The Wheel of Time (an Amazon Prime Video production)

This blog post is proudly brought to you by the Black JeopardyTM category “FID’NA”.

As in, I’m fid’na bitch-slap the next mealy-mouthed gatekeeping little cunt who says the words “true fan” or “emotional investment in the books” halfway into the next internet argument. I’ll destroy you, not out of righteous outrage or defensiveness over my fan-cred, but simply because it’s fun.

Let’s start at the end.

The show was a solid adaptation, and although I was left baffled by a lot of the decisions the creators made I wasn’t disappointed, let alone offended, by the product. I’ll check out season 2 and I found the whole thing very interesting.

What else? Having exchanged hundreds of messages over Discord and Twitter about this show, I find myself without much else to say here. I started out hyped and excited by this show, then as the episodes went by I got steadily more meh as they cut and changed more and more things, but ultimately I was left feeling like it had been a fun and intriguing and very watchable experience. I enjoyed watching it with Mrs. Hatboy and Wump and Toop, and we always have the books still. The TV show didn’t go back in time and punch teenage Hatboy in the dick while he was reading Lord of Chaos. The TV show didn’t sneak into my goddamn house and burn my copies of the books. It’s fine.

As you can no doubt imagine in the event you haven’t seen any of it first-hand, there is a lot of divided opinion on social media. That’s what social media is for.

Some people were fine up until the last episode, and then decided the whole thing was a bust. Some people thought the final episode was the best episode, although for me I guess it would have to be episode 5, with Stepin’s fate and Perrin and Egwene escaping Valda. That was a high point for me.

Fucking hilarious.

Anyway, point is, yeah the show sort of shat the bed and fell apart after a bit, but I honestly wasn’t expecting anything else.

“I wish I was more like Mat or Perrin, they’re way better at … talking … to girls…”
– Okay, see, some things were improved upon in the adaptation.

Part of the disappointment, for me, was in discussing the pros and cons of each development and deviation from the books with other long-time WoT nerds. Not the discussion itself – that was a highlight – but the realisation that we had definitely put way more thought and care and consideration into the story than any of the showrunners had. I went ahead with the benefit of the doubt and the possible explanations and ways they could explain or justify decisions, based on an obsessive familiarity with the source material. But at a certain point, I just had to accept that the writers of the show just weren’t there with me. As I’ve joked time and time again with Disney / Marvel / big budget CGI BST spectaculars, give me a call and I’ll fix your fucking story.

But sure. I’m nobody, there’s no reason to give me any credence. This was their show, and I’m glad it did well. I hope they’re happy with the result and that it gets more time and money to get more seasons out. Like I say, I’m not mad at the show. I’m not even disappointed, really. It was an adaptation and adaptations are hard.

They don’t have to be this hard, but they don’t not have to be this hard, either.

I get, on an intellectual level, the need to put something of your own creative flair into a translation of someone else’s work from one medium to another. You don’t want to scene-for-scene, line-for-line convert a book into a TV show or movie. That’s how you end up with Bilbo trying to pickpocket a troll and the troll turning out to have a talking purse. No. Peter Jackson’s hand was very clear in the Lord of the Rings adaptations, and I know it’s unfair to compare anything to such a perfect set of movies, but that’s the bed they made for themselves. His hand was clear, but the adaptation was nevertheless flawless. FLAWLESS.

In contrast, I’m having a very hard time picking out what Rafe Judkins’s creative vision was here, and how his hand is visible. Aside from “just changing things so they’re not the same as the books,” which is … okay, sometimes that’s a good idea, like I say. But other times, I had to wonder why.

And the determination, good idea or why, is going to be different for everyone and for every scene, line, character, arc, and special effect. So short of going through the whole series and labelling every single change from the books as good idea or why, there doesn’t seem much point in it.

“It comes in pints? I’m getting one.”

Big picture? The book series is enormous, the world and plot are far-reaching and ambitious, and something had to be condensed or rearranged to allow a TV show of uncertain episode commitment to happen. Can every aspect of the geography, history, politics, alternate worlds, magic systems and cultures go in there? Probably not. But it almost seemed like more effort to do it differently. The material was all there. All they had to do was less work, and it would have been better. You don’t need expensive high seas tall ship shoots – just put a guy (for example) in Atha’an Miere garments in the marketplace in Tar Valon, and you’ve shown that the Sea Folk are a thing. Like I say, that was an example of a thing they did, and it was good. But there was precious little of that.

I could go on and on. And I probably will, as more thoughts shake loose and I let this simmer for a while. But my main take-away is just sort of confusion. I can see how the Game of Thrones writers lost their way, because Martin is asleep at the wheel. Jordan is dead, and Sanderson knows his shit, and the books are there. Everything you need, plot and script and characters and sets, is provided for you. You don’t need to make anything up. Anything you do make up, runs the risk of reducing the quality of the finished product. A far higher risk than the chance it might enhance it. Enhancements happened, but that risk was taken an unnecessary and baffling number of times, for reasons that escape me. Was it all just the hubris of an artist thinking he could improve on a work he was contracted to bring to new audiences? It sort of seems that way.

But then, Jordan thought he could improve on Tolkien too, and all he really did was write more books. He, too, took that risk. And here we are.

Here we are, specifically, in … *checks notes* the Winespring Inn, where the Wisdom of Emond’s Field habitually *checks notes again, blinks* fixes to pull a fucking shiv on anyone who walks in the door.

Confession time: I never liked the casting of Moiraine. Rosamund Pike was not right for the role and it irked me from the start. Her performance was fine, especially considering the performance actually required of her (which overlapped with “Moiraine” on only occasional beats), but I never liked the casting choice. As I said here already, but now I can be clearer on the subject because I’ve actually seen the show.

She’s reading this Wikipedia page in her head.

Confession the second: I never warmed to Loial. Sorry.

I knew it would be this way. That’s why I did this.

Again, Hammed Animashaun did a fine job and his delivery was great, but the costuming was so fucking goofy and the size scale was so absolutely wrong, it literally reduced him to “weird human.” Given that Loial is my favourite character from the books, and all they needed to do was a bit of goddamn forced perspective from time to time, how hard could it have been to make him look 150% human size? I mean I get that they didn’t have a Lord of the Rings budget, but they had a budget, right?

This is how you do it. It’s not that fucking hard. You just need to do less than what they did in The Nevers.

Anyway, that’s it for my confessions, and that’s it for me and this TV show, at least for now. I’m looking forward to the next season, despite my grumbling and head-scratching. Some of the casting was just amazing. Overall, the show was more or less on a par with a decent Terry Pratchett book adaptation. With the caveat that there has really not managed to be a good Pratchett adaptation yet, but the decent ones might edge out the Wheel of Time TV show on faithfulness to the source material, even if they swung and missed. At least they swung.

In the meantime, I got a bit of perspective up me as I watched the first episode of the latest Pratchett adaptation The Watch on HBO. It was fucking appalling. So yeah, I’m going to sit and watch more of The Wheel of Time, not necessarily because it’s a good adaptation, but because you clueless shitbirds don’t know what an offense to the source material really is.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy. https://hatboy.blog/2013/12/17/metalude-who-are-creepy-and-hatboy/
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55 Responses to The Wheel of Time (an Amazon Prime Video production)

  1. Hatboy says:

    See, they could have hired a talented new face at 10% of Rosamund Pike’s paycheque, and poured that savings into doing Loial’s size and costume properly. Call me and I’ll fix your fucking story, idiots.

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      LOAIL!!! (bad LOL pun)

      This so precisely captures my thinking, with the exception of your conclusion that you’re going to watch the second season, that I have nothing to add. My level of confidence this will be worth my time is lower than yours, I guess. But I will definitely be asking those I trust, and my already high trust in you was amplified by this blog post, whether they think I should watch the completed season 2 etc.

      So instead, I will just quote a couple of things you wrote that particularly resonate with me:
      “Everything you need, plot and script and characters and sets, is provided for you. You don’t need to make anything up. Anything you do make up, runs the risk of reducing the quality of the finished product. A far higher risk than the chance it might enhance it. Enhancements happened, but that risk was taken an unnecessary and baffling number of times, for reasons that escape me. Was it all just the hubris of an artist thinking he could improve on a work he was contracted to bring to new audiences? It sort of seems that way.”

      Without the “But” you added next because I was taught if you say “but” it cancels out what you said before! XD

      “Part of the disappointment, for me, was in discussing the pros and cons of each development and deviation from the books with other long-time WoT nerds. Not the discussion itself – that was a highlight – but the realisation that we had definitely put way more thought and care and consideration into the story than any of the showrunners had.”

      Yup! And I definitely didn’t get that impression from the last Marvel Arc, or the LOTR movies (but yeah I’d say with the Hobbit which was garbage, sure) and I just don’t see any good reason this should have been the case! The first quote makes my final point on the second quote. You didn’t NEED to change much at all. And for a time, I thought that was what they were doing. Or not doing.

