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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Sanderson's Recent Interview


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In case you missed it, Brandon Sanderson sat down for a live interview on the Dusty Wheel. (Here's a link to the video)

I thought there were a couple of important takeaways for people who are worried about the quality of the adaptation.

 

He says that the Wheel of Time adaptation is "in very good hands" with Rafe Judkins at the helm, noting that Judkins is "very dedicated to the Wheel of Time." Once he recognized that he could view this as another turning of the Wheel (as opposed to filming the books), he was able to focus on three questions: (1) Does the show get the souls of the characters right?; (2) Is the narrative good?; and (3) is it a good introduction to the Wheel of Time for people who haven't seen it? Sanderson said the definitive answer to all of these questions is "yes". 

 

This should allow folks who are worried that the show is going to "ruin" the source material to take a deep breath and relax. 

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Ummm… “another turning of the wheel” is exactly the kind of thinking that gave us that shitstorm of a Dark Tower movie.
 

I’m not trying to be overly negative - in fact I remain guardedly optimistic - and I also fully understand and even encourage the show to depart from and truncate portions of the series, but this kind of comment does NOT provide reassurance. 

Edited by Beidomon
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Did you watch the video?

 

I don't understand why you would want to take the very positive comments made by one of the authors and somehow try to turn them into a negative. Brandon didn't have to come on and praise Rafe at all. Or he could have mumbled some sort of mild praise that was mostly a "no comment". Instead, he chose to give effusive praise. That speaks volumes to me.

 

What he (and many others) is trying to say is that of course an adaptation is going to be different. Not everyone will love every one of the changes. So you have to take a step back and examine your own expectations. The three questions he suggested are exactly the three questions that matter (and pretty much in the order they matter). Character first, tone and narrative second, lore and accessibility third. And he says that Rafe nailed those things.

 

For me, it sounds very much like Rafe is on the same track as Peter Jackson for the LOTR movies (or the people who adapted The Last Kingdom for tv for a more apples-to-apples comparison). Those are good, solid adaptations. Nothing about what Brandon said should lead anyone to believe we are headed toward a mess like Dark Tower or Shannara Chronicles.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, TheMountain said:

For me there is also a fourth question: "is the show faithful to the worldbuilding in the books?"

I got the impression that this is part and parcel of the third question. 

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I think the answer to the first three could still be "yes," while the "another turning of the wheel" could be taken to the extreme giving us a completely different story and world albeit with the same characters. At a certain point, it becomes "inspired by" WoT rather than "based on." It could still be a great story, just not necessarily the one many of us wanted to watch (the turning in the books). For that reason, for me, the "another turning of the wheel" talk is actually more concerning than reassuring. It very well could end up being a good show true to the heart of WoT in a general sense, just not the one I wanted to see.

 

I also think that where LotR seemed very concerned with maintaining the visual aesthetic of the books, based on what we've seen so far, the show is less so.

Edited by TheMountain
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6 minutes ago, TheMountain said:

I think the answer to the first three could still be "yes," while the "another turning of the wheel" could be taken to the extreme giving us a completely different story and world albeit with the same characters. At a certain point, it becomes "inspired by" WoT rather than "based on." It could still be a great story, just not necessarily the one many of us wanted to watch (the turning in the books). For that reason, for me, the "another turning of the wheel" talk is actually more concerning than reassuring. It very well could end up being a good show true to the heart of WoT in a general sense, just not the one I wanted to see.

 

I also think that where LotR seemed very concerned with maintaining the visual aesthetic of the books, based on what we've seen so far, the show is less so.

What about what Brandon Sanderson said supports the view that it is going to be more "inspired by" than "based on"? His comments are uniformly positive!!

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Mainly the "another turning of the wheel" talk. It's possible for it to be "inspired by" and to still have a positive opinion on the show.

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I listen to the podcast he cohosts with other authors, "Writing Excuses," regularly. I've met him in person once and I am a huge fan of his works. In general however, he comes across to me as much more forgiving of changes in adaptations in general than I myself am. It's not a bad thing, everybody can have their own opinions after all! I just know that I'm going to be bummed if the changes keep piling up. I absolutely love the worldbuilding in WoT, that's my favorite part of the series.

