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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

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Yesterday I started working on trying to figure out what is happening with filming (I still don't buy the notion that production was "shut down" on November 2). One of the things I looked at was Geeky Eri's very helpful videos about the early filming blocks. Something in her block 2 video stuck in my brain as being off, and it set me to speculating...

 

Helena Westerman's casting as "Laila Aybara" was a bit of a bombshell. We've all been assuming that she is a wife or sister and many (myself included) speculated that they will kill her off on Winternight as a means of providing Perrin with additional motivation to leave the Two Rivers. I think that's a solid read.

 

But if that's the case, why would Westerman be filming during Block 2? By episodes 3 and 4, Perrin will be long gone from the Two Rivers. Flashbacks are certainly a possibility, but why wouldn't those flashback scenes (which would undoubtedly use the Emond's Field set) just be shot during Block 1? One possibility is that Laila leaves with the rest of the main characters only to die somewhere on the road. But there is a second possibility...

 

What if Laila Aybara is an Aes Sedai? Could the writers have created a White Tower/Aybara backstory that leads Perrin to leave the Two Rivers to seek out a relative who has gone to the Tower? If Eri is right (and she acknowledges that she's just guessing) Westerman was filming with other non- Two Rivers folk, perhaps in the Logain scenes.

 

Just a little food for thought. 

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I think this is exactly the sort of made-for-tv plot-finagling we can expect to see, and whether your specific suggestion proves right or not, there will definitely be a number of additions/adaptations in a similar vein... 

 

I could see how the writer's room might talk themselves into needing to flesh Perrin's story out. If they drop Elyas from season 1 (or altogether, as some have suggested) what does Perrin have left? His eyes turn yellow, and he kills a Whitecloak. Am I forgetting anything? The arcs for Rand and Mat have much more meat on the bone; giving Perrin an Aes Sedai relative would help balance that out a bit. And it could be a clever, quicker way for the show to  explain how Moiraine and Lan end up in the Two Rivers in the first place, if Laila summoned them there with a mysterious message, perhaps alluding to a suspicion that one of the young men in town is ta'veren? (And maybe she gets killed on Winternight before she can tell Moiraine which of the three boys she suspects, thus giving Moiraine a more solid reason to allow all three of the boys to accompany them when they flee...?) 

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@Borderlander that's a good thought. And it makes even more sense if the show intends to convince viewers that Logain is the true Dragon Reborn as opposed to Jordan, who makes it immediately clear that Logain is a false dragon.

 

If they intend to go at it that way, it wouldn't make any sense to allow Moiraine to immediately announce that Logain isn't the Dragon. It would be better to have that revealed in a way that starts to undermine audience trust in Moiraine and the Aes Sedai.

Edited by Elder_Haman
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WOT is my favorite book series ever; I have read it through (only) twice, and I think I have a pretty good head for remembering details and important plotlines in most of the books I read, but to be honest, I can't even remember what ultimately led Moiraine to the Two Rivers... in my hazy memory, she has been a sort of lone ranger out following foggy clues from one backwater town to the next, searching for the DR, based on some kind of foretelling from A New Spring. I am not asking anyone to explain it to me further; I only mention all that to make a point that I think a lot of book-fans are in the same category—we love the books, love the story, want the show to be as accurate as possible, and yet I can't always even remember the specifics of what I want it to be accurate to. Which means I have a lot of built-in flexibility for how they get from Point A to Point B. Invent a new character to summon Moiraine to Emond's Field? Cool. Kill Tam in episode 1? I'll go along with it. As long as the Emond's Field Five flee from a burning village in the middle of the night with a mysterious Aes Sedai and her stoic warder, I'm on board. Actually, it is a slippery slope (in my own mind) to wonder what I would be willing to go along with and where I would draw the line, in terms of plot-rejiggerings.

 

I think about this with a lot of books: what is are the main pillars of the story? What would happen if you commissioned Stephen King to rewrite Harry Potter, told him he had to do it in 7 books, had to have three main characters named Harry, Ron, and Hermione, gave him about 20-30 other main plot-points he had to hit, and left the rest up to him to cobble together? What would the end result be? Would we like it more or less than Rowling's version? What if you commissioned 100 different authors to do the same thing? Maybe I would prefer Brandon Mull's version, my friend would love Stephen King's version, someone else would love Neil Gaimon's version, etc. As a writer myself, I often wonder if I am writing the best-possible version of the books I write, or just one of 10,000 possible versions. Which leads me to wonder, as my eyes roam over the 13 fat volumes of Wheel of Time on my shelf, what another writer's version might look like. Or, in this case, a room full of writers, and a showrunner.

