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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

By Mashiara Sedai, in TV Show,

The latest casting announcement for the Amazon Prime Wheel of Time television show has been announced.   Darren Clarke as Basel Gill     Basel Gill plays an important role in reuniting our beloved Two Rivers characters, and this announcement could mean we're getting closer to the in-book scenes in Caemlyn.  Will Elyane be revealed next?  Or maybe Morgase?  Gareth Bryne?  Maybe Elaida?   Or is this an indication that Master Gill's character is changing or evolving from his role in the books?  The Twitter feed for @WOTonPrime seems to be aligning their announcements with what's happening in the books--based on the #TwitterofTime book club reading of The Eye of the World.  If we get this information when Basel isn't even mentioned (they read chapters 19-22 this week), it could be foreshadowing about changes to the storyline.   What do you think?  Is the Two Rivers group heading to Caemlyn?  Or will Basel Gill appear elsewhere?  Let us know what you think in the comments below!      

By Werthead, in TV Show,

Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's TV blogger. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for over fifteen years. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon.   Things have been surprisingly busy since our last check-in, with Amazon revealing multiple new castmembers for the show.   To quickly get up to speed, the new characters announced are as follows:   Christopher Sciueref as Abell Cauthon. Juliet Howland as Natti Cauthon. Mandi Symonds as Daise Congar. Lolita Chakrabarti as Marin al’Vere. Michael Tuahine as Bran al’Vere. David Sterne as Cenn Buie. Abdul Salis as Eamon Valda Stuart Graham as Geofram Bornhald. Jennifer Preston as Mistress Grinwell. Pasha Bocarie as Master Grinwell. Izuka Hoyle as Dana.   With the exception of “Dana,” these are all characters well-established in the books, consisting of a sizeable chunk of the Emond’s Field supporting cast, two of the Whitecloaks and two farmers met by Rand and Mat on their journey. There are two questions that the latest casting announcements encourage: who is Dana and why haven’t we heard anything about Elayne or Min?   There is no Dana, there is Only…? In the Wheel of Time novels, the name Dana is notable by not actually existing. The closest approximation is “Dena,” the name of a young gleeman whom Thom takes on as a student (and lover) in The Great Hunt. Changing “Dena” to “Dana” seems fairly pointless, but it is possible that they will introduce Dena much earlier in the TV show and perhaps have Thom meet her after he parts ways with Rand and Mat. Keeping Thom’s story on screen saves it disappearing for a large stretch of time (probably well into the second season), which is useful for keeping the actor gainfully employed in the meantime.   It is also possible that the producers have already decided not to feature Dena (a very minor character in the books) and borrowed her name for Else Grinwell. With several “E” names already present in the first season (Egwene, Elayne, presumably Elyas), introducing some name variety is a good idea. It seems a bit silly, but other shows have also done this kind of name-changing on occasion (most famously, turning “Asha Greyjoy” in Game of Thrones into “Yara Greyjoy” because they deemed it too similar to the already-introduced wildling character of Osha). The fact that Dana was announced at the same time as the Grinwells adds credence to that theory, although you’d assume that they’d also have just announced her as “Dana Grinwell” in that case.   There is also the possibility that “Dana” is a codename for another role, ranging from Mili Skane (the last Darkfriend standing, first introduced in The Eye of the World) to the intriguing (if somewhat farfetched) possibility that she is actually “Dana Bornhald,” the genderflipped daughter of Geofram Bornhald. That seems unlikely, but remains a possibility, since Dana and Dain are closely related names.   Is Min MIA? Another discussion engendered by the announcements is the fate of Elmindreda Farshaw, or “Min,” a fan-favourite character who appears early on in The Eye of the World. Min only has a small role in that book but goes on to have a much bigger role in the rest of the series.   Min first appears in the town of Baerlon. Curiously, we have not heard any casting at all for notable characters in Baerlon (such as Dain Bornhald, despite his father being cast) and the episode titles suggest that if our heroes are stopping in Baerlon at all in the show, it’ll be for a very brief visit (the second episode is called Shadow’s Waiting, suggesting that most or all of the Shadar Logoth storyline will take place in that episode, which limits the time that can be spent in Baerlon). This has led to the speculation that Min has been cut from the first season and will appear in Tar Valon in Season 2, or, more intriguingly, will show up in the Queen’s Blessing Inn instead, working for Basel Gill. The rumour mill suggests that Gill has also been cast, but we have had no official confirmation from Amazon yet. This latter idea has a lot of promise, since it means that Min and Rand can meet up and spend several days together rather than the comparatively brief meeting in Baerlon.   My strong suspicion is that Min has been cast for Season 1 but not announced yet, and appearing later in the season would explain why the announcement has not yet been made. Of course, it could be that “Dana” is a code name for Min.   Trakands or Not Trakands? Another question is hovering over the fate of the entire family Trakand. The royal family of Andor has a small but key role in The Eye of the World, when Rand’s curiosity gets the better of him and he ends up in an ad hoc royal audience with Queen Morgase and her court. Particularly important in this sequence is that he meets Elayne Trakand, Daughter-Heir of Andor, but many characters critical to the later storylines show up at this point: Gawyn, Galad, Gareth Bryne, Elaida, Morgase, Lini and Martyn Tallanvor.   That’s seven characters with multi-season roles to introduce at once, which is why I’m increasingly sceptical that it will be adapted faithfully. It might make more sense, especially from a budgetary point of view, to skip this scene and introduce Elayne, Gawyn and Galad in Season 2 instead, and potentially Morgase and Gareth as well (Lini and Tallanvor are relatively minor characters who are ripe for the chopping, although I think fans would hate to see Lini and her endless quotes cut from the series). The only problem with this approach is that Elayne and Elaida are such major characters that introducing them as early as possible seems like a much better idea. They could also cut the difference: cut the court scene but introduce Elayne and Elaida via the expanded Logain storyline, as we know there will be new material for Logain relating to his capture in battle and subsequent journey to Caemlyn and Tar Valon (it’s also likely that this is where we will meet Alanna and Liandrin).   These are key questions that will, of course, keep fans guessing until Amazon confirm the full cast for the first season.   As usual, let us know your thoughts in the comments and keep checking in with the Dragonmount TV page for the latest developments.

