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New Q&A with Rafe Judkins


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17 hours ago, Elder_Haman said:

In one scene. One. 

Jordan describes the cloaks as being difficult to look at (because of their shifting colors) even when the Warder isn't trying to conceal himself. What that would require is that every single time a Warder is on screen, you have to add some sort of digital effect that conveys that color-shiftingness. That's tough to pull off just from a degree of difficulty standpoint before you even get to the question of expense.

 

I agree.

I didn't pay attention to the detail there, but i do remember, those cloaks in the lord of the rings were kinda underwhelming.

 

I also agree that it can't be that hard to pull off that kind of effect, as people do it over internet calls all the time... except, that effect when made over internet call is far from flawless. people can put a picture behind them, but it will glitch. we accept it for internet calls, for twitch streams, because we know the people doing it are not professionals and they are working with what they have. i doubt we'd accept it for a movie. and maybe, just maybe because that's not my field of expertise, but maybe doing the effect well would be extremely expensive indeed.

or perhaps they tried, and they were unhappy with the result.

 

anyway, just like the agelessness, just like the harp becoming a guitar, this is a change made for the sake of practicity that i'm willing to tolerate.

actually, it's a much lesser change than the agelessness. the fact that you could recognize an aes sedai by looking at her face had always been a plot point. rand gets kidnapped because he looks at the servant's faces and he feels safe afterwards. aes sedai can't infiltrate because they can be recognized on sight. it entails changes to the plot. i would be definitely crying foul over this, if i did think there was some convincing way they'd have to pull it off.

the warder cloak? there's few scenes where it's even used for its intended purpose, and none that couldn't be justified with mundane hiding

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On 5/21/2021 at 8:14 PM, SinisterDeath said:

Either way, I still wish they'd have at least did one scene with the cloak and then hide it away for convivence/plot. Hell, I'd settle for Lan whipping out his cloak during the Blight. 


That might be a slippery slop, because yes as book fans we’d be excited to see them. But TV-only fans will be left confused and find it an inconsistency when the cloaks don’t show up again. I expect the biggest rule they have will be to keep things consistent, which the books themselves suffer from. 
 

Overall I do expect the show will be different than the books in more ways than some of you are expecting. The problem with internal narrative isn’t solved by having characters blurt out their thoughts and motives at all times. Even if they did that kind of characterization and world building will be hollow. Instead they’re tasked with showing us things like Perrin’s struggle with and aversion to violence through scenes that explores his mindset and the reasons for it, making sure the viewer can relate to and understand him without the luxury of reading his thoughts.

 

For me personally, what’s key are the character journeys. Not everything will have to be done as it happens in the books, and I’ll be sorry to not see aspects of the book I dearly love, but as long as the characters’ arcs stay true to the core of what these kids experience and the ways they change, I’ll be pleased.  

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14 minutes ago, Carebear Sedai said:

That might be a slippery slop, because yes as book fans we’d be excited to see them. But TV-only fans will be left confused and find it an inconsistency when the cloaks don’t show up again. I expect the biggest rule they have will be to keep things consistent, which the books themselves suffer from.

I look at it like this.
They could have Lan bust out the cloak when they're being chased by Trollocs from Emonds Field to Shadar Logoth. (like during the camping scenes between chases)
They could have him bust it out for the Blight/Climax.
They don't need him to have wear it while in villages or cities as that would be like giant sign saying "Yep, that's a Warder with his Aes Sedai!".

They could even make a point of having Mat ask "What's that thing?" or "why are you putting that crappier cloak on", and Lan mumbling something about not standing out. There are a ton of ways they can use it sparingly, keep it consistent to the story, while giving the book fans our "fan service". 

I think the better way to appease fans isn't saying "Yea, we aren't even going to try it, that effect is way to expensive!". That comes off as disingenuous with the advances we've made with CGI and greenscreen effects. I think what fans would rather hear is "Yea, we had one of the CGI teams try the effect on a test scene, and it looked like absolute crud. So instead of wasting a huge chunk of our budget towards that, we scrapped it". 
What Rafe said, is something Producers/Investors like to hear, while what I think fans would like to hear, producers/investors would be loath to hear.