 

All that is to say, if you gave Robert Jordan a second chance at rewriting the entire series, what would he do differently? Cut some early plotlines, beef up the foreshadowing in the early books, cut this, add that, trim this, change that? At its worst, a writer's room can lead to a 'too many cooks in the kitchen' type of situation; at its best, having a dozen fresh pairs of eyes to soak in Jordan's epic saga, chew it over, digest it, and retool certain elements may give us a cleaner, crisper version of the story than one lone author working solo for the better part of three decades could possibly hope to create. Will it be better? That is a matter of opinion, obviously. Not trying to detract from Jordan at all; I stand in awe of what he accomplished. Well, I am just rambling now... I swear I had a point when I started this... 🙃

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I completely get your point. I would guess that there are essentially three types of people who read (and completed) the Wheel of Time:

 

1. Casual fans - invested enough in the series to read it to completion and that's it. They didn't read it a second time and have long since (8 years since aMoL!) moved onto other books. The vast majority of people who read the series likely fall into this category.

 

2. The "fandom" - have read the series more than once and are interested in deep dives into some aspect or aspects of the series. These fans may read and/or post on message boards and enjoy discussing the books and engaging with other fans. [I consider myself to be in this category although I may be slipping into Category 3]

 

3. The "superfans" - Have read the series multiple times. May have attended JordanCon. Highly invested in the lore of the books. Deep understanding of Wheel of Time canon. Sarah Nakamura is the alpha of this group.

 

The people who are going to be bothered by changes (like the quillons on Tam's sword) will be a small subset of group 3. 

 

For the rest, the changes to what they view as "canon" will be accepted so long as it doesn't fundamentally alter the plot or kill off one of their darlings. And even those things may be forgiven so long as the end product "feels genuine".

 

My best example of this was sitting down in the theater to watch "Fellowship of the Ring" for the very first time. As a huge LOTR fan, I truly had no idea what to expect and was worried that it would suck. But as soon as I saw the Shire and the scene with Frodo and Gandalf, I knew I was in good hands. It felt right even though that particular scene doesn't exist in the books. I noticed all of the changes to things I loved about the book (Tom Bombadil and the barrow wights missing, etc.), but they didn't ruin the movie because Peter Jackson got the atmosphere and the characters right.

 

The easiest contrary example was "Shannara Chronicles". The changes to the plot (which was supposed to be the "Elfstones of Shannara", I think?) were glaring. But the reason I couldn't stick with it was due to how poorly realized the characters were and how the entire series lacked any sense of atmosphere.

 

I think the same will hold true for WoT. A small subsection of category 3 fans will not like it - no matter what - because of "problems with cannon". The rest will be won over if the finished product is of high quality.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Elder_Haman said:

I completely get your point. I would guess that there are essentially three types of people who read (and completed) the Wheel of Time:

 

1. Casual fans - invested enough in the series to read it to completion and that's it. They didn't read it a second time and have long since (8 years since aMoL!) moved onto other books. The vast majority of people who read the series likely fall into this category.

 

2. The "fandom" - have read the series more than once and are interested in deep dives into some aspect or aspects of the series. These fans may read and/or post on message boards and enjoy discussing the books and engaging with other fans. [I consider myself to be in this category although I may be slipping into Category 3]

 

3. The "superfans" - Have read the series multiple times. May have attended JordanCon. Highly invested in the lore of the books. Deep understanding of Wheel of Time canon. Sarah Nakamura is the alpha of this group.

 

The people who are going to be bothered by changes (like the quillons on Tam's sword) will be a small subset of group 3. 

 

For the rest, the changes to what they view as "canon" will be accepted so long as it doesn't fundamentally alter the plot or kill off one of their darlings. And even those things may be forgiven so long as the end product "feels genuine".

 

My best example of this was sitting down in the theater to watch "Fellowship of the Ring" for the very first time. As a huge LOTR fan, I truly had no idea what to expect and was worried that it would suck. But as soon as I saw the Shire and the scene with Frodo and Gandalf, I knew I was in good hands. It felt right even though that particular scene doesn't exist in the books. I noticed all of the changes to things I loved about the book (Tom Bombadil and the barrow wights missing, etc.), but they didn't ruin the movie because Peter Jackson got the atmosphere and the characters right.