By Jason Denzel, in People,

Harriet McDougal is best known for her illustrious career as a book editor, including for her work on the Wheel of Time. She's also been an acclaimed sponsor, donor, and all-around humanitarian, but now she can add one more thing to her list of accomplishments:  being featured on TV.   Recently, TV personality Monty Don featured her home on his program, Monty Don's American Gardens. In this particular episode he explores the gardens of the Southern United States, including Harriet's hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.    We coved this topic in our latest episode of The Wheel of Time Community Show on YouTube. Take a look:   Tell us what you think in the comments, and don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

By Mashiara Sedai, in TV Show,

Amazon Prime announced today, via social media, the casting of three actors for The Wheel of Time TV show.   Jennifer Preston as Mistress Grinwell Pasha Bocarie as Master Grinwell Izuka Hoyle as Dana         There’s already been some debate on who Dana might be.  Listed with Mistress and Master Grinwell, logic would say she’s Else Grinwell but with a different name (we already have two major characters with E names—Egwene and Elayne—so this change might be to cause less confusion for TV viewers).  There’s also Dena—Thom’s apprentice in The Great Hunt.  It seems too early to have her appearing, though.  But in the world of cinematic storytelling, who know!   Let us know who you think Dana might be in the comments below!  

By Jason Denzel, in TV Show,

Amazon Prime announced today, via social media, the casting of 2 actors for The Wheel of Time TV show.    Abdul Salis as Eamon Valda. Stuart Graham as Geofram Bornhald.     . These actors have been rumored for a while, but we've only now reported on them because of Amazon's confirmation.    Production on the TV show has been halted since March due to the global COVD-19 pandemic. It's believed that filming will resume this summer, perhaps as early as July, in Prague where most of the show has been filmed. So far 6 out of the first 8 episodes for Season 1 have been shot.    Casting for the TV show is primarily handled by the KVH Casting Agency in London. For more information on The Wheel of Time TV show and cast, visit our TV section.   Check out what we thought about this casting announcement on The Wheel of Time Community Show on YouTube.    Tell us what you think of these casting announcements in the comments!    

