently having a party now? KABOOM!

They should also compress the time in the Waste considerably. There's a lot of sitting around there. I'm also interested if they're going to pull off Lews in Rand's head. They're probably going to have to show the opening scene sooner than later. 

I've already made my peace with 'if I don't like it, I just won't watch it'. Because this series is so much harder to get right than Game of Thrones was. And I care about this series far more, which means that if they make changes I don't like, I'll be more annoyed. But that's just the way it goes.

Compressing certain timelines is inevitable. For me, the journey of Perrin, Moiraine, Lan and Loial following Rand across the continent as he heads for Tear definitely needs to be cut - A couple of examples of ta'veren activity, Perrin meets Faile and the confrontation with the Darkhounds. It could be done in an episode, maybe two if it's juxtaposed with the girls in the Tower. I think I'd cut Rand out of those episodes entirely, because his behaviour in them is at odds with how he behaves in the next four books.

8 hours ago, ganesh said:

Now that it's on my mind, I was thinking how they were going to do the channeling. Because a bunch of people grunting and squinting at each other probably isn't good tv. It could be a really cool effect with different looks for men and women. Nye figuring out how to heal gentling should also be a bang moment. Actually, visualizing the channeling according to strength would be a cool look. I don't know how you'd do it. Balefire too. That needs to be absolutely terrifying. 

Flashbacks to the Foresaken should be super cool if they pull it off right. 

I can't even picture how it should look, to be honest. I don't want that anime-style exaggerated grunting and groaning, with rushing cameras. It's corny as fuck. The first use of it we see will probably be be Moiraine channelling fire in Emond's Field, which should look something like Pyro in X-Men 2. Once you've shown that, and established she can do more, people will be far more accepting of however the One Power is depicted.

3 hours ago, ElizaD said:

I think the showrunner said something like "pillow friends everywhere" so they will be more direct about the lesbian relationships that Jordan hinted at in the Tower. I wonder how they'll handle Moiraine/Siuan: in the books it's all backstory and both are now focused on their causes, but the show might want to make it clear that they were (still are?) more than platonic besties.

Leaked episode titles show that we're getting at least to the beginning of book 2. I don't know the number of episodes in the season: they might get as far as the departure on the Great Hunt, or the arrival in the White Tower, but I feel that it would be too much to shove the Cairhien chapters in season 1. The early books are so much more full of content that I wouldn't go two full books per season until book 7. A few years ago I read a great breakdown of the book arcs for a seven season show, but that blog is deleted now.

Siuan and Verin are major book 2 characters that will definitely be getting cast for the later season 1 episodes, and Liandrin or maybe Alviarin if they feel it's more important to establish her early by giving her Liandrin's early plot. Personally I would still include Liandrin and just conclude her plot with the win for the girls in book 4.

Even though they don't know whether the series will be a hit, I feel that they absolutely need to have a proper outline of how they want to do the entire story. That's necessary for deciding when and how to cut/include major plotlines even in the first season. For example, I'm interested to see how handle Tuon, the most important canon black character. Will they follow the books by having the Seanchan army offscreen for a couple of seasons and then cast Tuon only when they reach her book appearance, or do they want Tuon to be with the army the first time it shows up (either late season 1 or early season 2, based on what the titles imply about season 1, but more logically as the big new plot in season 2)? Also, I hope they keep in mind how many readers would love to see the Seanchan with their canon southern accent - the showrunner just said that the accents for a region will be based on the first big characters they cast, so Pike has made the Cairhienin posh Brits.

They need to drop Moiraine/Thom, and just give Moiraine no romantic interest beyond a past relationship with Suian. The Moiraine/Thom thing was pointless and made no sense at all. But Moiraine is the definition of Blue Ajah - their cause is their passion - and that should be clear in the adaptation.

I don't know how I feel about them compressing more than one book into a season. Because, while it absolutely needs to be done, the thought of not having season one end with Moiraine saying "the Dragon is reborn" is frustrating. Just like the thought of the Battle of Falme not ending season two is frustrating. They need to figure out how to make moments really big, even if they aren't season climaxes. This is something The Expanse made a decent job of, but they still lost some impact at times.

