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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

How would you have started the series?


Vimak_the_Great
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As I’ve had more time to mull over the show so far, I’ve realized in some ways the start of the whole show for me was pretty mediocre and so feeling good about it has been an uphill battle since (which ep5 did not help). I was going down Reddit rabbit holes and came across someone’s suggestion for an alternative opening to the show that I quite like as an idea.

 

This got me curious, how would folks here change the show’s opening (if at all)? 
 

for reference, here’s what that post suggested:

 

Imagine Bel Tine, Thom is in the Winespring Inn telling the Karaethon Cycle. Done in a style that is like Hercules by Disney with story book illustrations showing the breaking of the world and the Dragon. While he’s talking the camera pans to Rand, Matt, Perrin in the corner talking about seeing a shadowy figure on a horse following them. Morraine walks into the inn.

 

(for the Mods, I tried looking back a few pages and thought this would be somewhat unique albeit similar to some other topics)

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2 hours ago, TheMountain said:

I would have started it the same way as in the books. With the Prologue!

Me too. It would have given a glimpse of what is possible in the world and I also feel it would have grabbed audiences attention. What we have now is people riding around with swords and Moiraine dancing around in the streets for 10 minutes to cast a fireball. The prologue shows Travelling!

Edited by grayavatar
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I honestly didn't mind the way they chose to open the show, I just thought it was sort of poorly executed. The idea of showing the madness like that was a nice little bit of intrigue for those brand new to the show I thought. But the scene just felt very... low budget or something. 

 

However as the show goes on, I do feel like some sort of intro in the Two Rivers that grounds the show around the story of the Dragon Reborn and our 5 EFers, as described in the OP, would have been beneficial. 

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9 hours ago, TheMountain said:

I would have started it the same way as in the books. With the Prologue!

Yup

 

Characterization comes first. A gradual building up of the world as seen through the eyes of three ta'veren. (Not this "four" rubbish) Two strangers quietly entering the village only to be revealed after a trolloc attack. I'd touch upon every chapter in some way...make an emotive connection...

O...a budget to encompass as many episodes needed to do it right the first time even if took 25 episodes to do it proper.

 

First episode would be the introduction starting off with Lews Therin...cut to present age and our cast...ending with the beginning attack.

2nd episode would carry on to the attack sequence with the strangers revealed. When the villagers start the angry tirade against them, Moiraine would hit them with their village origin...cutscene to fabled Manethren and we see it in all its glory, the legendary battle, the common folk rallying alongside the soldiers, up to the deaths of king...then queen even as she burned every dreadlord down.

 

The 2nd episode would end with our group's  departure.

 

Much of the books would be the script. But a lot of the flourishes that don't add to the characterization would likely get cut. (I concede that 2-3 books would probably get consolidated)

Edited by Gothic Flame
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I think the basic idea they had was probably fine. As far as I know from what the industry reports seem to have said, the writers planned for at least a two-hour pilot and possibly filmed quite a bit more than we saw, but Amazon corporate insisted on a normal-length episode, forcing them to over-edit and kill the pacing and lore buildup.

 

The picture perfect way to do this is the 2004 Battlestar reboot. The pilot was an entire mini-series and introduced a much richer world with all the main characters getting an appropriate individual introduction without cutting back on action. That can only be done with time. But apparently streaming services don't believe audiences will give you time any more. Attention spans are too short and options are too many. I guess they can probably prove they're correct with viewership metrics they don't share with the public, but I think it definitely makes for worse storytelling. Heck, Game of Thrones completely scrapped their first pilot, recast major roles, reshot the entire thing with new crew, because the first attempt wasn't good. That was back when HBO showed patience before they were purchased by AT&T to challenge Netflix in sheer number of unique IPs they produce per calendar year.

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I would have begun with a 5 minute intro montage akin to the prologue in the Fellowship of the Ring, briefly describing the idyllic Age of Legends, the Dark One, the strike at Shayol Ghul, and LTT going mad and breaking the world. End shot of this is dragonmount looming with Tar Valon island below in it's shadow (like the ending of TEOTW prologue).

