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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

a NEW Casting Thread (let's keep it nice)


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1 hour ago, Thrasymachus said:

"The plot" is less important than the core of the story, and that the adaptation be distinctly and recognizably "Wheel of Time."  "The plot" will have to be significantly changed from the books to the small screen, with locations and characters and whole subplots cut, merged or completely replaced with brand new ones.  But the complaint that Rosamund Pike is too tall to play Moiraine is a valid one, because having a tall Moiraine completely changes the feel of that part of the Wheel of Time.  It also might not matter much because changing the apparent height of a character versus their real-life actor is one of the oldest camera-tricks in the book.  So maybe it won't change the feel of that part of the story, because they'll make sure to do their camera work with Rosamund in such a way as to preserve that feel.  But it's not inappropriate to feel trepidation about it.

 

See, this is the thing that the sycophantic defenders can't seem to grasp.  They think the complaint is about any kind of change at all.  When really, the complaints are about Rafe failing to respect that distinctly Wheel of Time aesthetic and core spirit that has had literal decades to grow and reinforce itself among the fans of the number one-selling American fantasy series.  Indeed, even those racist complaints about casting have that as their core motive, though their complaints and their white-washing of the Wheel of Time aesthetic and core spirit deserved to be challenged, exposed and thrown out.  

 

But the general defense of this show has gone far beyond merely running out the racists.  It insists that there is no such thing as a "distinctly Wheel of Time aesthetic."  As if Jordan didn't spend literal pages and pages describing the way characters and geography and clothes and food and every little thing looked and seemed.  We can ignore all that because "this is a different Turning" and because if we admit that there's a way things are "supposed to be," we might open the door for those racists to complain about things for racist reasons while covertly hiding their racism behind a real aesthetic disagreement. Nevermind that those racists were and are literally wrong in their whitewashing, not just morally wrong.  

 

We can trust that things are on track because Brandon and Maria and Harriet are "consultants" on the show, even though Brandon has already disavowed any influence he might have had or his involvement in the production, and early on warned the fans that they won't like some things being done.  And because Rafe has talked about Maria helping, though not in anything like specific terms, while Maria herself has said nothing, and Harriet likewise has been uncharacteristically quiet, though perhaps not unsurprisingly considering the fallout from the Winter Dragon debacle.  After all, we do have some specifics about how Sarah has helped keep things true to the series, though if those stories are true, it demonstrates a horrifying lack of familiarity with the source material by the writers and the showrunner, and if they're just jokes, it demonstrates a complete lack of respect for the fans who are worried about the show, and what they're worried about.

 

And at the end of the day, we don't need to worry because Rafe's not making the show for the fans of the series.  This show's for the people who don't read, they just tune into the latest fad streaming series.  It's for the ~8 million viewers of the Boys or Carnival Row, not the more than 80 million readers of the series, who have already made @WoTonPrime, now @WheelofTime, one of Amazon Prime's most popular TV series twitter accounts in spite of not having aired a single episode yet.  After all, it's not like the MCU, who had to make radical changes to the plots and characters of Marvel's Infinity War Saga to bring that story to the silver screen, were successful because they ignored their existing fans.  No, they made sure to incorporate as much as possible from the comics in the characterization of their characters, and giving great big winks and nods to the stuff they couldn't.  For all the changes they made, nobody was arguing that Hawkeye wasn't authentic because he didn't have a big purple spiky mask, or because Wanda started out with dirty blonde hair instead of red.

And the most remarkable thing about all this, to me, is that the engagement with their community has been so sloppy, so unconcerned, and so lazy, and that these things have only gotten worse, and yet still there are those who defend them.  We have no reason to believe that Rafe even understands, let alone respects the core of the Wheel of Time or the characters or their individual journeys.  Virtually every release from December on has done nothing to demonstrate that they do understand or respect that core.  They had the benefit of the doubt from me, for a long time.  And then they proceeded fritter away and waste that benefit at nearly every opportunity. 