I think casting someone like Tuon needs to be done later in the show. Because the problem with these book adaptations is often that we meet an important character, but then don't see them again for a couple of books. How can the actor guarantee availability to film five episodes, two years from now?

It's good that TV shows can expand the POV and show you a more rounded picture of what's happening, but there should be a limit to that. I'm fine with the Seanchan and the Aiel being unseen until they become a part of the story. And I think the Forsaken should remain off camera completely, until see them in the books. 

The accents being defined by the actors cast makes sense, but I hope they don't rely too strongly on Rosamund Pike for Cairhienin. For one, she's from the very top of Cairhienin society and two, she's Tower trained. I don't mind Cairhien having an RP accent, but I strongly feel Andor should have similar, to emphasise the links between countries and between the Trakand and Damodred houses.

And they need to save Irish accents for the Aiel.

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33 minutes ago, Danny Franks said:

They need to drop Moiraine/Thom, and just give Moiraine no romantic interest beyond a past relationship with Suian. The Moiraine/Thom thing was pointless and made no sense at all. But Moiraine is the definition of Blue Ajah - their cause is their passion - and that should be clear in the adaptation.

I don't know how I feel about them compressing more than one book into a season. Because, while it absolutely needs to be done, the thought of not having season one end with Moiraine saying "the Dragon is reborn" is frustrating. Just like the thought of the Battle of Falme not ending season two is frustrating. They need to figure out how to make moments really big, even if they aren't season climaxes.

The few hype quotes that have been released about Pike have emphasized her understanding of Moiraine's mission, so I think that will indeed be a big focus. Moiraine/Thom works perfectly well as mutual respect by two people who recognize each other as brilliant political players (it's another romance that exists solely because Min's bloody viewings said so).

Books 1-5 will be difficult to adapt because they have far more relevant content than the later ones and every major plot also builds to a climax at the end. In book 6, Rand/Perrin still have a huge final moment but for everyone else their plots are basically in buildup mode for the last quarter of the book. Book 7+, if we get that far, everyone's plots should start moving at their natural paces towards reasonable seasonal climaxes instead of staying faithful to their book structure (so Faile's infamous subplot of doom ought to be one season and done, max two, while in the books it started in her last book 8 chapter and ended in book 11).

The Forsaken need some revising. Ishamael and Lanfear are the only truly essential ones. Semirhage and Mesaana park themselves as shadow rulers of major forces that are vital to the plot, so I think it's logical to keep them. I love Graendal, but I fear that her role as the plotter might make her too similar to Lanfear and Mesaana. Moghedien has the advantage of her vendetta with Nynaeve, but considering later events, it might make sense to have her killed off in their first book 4 confrontation. Demandred has always felt like one of the big Forsaken, but actually he does very little before the Last Battle and the show can't have him as offscreen as the books: I feel like the logical thing is to either cut him or just go with the Taimandred secret identity theory that Jordan's notes revealed to have been his initial plan before he changed his mind about it.

Despite all the real world countries that Jordan drew on when creating the cultures and fashions of his nations, none have a Northern or Eastern European vibe (there's only some Thor imagery for Perrin and Odin for Mat). Still, I'll keep on hoping that somebody who's familiar to me from Nordic television gets to play an Aiel. Andor has such a strong Arthurian/Elizabethan theme that their accents should be English. I've seen American accents suggested for our Two Rivers folk because it would mean getting US actors as the young main heroes and be sorta-canon since they're from a remote backwater that no longer recognizes Andoran authority.

To help WOT stand out as its own thing and not a GOT/LOTR clone, I hope they emphasize that the setting is actually closer to the Renaissance than standard faux-medieval fantasy.

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10 hours ago, ElizaD said:

The Forsaken need some revising. Ishamael and Lanfear are the only truly essential ones. Semirhage and Mesaana park themselves as shadow rulers of major forces that are vital to the plot, so I think it's logical to keep them. I love Graendal, but I fear that her role as the plotter might make her too similar to Lanfear and Mesaana. Moghedien has the advantage of her vendetta with Nynaeve, but considering later events, it might make sense to have her killed off in their first book 4 confrontation. Demandred has always felt like one of the big Forsaken, but actually he does very little before the Last Battle and the show can't have him as offscreen as the books: I feel like the logical thing is to either cut him or just go with the Taimandred secret identity theory that Jordan's notes revealed to have been his initial plan before he changed his mind about it.