      • Hatboy says:

        I’d mildly disagree on the Hobbit point – it did occur to me when I made the comment about the Lord of the Rings – but only because I feel Jackson and his crew have earned my esteem. Yes, it was a weaker trilogy because they were trying to do something different with it, and it wasn’t something I think landed with a lot of people … but they knew the material. The greedy desire to stretch it out to three movies, and the fact that Jackson / Wingnut weren’t at the helm for the whole process but took over when Del Toro flaked out (don’t know the whole story) also mitigates that fuckery. That being said, I still liked them enough that I wouldn’t count them as failures – they’re just not another perfect trilogy.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        All right it wasn’t garbage. I’m just still mad over WOT.

      • Hatboy says:

        I mean it was a big step down from LotR, no argument there.

      • Hatboy says:

        This so precisely captures my thinking, with the exception of your conclusion that you’re going to watch the second season, that I have nothing to add.

        I figured it would. Anyone as deep into the source material as we are really ought to be puzzled at best by the approach. That opinions on Twitter, and even on Discord, are so diverse is interesting to me. But all fine.

        My level of confidence this will be worth my time is lower than yours, I guess.

        Sure. Obviously this represents different things to the two of us in terms of how much of our time it deserves, too.

        But I will definitely be asking those I trust, and my already high trust in you was amplified by this blog post, whether they think I should watch the completed season 2 etc.

        I’m wondering what they could do at this point to bring you back? Given that I wouldn’t want them to walk back any of the established shifts in lore, I think this might work:

        – Adhering to your list of acceptable deviations from here on out (Paste: “They should have only changed: 1: what they had to because Mat; 2: things that were clearly silly or annoying and we all know what those were; 3: Things that were poorly thought out and retconned by RJ in later books; 4: The end of the season to make it not the actual end but AN end, to paraphrase/rip off the “wind blowing” intros to the books. You know, A beginning not THE beginning?; 5: missing pieces of the world that would have been nice to see. Example: Warder funeral”)

        – Giving Moiraine and Lan a semi-rogue advisor / adventurer role and making sure we understand she was fractal-knot shielded rather than stilled right off the bat (because I think the show-runners are right, she didn’t have much to do in the early books post-Eye and she really doesn’t need the One Power to do more) – for example I think she can explain what happened with the Linking at the battle of Not Exactly Tarwin’s Gap, that it was shoddily done by Lady Amalisa and maybe even that part of the Link remained active which somehow enabled Nynaeve to exercise her healing abilities through Egwene to Heal herself, I’d accept that as a nice twist on all the old forgotten Talents they start figuring out later

        – Sorting out with a bit of show-not-tell exposition that they were all fooled by “the Dark One” to get Rand to the Eye of the World, which was in fact one of the seven seals, and manipulated into destroying it with a ter’angreal (more in next bullet), freeing partially-free Ishamael and however many fully-freed Forsaken they want (they need to explain this better anyway because Moiraine’s “Last Battle? More like the NOT Last Battle, amirite” thing made fucking zero sense); this will allow season 2 to be all about those freed Forsaken trying to do the same thing with the other seals, releasing season 3 and 4 big bads, while the heroes try to stop them

        – Explaining the whole “sa’angreal” thing better – it seemed like a stand-in for the Eye itself here, clean “One Power” that was poured into it, rather than amplifying what Rand was using; they need to explain way better how the One Power works – have they even mentioned saidar and saidin? – and that if there is just one flavour now, and men using it is bad, the “sa’angreal” helped somehow (I’m thinking it could have been another manipulation, and it was a True Power ter’angreal of some sort, hence able to destroy cuendillar, but work in progress)

        – Fain and the knife explained better – how people and Ogier weren’t killed instantly and grossly, and so on (I’d be happy with him having walked out of Tar Valon with a replica or something, the knife having drained into Mat, whatever – again, work in progress but so easily fixed)

        – A series of pick-up shots for the “previously on The Wheel of Time” intro to season 2, replicating the old scenes of the Emond’s Fielders but with the new Mat actor in there instead, just so we’re all clear that it was him all along

        – Loial meets more Ogier – and this is important – and they are grown-up Ogier who are ten feet tall; he is only 6’3″ because he’s a 90-year-old kid; they should even have more sensible versions of his hair and clothes, making it clear Loial has run away from stedding Shangtai in the Ogier equivalent of a sailor suit

        Like I said, let me write it.

      • Hatboy says:

        One thing I will add that seemed to annoy a lot of people but honestly didn’t bother me at all was the intro to episode 8, which showed Lews Therin in the Age of Legends.

        The contention is that:

        – He was referred to as the Dragon Reborn, when he should have just been the Dragon

        – He and the rest of the Hundred Companions were not marching off to seal the Bore and end the War of the Power, but rather to arrogantly imprison the Dark One completely, leading to disaster

        Now, I can see how this is a problem. We don’t see enough (in this sense it was just as tantalising and lovely as the books!) of that era to know exactly what was happening. If the Dark One wasn’t imprisoned, why did the Age of Legends look so nice?

        In the books, Mierin Sedai / Lanfear creates the Bore while trying to tap into a new source of the One Power. The Bore thus opened, shit gets blown up and the Age of Legends comes to an end and the War of Power begins and that’s when Lews Therin marches out. Fine.

        In this version, it seems like the Bore hadn’t been made (unless it had and the Collapse just hadn’t spread far yet), but that the Dark One was still a part of the world somewhere. Maybe there was a different kind of access point, at the Eye of the World. That’s fine. I’m okay with Lews Therin being an arrogant tool who thinks he can lock up the Dark One (he did ask for female Aes Sedai help…). Mierin doesn’t have to be responsible every time.

        As to the “Dragon Reborn” discrepancy, I just don’t see it as a problem. In the prologue of The Eye of the World, Ishamael is already well aware of the turnings of the Wheel and the fact that he and Lews Therin have faced off many times before. In that sense, Lews Therin was already the Dragon “Reborn”. The rest of the people didn’t call him that because they weren’t aware of cyclical time the way Elan Morin Tedronai was.

        In the TV show version, the turning of the Wheel and the cyclical nature of time and rebirth seems better-known and actually worked into religion and philosophy. The Tinkers talk about it like a feature of the world. I don’t have a problem with that bump in awareness making people (certainly scholars and Aes Sedai) know that Lews Therin, too, was the Dragon Reborn.

        But! This take is thoroughly dependent on the “it’s another turning of the Wheel” allowance, which doesn’t bother me but seems to bother a lot of people. As I said. The whole thing does need to be fleshed out more. Hopefully they get that chance.

      • Hatboy says:

        Another note I will throw in here is that various people on Twitter and (presumably) the bookcloaks on Reddit are complaining that Judkins butchered the adaptation specifically to add in his evil woke feminist agenda.

        That, I hope we can agree, is not what went down here. Jordan may not have been the feminist-ally extremist he gets credit for being, and the TV show may have cast into greater visibility the whole racial-hodgepodge of the world after the Breaking, but what’s there in the TV series is what was there in the books. Maybe some adjustment to make it less clunky and remove some of Jordan’s clear “I’m an ally butt” writing, but a radfem diversity-whore wokescold manifesto, this is not.

    • Circling back to your list of fixes:
      “– Giving Moiraine and Lan a semi-rogue advisor / adventurer role and making sure we understand she was fractal-knot shielded rather than stilled right off the bat (because I think the show-runners are right, she didn’t have much to do in the early books post-Eye and she really doesn’t need the One Power to do more) – for example I think she can explain what happened with the Linking at the battle of Not Exactly Tarwin’s Gap, that it was shoddily done by Lady Amalisa and maybe even that part of the Link remained active which somehow enabled Nynaeve to exercise her healing abilities through Egwene to Heal herself, I’d accept that as a nice twist on all the old forgotten Talents they start figuring out later”

      Don’t care much one way or the other on this one. I think mostly these fixes would just annoy me further, they botched it so much in Ep 8. But on the stilling vs. shielding, there is clearly a physical pain in what Ishy did. If I had to choose strictly based on what the show has done so far, he stilled her. Period. I understand that would suck or accelerate healing stilling way too much, but that’s what it looks like. Watch it again. We’ve seen shielding. It doesn’t really cause any discomfort to the shielded. He does something extra at the end, and it truly pains her.

      As for Nynaeve I’d much rather it turn out Eggy figured out that healing, but either way Nyn looked DEAD as Daniel pointed out, so it’s…well…poorly done. *shrug*

      “– Sorting out with a bit of show-not-tell exposition that they were all fooled by “the Dark One” to get Rand to the Eye of the World, which was in fact one of the seven seals, and manipulated into destroying it with a ter’angreal (more in next bullet), freeing partially-free Ishamael and however many fully-freed Forsaken they want (they need to explain this better anyway because Moiraine’s “Last Battle? More like the NOT Last Battle, amirite” thing made fucking zero sense); this will allow season 2 to be all about those freed Forsaken trying to do the same thing with the other seals, releasing season 3 and 4 big bads, while the heroes try to stop them”

      Yeah the few statements around the cuendillar topic were stupid. I understand all angles of what could be going on there and yet I couldn’t figure out what the FUCK the words she was stringing together connected to or meant to tell us. It was just…ugh.

