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Lan reveal


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Posted (edited)

Honestly, that Hollywood slash and the dual-wielding, combined with the following quote, has me concerned that we won't get a faithful representation of the sword forms in the show:

 

Q: How are the sword forms going to be presented? Is the style going to be pulled from a specific region of sword fighting, or are they going to be spread out over many regions?

A: We have a fight time and swordmaster on the show who has built a fighting style unique to each weapon and culture. So, if you see a Borderlander fight with a heron mark blade it may feel different than a Seanchan. That's merely hypothetical of course 😉

Notice that he doesn't really answer the question, and didn't say "the swordmaster built a fighting style inspired by the names of the sword forms in the books." One could also argue that he is implying that each blademaster will fight completely differently, instead of sword-fighting existing almost as a single, highly poetic, martial art in the WoT universe. Almost like "bending" in the Last Airbender. While some people may think this is minor, I absolutely loved the way that Robert Jordan described the sword forms, and for me this would be a huge loss. While they left much up to the imagination ("Leopard in High Grass," "Cat Crosses the Courtyard," "Tower of Morning"), the descriptions were highly poetic and evocative, giving the blademaster a sense of grace and elegance... almost like "flowing" through the battlefield, not hacking and slashing.

Some people have been pointing to how Rafe wants to "preserve the heart and spine of the story" and really cares about the source material... I just think that perhaps what Rafe thinks is important in the story and what fans such as myself think is important are not necessarily the same. The "little" changes he wants to make to "keep things fresh," the ones he doesn't think are a big deal, might be not so little to many fans.

Perhaps Rafe didn't think it was worth the time and expense to really develop the sword forms and train actors in them.

Edited by TheMountain
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Posted (edited)

I reject the characterization of the listed changes as “objectively ugly”. I have seen nothing that can be so characterized. 
 

The small changes my not be sufficiently respectful of the source material for your taste. That’s fine. But the degree of “respect” for source material is not objectively measurable. 
 

Things are being portrayed on screen differently from how Jordan described them on the page. Whether those changes are good or bad is entirely subjective. “Different from my head canon” is not synonymous with “bad”. 

Edited by Elder_Haman
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, TheMountain said:

 While some people may think this is minor, I absolutely loved the way that Robert Jordan described the sword forms, and for me this would be a huge loss.

I didn't.

to me it felt clunky and completely irrealistic. it's like they are only locking themselves on a few specific ways of moving. that's not how people fight for real. I can only condone that because i see it as a way to describe swordfighting in words - it's not like i'd have any idea how you could give better descriptions.

 

anyway, i've looked at that video almost frame by frame, and i didn't see any of that "open-mouthed flailing hop". it's just a few fotograms, it could really be anything. i can barely see the sword. i can't even see the hand holding it. one can draw all kinds of conclusions from it.

so, one could also conclude that it's poorly coordinated and executed, but there's just not enough material to judge.

and regarding the open mouth, people tend to actually fight with their mouth open. because they need to breathe hard when exherting.

 

as for size, the actor is already fairly big. lan is described as big, but not superhumanly so. and he spent most of the time without an armor anyway. i don't see what's wrong with this lan and the descriptions, really. and good luck finding another good actor that would fit better. you have to be realistic there. i think "perrin" is not big enough for his role, but i also think the only actor with the look to pull it off would be bud spencer, and even before he died he was way too old to be a believable perrin. Lacking a young bud spencer, i am fully willing to accept a marcus rutherford playing the part.

 

now, what I can agree is that those tidbits they are releasing are bad. 6 seconds, of which 4 are dark, 2 seconds of the actor where you can't really see anything. no idea why they are releasing them like that, i have no competence on marketing

Edited by king of nowhere
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2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

Which is why I begin my next paragraph with

And you aren't the person I was originally responding to regarding Lan's physicality. The original complaint was

On 4/29/2021 at 3:02 PM, redgiant said:

His body style reminds me more of a slender Samurai in a loose kimono-style robe than a husky, beefy, effortlessly armored, gravely-voiced al'Lan Mandragoran.

 

2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

certainly not because of his race, that prevents him from pulling it off.

Definitely. But again, everyone's head cannon is going to be different.
Stating that an actor doesn't match your head cannon is 100% valid criticism

Claiming he doesn't meet the books descriptions? Well, prove it. That's a verifiable objection.
Does he have long hair let down, tied back with hadori to keep it out of his face? No. But at least he's got a Hadori. Will we see him with his hair down? Probably, hopefully. (Moiraine was also missing her signature item)

Does he have piercing blue eyes? I can't tell in the clip. (I also tend to have problems spotting eye color in TV/Movies unless it's a close up) 

We know the actor doesn't have blue eyes (Just like the actor playing Perrin doesn't have Yellow eyes)

Supposedly the Moiraine clip was lacking post-production CGI, Lans might to. Perhaps they'll CGI his eyes.

