Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

What has GOT got that WoT's not?


Recommended Posts

The debate is going back and forth about WoT being Amazon's answer to GoT (potentially).  What does that actually mean though?  Are people looking for another "medieval" fantasy show or something a bit different that captures the imagination of people? 


I suspect Amazon were looking for a highly visible series with high merchandising potential and I think this is something WoT could (have) become.

 

In my mind, WoT had the potential to become just that, highly visible.  People deciding what 'their' ajah is, in the same way they align themselves to a Hogwarts house, or deciding that they identified more with the idea of being a wolfbrother or an Asha'man which then plays into the merchandising. Wondering whether the White Cloaks are a force for good or bad.  

 

One of the earliest moments in the show that hooked me in to GoT was Tyrion slapping Joffrey, they did well establishing him as a villain in waiting and kept him visible throughout his character arc.  It was very clear that this was a moment that both characters would hold onto and when the power dynamic changed there would be a pay off for it.  It was a moment that had people talking, the same with the sex and nudity.  I personally thought they went too far with some of the sex scenes, but they had people talking.

 

Let's have a conversation about the moments in early WoT that could have been used to hook people in and create that same vibe.  For me, in EoTW, it was the attack on EF being limited to the 3 Taveren boys homes, the villagers turning on Moiraine and Lan.  The looming threat of Perrin and the wolves, did that mean he was the DR or was it something that was inherently evil?  Nynaeve's hostility to Moiraine, I could go on.  

 

For most of the non-readers I know, episode 9 of GoT cemented their attachment to the show.  Ned's execution was masterfully set up and done, suddenly the tables had absolutely been flipped on expectations.  This wasn't a cliffhanger, I guess the only thing that comes close in WoT is Moiraine having potentially been cut off from the power.  Ned's execution was a massive exclamation point in bold using a font 5 times bigger than anything else used so far in the show, we got to see the fall out in the following episode, which in turn lead to deeper implications.  Reading the books for me in EoTW the closest moment to this in terms of impact was Thom vs the fade or much later on, Rand in a box and Siuan being deposed in the White Tower.

 

What do you think?  Would GoT have been successful without all the sex and violence?  -which was in the book and was in some cases toned down for TV.  Was GoT just the right thing at the right time, done the right way or is its' success something that could be replicated elsewhere.  Was it the sense of peril coming from moments like the red wedding/Neds execution/Oberyn's death that kept people coming back for more.  In which case, could Wheel of Time ever be expected to keep up with that level? 

 

Let's try and keep this discussion away from 'I liked the show'/'I hated it'.  Put simply, do you think Wheel of Time has the potential to steal the Iron Throne or are people comparing apples and oranges when suggesting they might compete for viewership.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I know the Wheel of Time books; I have read them many, many times. 

I understand the real world evolution of the Wheel of Time saga; I have followed it for decades on the web.  

I love the Wheel of time books; it is by far my favorite series. 

Dear Readers, make no mistake, what Amazon has created is NOT Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. 

 

I will grant that some of the first three WoT episodes had a few tidbits from the early chapters of the first book, but for the most part the entire Amazon WoT TV series is a complete fabrication.

 

So, what's the difference between HBO's GoT and Amazon's Wot?  HBO's GoT series followed the books, almost exactly.  The story line, the character's personality, even most of the dialog came directly from the books.  Amazon's WoT series simply did not.  HBO understood that to re-write and "improve" upon the GoT story was a fool's errand.  I guess Amazon believed they could "improve" upon Robert Jordan's genius.  They were wrong.

Edited by Ken H
Typo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a few ways to approach this question. Game of Thrones was a first for television in terms of the crew and actors involved seeming to be taking the task seriously and even trying to make a good peak TV primetime drama that just happened to also be fantasy genre. Lord of the Rings had done it for film, but this was the first show to do it on television. The fact that it was HBO doing it at all, heir to the prestige of The Sopranos, Oz, The Wire, Deadwood. Some of those were popular, some were not, but they were all respected. Nobody had ever made a fantasy television show before that was widely respected.

 

You clearly can't replicate being first, but you can replicate at least taking the task seriously. You can be The  Expanse to Battlestar Galactica. I would even rate The Expanse as an improvement, even though it had less cultural impact and wasn't first. I think Amazon is clearly trying to do this. They didn't exactly send in the dream team or devote a billion dollars, and I take this as more of their JV effort to the LOTR prequel, which is where they're really going balls to the wall. But I do think they're trying to make a serious show that viewers take seriously. "Trying" is key here as I don't think they did nearly as good a job as Game of Thrones.