      But I think what you wrote there is what they’re going to do with it. It would make the most sense. But then I think plots like Dana and bringing Rand to the Eye without Moiraine are curiouser. What would have happened in that case? He wouldn’t have had the sa’angreal, but could he have done more than break that one seal anyway? I don’t know. I think they made so much trouble for themselves (that I’m not getting into at all) that could have been avoided by not improvising so goddamn much.

      “– Explaining the whole “sa’angreal” thing better – it seemed like a stand-in for the Eye itself here, clean “One Power” that was poured into it, rather than amplifying what Rand was using; they need to explain way better how the One Power works – have they even mentioned saidar and saidin? – and that if there is just one flavour now, and men using it is bad, the “sa’angreal” helped somehow (I’m thinking it could have been another manipulation, and it was a True Power ter’angreal of some sort, hence able to destroy cuendillar, but work in progress)”

      They need to explain it way better as you say but that would do fuck-all to win me back over. I think they haven’t a clue what they’re doing. As for saidin, it was used one time by the Tamyrlin, you hear it when she’s talking to Lews Therin about what might happen to the One Power if they fail, and she uses it to refer to, I think, his part of the one power (men’s part, I mean). So that was cool.

      But otherwise no, and why. It’s pretty damn confusing for the show to basically imply they’re all tapping into the same thing but for men it’s corrupted and women not. How does THAT work? Why leave this out?

      Also stop talking about t’averen without fucking explaining it, and missing out on the perfect opportunity TO explain it (Min’s vision of the sparks and darkness). Very poor writing and editing there. Moiraine says it in the second scene of the show, and then nothing for like 6 episodes, then two more mentions, one being Fain which just seemed weird. Fain in the books NEVER talked about t’averen. Just WTF.

      That’s going to be the biggest hurdle: all the WTF moments I know they won’t fix because I don’t even think they know they made WTFs.

      “– Fain and the knife explained better – how people and Ogier weren’t killed instantly and grossly, and so on (I’d be happy with him having walked out of Tar Valon with a replica or something, the knife having drained into Mat, whatever – again, work in progress but so easily fixed)”

      If they even thought of it beforehand. You know me, if they retcon it (*coughTaimandredcough*) it’s just going to make me MORE resentful.

      On the Discord I pointed out the ruby wasn’t glowing, so maybe they DID think of it. But how. And how did he get it so damn fast? He had to enter the ways very soon after the main party did. So what the fuck happened to get the dagger to him?

      I know, Mat’s actor fucked all this up. So this is more forgivable.

      They also have to apologize to me personally for fucking up the Fal Darans, Agelmar in particular. Jesus fuck they ruined him. And are there no good fighters among them? Thom held off a Fade but they can’t? That was all just so fucked.

      “– A series of pick-up shots for the “previously on The Wheel of Time” intro to season 2, replicating the old scenes of the Emond’s Fielders but with the new Mat actor in there instead, just so we’re all clear that it was him all along”

      LOL let’s not waste their tiny, apparently insufficient budget on that shit! I’m ready for a different actor if I’m ready for s2 at all.

      “– Loial meets more Ogier – and this is important – and they are grown-up Ogier who are ten feet tall; he is only 6’3″ because he’s a 90-year-old kid; they should even have more sensible versions of his hair and clothes, making it clear Loial has run away from stedding Shangtai in the Ogier equivalent of a sailor suit”

      LMAO ok now THIS is just a perfect solution to one of the problems. Well done. Just let you write it INDEED ser!

      • casparvanemdeboas says:

        You have stated a lot of the F ups they did with the series correctly. They left a lot of questions unanswered. Are we going to see them in s2,3 or 4. Maybe. The Mat ending has me thinking that they will give him an other minor role, but we will have to see.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Oh, did you know the Mat actor quit without explanation? From what you wrote I think you might not have heard about that. So that explains a lot of the weirdness around him, Ep6 primarily.

        I have a lot more issues but most stem from Ep 8. I was happy to roll with changes, but not happy with the ones in that ep. Well, the ones we’ve been talking about.

        We shall see if they fix them or make them make sense. I think for some, this is possible…for others, not so much.

      • casparvanemdeboas says:

        No, I did not know he quit without reason. I think he ruined his career by this because the show has a big audience and when the series is over I think that many will continue to act in big productions but that is in the future.

      • Hatboy says:

        I’m really, really curious why he left. Did he just suddenly realise this wasn’t what he wanted his life to be? There’s worse things, I think, than to be known forever as Mat Cauthon (eh, arguably).

        Or maybe he fronted up to Judkins about some of the shit he was pulling. Judkins doesn’t take to criticism very well (although I’m basing that on the shitheel behaviour of people on Twitter, he doesn’t owe them fucking anything). I could see him booting the actor and deciding they can do it without him.

        But we can speculate forever, I doubt we’ll ever know.

      • casparvanemdeboas says:

        I am not the person who strolls the internet for the answer like this but I think that you can be right. Its always a gamble. Some actors are only known for their personage in one series or movie. For instance take all the actors of the series ‘Friends’. Some have done other work as well but nobody cared about those. I did not see much of this series, not my thing. I don’t like American comedy that much.

        But will we ever know why he left. History will tell.

      • Hatboy says:

        Bit too much rage and negativity in that for me to want to deal with very much, but I appreciate your frustration. Doesn’t seem like much else to say, but here’s a few thoughts.

        Don’t care much one way or the other on this one. I think mostly these fixes would just annoy me further, they botched it so much in Ep 8.

        Good to know, really. Not being sarcastic, in the unlikely event they do any of these things I’ll know I’m going to be satisfied and you won’t, so I can advise you accordingly.

        But on the stilling vs. shielding, there is clearly a physical pain in what Ishy did. If I had to choose strictly based on what the show has done so far, he stilled her. Period. I understand that would suck or accelerate healing stilling way too much, but that’s what it looks like.

        See, you’ve seen it more times but for me it was the opposite. It didn’t seem like Logain’s gentling, although I was looking out for similarities and they were arguably there, sure. They could go either way with it (which, again, was kind of a stupid overcomplicated way of approaching it). She might even think she’s stilled. We just won’t know until I watch season 2.

        But at the same time, I’d be fine with Nynaeve Healing Moiraine instead of Logain and Siuan and Leane. I don’t know, it seems so accelerated as to reduce the stakes to zero, but I doubt they’ll have more than three or four seasons to work with. I’m not optimistic.

        As for Nynaeve I’d much rather it turn out Eggy figured out that healing, but either way Nyn looked DEAD as Daniel pointed out, so it’s…well…poorly done. *shrug*

        Yeah, agreed. That whole battle was just a fucking mess. I mean, Rand appearing in the Gap and killing the Trollocs with lightning bolts from his arse like in the book would at least have been something. And it sets up Masema as a zealot so well.

        But I think what you wrote there is what they’re going to do with it. It would make the most sense.

        Well fingers crossed. I’ll at least take some level of joy in that vindication.

        But then I think plots like Dana and bringing Rand to the Eye without Moiraine are curiouser. What would have happened in that case?

        Guess it depends. Without interference, Ishamael might have made Rand’s reality-editing power work better? Maybe there was another whatever-that-thing-was, if not a sa’angreal. Giving some similar opportunity.

        But most of the Darkfriend plots in the books made little sense and all contradicted each other anyway. Whichever ones worked out, those were the ones the Dark would have gone with.

        He wouldn’t have had the sa’angreal, but could he have done more than break that one seal anyway? I don’t know. I think they made so much trouble for themselves (that I’m not getting into at all) that could have been avoided by not improvising so goddamn much.

        Probably.

        As for saidin, it was used one time by the Tamyrlin, you hear it when she’s talking to Lews Therin about what might happen to the One Power if they fail, and she uses it to refer to, I think, his part of the one power (men’s part, I mean). So that was cool.

        Oh neat. So there’s hope there.

        That’s going to be the biggest hurdle: all the WTF moments I know they won’t fix because I don’t even think they know they made WTFs.

        Sure, yeah.

        If they even thought of it beforehand. You know me, if they retcon it (*coughTaimandredcough*) it’s just going to make me MORE resentful.

        *shrug* That’s unfortunate.

        On the Discord I pointed out the ruby wasn’t glowing, so maybe they DID think of it. But how. And how did he get it so damn fast? He had to enter the ways very soon after the main party did. So what the fuck happened to get the dagger to him?

        Yeah see, this is all way more effort and complication than just following the books would be.

        They also have to apologize to me personally for fucking up the Fal Darans, Agelmar in particular. Jesus fuck they ruined him. And are there no good fighters among them? Thom held off a Fade but they can’t? That was all just so fucked.

        Yeah you’re on your own with this one. Or with whomever else you find – I understand there’s a petition!

        “– Loial meets more Ogier – and this is important – and they are grown-up Ogier who are ten feet tall; he is only 6’3″ because he’s a 90-year-old kid; they should even have more sensible versions of his hair and clothes, making it clear Loial has run away from stedding Shangtai in the Ogier equivalent of a sailor suit”

        LMAO ok now THIS is just a perfect solution to one of the problems. Well done. Just let you write it INDEED ser!

        Hee, all I’m saying!

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Bit too much rage and negativity in that for me to want to deal with very much, but I appreciate your frustration. Doesn’t seem like much else to say, but here’s a few thoughts.”