Despite all the real world countries that Jordan drew on when creating the cultures and fashions of his nations, none have a Northern or Eastern European vibe (there's only some Thor imagery for Perrin and Odin for Mat). Still, I'll keep on hoping that somebody who's familiar to me from Nordic television gets to play an Aiel. Andor has such a strong Arthurian/Elizabethan theme that their accents should be English. I've seen American accents suggested for our Two Rivers folk because it would mean getting US actors as the young main heroes and be sorta-canon since they're from a remote backwater that no longer recognizes Andoran authority.

To help WOT stand out as its own thing and not a GOT/LOTR clone, I hope they emphasize that the setting is actually closer to the Renaissance than standard faux-medieval fantasy.

Yeah, I think some of the minor Forsaken could be switched out for Darkfriends without anything being lost - Be'lal and Graendal are prime examples. And the resurrection of Forsaken in new bodies might have to be revised too, especially as them being Forsaken isn't really that relevant.

I think, with all the best will in the world, we might see the accents being downplayed a lot as the show develops. Look at GoT, where people from the North mostly have a generic 'northern' English accent, but then Robert has a similar accent despite being from far to the south, and Davos has a North Eastern accent despite being from Kings Landing.

As long as all the Emond's Fielders have the same accent, I'm okay with everything else being something of a mishmash... except for the Aiel and Seanchan, who should be distinct and the product of far more insular, closed off societies.

The Renaissance-inspired setting should allow the show to distinguish itself from other fantasy shows quite quickly. Obviously, a little village will look the same, whether its 12th century or 16th century, but the cities and the fashions should be obviously different.

Edited by Danny Franks

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15 hours ago, ElizaD said:

A few years ago I read a great breakdown of the book arcs for a seven season show, but that blog is deleted now.

I don't think the show should go past 7. That's a long time for major player actors like the Two Rivers and Elayne. I know comparisons to GOT aren't entirely fair, but it seemed to me like everyone in the final season was way way way wiped out and just wanted to get the show over with. People like the Stark actors were involved with the show for a *decade*. That's hard. 

11 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

Just like the thought of the Battle of Falme not ending season two is frustrating.

I completely forgot about that. Actually you could do a mid season ender with Falme and then the Stone to close out the season. The casual viewer isn't going to want to sit around hearing about a fucking Dragon for 3 years or so without a reveal. 

26 minutes ago, Danny Franks said:

Yeah, I think some of the minor Forsaken could be switched out for Darkfriends without anything being lost - Be'lal and Graendal are prime examples.

Rand does need to channel and kill a Forsaken at the Eye though. So maybe the show just won't resurrect them. 

How the fuck are they going to do the Dark One? Because the Foresaken were shown largely to be terrified of him. 

I really don't like the back quarter of the series, and I thought the end was a total flop. I'm not hate watching, I do hope the show is interesting and successful, but frankly, there is a significant portion that is just useless garbage. I just have no time for 'men and women are different!' and have the women not telling the men anything because they're so 'wool headed'. Like on Lost how the plot was driven by people not asking obvious questions. I get the AS are going to be kind of arrogant. I don't think it's particularly interesting to see the Reds constantly man hating. I get that people are naturally worried about men, and that's their job to find them. 

Actually, it would be interesting if the show took an alternative POV and showed the AS as kind of fanatical. 

One man/woman thing I think would be interesting is Rand/Cadsuane evolving into her mentoring him and him growing the fuck up to actually not just be the Dragon but a king. 

The show has the fortune of the entirety of the source material though, and there's just some fantastic moments that could be so epic - Dumai's Wells should be positively grisly, and a lot of suspenseful political machinations. I do hope they flashback to the Foresaken in the last war. That should be cool.