 

The easiest contrary example was "Shannara Chronicles". The changes to the plot (which was supposed to be the "Elfstones of Shannara", I think?) were glaring. But the reason I couldn't stick with it was due to how poorly realized the characters were and how the entire series lacked any sense of atmosphere.

 

I think the same will hold true for WoT. A small subsection of category 3 fans will not like it - no matter what - because of "problems with cannon". The rest will be won over if the finished product is of high quality.

 

 

 

Personally i would say I’m in Category 2. Category 3 is where you are going to get most of the hate from unfortunately. 

Spot on with both the LOTR and Shannara, always though they got the look to LOTR spot on, GOT is another i would put in that same category. Shannara not even close, the characters looked wrong, looked and felt like Actors in costume, LOTR on the other hand, the characters looked and felt like real citizens of Middle Earth. 
Get the look and feel right, don’t deviate to far from the basic story, decent acting, quality directing and editing and they should have a hit show. It’s original, far enough removed from anything ever done before. Its full of great Characters, Good, Evil and Gray. 
 

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Some of us who want a faithful adaptation (it includes myself ref. some of my earlier posts in this forum) are in your category 2 above (not 3) and will definitely 'be bothered' as you say by major changes to the story. But it is always a question of degree. Small changes/additions like we saw in LoTR and say Game of Thrones (esp later seasons) will by most 'Canon-ists' (to use a term) be accepted because everyone knows some changes need always be made for a tv-adaptation (also removal of less important sub-plots -and characters) and can even make the production better (imo like say Arwen and more focus on Elves in LoTR, for WoT it could f.ex. be adding backstory to Logain).

 

It is, however, the major changes we who are in this category fear and would be critical of, changes that go far beyond what we saw in the LoTR movies and which will have ripple-effects in the story (f.ex. merging/removing Forsaken characters, removing major characters from season 1, changing character characteristics with regards to traits from the books, changing Rand's relationship with Elayne, Aviendha and Min, changing their inter-relationship, removing major events from the books etc).

 

What we have learned from Rafe and elsewhere (he wants to make season 1 based on the whole WoT, not just EotW) indicates the changes made to season 1 of this tv-show will go way beyond what we f.ex. saw in GoT season 1 and so it is understandable that part of the fanbase are concerned. Other WoT fans, however, are not concerned because they view this as a 'new turning of the wheel', possibly don't want a faithful adaptation to begin with, and are excited to see how WoT can be re-interpreted for a larger audience. I wish I was in this category, it would make things so much easier. As it is, I am in the same place as another member wrote here in this forum recently, I am 50% concerned and 50% excited to see what they come up with. I hope my concerns are unfounded, nothing would please me more.

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5 minutes ago, Elessar said:

It is, however, the major changes we who are in this category fear and would be critical of, changes that go far beyond what we saw in the LoTR movies and which will have ripple-effects in the story (f.ex. merging/removing Forsaken characters, removing major characters from season 1, changing character characteristics with regards to traits from the books, changing Rand's relationship with Elayne, Aviendha and Min, changing their inter-relationship, removing major events from the books etc).

There were major changes to LOTR that had ripple effects on the story too. People tend to forget about them or gloss over them. But they were there - just handled deftly by the writers.

 

And as the size of the project grows, the more changes become necessary. An entirely faithful adaptation is impossible and can't work on screen. There are too many characters, too many locations, and too many plot points that drift away into the aether. 

 

I think you have to try your best to think of this as another turning of the Wheel, or events from one of the mirror worlds. Otherwise, you are bound to be disappointed.

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13 minutes ago, Elder_Haman said:

There were major changes to LOTR that had ripple effects on the story too. People tend to forget about them or gloss over them. But they were there - just handled deftly by the writers.

 

And as the size of the project grows, the more changes become necessary. An entirely faithful adaptation is impossible and can't work on screen. There are too many characters, too many locations, and too many plot points that drift away into the aether. 

 

I think you have to try your best to think of this as another turning of the Wheel, or events from one of the mirror worlds. Otherwise, you are bound to be disappointed.

 

I have read the LoTR books several times but it's a while ago but though there of course were some changes/additions there (you call some of them 'major') I believe they are on another level of what we will/may experience in the WoT tv-show. 

 

As I keep saying, it's a matter of degree when it comes to changes. No one expects a word for word adaptation of a book so that is not even in the ballpark. As I mentioned, some changes are necessary (which includes removing less important characters, subplots etc). What however is central, is whether it will be a faithful adaptation (where you draw the line can be debated, but you get an indication what I mean from what I wrote above) vs a 'freer' adptation (which in extreme cases could be termed revisionism) where there will be many changes, both larger and small, many intentional, and it will be a re-interpretation or 're-inventing' of the story ('like a 'new turning of the wheel').