        Jeezus. There was no rage, and this is a critique of the negatives not a praise of the positives.

        Which still, for me, is pretty much ALL of Ep 1-7. Is that positive enough to be going on with?

        But, I’m sorry? Thanks for replying at all?

        “Good to know, really. Not being sarcastic, in the unlikely event they do any of these things I’ll know I’m going to be satisfied and you won’t, so I can advise you accordingly.”

        Yeah basically I need them to get closer to the source material wherever it makes sense, which I thought they were doing in 1-7. As best they could. Note that I don’t even ask they improve on it, though they were doing THAT too, with Nynaeve etc.

        “See, you’ve seen it more times but for me it was the opposite. It didn’t seem like Logain’s gentling, although I was looking out for similarities and they were arguably there, sure. They could go either way with it (which, again, was kind of a stupid overcomplicated way of approaching it). She might even think she’s stilled. We just won’t know until I watch season 2.”

        It’d be interesting to watch the scenes side-by-side. We have to cut away the differences that have to do with a woman being stilled vs. a man (big black filaments coming out or not, depending), and with multiple people doing the stilling vs. just one.

        In my mind’s eye, when I pare those away, and primarily what’s left at that point is the reaction of the one being stilled, I think there’s a lot of similarity. Maybe a still shot of Logain and Moiraine in that moment would be useful, but I’m happy to just picture it in my head for now.

        On Moiraine there wasn’t a web going down over her, or not precisely or just that. It was different and more…aggressive looking?

        “But at the same time, I’d be fine with Nynaeve Healing Moiraine instead of Logain and Siuan and Leane. I don’t know, it seems so accelerated as to reduce the stakes to zero, but I doubt they’ll have more than three or four seasons to work with. I’m not optimistic.”

        Could be! Nothing more to add here, just wanted to acknowledge.

        “Yeah, agreed. That whole battle was just a fucking mess. I mean, Rand appearing in the Gap and killing the Trollocs with lightning bolts from his arse like in the book would at least have been something. And it sets up Masema as a zealot so well.”

        Right! Do we know if we’re getting The Prophet or not, at this point? Of course there’d be other ways to set it up, but still….

        “Guess it depends. Without interference, Ishamael might have made Rand’s reality-editing power work better? Maybe there was another whatever-that-thing-was, if not a sa’angreal. Giving some similar opportunity.

        But most of the Darkfriend plots in the books made little sense and all contradicted each other anyway. Whichever ones worked out, those were the ones the Dark would have gone with.”

        Yeah fair enough.

        “Oh neat. So there’s hope there.”

        And I realized, my girls want to keep watching so overall there’s hope that I’m going to have to give S2 a chance anyway.

        LOL

      • Hatboy says:

        But, I’m sorry?

        It’s alright. I was mainly bummed by your rejection of all the proposed re-writes and plot fixes I put together just for you, not that I put that much effort into them (probably more than the TV show writers did though, am I right?). They’d work for me but I’m not going to sit here and insist that they work for you too. Hey, at least you liked … *scrolls back* one of them!

        Nah but for reals, I was getting a lot of continued frustration and pissedness off your post, and whether it’s in my head or on the screen, I’m going to continue not engaging with it.

        Thanks for replying at all?

        Yeah basically I need them to get closer to the source material wherever it makes sense, which I thought they were doing in 1-7. As best they could. Note that I don’t even ask they improve on it, though they were doing THAT too, with Nynaeve etc.

        I honestly didn’t see that many deviations that made a lick of sense to me in 1 – 7 or 8, but I was putting rose-coloured glasses on it because I didn’t want to be all “reeeee they’ve changed it from the booooooks.” Sure, some of the world-tramping was good to cut down, but even that involved the introduction of Bumfuck Gulch and other pointless new shit. I was actually okay with the change to Mat’s family even though it would have caused (will cause?) issues later if they do the Whitecloak / Fain scourging of the Two Rivers, but now I just gave up giving a fuck about Mat altogether to be honest.

        And I don’t think they’re going to get back “on track” either. I think they’ll just continue rambling through this thing and occasionally linking it back to stuff in the books when they run out of ideas.

        In my mind’s eye, when I pare those away, and primarily what’s left at that point is the reaction of the one being stilled, I think there’s a lot of similarity. Maybe a still shot of Logain and Moiraine in that moment would be useful, but I’m happy to just picture it in my head for now.

        I don’t think it matters as much to me because I don’t care about Moiraine, mainly because of the casting. *shrug* Harsh but there it is. I guess we’ll see if she gets out of the shield or has her stilledness Healed in the next season, and either way doesn’t seem to matter a great deal since they’re both reversible, and I tend to agree with Judkins’s take – that Moiraine didn’t have much to do in the books after serving up the Emond’s Field kids to the plot, and now she will maybe have more of a role, and she doesn’t need the One Power for it. So maybe they leave her that way.

        I will say though, if she is shielded in some nasty Forsaken way, that’s a third type of cutting off from the Source when they’ve already been really slapdash and ambiguous about two (shielding and gentling), without explanation. So even that solution of mine wouldn’t cut it without some work on the writers’ part. And I don’t mean hard work, I mean like twenty seconds of Moiraine bitterly and tearfully explaining the differences between the different methods, and then saying like, “I don’t know what [the Dark One] did, I couldn’t see the weaves but it’s something else.”

        On Moiraine there wasn’t a web going down over her, or not precisely or just that. It was different and more…aggressive looking?

        I’m fine with that because it was a Forsaken, we know they have hitherto forgotten weaves. I’m thinking specifically of the stilling-fight Nynaeve has with … Moghedien? Like, whole new ways of weaponising the stilling process. But trying to show that, when you’ve already fucked up the basics, is … certainly a choice.

        “Yeah, agreed. That whole battle was just a fucking mess. I mean, Rand appearing in the Gap and killing the Trollocs with lightning bolts from his arse like in the book would at least have been something. And it sets up Masema as a zealot so well.”

        Right! Do we know if we’re getting The Prophet or not, at this point? Of course there’d be other ways to set it up, but still….

        I think I read that Masema was cast, yeah. That was another plot thread I didn’t care about, although it was funny when Sanderson just straight-up murdered him out of the story and went, “right, next plot thread?”

        And I realized, my girls want to keep watching so overall there’s hope that I’m going to have to give S2 a chance anyway.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “It’s alright. I was mainly bummed by your rejection of all the proposed re-writes and plot fixes I put together just for you, not that I put that much effort into them (probably more than the TV show writers did though, am I right?). They’d work for me but I’m not going to sit here and insist that they work for you too. Hey, at least you liked … *scrolls back* one of them!”

        “I like your plan, except, it sucks, so why don’t you let ME do the plan, and then maybe it’ll be good.”

        No no, TOTALLY kidding I swear, just bringing some levity into this. I liked more than one of your proposals, I just am trying to say some of the issues are too far gone for even you to save.

        “Nah but for reals, I was getting a lot of continued frustration and pissedness off your post, and whether it’s in my head or on the screen, I’m going to continue not engaging with it.”

        Totally fair. Dude I loved these books, read them all at least 4 times, and I was hoping they could bring it to the screen fixing only the stupid shit but keeping all the well done shit. And they totally did not. So yeah, I’m pissed.

        I know the game, I know how this goes, but I think these books stand out in terms of source material quality. I really believe that. And in terms of complex things being thought out, which is the biggest beef I have. You have to be REALLY careful fucking with complex things and I don’t see that happening here.

        “I honestly didn’t see that many deviations that made a lick of sense to me in 1 – 7 or 8, but I was putting rose-coloured glasses on it because I didn’t want to be all “reeeee they’ve changed it from the booooooks.” Sure, some of the world-tramping was good to cut down, but even that involved the introduction of Bumfuck Gulch and other pointless new shit. I was actually okay with the change to Mat’s family even though it would have caused (will cause?) issues later if they do the Whitecloak / Fain scourging of the Two Rivers, but now I just gave up giving a fuck about Mat altogether to be honest.”

        Well, I did. I’m not going to rehash because I think I talked about ALL of them on the Discord, but I liked nearly ALL the deviations. At the same time yes, they did make me reeeeee a bit. But they all made sense because either: this is a tv show with limited budget and unknown # of seasons, or this part of the book was just stupid or missing or contradicted itself later.

        They did dumb down some stuff, sure. But none of it bothered me until E8.

        “And I don’t think they’re going to get back “on track” either. I think they’ll just continue rambling through this thing and occasionally linking it back to stuff in the books when they run out of ideas.”

        Hope you’re wrong, think you’re right.

        “I don’t think it matters as much to me because I don’t care about Moiraine, mainly because of the casting. *shrug* Harsh but there it is. I guess we’ll see if she gets out of the shield or has her stilledness Healed in the next season, and either way doesn’t seem to matter a great deal since they’re both reversible, and I tend to agree with Judkins’s take – that Moiraine didn’t have much to do in the books after serving up the Emond’s Field kids to the plot, and now she will maybe have more of a role, and she doesn’t need the One Power for it. So maybe they leave her that way.”