 

Now, I no longer believe they will deliver anything recognizable as the Wheel of Time, and I doubt that their show will be much of a success.  The latter is still possible.  Not likely, considering the damage they've done with the former, but possible.  But they've burnt enough bridges on the former that it's basically a foregone conclusion that it's not gonna look like anything like what the fans from the last three decades, what the culture that has grown up around the fandom for these stories, would expect or hope for.  Because if you can't respect the little details, where the showrunners have basically free-reign to respect the canon without the constraints or limits of the differing media or the need to respect the changes they do have to make, there's no reason to expect that there's going to be any respect for the core of the story or the characters therein.  Just because you have a TV show with some women magic users you call Aes Sedai and some major characters named Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene and Nynaeve and locations named Emond's Field and Fal Dara doesn't mean you're telling the Wheel of Time.

Thanks for proving my point. You've judged the entire series before seeing even sixty seconds of it. Thing is, you don't have to watch

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You're right, I don't.  And I may yet not.  The thing is that whether I watch or not is immaterial.  That culture which has grown up around this series is being irrevocably altered.  And while I can celebrate the purge of racists and bigots, I do not condone the rest, nor the inevitable divisions within that culture which lumps in those who dislike and distrust Rafe and the production crew's already demonstrated lack of respect for those characteristic details of the original story with those racists and bigots who would whitewash the Wheel of Time.

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This has nothing to do with “racists and bigots”. It has everything to do with the unreasonable expectation that the design team would try to recreate the novels detail by detail. 
 

Show me a single adaptation that meets those lofty expectations. There are none. At least none that are successful. 

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Nobody's asking for a recreation of the novels detail by detail.  What's being asked is that what's produced on the show be recognizably Wheel of Time.  Almost nothing that has been shown fits the descriptions except the cast.  It's simple stuff, and it doesn't matter a whit to the plot.  The changes to Thom are the perfect example.  Make his harp into a guitar so Willaume can use his talents to better portray Thom and I am here for it.  Make that former royal court-bard's signature instrument a folksy, plain, burnished wood affair that could have been dug out of some farmer's attic and I have to wonder if they've understand Thom at all, or read the same stories I have.  

 

But whatever.  My only ask was for some real demonstration that Rafe and the show's writers, directors and producers understand and respect the source material.  Not only has that not been demonstrated, but what has been put out has been tone-deaf and ridiculous little clips so short they may as well be stills.  I don't see respect for Jordan's story from that production team, and I don't see respect for the fans of that story.  Just a bunch of shallow and transparent manipulation of wannabe social media content creators.  

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Putting on a general "not moderator but staff hat". 

 

Please keep this civil. 🙂 It's alright to air some frustration but let's not get personal, or overtly grievous about the topic. This is intended to be speculation and discussion.

 

Thank you.

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Posted (edited)

The LOTR films were wildly successful. Yes, they changed a lot to make the stories work in the new medium. However, they were extremely reverent of the source material (not the Hobbit) and even hired John Howe and Alan Lee, the original book illustrators, as concept artists. If you watch the special features, you can see extensive interviews with Peter Jackson and the artists talking about the book, Tolkien's past, cultural and folklore influences, etc and how they incorporated them.

Edited by TheMountain
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So @Thrasymachus, from the casting of actors you haven't seen in the role, about 6 seconds of footage that we don't even know is in the show, and a couple of stills that have shown us nothing, you've managed to identity how much of a failure this will probably be, and that they've completely undermined the whole of the Wheel of Time.

 

How? We've seen literally nothing? And if all this is based on the casting, then really? Again the role the character plays is more important than the colour of their skin... as long as the actors actually become the characters they're playing, what does it matter? And if it's not the casting, then I don't know what you're problem is because again we know next to nothing...

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9 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

 But the complaint that Rosamund Pike is too tall to play Moiraine is a valid one, because having a tall Moiraine completely changes the feel of that part of the Wheel of Time.

 

errr.... no?

i would have never thought anyone could fixate over something as insignificant as physical aspect. even now that i finally understand what you're getting so salty about, I still can't figure it out.