By Eqwina, in Fantasy Reviews,

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor   There is great beauty in a willingness to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I have come to find it even more important in our world’s changing and uncertain times to surround myself with media that helps to broaden my worldview. In my opinion it is truly one of the best things about literature, more so than any other medium. Reading requires you to use your imagination and visualize. A well written book can take you to another world and allow you to walk in someone else’s shoes.   Binti is a 2015 award-winning science fiction novella by Nnedi Okorafor. Our main character Binti is a sixteen-year-old minority prodigy.  She is offered a position at the prestigious Oomza University, something that no one else in her village would ever consider. Part of the Himba people, Binti was always destined to succeed her father in their business. The Himba people are deeply tied to their ancestral land, and they believe that if you move away you will begin to diminish. They even coat their bodies in a special material “Otjize” made from a red clay from the earth and the oil from local flowers. It is what makes Binti’s resolve to venture out into the universe even more inspiring.    Surrounded by people foreign to herself, Binti finds similarities in a love of learning. She quickly makes friends and becomes more comfortable with the idea of being so far from home. Much like in real life, Binti’s leap of faith is not met with an easy road. She is faced with challenges and strife and is forced to find her own inner strength. I would recommend this book to fantasy and sci-fi readers alike. It is a quick read and offers a story that is richly woven with ethnic issues. I am excited to read the next two novellas in the series.    Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller. 

By Jason Denzel, in TV Show,

Amazon Prime announced today, via social media, the casting of six actors for The Wheel of Time TV show.    Christopher Sciueref as Abell Cauthon. Juliet Howland as Natti Cauthon. Mandi Symonds as Daise Congar. Lolita Chakrabarti as Marin al’Vere. Michael Tuahine as Bran al’Vere. David Sterne as Cenn Buie.    Christopher Sciueref as Abell Cauthon.    Juliet Howland as Natti Cauthon.    Mandi Symonds as Daise Congar.    Lolita Chakrabarti as Marin al’Vere.    Michael Tuahine as Bran al’Vere.    David Sterne as Cenn Buie.   Several of these actors have been rumored for a while, but we've only now reported on them because of Amazon's confirmation. These specific roles are likely limited in their scope, with the actors appearing only or primarily in the first couple of episodes of the season.    Production on the TV show has been halted since March due to the global COVD-19 pandemic. It's believed that filming will resume this summer, perhaps as early as July, in Prague where most of the show has been filmed. So far 6 out of the first 8 episodes for Season 1 have been shot.    Casting for the TV show is primarily handled by the KVH Casting Agency in London. For more information on The Wheel of Time TV show and cast, visit our TV section.   Check out what we thought about this casting announcement on The Wheel of Time Community Show on YouTube.    Tell us what you think of these casting announcements in the comments!    