 

It would be lore heavy, sure, but it would be efficient and have cool visuals. Then the first scene would be Rand and Tam on the quarry road. Rand sees a rider in black.

Edited by mogi68
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7 hours ago, grayavatar said:

Me too. It would have given a glimpse of what is possible in the world and I also feel it would have grabbed audiences attention. What we have now is people riding around with swords and Moiraine dancing around in the streets for 10 minutes to cast a fireball. The prologue shows Travelling!

The prologue gives away the biggest reveal, that the age of legends was technologically more advanced than our own time, let alone the time of Rand etc. The wording of the prologue is very vague about the details of the world, it pics out a mirror, it describes his clothing but that is it. However once I learnt the truth of the world after Rand had seen the visions of Rhuidean then I went back and reimagined this scene, the things that are not described, the alien looking technology smashed and destroyed, a view from a window of a high tech city ravaged. Then, Lewis Therin transporting himself, a visage of the high tech world that once was, maybe a hover car moving across the sky escaping the fire. 

If you start with the prologue then you either have to 
A) Shoot the world much as RJ described it, hiding all the evidence of it's technology from the viewer, coming up with an explanation for why Lewis Therins house contains no evidence of the age. Leaving the audience to wonder why his house and land look so different to that as presented to Rand through the visions. 

 

Or B) explain to the audience in the first scene in Emonds field why they have gone from a high tech land to one where there is no evidence of any tech. You have instantly confused them, and, more importantly, will spend 3-4 seasons not explaining any of it because the characters don't understand it. 

 

The prologue will be shown, my guess is it will either be an added vision in Rhuidean, with Lewis Therin showing Rand how it really happened. Or it will act as an opening to an episode after the name and character has been explained, and after Rand has seen the first age. Possibly we will get the scene and then Rand waking up, having seen it in his nightmares. 
 

I would have started it as is, you don't need to add Thom in early, you don't need lots of exposition or information dumps in episode 1. The series has to entice in non book readers first and foremost, quite rightly it is written for them because they have no idea what is going on. I would have given season 1 an extra hour and spent that on a 2 hour Pilot. I would have spent a little longer introducing the members of Emonds Field, but not had rand there, maybe an extra 10 mins. I would also have had them sneaking away as they do in the books rather then having it open in front of the villiage. I would not have shown the fever dream (that comes later in a flashback) because it tips the hand to the audience that Rand is the Dragon far to early. I would have given a bit of extra time to them escaping Emonds field, a scene of Lan teaching each of them to fight. I would have had 2 lessons with Egwene, the first one where she touches the source and then a later one where Rand overhears Morraine explaining a bit more information, I would have just slowed things down a little. But that is all. Overall the first episode did what it needed to do, introduced the main cast and got them out of Emonds Field and heading to Tar Valon. 

 

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29 minutes ago, mogi68 said:

I would have begun with a 5 minute intro montage akin to the prologue in the Fellowship of the Ring, briefly describing the idyllic Age of Legends, the Dark One, the strike at Shayol Ghul, and LTT going mad and breaking the world. End shot of this is dragonmount looming with Tar Valon island below in it's shadow (like the ending of TEOTW prologue).

 

It would be lore heavy, sure, but it would be efficient and have cool visuals. Then the first scene would be Rand and Tam on the quarry road. Rand sees a rider in black.

And instantly you have lost 25% of your audience who look at it and think, nah, to heavy weight for me. 

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12 hours ago, Vimak_the_Great said:

As I’ve had more time to mull over the show so far, I’ve realized in some ways the start of the whole show for me was pretty mediocre and so feeling good about it has been an uphill battle since (which ep5 did not help). I was going down Reddit rabbit holes and came across someone’s suggestion for an alternative opening to the show that I quite like as an idea.

 

This got me curious, how would folks here change the show’s opening (if at all)? 

