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Accepting the Adaptation


carr1934
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Article written by a long-time fan (WoTmania!) about the challenge of adapting a loved book series to a movie or TV show, and just like we did with accepting Sanderson finish the book series and how that was different than Jordan's imagination, the TV show experience is similar: accepting that we're stepping into someone else's imagination of the books.

 

"The real world grows up around us, but the make-believe worlds that exist in black ink on white pages are ours, and ours alone, to colour in. What readers imagine is unique, fiercely held, and impossible to replicate. Adaptations destroy these individually created pictures by forcing new images on us—ones that become virtually impossible to unsee." https://thewalrus.ca/wheel-of-time-tv/

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Which is why people who want to hold on to their own version should just not watch the series.

Personally, I have no issue with seeing what they did with it. I love talking about books and stories to other people and compare how each of us fills in the world differently.

 

We never get a one-on-one image in our head as the author had. We all have different Rands and Moiraines running around in our heads ... and I think that those versions say a lot about who WE are, as readers.

 

But I am so open to seeing that viewpoint, because it is just another version of something I love. Even if it is totally different from my own.

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I feel like the early 2000’s and the contemporary Dune did pretty faithful adaptations with an equally sprawling book. So, I’m not certain “images in our head” should necessarily be a stand in or replacement for, “what was on the page.”( I’m speaking of plot only, I don’t have casting issues like the article also discussed.) I just see a potential cascade effect for those little things, like the heron not being on the hilt…

Spoiler

that’s literally one of the prophesy confirming plot points in book two

, to the big things like Laila being his wife, which was a complete fabrication and only complicates the plot further, doesn’t streamline it.  

 

Don’t get me wrong there are definitely things that should be condensed, and maybe things that should be removed, but some of the alterations they have made to me is honestly more representative of what, “someone had in their head.” 
 

Nevertheless, I hope it works and I’m still enjoying it immensely. I just don’t think it’s necessarily that the complaints are unfounded or “head canon” issues. I think it’s mainly actual deviation from canon that they are upset about and I can empathize.  

Edited by JaimAybara
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2 minutes ago, Elder_Haman said:
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that’s literally one of the prophesy confirming plot points in book two

 

No it isn't.

 

  Hide contents

Rand branding himself with the heron is the prophecy. There's no reason he can't be branded by the one at the base of the blade.

 

Spoiler

I will concede on this point to you if it happens. But I also think it creates issues beyond it too. It forces him to draw the blade or partially draw it every time to reveal what it is. This will potentially mess with the throne room, as well as any other conflicts involving it. As for your suggestion, it’s possible, but again to me over complicates things as opposed to streamlining it. And I thought every change was supposed to be “intentional” to make the story work better. Yes the brand is the prophesy not the mark on the hilt itself I wasn’t suggesting otherwise, it just seems like a fruitless change to me. Now… what would really be cool is if there still is a mark beneath the wraps of the hilt that burn away—that to me would be an epic change and reveal. I’d be straight gobsmacked. 

 

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59 minutes ago, JaimAybara said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

that’s literally one of the prophesy confirming plot points in book two

, to the big things like Laila, who was a complete fabrication and only complicates the plot further, doesn’t streamline it.  

 

 

Laila as a character does exist in the WOT - Rafe mentioned, and it is confirmed in the WOT companion that there was a point in Perrins life where he wanted to marry her.

Edited by ArrylT
used wrong word
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8 hours ago, carr1934 said:

Article written by a long-time fan (WoTmania!) about the challenge of adapting a loved book series to a movie or TV show, and just like we did with accepting Sanderson finish the book series and how that was different than Jordan's imagination, the TV show experience is similar: accepting that we're stepping into someone else's imagination of the books.

 

"The real world grows up around us, but the make-believe worlds that exist in black ink on white pages are ours, and ours alone, to colour in. What readers imagine is unique, fiercely held, and impossible to replicate. Adaptations destroy these individually created pictures by forcing new images on us—ones that become virtually impossible to unsee." https://thewalrus.ca/wheel-of-time-tv/

 

I really liked these lines from the piece:

 

It may not be what was changed but that something was changed at all. After all, adapting any beloved book to screen will always threaten a young mind’s most sacred faculty: imagination.

 

Adaptations destroy these individually created pictures by forcing new images on us—ones that become virtually impossible to unsee. Can you picture how you imagined Aragorn when you first read The Fellowship of the Ring or do you now see only Viggo Mortensen?

 

I think it well expressed how emotional it can be to see something you've cherished--in such a personal way, for so long--interpreted and shared with millions. However, like @JaimAybara pointed out, though, there is a middle ground between accepting every move wholeheartedly and hating every change because it's not entirely authentic. So, I found this section a bit condescending:

 

When details of the show began to filter out, however, a certain subset of fans was quick to hurl complaints about everything from a particularly important sword looking wrong to casting selections that were more diverse than what likely had appeared in most white readers’ minds. Change is expected in any book-to-screen adaptation.