10 hours ago, ElizaD said:

Demandred has always felt like one of the big Forsaken, but actually he does very little before the Last Battle and the show can't have him as offscreen as the books: I feel like the logical thing is to either cut him or just go with the Taimandred secret identity theory that Jordan's notes revealed to have been his initial plan before he changed his mind about it.

This was one of the most fucking stupidest parts of the whole series. Every so often he's looking in a gateway and no one knows what he's doing and then all of a sudden - BAO IS HERE. I was like who? And then Lan cuts him to pieces with like 4 moves. This was supposed to be one of the greatest generals of the last war. I remember the Taimandred theory floating around back then and it's massively shortsighted to not have done this. You could do this and literally nothing would change. Just have him keep his personal ter-angreal thing in storage and bust it out for the last battle. Or have him on a side plot searching for it.  

I am glad the show is on a streaming/premium platform, and I think this empowers TPTBs to focus on telling a good story. 

Edited by ganesh

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I'm not too too worried about accents because even people from the same state irl talk different. I would agree that the insulated societies should be distinct though. I don't care if it doesn't line up exactly like the books. Like the Seanchan are supposed to hiss and slur all the time. That sounds hard for actors to consistently do. If they all talked with a Russian accent, or whatever. 

The good thing is that it's made up, so it's not like an American doing a bad Brit accent. 

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On ‎7‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 11:57 PM, ganesh said:

I don't think the show should go past 7. That's a long time for major player actors like the Two Rivers and Elayne. I know comparisons to GOT aren't entirely fair, but it seemed to me like everyone in the final season was way way way wiped out and just wanted to get the show over with. People like the Stark actors were involved with the show for a *decade*. That's hard. 

I think seven seasons is doable, as long as Amazon are prepared to play it a little fast and loose with the number of, and length of, episodes in each season.

Books 8-10 can definitely be condensed into one season, and probably books 11 and 12 too. There is a lot of filler and a lot of minor plotlines that will probably be cut from the adaptation, if it ever gets that far.

On ‎7‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 11:57 PM, ganesh said:

This was one of the most fucking stupidest parts of the whole series. Every so often he's looking in a gateway and no one knows what he's doing and then all of a sudden - BAO IS HERE. I was like who? And then Lan cuts him to pieces with like 4 moves. This was supposed to be one of the greatest generals of the last war. I remember the Taimandred theory floating around back then and it's massively shortsighted to not have done this. You could do this and literally nothing would change. Just have him keep his personal ter-angreal thing in storage and bust it out for the last battle. Or have him on a side plot searching for it.  

As I understand it, Jordan originally intended for Mazrim Taim to be Demandred, but changed his mind and had to figure out a different way to make him relevant. I don't know if it was because so many people had figured it out. The idea of this mysterious land of Shara wasn't bad, but the execution of it was a bit lame.

Combining Sammael and Demandred would make sense, because they both fill similar roles in terms of being Lews Therin's enemy. Just have 'Samandred' escape from the confrontation with Rand, so he can continue to be a threat.

On ‎7‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 12:06 AM, ganesh said:

I'm not too too worried about accents because even people from the same state irl talk different. I would agree that the insulated societies should be distinct though. I don't care if it doesn't line up exactly like the books. Like the Seanchan are supposed to hiss and slur all the time. That sounds hard for actors to consistently do. If they all talked with a Russian accent, or whatever. 

The good thing is that it's made up, so it's not like an American doing a bad Brit accent. 

The accents are something that people tend to get hung up on, before an adaptation is made. Just like the character heights, hair colour, whether someone is attractive enough. Often, it ends up not mattering at all. Emilia Clarke looks almost nothing like the book version of Daenerys Targaryen, but most people have been more than happy with her version of the character (until the shitty ending).

I remember someone raising the idea of Ken Watanabe playing Lan, on Reddit, and people freaked out. A lot of them did not like the idea of a Japanese guy playing Lan, and refused to see any similarities between Japanese culture and the honour-bound, poetry loving, top-knot wearing, ritualistic warriors of Shienar and Malkier.

Edited by Danny Franks
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Didn't one of the books only span like one week? They're going to have to smash a lot of the back half of the series together. I would figure the last book would have to be an entire series itself. 