        Well she has quite a role in TDR! She’s the one who kills…Be’lal? And she guides them in much of the book (less Rand) very much like in book 1. But sure, by and large, and certainly after that point, she does little.

        They could roll her and Verin together though, and then she’s central to all 3 of the first books.

        “I will say though, if she is shielded in some nasty Forsaken way, that’s a third type of cutting off from the Source when they’ve already been really slapdash and ambiguous about two (shielding and gentling), without explanation. So even that solution of mine wouldn’t cut it without some work on the writers’ part. And I don’t mean hard work, I mean like twenty seconds of Moiraine bitterly and tearfully explaining the differences between the different methods, and then saying like, “I don’t know what [the Dark One] did, I couldn’t see the weaves but it’s something else.””

        Sure. I’m just thinking they messed that part up no matter what. She’s not *acting* like she’s just shielded. She cried bitterly, for the first time?, which is very out of character. We got a few tears in the new Warder funeral…but if she’s just shielded, get it together!

        “I’m fine with that because it was a Forsaken, we know they have hitherto forgotten weaves. I’m thinking specifically of the stilling-fight Nynaeve has with … Moghedien? Like, whole new ways of weaponising the stilling process. But trying to show that, when you’ve already fucked up the basics, is … certainly a choice.”

        Yeah you’re right, shielding with a sharp edge is basically how to sever someone.

        “I think I read that Masema was cast, yeah. That was another plot thread I didn’t care about, although it was funny when Sanderson just straight-up murdered him out of the story and went, “right, next plot thread?””

        It was beautiful!

        Just wanted to give this one more reply since I was not respecting your ideas enough. What I was trying to say was I wouldn’t be cheered by some of them. Not that they weren’t decent shots at fixing things. Fair?

      • Hatboy says:

        “It’s alright. I was mainly bummed by your rejection of all the proposed re-writes and plot fixes I put together just for you, not that I put that much effort into them (probably more than the TV show writers did though, am I right?). They’d work for me but I’m not going to sit here and insist that they work for you too. Hey, at least you liked … *scrolls back* one of them!”

        “I like your plan, except, it sucks, so why don’t you let ME do the plan, and then maybe it’ll be good.”

        No no, TOTALLY kidding I swear, just bringing some levity into this.

        Hah! No, that’s actually perfect, because Quill’s plan was some bullshit and he ruined everything by failing to stick to it anyway and nobody should ever have listened to him!

        But yeah:

        I liked more than one of your proposals, I just am trying to say some of the issues are too far gone for even you to save.

        I guess, and thanks for that!

        It’s a shame we can’t fast-forward to however-many seasons we end up getting, so we can see whether season 1 was a “classic season 1” full of clangers. But honestly, when you get down to it, the stereotype of TV shows having a bad pilot or a bad first season before “settling in” – you can’t use that excuse for The Wheel of Time! It’s all written already and they should know how to pace it and what to fix, like you said. But they didn’t.

        I know the game, I know how this goes, but I think these books stand out in terms of source material quality. I really believe that. And in terms of complex things being thought out, which is the biggest beef I have. You have to be REALLY careful fucking with complex things and I don’t see that happening here.

        Right.

        Well, I did. I’m not going to rehash because I think I talked about ALL of them on the Discord, but I liked nearly ALL the deviations. At the same time yes, they did make me reeeeee a bit. But they all made sense because either: this is a tv show with limited budget and unknown # of seasons, or this part of the book was just stupid or missing or contradicted itself later.

        They did dumb down some stuff, sure. But none of it bothered me until E8.

        Yeah, I misspoke a bit about none of the changes making sense. My justifications and thoughts about how the deviations worked – yeah, that was all fine, although it felt like it got harder and harder every episode as they added up, and I suppose if you have an episode 8 breaking point then that’s it. For me, I guess it did retroactively mean a lot of the other changes clearly weren’t thought out the way we would have (ie. I stopped giving them the benefit of the doubt and “realised” that they really had just been making it up as they went along, and fucking it up).

        But maybe they were thinking it through and did some stuff right. I mean sure they did some stuff right, but maybe it’s fine in general and going forward. And like I say, even the episode 8 stuff, I could see ways to get past. Speaking for myself. I know you don’t agree.

        To be honest, I really am just 100% against the way they did Loial, and it fucking ruined everything and if they fix that one thing, I’ll be basically happy with everything again. But otherwise, fuck them.

        Well she has quite a role in TDR! She’s the one who kills…Be’lal?

        Yeah, basically off-screen. Very Gandalf.

        They could roll her and Verin together though, and then she’s central to all 3 of the first books.

        No fuck no, Verin is the only actually cool Aes Sedai with the possible exception of … nope, none of the rest of them are cool.

        “I will say though, if she is shielded in some nasty Forsaken way, that’s a third type of cutting off from the Source when they’ve already been really slapdash and ambiguous about two (shielding and gentling), without explanation. So even that solution of mine wouldn’t cut it without some work on the writers’ part. And I don’t mean hard work, I mean like twenty seconds of Moiraine bitterly and tearfully explaining the differences between the different methods, and then saying like, “I don’t know what [the Dark One] did, I couldn’t see the weaves but it’s something else.””

        Sure. I’m just thinking they messed that part up no matter what. She’s not *acting* like she’s just shielded. She cried bitterly, for the first time?, which is very out of character. We got a few tears in the new Warder funeral…but if she’s just shielded, get it together!

        Nasty Forsaken way.

        Just wanted to give this one more reply since I was not respecting your ideas enough. What I was trying to say was I wouldn’t be cheered by some of them. Not that they weren’t decent shots at fixing things. Fair?

        More than fair, and appreciated. I might have bothered myself to workshop a few more possible solutions, but like I said, the reaction was just too negative and you keep saying this is only the tip of the iceberg and you have so many more objections, I just decided meh, fuck it. Those fixes are it for me, but all they really need to do is fix the Ogier.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Hah! No, that’s actually perfect, because Quill’s plan was some bullshit and he ruined everything by failing to stick to it anyway and nobody should ever have listened to him!”

        Hmm no actually like the [human] half of Quill that’s stupid is all Tony, that’s only half right. When he lands in front of Thanos, subdued, he points out “For the record: my plan.” THEN yes he proceeds to fuck it all up.

        “It’s a shame we can’t fast-forward to however-many seasons we end up getting, so we can see whether season 1 was a “classic season 1” full of clangers. But honestly, when you get down to it, the stereotype of TV shows having a bad pilot or a bad first season before “settling in” – you can’t use that excuse for The Wheel of Time! It’s all written already and they should know how to pace it and what to fix, like you said. But they didn’t.”

        Totally agreed.

        “Yeah, I misspoke a bit about none of the changes making sense. My justifications and thoughts about how the deviations worked – yeah, that was all fine, although it felt like it got harder and harder every episode as they added up, and I suppose if you have an episode 8 breaking point then that’s it. For me, I guess it did retroactively mean a lot of the other changes clearly weren’t thought out the way we would have (ie. I stopped giving them the benefit of the doubt and “realised” that they really had just been making it up as they went along, and fucking it up).”

        Yeah, all fair to say. For me, it really wasn’t building up. I was fine until ep 8. I was mad briefly in 6-7 but then was reminded of the Mat actor sitch. So more passes were given.

        But I’m trying to wrap up this bitch sesh so I’ll leave it there.

        “But maybe they were thinking it through and did some stuff right. I mean sure they did some stuff right, but maybe it’s fine in general and going forward. And like I say, even the episode 8 stuff, I could see ways to get past. Speaking for myself. I know you don’t agree.”

        *nod*

        “To be honest, I really am just 100% against the way they did Loial, and it fucking ruined everything and if they fix that one thing, I’ll be basically happy with everything again. But otherwise, fuck them.”

        LO(AI)L!!! I really didn’t know you felt this way! I mean, you and I agree he acted it brilliantly, right? And I thought you asserted that some of the physical traits of Ogier would be a little ridiculous…right?

        So does it mostly come down to the height? Hey, we all have things we can’t get past. That’s like the least of my problems with the show. LOL

        “No fuck no, Verin is the only actually cool Aes Sedai with the possible exception of … nope, none of the rest of them are cool.”

        *backs away slowly making calming hand gestures*

        All right, all right…I agree. It was just a thought. Especially her specific plot, totally cool, which I am not sure we can count on being retained.

        “Nasty Forsaken way.”

        A shield is a shield is a shield. (I mean I don’t think they’re going to do shielding nuance like in the books…and even there it’s just hold, tie off, or Talent like that Kin woman had.)

        “More than fair, and appreciated. I might have bothered myself to workshop a few more possible solutions, but like I said, the reaction was just too negative and you keep saying this is only the tip of the iceberg and you have so many more objections, I just decided meh, fuck it. Those fixes are it for me, but all they really need to do is fix the Ogier.”

        I appreciate that you even thought to workshop anything to fix it for me. It’s a neat thought experiment but man that’s a lot of work.

      • Hatboy says:

        Oh one thing I will say about Fall Dara being ruined, I do agree with you that that whole section was a mess but the guards failing to kill two Myrddraal isn’t a problem to me. The problem, to me, was always the books. Thom should never have survived the Myrddraal in Whitebridge, and it never sat right with me.