 

characters are defined by who they are, by what they do, not by how they look. if i did some plastic surgery to look completely different, i'd still be me. if you take my house and paint it a different color and planted something new in the garden, it would still be my home.

if moiraine is tall and blonde and with blue eyes, whether rand's sword is a katana or a claymore, whether perrin has a beard, or the white tower is square or round, it does not matter in the slightest. if they behave like the character, then they are the character.

especially because i realize some of those changes are simply for practical reasons, like the choice of available actors.

Now, there are some details that actually matter. perrin may be a short dude with long hair and no beard, but he must be credible as blacksmith, so they can't get skinny guy for him. rand may be half black and half asian for all i care about appearence, but only as long as the average aiel are also portraied the same way.

because perrin being a blacksmith, and therefore big and bulky, is a plot point. Because Rand looking like an Aiel is a plot point. If they say "plot twist! rand has been an aiel the whole time" and then they have rand played by a chinese and the aiel by native americans, well, it doesn't work.

Moiraine is always described as short, but when is that ever a plot point? is there anything in the story that would not work if thom is 15 years younger and has a different instrument, if the dagger is not recurve?

 

I'd be much more sensitive to changes to the plot. Again, I can take most changes that are motivated by practical reasons, and i can take other minor changes in stride, but there is a point where those plot and characterization changes become too much and i can't recognize the story as authentic. Where is the limit? I have no idea. I watch, and it feel right, or it doesn't.

 

But I would argue that the "core spirit" of the wheel of time is in the general worldbuilding points. The one power, how it works, the political powers, how they work, the whole "dragon" business, the different people, the expansive world. It most certainly does NOT lie in whether a certain character is tall or short, dark or blonde, or whether the tip of a blade is angled in the right way or the spires of a colums are clockwise or counterclockwise. No matter how insistent was the description in the books. That's not what the story is about. that's not what any story is about.

 

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To be clear, it is perfectly legitimate to say that a prop, a costume, a piece of dialogue, etc. doesn’t work for you. Or that it varies from the way Jordan describes it. 
 

What bothers me is the notion that people who either (a) don’t share the opinion or (b) aren’t bothered by the change are somehow sycophants for whom “Rafe can do no wrong”.
 

That attitude demeans people who genuinely like what they’ve seen so far or who aren’t ready to draw a conclusion because they’ve barely seen anything. We are all fans of the books - we wouldn’t be on this forum if we weren’t. 

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3 hours ago, TheMountain said:

The LOTR films were wildly successful. Yes, they changed a lot to make the stories work in the new medium. However, they were extremely reverent of the source material (not the Hobbit) and even hired John Howe and Alan Lee, the original book illustrators, as concept artists. If you watch the special features, you can see extensive interviews with Peter Jackson and the artists talking about the book, Tolkien's past, cultural and folklore influences, etc and how they incorporated them.

Undoubtedly. Howe and Lee did an amazing job with the LOTR movies.

 

And yet not every item in the movie was portrayed exactly the way Tolkien described it. 

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Indeed, the Evenstar pendant comes to mind. However, the overall aesthetic and art direction was clearly faithful to the books and to Tolkien himself, even where it diverged (and in many places, especially landscape/architecture/scenery, it did not).

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, TheMountain said:

Indeed, the Evenstar pendant comes to mind. However, the overall aesthetic and art direction was clearly faithful to the books and to Tolkien himself, even where it diverged (and in many places, especially landscape/architecture/scenery, it did not).

Agreed. And I haven’t seen enough to say that WoT will not be similarly faithful. 

Edited by Elder_Haman
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Posted (edited)

I think that's fair, though in my personal opinion, the little (but specifically selected) content that the marketing team has decided to release so far hasn't exactly been indicating in the right direction. Everything I've seen so far, at least to me, has seemed rather generic YA fantasy. I don't think that the marketing team is really selling the show well at the moment (if it is indeed an illusion caused by what has been selected for release and not an indication of the overall product).

Edited by TheMountain
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I’ll say that to the extent this has been designed marketing, it has been wanting. Then again, I see what they’ve been doing as just throwing crumbs to the rabid fans as opposed to a bonafide marketing campaign. 
 