By Werthead, in TV Show,

Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's TV blogger. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for over fifteen years. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon.   Money may not always make the world go around but it is certainly important when you want to make an expensive fantasy TV show featuring nonhuman creatures, sorcery and vast ruined cities.   It’s been known for a while that Amazon have dramatically increased the money they are spending on their shows. A few years ago, Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon and Richest Man on Earth™, told his TV division to start spending big and look for the “next Game of Thrones” to help popularise Amazon’s streaming division. They took that to heart, snapping up not just The Wheel of Time, but also J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth for a new prequel TV show set in the Second Age, telling the story of the forging of the Rings of Power and the original rise of the Dark Lord Sauron.   The budget for the Middle-earth show is widely-known, having been discussed in the trade magazines at the time. The Tolkien Estate sold additional rights to the Middle-earth books to Amazon for an unprecedented sum of $250 million. They also included a stipulation that each of the show’s seasons was to have a budget of between $100 million and $150 million. With apparently ten episodes per season, that gives the show a budget of $10-15 million per episode. For comparison’s sake, HBO’s Game of Thrones was given a budget of $100 million for each of its final three seasons, which, due to a declining episode order per season, gave them a per-episode budget of approximately $10 million (for Season 6), $14 million (for Season 7) and $16.7 million (Season 8), so the Tolkien series will be in the same ballpark.   The budget for the Wheel of Time TV show has been much more of a secret, at least up until recently. WoTSeries.com did some digging and found publicly-disclosed funding which seems to indicate how much money is being spent on the project.   The Wheel of Time TV show is being shot in the Czech Republic, in studios in the capital city of Prague with location filming in surrounding areas and across the border in Slovenia. As is common, the Czech government has tax rebates and incentive funding available for shows that film in the country, the idea that by spending a certain amount of money to encourage the production to remain in the country, the production will spend more money and the local economy will benefit, encouraging more shows to shoot there. This has been successful in recent years, with the Czech Republic becoming a hub of filming with numerous projects setting up shop there (Carnival Row is shooting in studios near the Wheel of Time production base, for example).   The rebate is based on the idea of “Czech spending,” how much of the budget is being spent in the country itself, with the production able to expect 20% of the budget refunded by the government. In the case of The Wheel of Time, we now know that $14.9 million was refunded by the government to Amazon for Season 1 of the show.   Some rather simple back-of-the-napkin maths shows that Amazon must have spent $74 million in the Czech Republic to qualify for a $14.9 million rebate. Of course, that’s not the total budget for the show. Casting was carried out in the United Kingdom and a large chunk of post-production is likewise being handled in the UK, by Cinesite Studios and several other CGI companies. There is also editing, mixing, musical composition and other post requirements taking place in the United States.   All of that comfortably lifts the total budget to well over $80 million and likely significantly more (the CG effects requirements for the show will be enormous). With showrunner Rafe Judkins recently confirming eight episodes for each of the first two seasons, that puts the per-episode budget of The Wheel of Time at well over $10 million per episode, comparable to Game of Thrones circa Season 6 and not far off the budget of the new Lord of the Rings project.   It’s worth noting that Game of Thrones’ budget only started at $6 million per episode when filming started in 2009 (about $7.2 million in today’s money, thanks to inflation). The Witcher’s first season had a budget of around $70 million in total (about $7.7 million per episode), although some figures place it at closer to $80 million (around $8.8 million per episode), so Wheel of Time will certainly outrange its Netflix competition.   The show will live or die on its writing, direction and performances, but it’s good to see that Amazon is providing enough financial resources to bring Robert Jordan’s grand vision to life.   In other news, WoTSeries has an interesting feature on the set of Emond’s Field being removed and on the logistics of location shooting, as well as finding confirmation that the Emmy Award-winning Ondřej Nekvasil is the main production designer on the show.   Daniel Henney (Lan) has posted the second part of his recent online Q&A, confirming that he sees himself working on The Wheel of Time for many years to come. Zoe Robins (Nynaeve) has also been interviewed in her native New Zealand, in which she discusses the show and seems to confirm the previously-mooted 2021 release date (although how the pandemic impacts on that remains to be see).   As usual, we will bring you all the latest news here on Dragonmount’s TV page.   Also, sure to watch our latest video on The Wheel of Time Community Show on YouTube where host Thom talks about this budget topic.   