Edited by TheMountain
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13 minutes ago, TheMountain said:

Mainly the "another turning of the wheel" talk. It's possible for it to be "inspired by" and to still have a positive opinion on the show.

Another Turning IS part of WoT Lore & World Building.
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Again, I would like to see the turning depicted in the books. Mosk the Giant and Salya among the stars, I prefer as Easter Eggs, not the meat of the story 🙂

Edited by TheMountain
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10 minutes ago, TheMountain said:

Again, I would like to see the turning depicted in the books. Mosk the Giant and Salya among the stars, I prefer as Easter Eggs, not the meat of the story 🙂

Future and Past Turnings are the same, its a cyclical universe.

You are Never going to see the books in a 1:1 book to media format.

 

What you believe a 1:1 and faithful adaptation is, will be an inaccurate pile of hot garbage to another "super fan".

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27 minutes ago, TheMountain said:

Again, I would like to see the turning depicted in the books. Mosk the Giant and Salya among the stars, I prefer as Easter Eggs, not the meat of the story 🙂

Where did you get the idea that these would be the "meat of the story"? 

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I would be satisfied with an adaption on the level of LotR. Brandon Sanderson believes it will be at least in terms of the soul of the books and characters, so that does make me feel like the show will at least be enjoyable. I am just really, really holding out hope for a teaser or trailer that brings some of the book descriptions to life. Something that has me going, "wow, this is even cooler than I imagined!" The teasers have been disappointing for me thus far for that reason.

Edited by TheMountain
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Sorry, was just trying to make a reference to another turning as a point about wanting to see the one the characters lived through in the books in their POV chapters. Hopefully now i'm being descriptive enough lol.

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I guess I feel a little better. As @Elder haman said, Sanderson didn't have to praise Rafe at all but he did. That's a good sign. At the same time, the overall sense I get is that the people involved/promoting are trying to brace the fans for it to be "good" but not exactly WoT - it's kind of like they're saying, "Don't sweat it if we get all the small details wrong - we're gonna get the big picture right." 

 

And maybe that's fine. There are a lot of changes I'll abide or overlook if the show is simply an entertaining well done show... more of Logain, Moiraine the main character, Caemlyn cut out, characters not looking right, cloaks not doing what they should, props that aren't like the books describe, whatever...

 

I want WoT to big HUGE. And let's be real people - books 4-6 were magnitudes better than 1-3 ...

 

So my new tone/take on it is ... Please just be good enough in general to get further than 1 or 2 seasons! And I guess, Sanderson's comments offer some reassurance in that regard. 

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i am quite confident we'll get something of lord-of-the-rings quality.

the problem is that, while for me and most others this is a good thing, there were some diehard fabns who did not appreciate lotr for not being faithful enough to the books. so, i guess to them it's actually bad news, and it won't put them at ease.

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So again, I've been very clear that I expect and even encourage the screen adaptation to depart from and truncate the source material. And I really liked the LOTR adaptation. But there is potentially a BIG difference from "another turning of the Wheel" and the typical changes necessary for an adaptation.

 

When I hear that, it brings to mind the excuse given for the Dark Tower "adaptation" - that this was actually "Roland's next cycle of his journey to the Tower." And we saw what a turd that was. When I hear "is it a good introduction to the Wheel of Time for people who haven't seen it," that was another excuse given for the crappy Dark Tower adaption!! You know what a good introduction is? The first friggin' book. The Gunslinger was a masterpiece and would have made for a great standalone movie. Same goes for Eye of the World.

 

WOTTV better be the story. By all means, adapt as necessary. But this cannot be a different incarnation. Not a different "turning." And not a  "let's weave together a little bit of this and that from all over the place to give people a good introduction." This is one of the biggest problem with showrunners and screenwriters and studio execs: they have no faith in their audiences and they think they're smarter than the damned source material.