 

Jordan had a medium through which to tell his story: millions of words on more than 10,000 pages.... they have a new medium on which to project a story, but how their vision is realized will inevitably run contrary to our own. On the eve of the TV series’ release, the challenge for every fan of The Wheel of Time will be to watch Amazon’s adaptation with the same kind of reader’s delight and to try not to pick apart scenes for accuracy or scrutinize for details misrepresented or invented.

 

I've noticed a trend in convo about adaptations. Not always, but often, when someone expresses concern about a change, we're met with 'well you can't expect a one-to-one, page-by-page adaptation.' Like anyone actually expects that. I'm not stupid. (Well, not entirely so.) I know how adaption works. (Disclaimer: I wrote a whole mini-essay thread about how that kind of response makes me tug at my invisible braid. So I'm primed to be worked up over that particular line.)

 

*Edited to include more quoted material.

Edited by nicki_minajah
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19 minutes ago, ArrylT said:

 

Laila as a character does exist in the WOT - Rafe mentioned, and it is confirmed in the WOT companion that there was a point in Perrins life where he wanted to marry her.

Spoiler

I will amend my statement. She was a footnote. And Perrin wasn’t married. Him being married and killing her is a complete fabrication that I’m not certain helps the story.

 

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52 minutes ago, nicki_minajah said:

I've noticed a trend in convo about adaptations. Not always, but often, when someone expresses concern about a change, we're met with 'well you can't expect a one-to-one, page-by-page adaptation.' Like anyone actually expects that. I'm not stupid. (Well, not entirely so.) I know how adaption works. (Disclaimer: I wrote a whole mini-essay thread about how that kind of response makes me tug at my invisible braid. So I'm primed to be worked up over that particular line.)

 

*Edited to include more quoted material.

 

I think that is a great point.   Sometimes how things are explained are as important to communication as the information itself.    Sort of like a doctors bedside manner.   Not sure if anyone watches Doc Martin  - but the main character is an amazing doctor but a doctor with almost no bedside manner.   So sometimes people are a lot less likely to listen or be receptive to change, if that change is not portrayed in a way that respects them.

 

 

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Go the spoilers forum and you will find the majority of the negative commentaries, expect that exactly. "There was no gate at Shadar Logoth" being one of my favs.  Anyone can complain about anything, of course, but as the intro post says, don't watch it if you want it to be the book. That is a physical impossibility, like wanting a raven to be a writing desk.

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1 hour ago, ArrylT said:

 Sometimes how things are explained are as important to communication as the information itself.

 

31 minutes ago, Harad the White said:

Go the spoilers forum and you will find the majority of the negative commentaries, expect that exactly. "There was no gate at Shadar Logoth" being one of my favs.  Anyone can complain about anything, of course, but as the intro post says, don't watch it if you want it to be the book. That is a physical impossibility, like wanting a raven to be a writing desk.

 

BRB just saving all of these posts as evidence for my students that what I teach them (writing & rhetoric) matters beyond my classroom. 😄

 

For real, though, I'm glad that others seem to get it. I really don't think anyone is being condescending on purpose. Early in the adaptation process, a narrative sparked: "People who have problems with the show don't understand adaptation/are too committed to authenticity." That narrative circulated so widely that its characters--staunch authenticity-driven/remediation-ignorant critics--seemed to become real for people. But, like, that group isn't real. And when any authenticity-related critique is met with such a condescending response... Like, who would want to keep talking after that? Much less be persuaded by an argument?

 

I'd also like to point out that authenticity is on a gradient scale. So folks who decry "Well you can't expect it to be exactly like the book"... They're watching the show in hopes of some level of authenticity, too. We all have a limit in terms of what amount of change we'll appreciate. To extend @Harad the White's metaphor: Some of us would prefer the raven to be a raven, while others may be content with a falcon. Or maybe a sparrow. Or may even another animal. But show me the person who appreciates the raven becoming a writing desk.

 

*Edited for a typo!

Edited by nicki_minajah
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I also think it's important to consider how feedback may function in the writing process (for the show-runners). I may be naive, but I have to hope that show-runners take the responses of fans seriously. (On what level, who knows?) But if our responses bend over backwards (exaggeration, I know) to showcase how much we appreciate/understand every single decision... And if so many critiques are shrugged off as 'well you just don't get it,'... How will anyone ever learn/get better/adapt to meet audience responses?

 

It's kinda like with my course evals. The all-5s are meaningless, and so are the all-1s.