By Jaymie Greenway, in Rotating Features,

Jaymie here. I’ll be discussing a wide variety of topics related to The Wheel of Time. Like many of you, I’ve been reading WoT since the Age of Legends, so we’ll have lots to cover together…WoTever comes to mind.   WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS   Affecting change out in Randland or as Sitters in the Hall, who’s the biggest badass of them all?   In this series, I’ll take a look at our own G.L.O.W. – the Glorious Ladies of WoT, specifically the smooth-cheeked, serenity-filled, skirt-smoothing, shawl-adjusting, butt-kicking Aes Sedai. I’ll select the most badass sister from each Ajah, as well as a runner-up for the title.   In Part One, we chose out the most badass Aes Sedai of the Green, Red, and Gray Ajahs. The Blue, Yellow, White, and Brown Ajahs saw their badass representatives hailed in Part Two. Part Three…well, let’s see what dirty deeds comprise a Black Ajah Badass.   ANOTHER WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS   Black The Black Ajah. Oh, these nasty, nasty ladies.   After lauding the bravery and accomplishments of the Badasses in Parts 1 and 2, it was tough to give these minions of the Dark One the same kind of distinction. But someone had to do it. And thanks to Robert Jordan, I was given some complex, startlingly well-written, and deliciously evil characters through which to sort.   At first, I tried to think of characteristics that distinguished the Black sisters from the non-Dark sisters, like sneaking, conniving, word-twisting…then I saw Blight in my head yelling at Batman, “DO YOU HAVE THE SLIGHTEST IDEA HOW LITTLE THAT NARROWS IT DOWN?” But for real, we can add murdering—LOTS of murdering—to the Black Ajah resume, along with actual lying. We can also add aligning events to the desires of the Forsa—I mean, Chosen and the Dark O—dang it, Great LORD.   A Few Contenders The obvious literal choice for Most Badass Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah is Verin Mathwin. But as she sacrificed her very life to thwart the Dark and reveal herself as a double agent for the Light, we simply cannot, in good conscience, brand her as Black. Besides, as we saw in Part Two, she wholly and unequivocally already owns the title of the Badass of the Brown.   Liandrin was our first real introduction to a sister of the Black Ajah, as she and her pretty face and hostile personality led our young heroines straight into Seanchan hands. (And I am stoked to see Kate Fleetwood play Liandrin in the upcoming TV show. STOKED, I say!)   Liandrin was mean and nasty and just what we as readers hoped to get from our first real glimpse at a member of the nervously-whispered-about Black Ajah. Sadly, she was but reduced to a sniveling mess by her mistress Moghedien before the end of Book 5 (The Fires of Heaven).   A multitude of other Black sisters did their jobs well (and were fun to read while they did them):   Elza Penfell was compelling as she served Rand in hopes of delivering him to the Dark in the Last Battle. Katerine Alruddin’s ambition and sheer viciousness made her one to watch. Sheriam Bayanar’s revelation as a Black sister was fairly shocking, since she felt like our Mistress of Novices, too. Her impact was huge as she had the trust of the heroines (and of US, dammit) early on, and later kept things lively and discombobulated at the Rebel camp. But she was also a scaredy-cat and her reasons for going Dark (other people are better at stuff than me!) were quite lame.   We also got to know very well the unpleasant ladies who fled the Tower with Liandrin. They each had Dark shiny moments in their own right, with lots of torture, murdering, cat adopting, and bawdy song-singing with ousted monarchs.   But two Black sisters stood out from the pack in terms of nastiness, their impact throughout the series, and their fascinating endings. And both were so obnoxiously exceptional that I flip-flopped between Winner and Runner-Up right up until press time. Alviarin Friedhen (Black/White) This woman was a straight-up sociopath. The Black Ajah normally recruits from among novices and Accepted, but this nut job had committed her first murder long before coming to the Tower; hell, it was before she even knew she could channel.   In terms of impact, Alviarin ended up with two of the most powerful titles a woman in the series could have: head of the Black Ajah (a title bestowed by Ishamael himself) and, after helping Elaida depose Siuan, Keeper of the Chronicles in the White Tower. As Keeper, she at first manipulates Elaida, then outright controls her. Later, Alviarin does fall from her Keeper power, but shows back up at the Last Battle as a new Dreadlord.   Alviarin’s character receives an unexpected (and, oh, I’ll just say it: fun!) ending during the Last Battle as she is tricked into entering an Ogier stedding (Androl, holla!). She and the Dark channelers with her are greeted by the stedding’s Eldest, who will accommodate them for as many years as they need to “reconsider their path.”   Runner-Up Galina Casban (Black/Red) The wicked ways of Galina gave us some huge story arcs: she got to kill sisters gathered by Tamra Ospenya to hunt for the Dragon Reborn; 20 years later she got to capture the Dragon Reborn in a box and beat him daily, thus beginning the downward spiral of Rand into his counterproductive harder-than-steel persona (Dumai’s Wells, anyone? Yep, we can thank Galina for that). Additionally, her character gave us eyes on the Shaido and their leadership.   After she was captured by the Shaido and severely, relentlessly abused by the Wise One Therava, Galina’s grit and perseverance saw her through multiple escape attempts. Each time the attempts failed, and each time she was harshly punished. That didn’t stop her from taking one last shot at flight by blackmailing fellow Shaido captive Faile into helping her. Faile complied and Galina was so tantalizingly close to freedom. But she was caught for the final time, right before Therava announced the Shaido were done in the wetlands and would return to the Waste.   “Something had broken in her. She was Galina Casban, Highest of the Red Ajah, who sat on the Supreme Council of the Black Ajah, and she was going to be Therava’s plaything for the rest of her life. She was Therava’s little Lina. For the rest of her life. She knew that to her bones. Tears rolled silently down her face.” (Knife of Dreams, Ch. 30, Outside the Gates)   Wow. What an ending.   What do you think? Who did I miss? Do you agree or is someone else a bigger badass of the Black Ajah?  