 

What's done is done. The first season is in the can. And I am likely reading way too far into this. But the "different turning" nonsense is a definite trigger for me after the DT Debacle. /rant

Edited by Beidomon
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A normal adaptation that is faithful tries to slightly bend the book narrative to accommodate certain extra-story goals they have, such as LOTR did like

  • "include a deeper role for women (or in WOT, diversity) than Tolkien did" like Arwen
  • "surgically axe superfluous characters out of necessity" like Tom Bombadil or Glorfindel
  • "give the character a journey the books don't seem to give them but end up in the same place with them" like making Faramir at first different than he eventually becomes to give him on-screen growth rather than be just statically the same all through the movies
  • "make it fit the budget" like - well LOTR didn't really skimp on anything for that reason - hell ,they even went on location for months filming an Edoras look-alike in the mountains for realism.

The problem I see is that certain changes thus far seem to only fit the last category of budget constraints, since removing Camelyn is like removing Bree or Lothlorien or Edoras, changing the number of Forsaken is like having less than 9 Nazgul, amongst other things.

 

Even the Nazgul in LOTR were the right number, and most of them other than the witch king himself had nothing to do at all in the story except be seen together a few times. So if you wanted to justify cutting some of them, that would be the story to justify it - but they didn't. Contrast that with Forsaken where every single one has a well-known name, behavior and such ... and supposedly we still might have some of them cut or combined.

 

And by not having remotely the spy output, teasers officially sanctioned and released to fans, or the sheer volume of knowledge about what is being filmed and the tone, etc that LOTR had - we are only left to guess and the critical experiences we have seen before in other properties tends to bubble up. If Amazon wanted to, they could and would and should release more info to (in)directly counter all these theories and fears. But they don't and haven't. That in itself speaks volumes since generally if a property could avoid negative press they would. I know I would.

 

So instead of merely bending the story road, they seem to be going about wholesale detours and building entirely new highways. Until they put out more meaty info, we just won't know (I mean c'mon, just look back to 1999-2000 at all the advanced buzz and info surrounding LOTR we all knew and saw happening. This WOT project is thus far about as mouse-quiet as I have ever seen for the kind of budget they are supposed to have on it.). Basically, there are 20-30 people posting on a handful of sites ... still. And it is being released ... this year?? There should be literally thousands of people viewing and posting eagerly, pouring over the most minute details released or spied on, given the book base and popularity of WOT in fantasy circles.

 

Sorry, this is nothing like LOTR was, in any way.

Edited by redgiant
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38 minutes ago, redgiant said:

A normal adaptation that is faithful tries to slightly bend the book narrative to accommodate certain extra-story goals they have, such as LOTR did like

  • "include a deeper role for women (or in WOT, diversity) than Tolkien did" like Arwen
  • "surgically axe superfluous characters out of necessity" like Tom Bombadil or Glorfindel
  • "give the character a journey the books don't seem to give them but end up in the same place with them" like making Faramir at first different than he eventually becomes to give him on-screen growth rather than be just statically the same all through the movies
  • "make it fit the budget" like - well LOTR didn't really skimp on anything for that reason - hell,. ,they even went on location for months filming an Edoras look-alike in the mountains for realism.

The problem I see is that certain changes thus far seem to only fit the last category of budget constraints, since removing Camelyn is like removing Bree or Lothlorien or Edoras, changing the number of Forsaken is like having less than 9 Nazgul, amongst other things.

 

Even the Nazgul in LOTR were the right number, and most of them other than the witch king himself had nothing to do at all in the story except be seen together a few times. So if you wanted to justify cutting some of them, that would be the story to justify it - but thy didn't. Contrast that with Forsaken where every single one has a well-known name, behavior and such ... and supposedly still might have some of them cut or combined.

 

And by not having remotely the spy output, teasers officially sanctioned nd released to fans, or the sheer volume of knowledge about what is being filmed and the tone, etc that LOTR had - we are only left to guess and the critical experiences we have seen before in other properties tends to bubble up. If Amazon wanted to, they could and would and should release more info to (in)directly counter all these theories and fears. But they don't and haven't. That in itself speaks volumes since generally if a property could avoid negative press they would. I know I would.