I haven’t gotten any YA vibes from it. And I’ve quite liked the visuals- the concept art in particular was fantastic. And some of the leaked set photos also give me confidence in the overall quality. 

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1 hour ago, TheMountain said:

I think that's fair, though in my personal opinion, the little (but specifically selected) content that the marketing team has decided to release so far hasn't exactly been indicating in the right direction. Everything I've seen so far, at least to me, has seemed rather generic YA fantasy. I don't think that the marketing team is really selling the show well at the moment (if it is indeed an illusion caused by what has been selected for release and not an indication of the overall product).

 

20 minutes ago, Elder_Haman said:

I’ll say that to the extent this has been designed marketing, it has been wanting. Then again, I see what they’ve been doing as just throwing crumbs to the rabid fans as opposed to a bonafide marketing campaign. 
 

I haven’t gotten any YA vibes from it. And I’ve quite liked the visuals- the concept art in particular was fantastic. And some of the leaked set photos also give me confidence in the overall quality. 

both true.

let's break it down...

i appreciated the concept art. though it does not say much on the finished product.

i liked the set of emond field.

that half second i've seen of lan was convincing.

can't speak for moiraine, that was too short for me to get an idea.

the sword, the dagger and the guitar had been underwhelming. very generic, nothing special about them.

I'm generally happy with the cast, with only a couple of distinctions:

- i think perrin should be thicker than that. i'm willing to get over it because finding an actor big enough to play the role would have been nigh impossible

- i think the two rivers should have had everyone of the same ethnicity. it's a small place with few outside contacts, they've been interbreeding for two millennia, they should be very uniform by now. I'm willing to get over it because it seems they want to keep the mystery on who's the dragon, so they don't want rand to stand out.

 

So, i'm overall happy with the released material. but there are bad circumstances. the material i'm not satisfied with is among the last to have been released, so it could overshadow the previous, better material. and the last few months have been especially hard for us fans, because we're under the general concept that we're getting a trailer, or at least solid news "any time now". Hell, I've been checking this site daily since last december, to see if they finally had a trailer or release date, under the belief that it's gonna be "any time now".

One can get frustrated with that. the lack of solid news coupled with a couple of underwhelming releases makes the problems with those releases look much bigger than they actually are.

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No, Moiraine is not Moiraine from the Wheel of Time if she's a six-foot tall redhead who looms over almost everybody.  That she's shorter than almost every adult we meet, yet still dominates a room with her presence and is serene even when confronted by those who tower over her is an essential part of what the Wheel of Time Moiraine is.  I've seen people make this argument before, and it's a dumb argument.  Just like Rand and the Aiel wouldn't remain the Aiel from Wheel of Time if they were re-written to be 5-foot tall people with black hair and purple eyes.  Sure, you can re-write the story and change every distinctive detail and still have it be the "same story," for some intents and purposes, but you lose its distinctiveness.  For what it's worth, I'm not personally that concerned over Rosamund Pike's height, because, as I said, making a tall person appear short or a short person appear tall is one of the oldest camera tricks in the the book.  As I have said repeatedly, I think casting is one of the only things they've gotten right so far.  But I understand and respect the trepidation of those who are.  

 

And we've seen more than just "six seconds of footage and a few stills." We've also got tweets and interviews. And leaks from other sources.  And let's not forget that it's not just a couple of unforced errors here.  Every single prop reveal thus far has deviated significantly from the items as described in the books.  Both the character highlight clips of Moiraine and Lan were insultingly short and disappointing, from embracing the One Power being turning an industrial fan and a spotlight on Moiraine's face, to Lan hopping and flapping about with his mouth open in fear and exertion.

 

What's demeaning is when every complaint is dismissed as stemming from racism, or as coming from an unsatisfiable standard of complete fidelity, or as being insulting to people who don't care or even like that Rafe is elevating his aesthetic sense over Jordan's in adapting this series.  There are specific issues with detailed reasons and arguments for why people are upset with these creative decisions.  What's demeaning is seeing those people dismissed by lumping them in with racists, or accusing them of unsatisfiable nitpicking, or elevating their subjective aesthetic over Rafe's when that's exactly what Rafe is being accused of in elevating his aesthetic sense over Jordan's.