I thought Lan was supposed to be a samurai the whole time!

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On 7/8/2019 at 1:57 AM, ganesh said:

I just have no time for 'men and women are different!' and have the women not telling the men anything because they're so 'wool headed'.

Come on now, the men also don't tell each other anything. Seriously, the sheer amount of information Mat, Perrin and Rand hid from each other for plot convenience was mind-boggling. Rand spent something like half the series thinking Mat was with Egwene because otherwise he would have tried to save him and the planned plot for Mat wouldn't have worked.

I used to be a huge WoT fan, and I still like the series a lot but I am skeptical about the show. It's a story with massive scope, thousands of characters, tons of magic. In order to adapt it well for TV they would need a budget dwarfing that of Game of Thrones and I doubt the show is going to get one. But it is true that there is an awful lot which can be cut... cough, Cadsuane and Gawyn, cough.

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1 hour ago, DoctorAtomic said:

Didn't one of the books only span like one week? They're going to have to smash a lot of the back half of the series together. I would figure the last book would have to be an entire series itself. 

I thought Lan was supposed to be a samurai the whole time!

Almost the entire last book is the extended series of battles, seemingly taking place in a matter of days. But the one that frustrated me was when book ten took place in almost the same timeframe as book nine, just focused on different characters. GRRM pulled that trick as well, with similarly underwhelming results.

Lan is definitely very much influenced by Samurai, but there are a lot of people who apparently didn't want to picture him as non-white.

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There's communication issues throughout the book for sure. They probably could have sealed the bore in like a week. 

I think there's going to be tons cut for tv. 

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I like all of them, at least from the headshots we can see.

Rand - Grow his hair a little, and I don't know what else he could have looked like. The guy is supposed to be a tall, handsome, fair skinned guy with red hair and grey/blue eyes, and this kid ticks all the boxes (if his hair isn't quite right, it's fair enough that a bit of colouring will be easy).

Mat - He looks like he as a cheeky, cynical streak to him.

Perrin - Sort of rugged and coarse-featured, and if he's not got a blacksmith's arms right now, he'll surely have them by the time they start filming.

Egwene - She's got a face that seems just right for stubborn, hardheaded Egwene, and the big, brown eyes that are often commented on.

Nynaeve - A little older than the others, and she already has braids! What more could you ask for?

So far, the casting for this show is demonstrating that the people making it have an appreciation for the source material.

Edit: Lot of racism on Reddit, in reaction to these announcements. Looot of racism.

Edited by Danny Franks

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I was a bit confused for a hot second since the names in the article aren't listed in the same order as the pictures.  Now I have the right names to match with the right faces.   The ladies are listed correctly but

Rand is the first guy pictured (Josha Stradowski)

Perrin is the second guy pictured (Marcus Rutherford)

Mat is the last guy pictured (Barney Harris)

Edited by rove4

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This is several seasons away, but I would give anything for Meryl Streep to play Cadsuane. Is that a possibility? Someone make this happen. 

I'm digging the casting so far... For Perrin, in my head I always pictured someone broader, but this guy is tall. So he may have time to bulk up. 

Mat is perfect. So is Egwene and Nyneave. We will see about Rand... 

She's probably too old for the role, but Amy Adams would have been the perfect Elayne. 

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The Mat and Egwene casting are the only ones that I think are spot on. I imagine Perrin as very burly and bulky. I wonder who they will go with Elayne and Lan? Lan is described as aroune 6'5" and Elayne has curly strawberry blonde hair.  The chemistry with Nynaeve and Elayne is very important since they spend a lot of time together undercover. 

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Some obvious Casanova on Facebook snarked about the show being a '90210 cast,' and the WOT FB snapped back that the actor was in his 40s which is basically Lan's age in the book. 

I always thought Lan had kind of a worn out look so I hope they can get something like that. 

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I don't know the actor, but I love Lan being played by an Asian guy. Shienaran culture is heavily influenced by feudal Japan - topknots, warrior ethos, constant talk of honour, ritualised relationships and at one point Lan actually recites a poem about cherry blossom.