Physical build:
What exactly is his build described in the books?
When I picture sword master, I don't picture someone that brute forces their way through a sword fight. I don't picture a brutish looking Henry Cavill.

The biggest description I'm aware of is he is supposed to have wide shoulders, (Shoulder Width = Perrin > Lan > Rand > 10 other people > Mat) and he's tall.
Nothing about huge biceps, ripped 8-pack abs, and thighs that can crush skull. Even something like "muscular" is pretty description light.
We don't really get skin color or ethnicity (except an imaginary country that doesn't exist in our reality), just a weathered but not wrinkled face that women swoon for. By all reports, women across the globe are swooning over Daniel.


The quotes provided, didn't prove he is supposed to look like Aragorn or Thicc boi Henry Cavill witcher. All the quotes and pictures really just said that their head-cannon, and various fan art imagined Lan as a knock-off Aragorn clone. I'd be lying if I didn't semi-picture Lan as an Aragorn knock of a decade or two ago; but for me, that was mainly from fan-art of the time, and the fact that I don't have a head cannon like some of you do. My "head cannon" is good fanart, or people cast in shows.

Saying your head cannon for Lan is a white dude that looks like Aragorn, isn't saying you or anyone else is racist. It's just saying you pictured a white guy, and Daniel is clearly Asian and he didn't fit some people's head cannon.

That's fine. 

Just don't try to claim your head cannon is the only correct one, and it matches the book descriptions without doing your homework. 😉 

I hope people will start acknowledging that many of the character descriptions are vague, and it really goes to show that Jordan's writing style literally makes you the reader do the hard work filling in the imaginative gaps.

"The Ways" wasn't a scary scene because he described it in visceral detail like Stephen King.
It was scary because of what he didn't say.
When he writes horror scenes, it's like those moments of absolute terror that a Vietnam Veteran went through, and the things they focused on, and the things they remembered. He was a master of describing irrelevant stuff, while making us fill in the gaps with our imagination. 

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To me, it comes down to a simple question.  Would we be having this discussion, arguing over these issues and with a not insignificant portion of the existing fanbase growing more skeptical of the possibility of a faithful adaptation, rather than less, if Tam's sword had quillions, the Shadar Logoth dagger looked like it is explicitly described and illustrated, Thom's guitar looked ornamented and elaborate like something a royal court-bard would play rather than a plain wooden affair, if the bare few seconds of a clip of Moiraine with her voiceover was a few seconds longer, and was at all relevant to her character instead of being made up for that spot, or taken from the show, or if this clip of Lan showed him standing tall and ready with steely eyes and grim determination on his face, rather than the crouching, open-mouthed, borderline desperate feeling he portrays here?

 

This all comes down to expectations, and the fanbase has had decades to hone their expectations.  And these expectations are not nearly so vague or disparate as to excuse these changes.  Whether these changes are enough to result in a bad show, no one can yet know, because no one's seen the show.  But this is definitely bad marketing.  Because you don't go to an established fanbase with longstanding and largely consistent fanart and a passionate community and say, "Hey, you know that thing you love so much that we're adapting for TV?  Let us show you how nothing we're doing looks or feels like what you expect.  Aren't we so clever in subverting all your expectations?  I bet you really trust us to honor the story, the characters, the themes and journey you all have been on for the last 30 odd years now!"

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2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

To me, it comes down to a simple question.  

Okay...

 

2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

Would we be having this discussion, arguing over these issues and with a not insignificant portion of the existing fanbase growing more skeptical of the possibility of a faithful adaptation, rather than less, if...

Yes. We would. Because there are many for whom these minor, stylistic changes matter and it is impossible to adapt any novel (much less a 14 book saga) without making such changes. So we would definitely be having these arguments, they'd just be over something different.

 

2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

if Tam's sword had quillions

Why does this matter? Are the quillons important to the plot? It's not to say that there aren't things about changing Tam's sword that give pause - how they deal with the heron marks, for example. But quillons on a sword is a nitpick.

 

2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

[if] the Shadar Logoth dagger looked like it is explicitly described and illustrated,

Again, why does this matter? The dagger is curved and has a ruby. And, if we are gonna nitpick - we haven't even seen the dagger itself (only its hilt - the rest was scabbarded). Does the way the dagger looks matter to the plot?