 

Personally, I don't think that the show started off mediocre.  It had some issues in the first episode but they were more technical and structural in nature and they even out as the show progresses.   If many of the suggestions of non-fans of the show were followed we'd basically have a relatively boring LOTR-movie clone with a lot of hokey elements for people mock.  Since, I think the majority of Peter Jackson's LOTR movies are sentimental trash, I'd be rather unhappy with that.  Obviously, there are a lot of fans of those movies in the fantasy world but I am simply not one of them - 10 minutes of hobbits and I'm rooting for the Nazgul to catch and kill them. Mileages vary.   

 

That said, if I was to change the first episode in any way, these would probably be my changes...

 

- Shorten the winternight scenes to make them punchier, brutal, and highlight the shock and awe factor of the one power being used as a weapon.  

- Add in more mystery/horror atmosphere about the Fade.  Have Rand see a Fade on the quarry road.  Have other characters see a Fade as well.   Have the Fade be a topic of conversation before Lan and Moiraine enter the Winespring Inn.  

- Have a fight scene with Lan and the Fade that ends in a draw.

 

Basically, my approach would emphasize the coming of the shadow to the two rivers, add some shock and awe,  and make it as big of a break with what they are used to as possible.

 

But, I like the approach and structure of the first episode overall including the new elements that they added.   It is different from what I would have done but there is enough meat in what they did for me to enjoy it.

 

  

 

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2 minutes ago, TheDreadReader said:

 

- Have a fight scene with Lan and the Fade that ends in a draw.

 

in EOTW Morraine talks about how she and Lan tried to fight the Fade but the best they could manage was driving it off, seeing this on screen would have been great. Maybe even have the fade be the one to injure Morraine just to show how tough they are. 

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20 minutes ago, Gothic Flame said:

I agree.

But more than that, I think it would be intriguing to the viewer. And book fans certainly wouldn't complain.

Intriguing how, here is a high tech fantasy waste land, we wont explain any of this to you and take away all of the shock of the reveal that is so important to the books. The best stories educate the reader/watcher about the world at the same time as the main characters and the characters in WOT know nothing of this moment of Lewis Therins end, they know nothing about the technology of the Age. I will be honest with regards the books, I think the Prologue really was a mistake anyway in the books, I get why it is there but you read it and if you have never read the books your confused, it doesn't explain anything, then it isn't explained or referenced until several books later by which point you have to go back and re read it to remind yourself what actually happened. This would be the same in the TV series, it would seem forced, cheap and would just confuse the audience to the point they might turn off. Then in season 3/4 it finally gets explained. 

 

I am a book fan I applaud not having it, I applaud the choices that Rafe has made to try and convert the book into the TV show, there are a couple of niggles I have, but overall i think he has nailed it the best way anyone could have with only 8 hours to tell the first story and not make it feel like a carbon copy of Fellowship. 

Edited by Sir_Charrid
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34 minutes ago, Sir_Charrid said:

in EOTW Morraine talks about how she and Lan tried to fight the Fade but the best they could manage was driving it off, seeing this on screen would have been great. Maybe even have the fade be the one to injure Morraine just to show how tough they are. 

 

Yes, you want to show that Moiraine and Lan are powerful but you also want to show that it was a tough fight.   Including a "That was as hot of a raid as I've seen in the borderlands" line would have been a nice touch too.

 

My way of looking at the battle doesn't really change the battle itself just how it is shown to the viewer.  A different focus.   I think the way they showed the battle was really good to bordering on great.   But, I do wonder if it couldn't be even better.   Mileages vary of course.  😄

 

 

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1 minute ago, TheDreadReader said:

 

Yes, you want to show that Moiraine and Lan are powerful but you also want to show that it was a tough fight.   Including a "That was as hot of a raid as I've seen in the borderlands" line would have been a nice touch too.

 

My way of looking at the battle doesn't really change the battle itself just how it is shown to the viewer.  A different focus.   I think the way they showed the battle was really good to bordering on great.   But, I do wonder if it couldn't be even better.   Mileages vary of course.  😄

 

 

Rafe has mentioned Covid impacting some decisions and the VFX, it is possible they had to limit Fade interactions in season one because of this. I am holding off general criticism of special effects and the editing/production until season 2 is out, but then the world was Covid savvy and the entertainment industry has learnt so so much about how to make a production in the covid world. 