        But anyway, yeah.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Well, ok we can go that way with the Fades for sure! But I mean, didn’t you think Agelmar in the books was much more respectable and cool than the guy in the show?

        For one more thing, my younger said “there’s probably something SPECIAL about your ancestor’s armor that might protect you!!!!” Indeed.

        But the way he treated Moiraine was out of character, and then later she basically called him a know-it-all fool to his sister’s face. I didn’t like ANY of that. LOL

      • Hatboy says:

        Yeah, the armour was a huge flashing neon CLUE sign that I was sure was going somewhere (didn’t his sister get into it?), and still might later but for now it certainly seems to have just been waved off.

        As for Agelmar, nah. Him and the rest of the Fal Darans were always a kind of meh to me so anything they wanted to do with them in the TV show was fine. But you know me and the martial-artsy-fartsy. Never been that interested in any of the Borderlanders. Get back to me when the TV show ruins Bashere, who was always my favourite in the Steal.

        Oh wait I guess you won’t be the one getting back to me! Alright, I’ll get back to you and give you the chance to say “I told you so.”

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Huh! Maybe she WAS in the ancestors’ armor, I’m not sure!

        I guess I didn’t realize the Shienarans had fallen into the hated martial arts category! In the books, I mean. As soon as I saw Agelmar on screen, it was slapping me in the face. LOL

      • Hatboy says:

        If she was, then that was ruined because it did fuck all. But I’ve watched it only the once, so-

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Hee! Well, it maybe was designed to protect against weapons from without, not power burnout from within…s’what I was thinking about it when she was going on and on about it. All for him to, weirdly, insist he needed “my armor today.”

      • Hatboy says:

        Yeah, I honestly wonder what that was because it sure wasn’t in the books. A bit more Power-wrought stuff early on is good, but only if we really see it. I don’t get it.

  2. dreameling says:

    As someone who (a) quit the books after volume 7 or 8, (b) recalls very little of what was in the books, and (c) has even less attachment or interest in the series [1], I quite liked the show!

    The story and the world kept me intrigued, the main plot maintained a nice forward momentum (quite unlike in the books) with interesting developments in each episode, the visual worldbuilding was just awesome, and the overall production values were great. I’m not quite sold on the characters (or the actors) just yet, except maybe Rand and Moiraine, but thankfully the other stuff compensated sufficiently for now. (I mean, clearly the character work was at least okay enough, since I continued to like and watch the show. But this was no The Boys or The Expanse, to take a couple of other Amazonians as examples.)

    Given how up-in-arms the fanbase (or, rather, a vocal portion thereof) has been over the supposed mis-adaptation of their beloved property, I’m kinda happy I got to experience the show without any fan-of-the-original baggage. [3]

    Confession time: I never liked the casting of Moiraine. Rosamund Pike was not right for the role and it irked me from the start. Her performance was fine, especially considering the performance actually required of her (which overlapped with “Moiraine” on only occasional beats), but I never liked the casting choice.

    I’m kind of the same but sort of reversed. I’ve never really dug Rosamund Pike as an actor. I mean, she’s objectively a fine actor, but there’s just something about her that doesn’t gel with me subjectively. Color me surprised, though, because I quite liked her as Moiraine! Off all the actors in the show, she was the one with some real nuance to her performance. I don’t really remember Moiraine from the books, so there’s no reference “Moiraine” for me.

    In contrast, I’m having a very hard time picking out what Rafe Judkins’s creative vision was here, and how his hand is visible. Aside from “just changing things so they’re not the same as the books,” which is … okay, sometimes that’s a good idea, like I say. But other times, I had to wonder why.

    I can’t really speak to the changes, and I’m not familiar enough with Rafe Judkins as a showrunner or a writer — or a creative — to say anything about his vision for the show, but something related to this did stick out in the “Making of” episode for the finale: The writers took away Moiraine’s powers, apparently a departure from the books, so that they could give her a “Rosamund-Pike-sized” story in season 2. Which, frankly, sounds like the worst possible reason to change the story. (But a perfectly logical course of action for a production that wants to keep its big-name actor.)

    Anyways, in summary, I liked the show and will definitely watch season 2. (If only to see how that innocent little girl at the end turns our to be a superpowerful magic user who throws that stupid tidal wave back at the stupid sea people.)

    [1] The main reason I quit was because the story didn’t seem to go anywhere except into endless and endlessly long side quests. Also, the female characters all seemed to be cut from the same braid-pulling male-negative (but still hero-swoony) cloth, which started to grate after a while, and the characters felt bland overall. Plus the Wheel and all the cyclical time stuff ultimately proved silly and uninteresting worldbuilding concepts for me, so even that part didn’t take. Finally, next to writers like Robin Hobb, GRRM, and Tad Williams, whose books I read around the same time, and who excelled at characters and prose, Jordan started to feel like a bulk fantasy sellout hack. [2]

    [2] No, this is not a hill I’m willing to die on. It’s probably over 20 years since I last read Jordan, so my memory of his work is not exactly clear, meaning I can’t really judge him fairly. But, fair or not, I did genuinely come to consider him a lesser and less interesting writer and storyteller than those other guys, which is why I stuck with them instead. Still, I did stick with Jordan for 7 or 8 books, and I’m much, much less surprised about that than sticking with Terry Goodkind for 5.

    [3] It’s funny that this exact same thing seems to be happening right now with the second season of The Witcher. Some people have apparently been so angry over the misuse of their beloved property as to quit Netflix. (Yeah, that’ll show them!) Here, too, I’m not that familiar with nor invested in the books, and I pretty much loved season 2. Worked just great on balance.

    • Hatboy says:

      As someone who (a) quit the books after volume 7 or 8, (b) recalls very little of what was in the books, and (c) has even less attachment or interest in the series [1], I quite liked the show!

      I’m sincerely glad to hear it! I enjoyed it too. And look, you’re most likely a majority and target audience member here so it’s good to have this feedback.

      The story and the world kept me intrigued, the main plot maintained a nice forward momentum (quite unlike in the books) with interesting developments in each episode, the visual worldbuilding was just awesome, and the overall production values were great.

      I don’t know, it still may need to find its feet but that’s cool. They have a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to cover, and I don’t know what sort of budget they had, but they were operating under some crazy conditions. I’m hesitant to give them a blanket COVID pass since a lot of shows and movies (everything, for example, made since the start of 2020) has had that challenge, but there were clear gaps in the quality chain.

      I’m not quite sold on the characters (or the actors) just yet, except maybe Rand and Moiraine, but thankfully the other stuff compensated sufficiently for now. (I mean, clearly the character work was at least okay enough, since I continued to like and watch the show. But this was no The Boys or The Expanse, to take a couple of other Amazonians as examples.)

      The Boys has some stellar actors in it as well as some talented newcomers, The Expanse likewise. The Wheel of Time also has a few familiar faces in it but also a lot of green actors and downright LotR levels of reader familiarity with characters. Bit more so than readers of The Boys or The Expanse, popular as they might be.

      I guess this is my long-winded way of saying I agree with you, there’s still some settling-in these actors need to do (or just dropping their shit and walking away apparently).

      Given how up-in-arms the fanbase (or, rather, a vocal portion thereof) has been over the supposed mis-adaptation of their beloved property, I’m kinda happy I got to experience the show without any fan-of-the-original baggage. [3]

      Twitter has been wild. But don’t be expecting shallow dives in this blog post’s comment section either.

      Confession time: I never liked the casting of Moiraine. Rosamund Pike was not right for the role and it irked me from the start. Her performance was fine, especially considering the performance actually required of her (which overlapped with “Moiraine” on only occasional beats), but I never liked the casting choice.

      I’m kind of the same but sort of reversed. I’ve never really dug Rosamund Pike as an actor. I mean, she’s objectively a fine actor, but there’s just something about her that doesn’t gel with me subjectively. Color me surprised, though, because I quite liked her as Moiraine! Off all the actors in the show, she was the one with some real nuance to her performance. I don’t really remember Moiraine from the books, so there’s no reference “Moiraine” for me.

      Like you were saying about the other actors, I’m sure Pike will settle in and grow on me. I still think it was miscast but I’m not outraged about it.

      In contrast, I’m having a very hard time picking out what Rafe Judkins’s creative vision was here, and how his hand is visible. Aside from “just changing things so they’re not the same as the books,” which is … okay, sometimes that’s a good idea, like I say. But other times, I had to wonder why.

      I can’t really speak to the changes, and I’m not familiar enough with Rafe Judkins as a showrunner or a writer — or a creative — to say anything about his vision for the show, but something related to this did stick out in the “Making of” episode for the finale: The writers took away Moiraine’s powers, apparently a departure from the books, so that they could give her a “Rosamund-Pike-sized” story in season 2. Which, frankly, sounds like the worst possible reason to change the story. (But a perfectly logical course of action for a production that wants to keep its big-name actor.)

      Yeah, I mean the books just forget about big characters for volumes at a time, they can’t expect to do that with A-list actors (but that is something that could have been planned for, since they know the story in advance). I think there are ways to deal with it and this approach could work, putting shielded Moiraine[1] into a new but still central role. It’s actually a change I can kind of get behind.