 

So instead of merely bending the story road, they seem to be going about wholesale detours and building entirely new highways. Until they put out more meaty info, we just won't know (I mean c'mon, just look back to 1999-2000 at all the advanced buzz and info surrounding LOTR we all knew and saw happening. This project it about as mouse-quiet as I have ever seen for the kind of budget they are supposed to have on it.). Basically, there are 20-30 people posting on a handful of sites ... still. And it is being released ... this year??

 

Sorry, this is nothing like LOTR was, in any way.

I’d say many of your concerns may be allayed when you finally get to watch it. (I hope they are). I agree with your assessment of good/acceptable LOTR changes.  Your example of forsaken cutting I think is just total conjecture, there has been nothing confirming this. Wait and see.
 

I don’t think Amazon should care too much about calming concerns that either will or won’t be resolved when the thing comes out. Don’t waste too much effort on that, just get the finished product right and people will be won over - even if it is causing a lot of worry and hand wringing in the meantime. But let’s get a release date already!

 

Finally I’ll say that Brandon Sandersons approval is a very good sign, but not the end all, be all (that will be the final product). Still, a very encouraging thing overall I think. 

Edited by dssharp
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1 hour ago, dssharp said:

Your example of forsaken cutting I think is just total conjecture, there has been nothing confirming this. Wait and see.

...

I agree, but that is my point about leaving us to conjecture alone given the absolute dearth of info and content and leaks and spy reports for a property and project of this magnitude and literary fantasy fame.

The info available (in any means) and the activity interactions with fans and fan sites is grossly out of whack with what normally should be happening by now.

  

49 minutes ago, king of nowhere said:

speaking of news, it's been one month since the last news. i hope we'll be getting something soon

 

And it boggles me that we have to even say something like this. It's embarassing for Amazon (you'd think).

Edited by redgiant
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I can agree that there doesn't seem to be much strategy to Amazon's marketing. It's thus far very niche. And they are clearly strict with their NDAs.

 

But as for "what should normally be happening" - we are in a whole new world. And the bottom line is that if the show hits, no one will remember this period.

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I honestly just can't wait for this thing to come out -- and then we'll all see. 

But I think I can reasonably say -- most likely the people who will enjoy the show the most are people who read the books a long time ago, and don't remember a lot of the details, but liked the story. That is ... if it's well done and what Sanderson describes - and if BS isn't BS'ing us all 😉

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Oh wow I can't believe I missed this interview until now. Sanderson knows what he's talking about. While he was positive overall he was also pretty guarded. Obviously a big part of that is because he's been trusted with information about the show that he promised not to share. What we did get is definitely positive and I don't think he would have talked about it the way he did if he doesn't have faith in the adaptation.

 

I love the discussion about adaptations. It's impossible to get approval from everyone for every adaptation decision. Case in point: in your list above, redgiant, I think changing Faramir's character was a huge mistake in LotR. The reasons why I dislike it or why other people like it aren't important right now, my point is just that people will always disagree on things like this. But it's always an interesting discussion because it brings out the things people think are important. It's a fun and easy sort of meta-criticism, analyzing and critiquing adaptation decisions.

 

With that in mind I have noticed a lot of people speculating at some big changes. Specifically on-topic, there's definitely an idea going around that the Forsaken might be condensed and/or partially cut. I wonder where that came from? I guess it's just the sort of thing that feels big but plausible, and arguably necessary? But on the other hand, if I was making a list of things that make the Wheel of Time stand out I would definitely include the sense of scale of the story, conveyed in part by the sheer number of unique characters. I'd love for the adaptation to find a way to convey that too, but if they boil down the Forsaken they could possibly lose some of that sense of scale. But maybe the compromise would be worth it, and even if that's the decision there are a million smaller decisions that spring off from it that will affect the result. It's very hard to say. Gotta be honest though, I really want 13 Forsaken.

 

Sort of related side-note: I got so nostalgic when Sanderson dodged the question about Mesaana with a "RAFO" (54:30 in the video)

 

And I've gotta agree that I'm starving for more marketing material.

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