 

The question is where on this imagined scale/line the tv-show will land and as I and other likeminded WoT fans fear - and you also indicate - the adaptation will probably not be what most will consider 'faithful', it will be 'freer' in every way, and we should prepare for that.

 

You mention that as the size of the project grows, the more changes become necessary. Well, that is exactly why it is important to not make that many changes to begin with because the ripple-effects will be that much greater (which is why also it would be much easier to adapt one book at a time and make it a fairly 'faithful' adaptation - I would say GoT seasons 1 -3 are in this category - than to take parts from the whole WoT as it seems Rafe does and mix it altogether, parts from EotW, TGH and NS).

 

I think Rafe and his team have their 'WoT-heart' in the right place and are doing their utmost to create a great tv-adaptation, I just wish they would stick closer to canon and Robert Jordan's vision and not be intent on making a 'new turning of the wheel'. We shall see how it all turns out, but WoT deserves being done right and I hope it is.

 

As for an Aybara Aes Sedai, I can see the logic behind it as you describe. In general I cannot see good reasons or the necessity for adding new characters to the WoT Universe when we have several thousands to select from. It would be different if this were a small universe with few characters. But since they apparently have added a 'Laila Aybara' already, your ideas could be possible I guess and your point of her being in block 2 is valid. Adding such a character could in my opinion be a 'small' change and a 'major change' depending on what role the new character plays. I obviously hope for the former.

 

Making Moiraine and the White Tower more 'suspect' for our EM heroes than they are in the books for added drama is, not surprisingly, something I am dubious about with my viewpoints; I see why it can be done but wish for something closer to canon. Especially with regards to Moiraine, one of the true heroines of the WoT. Same goes for the ¨'reveal' of who the Dragon Reborn is. WoT is de facto Rand's story and the showrunners need to keep this in mind.

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@Elessar, I get where you’re coming from. And I understand where the anxiety lies. I think in the end you and I are after the same thing. 
 

(I should note that while I speculate a lot, I don’t necessarily mean to endorse or lobby for any particular change or changes.)

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We are all a bit anxious about the Show, we all want it to succeed and everything i have seen so far has me optimistic. The big one that really gives me hope about the production quality is the comments by a couple of people who worked on GOT saying that this is another level entirely and you can say whatever you like about how the GOT story ended, the production quality S8 was absolutely phenomenal and i have some sympathy for the crew who worked on S8 and have copped abuse for things far beyond there control.

@Elessar unfortunately there are people out there who will expect a word for word adaptation and will scream very loudly on Social Media about changes especially what they think is racial ones. They occasionally turn up on here complaining about everyone not being exactly what they think is in the book. At least 15-20% of fans will hate any adaptation, no matter how its done, will be either not close enough to the books or not enough changes, everyone is not exactly the right height, not right Skin Colour, the accent is not perfect and the list goes on.

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14 hours ago, Elessar said:

Making Moiraine and the White Tower more 'suspect' for our EM heroes than they are in the books for added drama is, not surprisingly, something I am dubious about with my viewpoints; I see why it can be done but wish for something closer to canon. Especially with regards to Moiraine, one of the true heroines of the WoT. Same goes for the ¨'reveal' of who the Dragon Reborn is. WoT is de facto Rand's story and the showrunners need to keep this in mind.

I understand what you're saying here. 

The issue is this - the books spend loads of time in people's heads explaining to us why many people in Randland don't trust Aes Sedai. They're too political. They manipulate people. They obfuscate and distort truth.

 

Even with all that, we as readers inherently trust Moiraine (we're meant to) and many don't like that Rand pushes her away and treats her (and other Aes Sedai) like dirt for much of the series.

 

The show can't do all the exposition. A couple lines of dialogue here and there about how "Aes Sedai can't be trusted" won't be sufficient to convey these things to a television audience. They need to be made to feel Rand's distrust. They need to understand Rand's reluctance to fully trust Moiraine (even if they think it makes him a woolhead).

 

You do that by showing the manipulation, obfuscation and gamesmanship in the Logain story while simultaneously making certain that Moiraine's own motivations remain unclear. It doesn't diminish Moiraine's heroism - to the contrary, it ultimately enhances it by way of contrast with the less heroic Aes Sedai.

 

This is just one of many examples of the types changes that have to be made in order to preserve the "heart and spine" of the story for television audiences. 