 

*Edited to add "And if so... get it"

Edited by nicki_minajah
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18 minutes ago, nicki_minajah said:

Some of us would prefer the raven to be a raven, while others may be content with a falcon. Or maybe a sparrow. Or may even another animal. But show me the person who appreciates the raven becoming a writing desk.

In the chapter "A Mad Tea Party", the Hatter asks a much-noted riddle: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" When Alice gives up trying to figure out why, the Hatter admits "I haven't the slightest idea!".

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9 hours ago, Daenelia said:

Which is why people who want to hold on to their own version should just not watch the series.

Personally, I have no issue with seeing what they did with it. I love talking about books and stories to other people and compare how each of us fills in the world differently.

 

We never get a one-on-one image in our head as the author had. We all have different Rands and Moiraines running around in our heads ... and I think that those versions say a lot about who WE are, as readers.

 

But I am so open to seeing that viewpoint, because it is just another version of something I love. Even if it is totally different from my own.

 

I'm sorry, but I can't agree with this.

The Lord of the Rings was an adaptation.

Game of Thrones was an adaptation.

 

Both of them had to make massive changes to fit their formats, yet (with the exception of the final season of GoT) stayed true to their purpouse.

This does not feel like Jordan's universe to me.
They are hamfisting in banal tropes left and right to make writing easier, and dumping a lot of the core lore in the process. Previous well loved adaptations of other stories prove that is not necessary.
 

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The biggest change I see by far is that they decided to refuse to start Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene as innocent 17 year old small town yokels who are brutally ripped from their homes in a single traumatic, unforeseen cataclysm.

Not enough conflict there? Really? Had to resort to well published cut and paste clichés?

Edited by Ellyll
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13 minutes ago, Ellyll said:

The biggest change I see by far is that they decided to refuse to start Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene as innocent 17 year old small town yokels who are brutally ripped from their homes in a single traumatic, unforeseen cataclysm.

Not enough conflict there? Really? Had to resort to well published cut and paste clichés?

Rand, Mat, and Perrin were born in 978, EoTW takes place in 998.

998-978 = 20.
Egwene was 17.

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5 hours ago, Ellyll said:

 

I'm sorry, but I can't agree with this.

The Lord of the Rings was an adaptation.

Game of Thrones was an adaptation.

 

Both of them had to make massive changes to fit their formats, yet (with the exception of the final season of GoT) stayed true to their purpouse.

This does not feel like Jordan's universe to me.
They are hamfisting in banal tropes left and right to make writing easier, and dumping a lot of the core lore in the process. Previous well loved adaptations of other stories prove that is not necessary.
 

That's okay, it feels like Jordan's world to me, though. There you go again: your experience while reading was your experience, I was obviously in a different version of the world: my own adaptation if you will.

 

You are totally entitled to disagree and you can fully enjoy your own version of the world!

 

I never felt entitled to being handed 'my version' in the series and I can't feel guilty over being happy I see the world I imagened. But I also acknowledge it sucks that it doesn't serve everyone that experience.

 

Seriously do not see your view of 'banal tropes' and ditching core lore for no reason. But hey, I only have 40+ years oif reading fantasy experience and a literature study to fall back on. So what do I know... 😉

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I have no problems with adaptations - if they are done well.

 

LotR - major changes, loved the adaptation

Dune (2021) - more true to the books, loved the adaptation

Ender's Game - more moderate changes, loved the movie

Dark Tower - more major changes, hated the adaptation

Misery - fairly true to book, loved the adaptation

 

WoT - major changes, hating it so far.  I hope episode 4 can turn it around for me.  I had no problem with Sanderson finishing the books, but the show...

 

I understand that the move from book to screen involves all kind of changes, but the adaptation can be done well or poorly.  In this case, I think it was done poorly - not because it doesn't match my head cannon, but because I think Rafe is taking cheap short cuts (Laila), making unnecessary changes (Dana vs Howal Gode), and poor decisions overall (mashadar being black instead of silver, the ferryman trying to swim across the river into the arms of hundreds of trollocs).

 

Episode 4 needs to be a big improvement or I'll be turning back to my books.  No sense wasting time on something I don't like - and I really, really want to like it.  Which is why I spend so much time on here with all of you.  Trying to convince myself it is worth the time, but it is hard going...

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47 minutes ago, DojoToad said:

Episode 4 needs to be a big improvement or I'll be turning back to my books.  No sense wasting time on something I don't like - and I really, really want to like it.  Which is why I spend so much time on here with all of you.  Trying to convince myself it is worth the time, but it is hard going...

May you always find water and shade. 

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  • TheMountain changed the title to Regret for What Might Have Been
  • CaddySedai changed the title to Accepting the Adaptation

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