By Mashiara Sedai, in Books and eBooks,

This year, The Eye of the World celebrated its 30th anniversary.  To commemorate this special occasion Tor Books is releasing a new hardcover and paperback versions of The Eye of the World as well as a new paperback cover for New Spring.     The 30th anniversary The Eye of the World hardcover will be published October 6th, 2020.  This amazing cover has a metallic jacket.  It will include a new introduction written by Brandon Sanderson.  The Eye of the World’s official birthday was January 15th, 1990, and the Wheel of Time Community Show celebrated this milestone earlier this year.     The artwork will feature the original image of Moiraine, Lan, and Rand drawn by Darrell K. Sweet, but in a format similar to the other trade paperbacks in the series. The publication date for this version will be August 4th, 2020.     The new paperback version is the first time New Spring will be released in the trade paperback size. The cover will feature artwork by Jason Chan, showing the moment Moiraine bonds Lan as her warder.  The publication date will be August 18th, 2020. Fans have wanted New Spring in trade paperback for some time.  With this addition, our trade paperback bookshelves will be complete!   You can watch Ebony go over the details in the latest episode of the Wheel of Time Community Show! And as always, check out our Books section for more info on each book.      So, are you as anxious as I am to get the metallic cover?  Let us know in the comments.  

By Mashiara Sedai, in Community & Events,

Welcome back to Community Round-Up, a look at all the happenings within the Wheel of Time fandom and the larger sci-fi/fantasy community.   First off TorCon is happening online this week!  Tor Books teamed up with Den of Geeks to bring a virtual convention with amazing panels.  TorCon kicks off Thursday June 11th with Brandon Sanderson talking about his latest projects!  This is a prerecorded event and only available this weekend.  You can register for this event here, or see what else TorCon has to offer!   Sticking with the Brandon Sanderson theme, you can now take an official quiz to find out which order of Knights Radiant you would be.  The Knights Radiant are a group of fighters in the Stormlight Archive series.  Each order focuses on different missions, skills and bindings, and they also bond different spren.  I tied for Truthwatcher and Windrunner, which sums up my personality perfectly.   The Dusty Wheel interviewed Joshua Stolarz, a cartographer, and Joshua shared an amazing drawing of the Two Rivers.  You can download Joshua’s map here.   I cannot get enough of these sword dances.  When thinking about the Amazon Prime show and how some of the sword forms will be shown, I imagine over-the-top stylized fights.  Here is a video posted by Stance on Facebook, from Taipei, Taiwan.     As always, let’s end with some of the best memes I can find on the internet.   While I love Nynaeve's character and her growth throughout the series (and getting over ingrained prejudices), I'm sure the draw One Power was also a factor in her change of view.   The evolution of the Aiel (as seen through the flashbacks from the ter'angreal in Rhuidean) is one of my favorite in the series.  It's amazing how just a small step each generation can change a whole belief system.   While this might seem true on the surface, the Two Rivers folk do have the necessary courage to fight for the Light when it matters!   That's all for this edition.  Which Order of the Knights Radiant were you?  Let us know in the comments!

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