      [1] She can’t be stilled, since then her only role would be to wander off listlessly and drop dead.

      Anyways, in summary, I liked the show and will definitely watch season 2. (If only to see how that innocent little girl at the end turns our to be a superpowerful magic user who throws that stupid tidal wave back at the stupid sea people.)

      Seanchan. Jesus Christ, noob.

      😀

      [1] The main reason I quit was because the story didn’t seem to go anywhere except into endless and endlessly long side quests. Also, the female characters all seemed to be cut from the same braid-pulling male-negative (but still hero-swoony) cloth, which started to grate after a while, and the characters felt bland overall. Plus the Wheel and all the cyclical time stuff ultimately proved silly and uninteresting worldbuilding concepts for me, so even that part didn’t take. Finally, next to writers like Robin Hobb, GRRM, and Tad Williams, whose books I read around the same time, and who excelled at characters and prose, Jordan started to feel like a bulk fantasy sellout hack. [2]

      All true, except I’ll only agree with Tad Williams in terms of your list of “better” authors there. In fact all four of them are kind of cut from the same hacky cloth as far as I’m concerned, but Williams has scope.

      [2] No, this is not a hill I’m willing to die on. It’s probably over 20 years since I last read Jordan, so my memory of his work is not exactly clear, meaning I can’t really judge him fairly. But, fair or not, I did genuinely come to consider him a lesser and less interesting writer and storyteller than those other guys, which is why I stuck with them instead. Still, I did stick with Jordan for 7 or 8 books, and I’m much, much less surprised about that than sticking with Terry Goodkind for 5.

      I don’t think you’ll find many fans of Jordan willing to surround that hill and kill you on it in any case. Not this side of Twitter, anyway. That’s where the angry little baby fans have all gathered, bless ’em. And Reddit has the “bookcloaks” who are apparently the guardians of canon this time around. Which I kinda love. It’s sort of like the upper and lower classes of alt.fan-robert-jordan and rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan from usenet days have evolved into the Eloi of Twitter and the Morlocks of Reddit, right before our eyes.

      [3] It’s funny that this exact same thing seems to be happening right now with the second season of The Witcher. Some people have apparently been so angry over the misuse of their beloved property as to quit Netflix. (Yeah, that’ll show them!) Here, too, I’m not that familiar with nor invested in the books, and I pretty much loved season 2. Worked just great on balance.

      Still yet to finish that, I think we have one episode left. And I read one of the books on the insistence of my man Gabriel. I can see the book-lovers’ point, but I suppose like you with the Wheel of Time series, it’s just not a sufficiently big deal to ruin my enjoyment of the show.

      • dreameling says:

        The story and the world kept me intrigued, the main plot maintained a nice forward momentum (quite unlike in the books) with interesting developments in each episode, the visual worldbuilding was just awesome, and the overall production values were great.

        I don’t know, it still may need to find its feet but that’s cool. They have a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to cover, and I don’t know what sort of budget they had, but they were operating under some crazy conditions. I’m hesitant to give them a blanket COVID pass since a lot of shows and movies (everything, for example, made since the start of 2020) has had that challenge, but there were clear gaps in the quality chain.

        I imagine some of that must be due to your infinitely greater familiarity with the source material? You see so much of what could have or should have been included or excluded, and in what shape or form, whereas I just mostly see what’s there on the screen. (I remember having much more to work with — and way more opinions — as an audience member with what I saw in Game of Thrones.)

        I guess this is my long-winded way of saying I agree with you, there’s still some settling-in these actors need to do (or just dropping their shit and walking away apparently).

        I wonder how they’ll address Dónal Finn replacing Barney Harris as Mat. Talk about having some settling-in left to do. Harris’s departure also apparently resulted in a lot of changes in the season 1 finale.

        Yeah, I mean the books just forget about big characters for volumes at a time, they can’t expect to do that with A-list actors (but that is something that could have been planned for, since they know the story in advance). I think there are ways to deal with it and this approach could work, putting shielded Moiraine[1] into a new but still central role. It’s actually a change I can kind of get behind.

        Even if they had gone with a less-established actor for Moiraine, the actor might still have become a big name with the success of the show, meaning that cutting them out for big chunks later on would’ve landed them back in A-list actor issue territory. But, yeah, since they have the whole finished story to work with, they should be expected to plan / have planned ahead accordingly. (I sincerely hope they have a thought-out master plan for the series as a whole already in place; detailed treatments for each season.)

        Seanchan. Jesus Christ, noob.

        No, they made such a bad first impression on me, and since I can be nothing if not stupid-proudly stubborn about little stuff, I will forever call them “Stupid Sea People”.

        All true, except I’ll only agree with Tad Williams in terms of your list of “better” authors there. In fact all four of them are kind of cut from the same hacky cloth as far as I’m concerned, but Williams has scope.

        Maybe our definitions differ, or maybe we just got different mileage, but I would not describe any of those authors as “hacky” in any sense of the word. I would not call them “literary geniuses” [1] either. But while there are, for sure, fantasy and scifi authors who are better at plot, characterization, prose, and pretty much any aspect of narrative, those three are still solid, legit professionals for me. (With the obvious caveat that some of their books shine more than others.)

        [1] But I’m sure fantasy and scifi have those, too, depending on the definition of a literary genius. Among the ones I’ve read, Gene Wolfe maybe fits the bill.

        I actually just finished a reread of Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, and it genuinely remains one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read. Gripping story with great character stuff and subtle small-scale worldbuilding. (I bought a fancy Folio Society edition of The Farseer Trilogy, so a great excuse for a revisit after 20+ years.)

        I don’t think you’ll find many fans of Jordan willing to surround that hill and kill you on it in any case. Not this side of Twitter, anyway. That’s where the angry little baby fans have all gathered, bless ’em. And Reddit has the “bookcloaks” who are apparently the guardians of canon this time around. Which I kinda love. It’s sort of like the upper and lower classes of alt.fan-robert-jordan and rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan from usenet days have evolved into the Eloi of Twitter and the Morlocks of Reddit, right before our eyes.

        Where do you and your fellow ancients from the usenet days fit in in this new online world order? I know you have Discord, but that’s not exactly a public space from which to stake your claim in fandomland!

        Now, I do have some lingering questions about the final, which maybe you can help me with:

        * Why have Lan go after Moiraine and then have him do nothing on the way or at the end? (This might be one of those things in the finale that the pandemic fucked up.)
        * How did Egwene basically resurrect Nynaeve?
        * Why not kill off Nynaeve? She was one of the more annoying characters anyway.
        * Was Fares Fares’s Ishamael the Dark One?
        * What was that prison place anyway? Whose prison was it?
        * Why is Perry such a slack-faced pussy?

      • dreameling says:

        * Perrin (oops!)

      • Hatboy says:

        I don’t know, it still may need to find its feet but that’s cool. They have a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to cover, and I don’t know what sort of budget they had, but they were operating under some crazy conditions. I’m hesitant to give them a blanket COVID pass since a lot of shows and movies (everything, for example, made since the start of 2020) has had that challenge, but there were clear gaps in the quality chain.

        I imagine some of that must be due to your infinitely greater familiarity with the source material? You see so much of what could have or should have been included or excluded, and in what shape or form, whereas I just mostly see what’s there on the screen. (I remember having much more to work with — and way more opinions — as an audience member with what I saw in Game of Thrones.)

        Fair to say. I’m honestly glad you got clear enjoyment from it. I did too, but yeah. I have some gripes. As to be expected.

        I guess this is my long-winded way of saying I agree with you, there’s still some settling-in these actors need to do (or just dropping their shit and walking away apparently).

        I wonder how they’ll address Dónal Finn replacing Barney Harris as Mat. Talk about having some settling-in left to do. Harris’s departure also apparently resulted in a lot of changes in the season 1 finale.

        Yeah, it’s going to be interesting. I’m not jazzed about the new guy, to the extent I just dropped my jazzed-levels about Mat in general – but then I never really got into the Mat fandom from the books, he was a fun character but he wasn’t as big a deal as so many people made him out to be. I didn’t miss him when he vanished for like three books. Shame about what happened with the actor though (as far as the disappearance; I don’t actually know the details).

        Even if they had gone with a less-established actor for Moiraine, the actor might still have become a big name with the success of the show, meaning that cutting them out for big chunks later on would’ve landed them back in A-list actor issue territory. But, yeah, since they have the whole finished story to work with, they should be expected to plan / have planned ahead accordingly. (I sincerely hope they have a thought-out master plan for the series as a whole already in place; detailed treatments for each season.)

        That’d be nice, but given that they haven’t apparently gotten confirmation on how many seasons they’ll even get (they certainly would have told us, right?), I’m not confident. I guess they could have an eight-season plan, a five-season plan, a three-season plan?

        Seanchan. Jesus Christ, noob.

        No, they made such a bad first impression on me, and since I can be nothing if not stupid-proudly stubborn about little stuff, I will forever call them “Stupid Sea People”.

        I can’t even argue with that. It feels very on-brand for the Hatstand.