And, while I never really picked up on this, a lot of Malkieri culture (the nation of Lan's birth) has parallels in Tibet and Nepal - the painted dots that women wear in the centre of their foreheads allude to Hinduism. And I've seen it suggested that Malkier being swallowed by the Blight, leaving just one representative of its culture is... well... not a thousand miles away from what happened to Tibet.

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16 hours ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I think they have the right idea in casting 'unknown' actors. (To Americans). 

Yes, for sure! I think mostly unknowns is a good choice. I hope they get someone with a little gravitas for Thom, though. I don't know who my ideal casting of him is, but I have such a perfect picture of him in my head, it's the only one I'm worried about!

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Daniel Henney posted on twitter that they were having their first table read yesterday. 

Still no word on Thom's casting. 

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Apparently I'm the only one super into this show - I am dying for more casting news.

Spoiler

Rumor has it that Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton) has been cast in the show. (You can see him the table read video)

No word on if he might be playing Tom, or Paidan Fain, or even Tam al'Thor, but there is lots of spec out there. 

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I'm not a super fan. I've read the series thoroughly enough, and I will likely check out the show. I just don't want it to be so overhyped that it falls flat for the non-book viewer. I also don't really avail myself of out of show media. 

I'm sure we'll have a lot of discussion when the show airs. I am interested in how they're going to structure the actual narrative because it's *enormous*, and they've got to cut out a ton else it's going to be a grind. Like, I don't care if the Seanchan are largely in the background. 

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8 hours ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I am interested in how they're going to structure the actual narrative because it's *enormous*,

Seriously.  I'm reading the final book, and have hit the chapter "The Last Battle."  This one chapter is as long as many books (not in this series, but still...).  It's likely going to take an entire season to adapt just this one chapter. 

And it's not even the last one!

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iirc that chapter is like 200+ pages! tbh I thought the 'last battle' was weak AF.

Except for Lan and the Gateway artillery, for the end of an Age, it fell completely flat to me. I really thought Rand ending channeling altogether would have been his 'breaking'.

To be fair, when the Horn sounded, and Mat was like, 'ok, so we'll pull back and let you to it,' and Hawkwing replies, 'uh, yeah, no. That's not how it works.' Mat going all ffs was genuinely funny.

Anything with Mat being put upon was wildly entertaining.

Edited by DoctorAtomic
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I was disappointed by the last book, not because the climax wasn't big enough, but because I felt there was a real lack of character interactions. These are people I've spent my whole adult life reading, and there were barely any scenes of them interacting before it was "Battles! War! Action!" (which is pretty much the only thing Brandon Sanderson writes really well, so I guess I can understand why he resorted to it). A whole book of that, then an epilogue of a couple of pages that left me feeling unfulfilled.

I know that Robert Jordan had the last paragraph sitting in his desk for over twenty years, but I don't know how fully formed his vision of the Last Battle was, or how he planned on writing the last scene for each character.

Regarding the show, a  lot of people are panicking over the fact that no actor has been announced for Thom (even though no actors have been announced for Tam, Bran, Marin, Master Luhhan, Min etc either). But I think the plot is easily reworkable to remove Thom from the opening and introduce him later. I even think they'll have toyed with the idea of replacing Loial with Thom, purely from an economical standpoint (Ogier are going to be expensive), but also because they fill very similar story roles in the early books.

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On 10/13/2019 at 12:17 AM, DoctorAtomic said:

iirc that chapter is like 200+ pages!

Closer to 300.  Naturally, the following chapter is just 4 pages.

And now having finished that, I revise my statement.  It may not be a whole season on it's own, but the Last Battle is going to have to be multiple episodes.  Knowing that, the constant changes from one group/POV to another will work really well for a TV structure.  Each episode of the Battle will have at least one scene with Rand, one with Elayne, one with Mat, one with Perrin, etc.... 

At least, I hope they do it that way instead of focusing on one POV per episode.

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Yeah and then they ended with, 'oh, looks like the Aiel will just be out and out slaughtered. Thanks for all the fish!' 

Why bother at that point? No one thought to go in the other way ever this whole time? 

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