 

2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

[if] Thom's guitar looked ornamented and elaborate like something a royal court-bard would play rather than a plain wooden affair

Changing from harp to guitar is a big change - I'll acknowledge that. It's something to have some genuine concern with - if only because it harkens a little too much to "toss a coin to your Witcher" and seems to have major implications for Thom's character. 

 

On the other hand, when we meet Thom he is not a royal court bard. He is a traveling gleeman. And the guitar looks very much like something a traveling musician would carry. In fact, the look of the guitar gives me more confidence that they've thought through the change in instruments, not less. 

 

2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

if the bare few seconds of a clip of Moiraine with her voiceover was a few seconds longer, and was at all relevant to her character instead of being made up for that spot

I also would have liked more of Moiraine. But "do not underestimate the women in this Tower" is not irrelevant to her character. It's the type of exposition that is necessary to set up the importance of the White Tower. And I would bet you large amounts of money that the context for the line will be made clear in the trailer.

 

2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

if this clip of Lan showed him standing tall and ready with steely eyes and grim determination on his face, rather than the crouching, open-mouthed, borderline desperate feeling he portrays here?

Why? Because that's how you would have introduced us to Lan? We have like 3 seconds of footage. He is clearly in the midst of a battle. Does Lan never duck? Does he never crouch? Does he never open his mouth? And what about it portrays desperation? I see only concentration. There's nothing wrong with how Lan is portrayed.

 

2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

This all comes down to expectations

This all comes down to your expectations. They haven't been met. Fair enough. 

 

2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

But this is definitely bad marketing.

Why? 

 

2 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

Because you don't go to an established fanbase with longstanding and largely consistent fanart and a passionate community and say, "Hey, you know that thing you love so much that we're adapting for TV?  Let us show you how nothing we're doing looks or feels like what you expect.

Oh. So the show should base its look off of fan art? 

Nothing about the marketing is telling fans that they don't care about the source material or intend to gut it. Thom's guitar is the only thing that is definitively new or different (as opposed to designed differently from how it is described).

 

The bottom line is that I, for one, prefer honesty. There is no chance that this will be a line-for-line duplication of the books. There will be changes. I'm happy that the people in charge of the show are willing to treat me with enough respect to be honest about that. And I'm not going to Eeyore around grumbling about how terrible it's all gonna be because they didn't do it my way.

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On 5/1/2021 at 7:23 AM, king of nowhere said:

incidentally, as lan is likely fighting a trolloc, it makes me wonder how they did trollocs.

I mean, in the books they are described as 2.5 meters tall. that sounds very complicated to render in movies. sure, you can do a lot of things to make a 2.5 meters creature. but to have that creature swordfighting? that removes any chance for costumes (the actor could not move well enough to fight in it). as for virtual graphics, having lan move naturally while fighting against the air and then putting a big virtual monster on top of it doesn't seem very viable.

I don't know what they could do to have a big creature swordfight with a normal actor, though i'm sure they could manage it.

they also could shrink the trollocs to human size.

Good question. I bet the shrink them somewhat, and use camera tricks so humans can wear costumes. 

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I won't bother quoting all the good stuff above, suffice it to say that Thrasymachus sums up my thinking well.

 

Right now, I get the vibe that Lan is being played more as a monk along the lines of the monk-like character that Donnie Yen played in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, than as the style of hard-nosed, stalwart (and yes elegant blade dancer when needed) of the books I am familiar with. And yes, it is only "so far", but there it is.

 

1. Asian descent for Lan (and Bordelanders/Malkieri) is fine. I only pay attention to casting for race/cultural portrayal of homogeneity/diversity when it is an integral part of the story being told - like an isolated town should not look very diverse unless there is an in-story explanation for why they do (Hobbiton was all hobbits, right?). Or arguably more importantly (for a TV series adaptation), that later plot points are not then nullified or made nonsensical because they chose not to establish this early on. So if it never comes up, it won't matter much as long as there is internal cohesion to their adaptation.

 

2. Daniel's height, athletic build/size and acting abilities are not in question at all. Same for any of the other cast I've seen. But I need to see him behaving like the Lan I read about to see the fit, and they haven't done that ... yet.

 

3. Witcher references were just to illustrate the "I am a rock, try to move me from where I stand Trolloc/Myrhdraal" effect I was hoping to see when they showed Lan. I particularly worry about how big Trollocs are shown as, or strong/unnaturally unmovable Myrhdraal are show as, unless Lan as a character  can stand his ground against them and push them back, not gyrate around to simply avoid them. They didn't do that (quite the opposite - he is 'gyrating' a bit too much for me, but it remains to be seen if they simply did their usual too-short intro, were actually trying to disguise this in some way, or just didn't think it a big enough deal atm to show it). Like in the movie "300", the best warriors are a combination of both stalwartness and graceful combat dancing; just because you are strong enough to literally shield-bash a huge creature or knock them backwards doesn't mean you always do it, but you should certainly make it clear that you could do it when needed. I have not seen that "could" part yet.