        I don’t think you’ll find many fans of Jordan willing to surround that hill and kill you on it in any case. Not this side of Twitter, anyway. That’s where the angry little baby fans have all gathered, bless ’em. And Reddit has the “bookcloaks” who are apparently the guardians of canon this time around. Which I kinda love. It’s sort of like the upper and lower classes of alt.fan-robert-jordan and rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan from usenet days have evolved into the Eloi of Twitter and the Morlocks of Reddit, right before our eyes.

        Where do you and your fellow ancients from the usenet days fit in in this new online world order? I know you have Discord, but that’s not exactly a public space from which to stake your claim in fandomland!

        Yeah, we don’t really have a place in the modern discourse. And considering the discourse, I’m fine with that. The Hatstand is good enough for me.

        Now, I do have some lingering questions about the final, which maybe you can help me with:

        * Why have Lan go after Moiraine and then have him do nothing on the way or at the end? (This might be one of those things in the finale that the pandemic fucked up.)

        The Blight in general was kind of lame and wasted. Maybe we’ll get more with Rand finding his way to the Aiel Waste via the Blight? But yeah, it was a bit of a non-event.

        * How did Egwene basically resurrect Nynaeve?

        No clue. My best theory was that they were still Linked, and Nynaeve used her own super healing power on herself, through Egwene. Twisting the rules of the One Power a bit, but evidently they don’t care about that. Otherwise, they just … did it?

        * Why not kill off Nynaeve? She was one of the more annoying characters anyway.

        She does have some things to do, such as Healing gentled and stilled folks. And reunifying Malkier for Lan.

        * Was Fares Fares’s Ishamael the Dark One?

        Not if we’re following the books, he was just Ishamael the Forsaken, passing himself off as the Dark One out of madness and – I don’t know, convenience? The books weren’t exactly clear either because for a while it was almost like Jordan had an exit strategy for the books where Ishamael was the Dark One. It’d make sense for the TV show to use the same escape hatch, but they handled it weirdly.

        * What was that prison place anyway? Whose prison was it?

        The “Eye of the World”, in the TV show, seemed to have been a reimagining of Shayol Ghul / the Bore. The Dark One’s prison. But then, if it was just one of the seals, and the Amyrlin was lied to in her dream, it could just have been the place where Lews Therin made his stand and placed the seal that was partially trapping Ishamael. What that means about possible other seals, I’m not sure.

        In the books, the Eye of the World was a big stash of clean saidin (male One Power) that Rand uses to “kill” Ishamael once, while Moiraine kills Aginor and the Green Man kills Balthamel (or the other way around; a couple of the Forsaken likewise trapped with Ishamael), with the Dragon banner and the Horn of Valere and one of the Dark One’s prison seals inside it. And it was all inside a pocket of life inside the Blight where the aforementioned Green Man lived. Apparently that is all in the toilet now.

        * Why is Perry such a slack-faced pussy?

        Too much Golden Cap cider.

        *rimshot*

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Damn fine questions from dreameling and damn fine answers from Hatboy, I wanted to say. I was going to answer those questions dreameling had for the big RJ fans but I completely agree with Hatboy’s answers. I might have been meaner to the show in my response, but we’re better off without that!

        I will say, though, that while–yes–Nynaeve was incredibly irritating in the books, surely you’re not finding her as much in the show? They really toned her down, by and large, and other characters score some pretty good shots at her, to her face (even Lan, her now lover, “so long as you promise not to push anyone in [to our fire].” and such. And I do like her in the show, so surely that counts for something! HATED her in the books. DEEPLY.

        So I’m glad they didn’t take your idea and just kill her off, for those reasons in addition to Hatboy’s!

      • dreameling says:

        Her apparent death was a genuinely dramatic and even touching scene. Immediately bringing her back basically undid all that impact. So why fake-kill her in the first place?

        I don’t recall quite how irritating she was in the books, but of all the characters in the show, she did grate the most. Part of the reason is that the actor didn’t play her with a lot of nuance, to my mind; she was all stubborn attitude and mistrust without a lot of depth to either and sometimes little reason for them, too.

      • Hatboy says:

        Yeah, they really shouldn’t have made her that dead. Healing death is the one real boundary they don’t fuck with (unless it’s the Dark One resurrecting Forsaken, or balefire reversing time, or Mat just being mostly-dead, or…)

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Her apparent death was a genuinely dramatic and even touching scene. Immediately bringing her back basically undid all that impact. So why fake-kill her in the first place?”

        I’ve been restraining myself (believe it or not) but you don’t have to twist MY arm to say that was bad writing. It was! I wished they hadn’t done it, and you’re quite right!

        “I don’t recall quite how irritating she was in the books, but of all the characters in the show, she did grate the most. Part of the reason is that the actor didn’t play her with a lot of nuance, to my mind; she was all stubborn attitude and mistrust without a lot of depth to either and sometimes little reason for them, too.”

        I think she had quite good reasons, and I thought they were put in our faces (at least the initial bias reason was) by the showrunners…see my other response.

      • Hatboy says:

        Her apparent death was a genuinely dramatic and even touching scene. Immediately bringing her back basically undid all that impact. So why fake-kill her in the first place?

        I’ve been restraining myself (believe it or not) but you don’t have to twist MY arm to say that was bad writing. It was! I wished they hadn’t done it, and you’re quite right!

        Agreed, although I guess the main difference here is that dreameling wishes she’d stayed dead, and Aaron and I wish she’d been more clearly not-dead in the first place. Or, sure, stay dead if they were going to make the scene and effects they actually set in place actually work.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Hee!

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        With my added caveat that I don’t think that should have killed any of them, per linking canon as far as I remember or could look up thereafter.

      • Hatboy says:

        With my added caveat that I don’t think that should have killed any of them, per linking canon as far as I remember or could look up thereafter.

        True. Although that magic system law never jumped out at me from the books and I’m perfectly fine with linked channelers still getting burned out if they’re shitty and untrained (it makes more sense than linking being an apparent buffer to burning out), but it’s giving the show an awful lot of credit.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Also true and fair to say.

      • dreameling says:

        If they’d made her seem less dead, and dropped that death scene speech, then sure, revive away.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        100% agreement. Just one of my many issues with ep 8.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Also we’re not talking about how “burning out” from drawing too much is not a literal body burning thing. It’s a stilling/gentling/severing whatever term you want. The Queen of Manetheren and Lews Therin were anomalies.

        They can change this, I’m totally fine with that being changed, but it isn’t what it means in the books. Except that this change would mean Liandrin was fine torching herself merely TRYING to stop Logain. Does that really make sense for her?

      • Hatboy says:

        Yes, burning the One Power out of their bodies. But it can also kill, from Moiraine’s warnings.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Right. In the book I would say it almost always means you get severed, whereas in the show all the evidence is the reverse!

        I was about to snark about what does Moiraine know, when Ishy handled her like a child, and I guess I kinda just did but that got me reminiscing about Ishy’s performance in Ep 8 and I was just lost in happiness for a couple of minutes.

        I need a mashup of just those scenes so I can not see the rest of the episode. SO, so good.

      • dreameling says:

        PS. I did not hate the character, not at all. I just found her irritatingly one-note.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Ha! Well this may be another book reader bias, because she was MUCH improved and I thought they brought out what drove her in the books much better in the show. Yes, she was irritating, she’s a stubborn DOB, but she has her reasons. Mostly she’s resentful of Aes Sedai and I thought they explained that in the show pretty well. Initial bias based on her Wisdom teacher, and then more negatives from Moiraine spiriting away the “kids” (they were in the books). Remember, from her perspective, they were just GONE and she had no idea why.

      • dreameling says:

        Maybe it was more about the acting lacking nuance for me, then.

        But there was at least that one scene, after the Two Rivers attack, where she caught up with Lan and Moiraine, and was basically ready to kill them on the spot, which made zero sense to me. Even if she was protective of the kids and resentful of Aes Sedai, why would she be willing to waste her only link to finding the kids or even assume Moiraine or Lan had done something bad to them? Her hostile attitude felt stupidly undermotivated.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Artistic…license? For…errm…dramatic effect? *shrug* you know that wasn’t her choice as an actress of course.

      • dreameling says:

        Sure, we’ll put that in the “poor writing” category.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        I mean, I’m listening more and more to the theory that Mat’s actor was cancelled because he was too uppity against Judkins…because in the absence of answers I must find the least disturbing one. And most amusing one?

        So I’m going to just assume she was scared into doing whatever he said she was supposed to be doing. I like her as an actress, like the casting and how she brought it to the screen.

        Well except for weirdly walking into Lan’s room and just standing there. LOLWUT?

    • casparvanemdeboas says:

      I was surprised by Rosemund Pike. I did not know her work but I have found her acting good.

      Sure I am a little bit biased because her looks are of a woman I will fall for quit easy 😀

  3. Hatboy says:

    One point where they have seemed to take note of the whole story is in the mechanism for Ishamael to tempt Rand, and alter reality. That had to wait until the final book when Rand basically Ascended, so it was cool to see a trace of it set up here.

  4. casparvanemdeboas says:

    I think that you made good points here. I shared my opinions on Discord as well. About the casting I liked Pike though. Some others I did not.

    My favourite so far is the one who playes Liandrin.

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