Either way, at most it's just disappointing to me, but not a deal breaker.


 

26 minutes ago, Carebear Sedai said:

Overall I do expect the show will be different than the books in more ways than some of you are expecting. The problem with internal narrative isn’t solved by having characters blurt out their thoughts and motives at all times. Even if they did that kind of characterization and world building will be hollow. Instead they’re tasked with showing us things like Perrin’s struggle with and aversion to violence through scenes that explores his mindset and the reasons for it, making sure the viewer can relate to and understand him without the luxury of reading his thoughts.

I'm reminded of the movie Dredd (2012), starring Karl Urban. That man was able to convey more emotion and thought with just his chin, then half of Hollywood had in the last decade. 

It takes a special kind of actor to portray "internal dialogue" without actually saying the dialogue out loud. I can only hope his actor is as good as Karls chin. 😉

That said, it could be interesting to tie in some of his internal struggles with his dreams, and having the wolves/hopper pull him out of those into TAR.

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Carebear Sedai said:

For me personally, what’s key are the character journeys. Not everything will have to be done as it happens in the books

Yes, yes, yes. 

The difficulty for the writers is to create scenes which allow the various characters to communicate what's going on in their heads in a way that feels authentic. This means they have to give the characters things to react to. Sometimes this will mean new dialogue, but often it will require entirely new scenes or situations.

 

For example, Perrin's journey with the wolves might be better served by leaving he and Egwene separated from the rest of the Emond's Fielders after Shadar Logoth - allowing the wolves to help guide him to a reunion in Fal Dara. Scenes of he and Egwene on the road together will give the opportunity to explore his confusion, his attempts to conceal his nature, etc.

 

This will lead (hopefully) to things that are departures from the books, but are true to the characters. So long as they hit the major beats for each of the characters, these kind of changes aren't going to bother me. In fact, they may be my favorite portions because they will be fresh and provide a different perspective. 

 

If they are awful, however, it will be the death of the series. The writers have a very tough job.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Carebear Sedai said:


That might be a slippery slop, because yes as book fans we’d be excited to see them. But TV-only fans will be left confused and find it an inconsistency when the cloaks don’t show up again. I expect the biggest rule they have will be to keep things consistent, which the books themselves suffer from. 
 

 

 

Internal consistency is the one rec I would have had for the creative team. They know where the story goes and can set internal pacing based on whatever feedback they receive from Amazon re: likely number of seasons.

 

As to the cloaks, I've yet to see a special effect that could effectively replicate the cloak as described in the books. "Cheesy" warder cloak would cool my ardor much more thoroughly than eliminating them entirely.

 

Longer episodes = hooray for more time immersed in a wonderful story filled with familiar characters and universal/timeless themes.

 

Not surprised at the qualification re: Trolloc footage - definitely posted by mistake and apparently raw. Thankful for confirmation on multiple recognizably different types of those foul beasts.

 

Sure seems like a late Fall release, but I do have a question about the reliability of that conclusion based solely on the reported orders from book publishers. Not an area with which I am familiar, but given the recent anniversary release of the series, wouldn't the news about publishers be more tied into an expected successful franchise and the Christmas buying season? If the gen pop has only seen teasers prior to "Black Friday," why would publishers expect additional demand in time for the height of buying season?

 

I'm really looking forward to this adaptation. At first, I had drawn some lines but the more I think about it and the more existing work of the cast I see, the more excited I get.

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45 minutes ago, Fano'Lan Redux said:

given the recent anniversary release of the series, wouldn't the news about publishers be more tied into an expected successful franchise and the Christmas buying season? If the gen pop has only seen teasers prior to "Black Friday," why would publishers expect additional demand in time for the height of buying season?

These are very good questions. 

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On 5/24/2021 at 7:36 PM, Elder_Haman said:

These are very good questions. 

 

Answers, man Ogier, I need answers!!

 

Old paradigms wither everywhere, despite grasping death throes of the status quo defenders. Curious to witness how Amazon leverages this treasured opus toward their disruption of prior industry standards.  Wouldn't surprise me to see more of a Labor Day-ish push ... all the cool kids will be Saidar-stans, Gambler-stans, Goldeneyes-stans or Asha'man-stans.