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On 1/12/2021 at 2:23 PM, Borderlander said:

WOT is my favorite book series ever; I have read it through (only) twice, and I think I have a pretty good head for remembering details and important plotlines in most of the books I read, but to be honest, I can't even remember what ultimately led Moiraine to the Two Rivers... in my hazy memory, she has been a sort of lone ranger out following foggy clues from one backwater town to the next, searching for the DR, based on some kind of foretelling from A New Spring. I am not asking anyone to explain it to me further; I only mention all that to make a point that I think a lot of book-fans are in the same category—we love the books, love the story, want the show to be as accurate as possible, and yet I can't always even remember the specifics of what I want it to be accurate to. Which means I have a lot of built-in flexibility for how they get from Point A to Point B. Invent a new character to summon Moiraine to Emond's Field? Cool. Kill Tam in episode 1? I'll go along with it. As long as the Emond's Field Five flee from a burning village in the middle of the night with a mysterious Aes Sedai and her stoic warder, I'm on board. Actually, it is a slippery slope (in my own mind) to wonder what I would be willing to go along with and where I would draw the line, in terms of plot-rejiggerings.

 

I think about this with a lot of books: what is are the main pillars of the story? What would happen if you commissioned Stephen King to rewrite Harry Potter, told him he had to do it in 7 books, had to have three main characters named Harry, Ron, and Hermione, gave him about 20-30 other main plot-points he had to hit, and left the rest up to him to cobble together? What would the end result be? Would we like it more or less than Rowling's version? What if you commissioned 100 different authors to do the same thing? Maybe I would prefer Brandon Mull's version, my friend would love Stephen King's version, someone else would love Neil Gaimon's version, etc. As a writer myself, I often wonder if I am writing the best-possible version of the books I write, or just one of 10,000 possible versions. Which leads me to wonder, as my eyes roam over the 13 fat volumes of Wheel of Time on my shelf, what another writer's version might look like. Or, in this case, a room full of writers, and a showrunner.

 

All that is to say, if you gave Robert Jordan a second chance at rewriting the entire series, what would he do differently? Cut some early plotlines, beef up the foreshadowing in the early books, cut this, add that, trim this, change that? At its worst, a writer's room can lead to a 'too many cooks in the kitchen' type of situation; at its best, having a dozen fresh pairs of eyes to soak in Jordan's epic saga, chew it over, digest it, and retool certain elements may give us a cleaner, crisper version of the story than one lone author working solo for the better part of three decades could possibly hope to create. Will it be better? That is a matter of opinion, obviously. Not trying to detract from Jordan at all; I stand in awe of what he accomplished. Well, I am just rambling now... I swear I had a point when I started this... 🙃

I love this post and TOTALLY agree with the premise. 

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1 hour ago, dssharp said:

I love this post and TOTALLY agree with the premise. 

It looks like we are going to see the capture of Logain, probably as the E1 prologue and this is where they may show the AS in a very different light to how they show Morraine, especially when we first see her in EF. We see the ruthlessness, and commanding arrogance of the AS first up then introduce Morraine as some gentle Noble Woman visiting EF. The viewer then gets hit with the shock that Morraine is of the same organisation as the Woman in the prologue. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@BorderlanderI don't think why Moraine went there beyond she heard a story of someone find a baby on dragonmount. We'd presumably have gotten the answer in the prequel trilogy which RJ never finished but I like your thoughts on making the reason clearer.

Whether your guess is right I think has to do with how important the actress is. I've never heard of her but that's not saying much. The more important, the bigger her role.

I heard a theory that they have Perrin born outside of the two rivers so no knows who Moraine is looking for. I think that would solve a few problems, especially given Perrin reason to go. Layla could be like Tam, in that she's not a blood relation to her son.

Edited by mistborn82
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  • 2 months later...

I'm not the biggest fan of creating characters for the sole purpose of immediately killing them because of Star Trek Discovery. I was way more interested in the character they immediately killed in the premiere than I was in the one they centered the story around.

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On 1/13/2021 at 11:26 AM, Elder_Haman said:

 

You do that by showing the manipulation, obfuscation and gamesmanship in the Logain story while simultaneously making certain that Moiraine's own motivations remain unclear. It doesn't diminish Moiraine's heroism - to the contrary, it ultimately enhances it by way of contrast with the less heroic Aes Sedai.

 

 

 

Don't forget their power; individually and as an institution. A big part of the "fear" the general populace expresses re: AS is the realization of their absolute need of women who wield the OP to literally protect the populace, and the resentment that engenders.

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