 

4. In my experience, when the promotional marketing dept knows a-priori about certain fan concerns (i.e. "Is Daniel Lan-like enough?"), forum digs and  perception of changes from beloved characterizations coming from their fan base (as they must know about the whole Daniel/Lan thing), the FIRST thing they do is allay those suspicions and at least nail some part of the affirmation needed to stop it in it tracks esp when they introduce the actor playing in-character. They did not do that, which again in my experience usually means they won't do it because he is indeed going to be played the way it hinted at. I would never initially introduce Daniel as Lan without applying the the "stony face, all angles"-style portrayal in some manner, even in a few seconds clip. That coming through loud and clear is the single easiest way to shut comments like mine down. Or make the clip long enough to show it, not say "oh it was only 2 seconds" - yeahs THEY made it 2 seconds, they didn't have to. Low-hanging fruit not grabbed almost always means they purposely didn't grab it, not that they didn't notice it hanging there. The marketing dept has their reasons for why they chose to show what they did, and atm none of the possible explanations spinning in my head are good ones.

 

 

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11 hours ago, redgiant said:

 I would never initially introduce Daniel as Lan without applying the the "stony face, all angles"-style portrayal in some manner, even in a few seconds clip.

 

 

the second half of the clip showed a sword move, but the first second had his face, and he was stone-faced enough, at least for me

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Posted (edited)
On 5/3/2021 at 5:21 AM, king of nowhere said:

the second half of the clip showed a sword move, but the first second had his face, and he was stone-faced enough, at least for me

Daniel has a great jawline and look to portray stone-faced and implacable quite a bit more than that shot. Esp. if it was a goal of theirs to specifically show that aspect.

 

Another poor choice (thus far) for me is that he is clean-shaven which makes the stony-faced bad-ares look harder to pull off. If they let him grow his whiskers for the rough-and-rumble rugged appearance a bit, and let his hair down then we'll talk.

Edited by redgiant
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1 hour ago, redgiant said:

If they let him grow his whiskers for the rough-and-rumble rugged appearance a bit, and let his hair down then we'll talk.

I'm betting they save this look for after a certain someone falls through a twisted door frame. 

 

In terms of the actual clip, it looks to be like an example of poor editing. They didn't provide enough context of the scene to show what that little hop is about. I'm guessing it will make sense when we see the entire clip in context.

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Posted (edited)

So I'm quite new to this forum but I've been loving the small "trailers", and love the look of everything so far. Really excited for more, and hope we get a trailer, release date or even both at some point 🙂

Edited by Sean
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11 hours ago, Sean said:

So I'm quite new to this forum but I've been loving the small "trailers", and love the look of everything so far. Really excited for more, and hope we get a trailer, release date or even both at some point 🙂

This is actually a very interesting contrast to people like redgiant and thrasymchus. especially because it comes from someone new.

Makes me wonder, perhaps the people who are nitpicky and will complain about lack of quillons and such are only a small minority out of an already small minority of hardcore fans? Maybe most of the casual fans are actually taking it all well and are liking the teasers.

Perhaps the marketing people actually know what they are doing?

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4 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

Perhaps the marketing people actually know what they are doing?

Who'd a thunk it?

But I think you are right - the fans who will be truly upset about minor stylistic changes and plot alterations are a subset of a subset of a subset. And they are not the people who Amazon is trying to convince to watch the show.

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Personally, I don’t think I’ll judge any changes made until I see a whole episode. They may work and may not - for me. Imagine it will be different for everyone. Context will tell. 
 

But I think I think I have full context for the ‘mini’ trailers, and they do absolutely nothing to build excitement for me - just frustration...  Release date is all right now, nothing else matters

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On 5/4/2021 at 1:30 PM, Elder_Haman said:

I'm betting they save this look for after a certain someone falls through a twisted door frame.

 

I would be fine with that.

 

They need to show progressions within the show medium, even if they have to change the time line of things. The show will place emphasis on visualizations in lieu of how the book uses in-head thoughts. Jordan is the king of in-head thought detail.

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52 minutes ago, redgiant said:

Jordan is the king of in-head thought detail.

This is 100% true and presents the biggest challenge for the adaptation, IMO. The writers have to create some really excellent dialogue both for exposition and to convey all the stuff that goes on in the heads of the various characters.

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