 

If it's up to me, the summer reading marketing would be humming along and visible everywhere by middle of June.

 

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6 hours ago, Fano'Lan Redux said:

 

Answers, man Ogier, I need answers!!

 

Old paradigms wither everywhere, despite grasping death throes of the status quo defenders. Curious to witness how Amazon leverages this treasured opus toward their disruption of prior industry standards.  Wouldn't surprise me to see more of a Labor Day-ish push ... all the cool kids will be Saidar-stans, Gambler-stans, Goldeneyes-stans or Asha'man-stans.

 

If it's up to me, the summer reading marketing would be humming along and visible everywhere by middle of June.

 

Labor Day seems reasonable. And I doubt future content drops will be exclusively confined to Wednesdays. Though not expecting it, a pre- Memorial Day content drop would not shock me.

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18 hours ago, lt;(^-^)gt; said:

I wonder which character whose name starts with "EL" isn't in the first season. Elayne? Elaida?

Elyas.

Probably all three. I just doubt they will be able to pull off some sort of surprise casting at this point.

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Posted (edited)

@Elder haman and @Thrasymachus, ya'll clearly disagree on how much the TV show is going to divert from the books. My question for each of you is: how much of a divergence is acceptable to you? or at what point is it a deal-breaker? 

 

For me - I loved the books- so I'm setting my expectations low.

Personally, I really hope that WoT is an adaptation that is well-done and faithful to the books on the level of the LoTR or Harry Potter movies ... but I (perhaps negatively) think that that's very unlikely; so setting my expectation level at Shannara. If it ends up being like the Seeker was for the Sword of Truth series -- that was a deal breaker for me (what @Thrasymachus describes - a TV show that only resembles the books in the sense it has the same character names and concepts). 

 

As for Aes Sedai agelessness and Warder cloaks... bummer not to see em, but not even close to a deal breaker. Major adaptations because the book series is so long, cost considerations, cast considerations...I'm very understanding. What I just can't stand is when they don't even try to be faithful to the canon - and I haven't gotten the sense that that's the case with WoT! What makes you so convinced @Thrasymachus that that's the case? Brandon Sanderson read the script and said it was "very good"!

Edited by Wolfbrother31
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And actually, I would argue that the best book to movie adaptation is The Hunger Games - I'm fan of both the books and the movies - read the books first - and thought that the movies were actually even better than the books. It would be, so so sweet if the WoT show could do that - be even better than the books. Fingers crossed!

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Oh, and two more things. 1) When Rafe says that "you'll see the weaves if you're a woman that can channel", that's a joke right?? I took it as a joke. 2) I agree that there's not ambiguity in Rafe's response about a trailer - it's not coming soon. So I reeeally really doubt we're gonna see WoT this year. Which bums me out. 

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Because the series is so long and intricate, with a lot of travel, and simply enormous amounts of side-characters and side-stories, I expect a great deal of change regarding the specifics of the story.  It's the themes, progression and symbolism that are important.  We don't know anything about the themes other than what Rafe says about it, and I trust Rafe's self-reporting about that about as much as I'd trust a new mother telling me her baby's not ugly. 

 

Similarly with progression, there's too much unknown, though what we do know is not that great.  Caemlyn and the Trakands being cut, and Tar Valon showing up too soon, are not great signs.  But the rumors of those changes lack context.  Similarly with Logain's expanded role.  There's not enough known about it to know whether  it'll be a good idea or not.

 

The symbolism, or rather, the aesthetic, is where they are losing me at the moment.  While they started off strong with excellent casting, their props and teaser choices are not good.  Jordan was incredibly descriptive about those kinds of things, Tam's sword, Thom's harp, the Shadar Logoth dagger, and none of them look at all the same.  To the detriment (and intentional disrespect) of the existing fanbase because there have been literally millions of dollars spent on WoT themed swords and daggers and cloaks and everything else by fans over the past couple of decades that will henceforth be basically worthless for their intended purpose.  And then how they chose to depict Moiraine embracing the source, or at least the very little bit they chose to show us, and the same little bit of Lan's fighting.  It looks cheap in the former case, and weak in the latter.  The Whitecloaks armor design doesn't look good either, being too slim and also not how Jordan describes their armor.  Basically, it doesn't look like Jordan's Wheel of Time, and what it does look like doesn't look great, and often doesn't even look good.  And if they're not going to make the effort to make it look like the Wheel of Time, particularly on the easy stuff like making sure the distinctive samurai sword with crossguards Jordan describes actually has crossguards, or that the ruby-hilted dagger looks even vaguely like the illustrated chapter icon Jordan chose for it, let alone like the description of it that's given multiple times throughout the books, then it's hard to have much faith that they'll make it feel like the Wheel of Time.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Wolfbrother31 said:

how much of a divergence is acceptable to you? or at what point is it a deal-breaker? 

That question is tough to answer precisely. I want the character arcs for the main group to remain the same and hit the same major plot points. I want the characters to feel authentic and for the 'heart' of those characters to be true to how it was written. 

 

I'll be more than okay with the elimination of people, places and events; with the conglomeration of some people, places and events. I believe there is room to expand on certain areas that Jordan mentioned, but didn't explore: Logain being a good example, the interactions between the Forsaken being another. So I won't mind the creation of entirely new scenes (like Logain proclaiming himself the Dragon) provided they remain true to the characters and feel authentic.

 

I will hate it if they make the show "YA" in nature, focusing more on romantic attachments and love triangles than on the actual character motivations. Or if the syntax is modernized to make the characters sound like teens from current year. 

 

Otherwise, I'll just have to wait and see. And I'll know it when I see it.

 

I look at The Last Kingdom as an excellent example of a well adapted book series. And that is a good example of the type of quality I am looking for in WoT.

 

Updated:

I was in the middle of writing this when @Thrasymachusposted. Let me just say that none of that bothers me even one bit. And I read far less importance into these changes in the details. 

 

The most important thing that the series needs to accomplish visually is for the world to feel "lived in". Objects and props need to feel real and as if they are a part of the world. All of the changes I've seen thus far fit that aesthetic and lead me to believe that they are trying to create that lived in, authenticity. This is, IMO, unmistakably a good thing. But we will just have to wait and see what the finished product looks like.

 

 

1 hour ago, Wolfbrother31 said:

When Rafe says that "you'll see the weaves if you're a woman that can channel", that's a joke right??

I took it to mean that it will depend on the POV of the shot. (i.e., sometimes we will see the weaves, sometimes we won't and it will depend on what is happening in the scene)

 

1 hour ago, Wolfbrother31 said:

So I reeeally really doubt we're gonna see WoT this year.

No reason to doubt this. It's going to release in 2021 barring some catastrophe. The actors are currently doing ADR which is the very last thing to be done prior to release. People with credibly sourced information are pegging a release in the final quarter of 2021 (October-December) with one predicting a Black Friday release.

 

The trailer? Maybe Labor Day. A teaser with release date? Any day now. At least that's my impression of where things stand.

Edited by Elder_Haman
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16 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

The Whitecloaks armor design doesn't look good either, being too slim and also not how Jordan describes their armor.

wait, we got whitecloak armor? when? where?

 

by the way, one small bother about the books was how armor was never shown to be effective. I can't recall, before the final books written by sanderson, a single instance of a sword thrust being stopped by a breastplate, an arrow pinking off a plate.

oh, fighting people were shown with battered armor, so it was implied it happened, but it was never shown. i would not mind heavy armor being shown as doing its job.

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Posted (edited)

Elder_Haman's answer is one of the reasons why when people go "oh Rafe is a huge fan of WoT so don't worry," I don't exactly get reassured. Clearly, we are all major fans here, yet we all have very different ideas of what is important and interesting in the story. Rafe can be a fan but at the same time cut out a whole bunch of stuff that he may not view as important, but to others might be "quintessential Wheel of Time." That is why I am of the opinion that in general an adaptation should err on the side of being too faithful, of including things, rather than making needless changes. That way, you have the best chance of everybody getting at least a little bit of what everyone loved about the original story.