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I'm a little baffled that they didn't start the series where I would have - a slow scene where young Moiraine and young Siuan hear Gitara's prophecy. That would have been the perfect framing device for the question of "who is the Dragon". It would have been the obvious beginning to Moiraine's quest. And it would have fit perfectly.

 

I would have happily sacrificed a bit of the Winternight attack for the prophecy as the cold open.

 

I disagree with using the prologue. It's a little confusing the first time. And I think it can have a far more visceral impact later in a tv series once you begin to understand the connection between LTT and Rand. 

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4 minutes ago, Sir_Charrid said:

Intriguing how...

If you're not interested in how the world went on, picking up the pieces, continuing and going on, and eventually regaining the measure of greatness...with relevant answers to the obvious questions found in the midst of it all... Well, those are the books.

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Lews Therin was cast for season two, so we're getting something of him, but the point about giving away the advanced future nature of the Age of Legends is a good point for why you don't want to show the actual prologue too early. It only works in the book because it's a book and can very selectively edit the scenery presented in a way that a camera can't. Elder_Haman's suggestion is actually a very good one. I do think they needed a better explanation of the dragon lore than Moiraine's single line about arrogant men tried to cage darkness and ended up breaking the world.

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Agree wholeheartedly with the LOTR approach.  That quick 5 minute history set up the world, the lore and the politics in a compelling and visually interesting way.

 

'X thousand of years ago'...and go into how the Dark One had been unleashed, everyone was suffering etc.  So Lews Therin and friends came up with a plan to defeat the Dark One.  The female Aes Sedai disagreed, and foresaw great calamity resulting from the brash move.  (Boom, they get their male vs female dynamic.)  Lews Therin went forward with his plan without female assistance.  Him and his companions succeeded…but at a price.  Saidin, the male half of the true source, was tainted, corrupted.  Before long, any man who could channel the One Power…flash to a few quick scenes of men going insane and breaking the world.  You could even finish with parts of the prologue.  ‘I have won again Lews Therin.’

 

I think you could have filmed it in such a way to downplay the futuristic tech, but thinking about it, I don't even think you have to.  So what if a few futuristic things are shown?  That will make the medieval like forthcoming setting all the more stark, letting viewers realize, 'wow, when they say break the world they really mean break the world.'

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6 hours ago, Elder_Haman said:

I'm a little baffled that they didn't start the series where I would have - a slow scene where young Moiraine and young Siuan hear Gitara's prophecy. That would have been the perfect framing device for the question of "who is the Dragon". It would have been the obvious beginning to Moiraine's quest. And it would have fit perfectly.

 

I would have happily sacrificed a bit of the Winternight attack for the prophecy as the cold open.

 

I disagree with using the prologue. It's a little confusing the first time. And I think it can have a far more visceral impact later in a tv series once you begin to understand the connection between LTT and Rand. 

I might like this more than the one I found on Reddit. Or even in combination with that one, and they could show the 5 EF’ers in the inn to keep the ambiguity they seem to be going for around who is the dragon. 
 

but in any case, great idea for how to better introduce the lore!

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7 hours ago, Gothic Flame said:

If you're not interested in how the world went on, picking up the pieces, continuing and going on, and eventually regaining the measure of greatness...with relevant answers to the obvious questions found in the midst of it all... Well, those are the books.

I was intrested but I loved the big reveal, that sense that as I think I I have worked this world out and the story being told, bang nope this is the truth. 

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Exactly like the book.  Of course, everything else would have been that way as well.  I can understand edits for the sake of time--hell, I remember reading the books for the second time and skipping countless pages devoted to descriptions of dresses and what not.  

 

The intro to this series is a brilliant example of foreshadowing--it certainly waved a large flag declaring that the show was going to be a train-wreck that ignored the source material.

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