 

If Kevin Feige or Jon Favreau had decided to "put his own artistic mark" on Iron Man by changing something about Iron Man that doesn't matter to Tony Stark's character or to the plot of the movies, like, say, making Iron Man's eye holes little circles instead of the rectangles any passing fan of the Iron Man comics would expect, he would have been ridiculed and those movies would have flopped.  Because the kind of person who would make that kind of change would not be able to pull off an Iron Man story that respects even those passing fans, let alone the die-hard ones who would have flipped their lids over it. 

 

There are iconic, distinctively Wheel of Time aesthetics to things, from the Tree of Life to the well of saidin at the Eye of the World, from Tam's sword to the Shadar Logoth dagger, from the plaza of Rhuidean to the redstone columns in the Heart of the Stone.  An aesthetic that Jordan went to pages of effort to describe in almost agonizingly vivid detail.  The color of the main characters' skin is almost the only thing they've gotten clearly right in that aesthetic so far.  Rafe is gonna have tons of places to "leave his artistic mark."  Because he has to change the story.  He has to choose what to cut, how to merge and what to add.  And those things matter, a lot.  Which is why it's all the more important to leave those things that "don't really matter," that iconic aesthetic that is as much the Wheel of Time as Aes Sedai and Ogier, as true as possible.  At least, it's important if your goal is to respect the source material and the legacy of the author who created it, and the community of the fans, both casual and hardcore, for whom that source material is important.  Or you could just give Iron Man round eyes

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25 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

No, Moiraine is not Moiraine from the Wheel of Time if she's a six-foot tall redhead who looms over almost everybody.  That she's shorter than almost every adult we meet, yet still dominates a room with her presence and is serene even when confronted by those who tower over her is an essential part of what the Wheel of Time Moiraine is.  I've seen people make this argument before, and it's a dumb argument.  Just like Rand and the Aiel wouldn't remain the Aiel from Wheel of Time if they were re-written to be 5-foot tall people with black hair and purple eyes.  Sure, you can re-write the story and change every distinctive detail and still have it be the "same story," for some intents and purposes, but you lose its distinctiveness.  For what it's worth, I'm not personally that concerned over Rosamund Pike's height, because, as I said, making a tall person appear short or a short person appear tall is one of the oldest camera tricks in the the book.  As I have said repeatedly, I think casting is one of the only things they've gotten right so far.  But I understand and respect the trepidation of those who are.  

 

And we've seen more than just "six seconds of footage and a few stills." We've also got tweets and interviews. And leaks from other sources.  And let's not forget that it's not just a couple of unforced errors here.  Every single prop reveal thus far has deviated significantly from the items as described in the books.  Both the character highlight clips of Moiraine and Lan were insultingly short and disappointing, from embracing the One Power being turning an industrial fan and a spotlight on Moiraine's face, to Lan hopping and flapping about with his mouth open in fear and exertion.

 

What's demeaning is when every complaint is dismissed as stemming from racism, or as coming from an unsatisfiable standard of complete fidelity, or as being insulting to people who don't care or even like that Rafe is elevating his aesthetic sense over Jordan's in adapting this series.  There are specific issues with detailed reasons and arguments for why people are upset with these creative decisions.  What's demeaning is seeing those people dismissed by lumping them in with racists, or accusing them of unsatisfiable nitpicking, or elevating their subjective aesthetic over Rafe's when that's exactly what Rafe is being accused of in elevating his aesthetic sense over Jordan's.

 

If Kevin Feige or Jon Favreau had decided to "put his own artistic mark" on Iron Man by changing something about Iron Man that doesn't matter to Tony Stark's character or to the plot of the movies, like, say, making Iron Man's eye holes little circles instead of the rectangles any passing fan of the Iron Man comics would expect, he would have been ridiculed and those movies would have flopped.  Because the kind of person who would make that kind of change would not be able to pull off an Iron Man story that respects even those passing fans, let alone the die-hard ones who would have flipped their lids over it. 