Edited by TheMountain
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@Thrasymachus you are bumming me out man... Cause you convinced me. That kind of lack of effort on easy things like crossbars on the sword is not a good sign ... Even though I have a lot of tolerance because (see I didn't even notice that they changed prop stuff) ... at risk of being stoned I'll say, I actually didn't care for all the **cough** over description of Jordan in the books. Just bogs things down. So I didn't even notice that kind of thing/attention to detail. 

 

Which reinforces what @TheMountain just said...people have such different ideas of essentials and what makes something good. 

 

To @Elder haman's post I can echo his sentiment too, though, because I'd say...for me...the actually deal breaker point is if the show ...mmm feels real ...versus... a kind of cheesy, nerd-teenager's, dream. 

But also, in the case of Sword of Truth and the Seeker... If there's no effort to be faithful to the books. 

Please please please...WoT...don't be that way. 

Which is why @Thrasymachusyou are bumming me out cause ...you've made a pretty good case that's what they're doing. 

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On 5/29/2021 at 6:48 AM, Wolfbrother31 said:

Oh, and two more things. 1) When Rafe says that "you'll see the weaves if you're a woman that can channel", that's a joke right?? I took it as a joke. 2) I agree that there's not ambiguity in Rafe's response about a trailer - it's not coming soon. So I reeeally really doubt we're gonna see WoT this year. Which bums me out. 

I’m pretty sure what he meant was it will be like the Books in that you will see the weaves only from the POV of a Channeler and only when it is needed as part of the story. For instance in EOTW when Rand is watching Morraine using Saidar to help everyone with exhaustion, you don’t need to see the weaves just the after effects but later in the Cave when Morraine is reaching Egwene you would see Egwene’s weave. 

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On 5/29/2021 at 6:48 AM, Wolfbrother31 said:

Oh, and two more things. 1) When Rafe says that "you'll see the weaves if you're a woman that can channel", that's a joke right?? I took it as a joke. 2) I agree that there's not ambiguity in Rafe's response about a trailer - it's not coming soon. So I reeeally really doubt we're gonna see WoT this year. Which bums me out. 

I’m pretty sure what he meant was it will be like the Books in that you will see the weaves only from the POV of a Channeler and only when it is needed as part of the story. For instance in EOTW when Rand is watching Morraine using Saidar to help everyone with exhaustion, you don’t need to see the weaves just the after effects but later in the Cave when Morraine is reaching Egwene you would see Egwene’s weave. 

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Posted (edited)

I’m skeptical by nature, and I also wasn’t a huge fan of the WOT beyond Book 6. But I gotta say, the recent Rafe Q&A gives me some optimism for some reason I can’t quite pin down. Maybe it’s just the fact that they’re already writing Season 2, and they know they have to massively consolidate later books. Indicates to me that this won’t be an “inspired by” hatchet job like Dark Tower. 
 

I also think it might AWESOME to give Logain more screen time and really build up his story as the false dragon. That’s something we really didn’t get in the books that would be interesting to see. 
 

I am a little disappointed I won’t get to see what an “ageless face” looks like but, really, what the heck does it look like?

Edited by Beidomon
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10 hours ago, Elder_Haman said:

@Wolfbrother31 are you familiar with the Last Kingdom series (either book or Netflix show)? 

I've seen a couple episodes of the Last Kingdom (if you're talking about the Viking show) on Netflix, but have not read the books. I stopped watching though because it seemed like a rip off of the History channel show "Vikings" ...which was better anyways. 

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1 hour ago, Wolfbrother31 said:

I've seen a couple episodes of the Last Kingdom (if you're talking about the Viking show) on Netflix, but have not read the books. I stopped watching though because it seemed like a rip off of the History channel show "Vikings" ...which was better anyways. 

It’s actually the other way around. The Last Kingdom was first published in 2004. Vikings premiered in 2013. 
 

Both shows deal with some of the same historical events, though Last Kingdom is more historically accurate. And both are excellent shows. 
 

The reason I mentioned Last Kingdom specifically is because it adapts a lengthy series of novels, just as WoT will require. It is generally regarded as an excellent adaptation because it focuses on the heart of the main characters even though it sacrifices numerous plot points. 
 

Also, my purely subjective opinion is that Vikings seemed better to me at first too. But it’s not. It’s not really even close. 

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