 

There are iconic, distinctively Wheel of Time aesthetics to things, from the Tree of Life to the well of saidin at the Eye of the World, from Tam's sword to the Shadar Logoth dagger, from the plaza of Rhuidean to the redstone columns in the Heart of the Stone.  An aesthetic that Jordan went to pages of effort to describe in almost agonizingly vivid detail.  The color of the main characters' skin is almost the only thing they've gotten clearly right in that aesthetic so far.  Rafe is gonna have tons of places to "leave his artistic mark."  Because he has to change the story.  He has to choose what to cut, how to merge and what to add.  And those things matter, a lot.  Which is why it's all the more important to leave those things that "don't really matter," that iconic aesthetic that is as much the Wheel of Time as Aes Sedai and Ogier, as true as possible.  At least, it's important if your goal is to respect the source material and the legacy of the author who created it, and the community of the fans, both casual and hardcore, for whom that source material is important.  Or you could just give Iron Man round eyes

This kind of gate keeping is tiresome.
 

No one has called you a racist. No one has conflated your views with the people who complain about the skin color of the actors who have been chosen. 
 

Lots people like what they have seen so far. Many people are still waiting to see the finished product before making a judgment. These people have as much right to their opinions as you do to yours. Why is that so difficult to accept?  
 

None of us get to be the sole arbiter of whether the end product is sufficiently faithful to the source material to be worthy of being called the Wheel of Time. It’s judgment each person makes for themselves. 
 

We get it - you don’t like the changes. You feel like the whole series has already been ruined. Why do you feel the need to come and insult people with a different opinion than yours? These are issues that can be discussed with civility. They don’t require labeling people as sycophants or Rafe apologists or not “true fans”. 

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I don't know if you noticed, Elder_Haman, but I haven't been insulting you.  I've been making a specific case about why the creative decisions they have decided to show off have been bad decisions, observing and describing the excuses made for them, and lamenting the changes and divisions within the community that this whole affair has engendered.  And you know very well that it has been on these very boards that it has been insinuated that my motives for expressing my discontent lie in racism, you read through these threads at least as assiduously as I do.

 

And fewer people every "release" like what they've been putting out.  You yourself admit they've misstepped.

 

When this thing fails to pick up a third season because it couldn't find their audience, or worse gets itself cancelled part way through filming season two because the first season stunk so bad, I can't promise I'll refrain from the "I told you so's" as I have with the filming wrap speculation, trailer speculation, or release date speculation, so far.

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30 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

And you know very well that it has been on these very boards that it has been insinuated that my motives for expressing my discontent lie in racism, you read through these threads at least as assiduously as I do.

I have not seen this. At all. And if it did happen and I let it go unchallenged, I apologize. 
 

That being said, your tone comes across as demeaning whether you recognize it or not. 

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1 hour ago, Elder_Haman said:

This kind of gate keeping is tiresome.
 

No one has called you a racist. No one has conflated your views with the people who complain about the skin color of the actors who have been chosen. 
 

actually, someone did

 

On 5/15/2021 at 6:33 AM, mistborn82 said:

 it's getting tiring ignoring the complaints from the same people that boil down to I can't stand that X,Y,Z are black, asian etc. However, I have to invent other reasons.

Why ruin it for everyone else here? Those 'fans' will never accept diversity so why do you stay?

 

 

 

 

 

36 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

I don't know if you noticed, Elder_Haman, but I haven't been insulting you. 

 

actually, you did

On 5/13/2021 at 2:08 AM, Thrasymachus said:

Don't worry about it too much, Elessar.  There's a certain contingent for whom Rafe can do no wrong

 

You've both been feeding with aggressivity that was mostly directed at others, or by others.

 

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I'm locking this until some new news is released.

 

Everyone needs to cool off, and quit with the persecution complexes.

 

Don't like it? You can complain on Twitter or Facebook with the other Trolls.

 

 

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