 

Another thing about Game of Thrones is it is widely considered the last piece of great television monoculture. The finale had 20 million "as it aired" viewers. That was still slightly less than The Big Bang, which finished up around the same time, but by far the most of any cable show ever. But Game of Thrones had much more of an anticipation factor, representing a sort of confluence of Reddit fan theorizing with office water cooler talks. It's the last thing other than the Super Bowl that virtually everyone who cares about entertainment in the English speaking world watches at roughly the same time, guesses ahead of time what will happen, and then talks about it afterward.

 

I don't personally think that will ever be replicated by anything because the explosion of streaming services has fragmented the landscape too much. The Super Bowl has to still work in this way because it's a live event, but television doesn't any more.

 

The third is just answering the question of why it was so addictive and gained such a global following in the first place.

 

There is the sports/politics analogy in that there were quite a few competing factions that were all basically sympathetic and not explicitly evil, in the forms of the various great houses and people vying for the throne. Nobody liked Joffrey, but a person who isn't just being contrarian for the sake of it can and did support Robb Stark, Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon, Daenery Targaryen, more or less equally. I don't think Wheel of Time has any dynamic like this. The various world leaders Rand is overthrowing are either Couladin and Sevanna conquering for the hell of it, or under the thrall of the Forsaken. The only succession battle is Elayne's and there is no reason at all to support any other claimant but her. There are various competing factions by the end aside from the forces of the shadow that no one is meant to feel sympathetic to, but at least from my reading, it seemed pretty clear to me we're meant to believe Rand is basically correct once he has his veins of gold epiphany and remembers everything. Egwene and the Seanchan are operating from distrust and incomplete information and I don't see any reason a reader should be supportive of them as long as they're opposing Rand.

 

There's the structure of the first season. Game of Thrones works quite well up until Ned gets executed as a basic murder mystery procedural, a tried and true television formula that has been hooking viewers for decades. Upending that at the end, where the good guy discovers the bad guy's secret and outs him, except it doesn't matter and the bad guy wins anyway, was a bold and brilliant move, but even before defying genre conventions, the story worked perfectly well within those conventions. Does Eye of the World have a quality like that? It's a very competently told hero's journey with a lot of thrilling and action-packed moments and a compelling introduction to an interesting world. I think the problem it faces is traditional hero's journeys and superhero origin stories are traditionally the realm of feature films and have never translated well to television that I can ever remember. They don't lend themselves to the episodic format. Recall that George Martin was a television writer before he ever wrote novels. I think that played some role in the success, in that his stories lend themselves very well to weekly installments.

 

Then there's the "oh shit" moments themselves. Ned's execution, the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding, and Oberyn getting his skull crushed were all basically moments served up on a platter for an era of pop culture moving to the Internet where reaction videos became their own YouTube genre. Game of Thrones forced its way into the attention spans of people who wouldn't have normally been fans of something like it and penetrated into a more general pop cultural relevance because of those. Wheel of Time to me actually has quite a few moments that can serve a similar purpose, but they all come later. Will they have a similar effect? We'll see, but I don't think it'll even matter if the show can't reach a more consistent high quality in the first place. I'm not sure that should really be a goal anyway. In many ways, Game of Thrones was an extremely well-made high brow soap opera set in a medieval setting with a few mythical creatures and a tiny bit of magic. I don't think Wheel of Time is anything like that and it shouldn't try to be. The upcoming show that is more like that, as we might expect since it's the same writer, is House of the Dragon. Let that be the appointment television primetime soap opera for fans who want to root for competing factions who all have roughly equally good claims and equal mixes of goodness and badness to them, in a bloody and action-packed succession battle. Wheel of Time, if it is going to succeed at all, needs to do it by being Wheel of Time. Tell that story well, and maybe it won't get as many viewers, but it will still get more viewers than telling the story poorly or changing the story to be more like Game of Thrones.

Edited by AdamA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The part that hooked me, that really drew me in, was the last scene of season one (I’m referring to Amazon’s WoT).  It left me hungry for more, and I can’t wait to see what happens in season two.  That said, Amazon could have at least tried a little harder to follow the book more.  For example, in the show Rand and Mat meet Thom Merrilin in some unnamed mining town, after escaping Shadar Logoth.  However, in the book, Rand, Mat, and Thom escape SL together, the two Emmond’s Field boys having already met the Gleeman outside the Winespring Inn, back in chapter four. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i do believe luck plays a huge role in it.

I mean, there's plenty of good stuff out there. the stuff that gets really popular isn't necessarily the best; i'm not even sure you can define "best" in an objective way. it comes down to circumstances, mostly.

 

got launched at a time where there was high demand for that kind of content, and very little competition.

wot launched at a time when there was already a high bar set, a lot more competition, and it got crippled by the pandemics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

GoT started the first episode with a fairly clean story line.

1.  A scene with something obviously scary - The trolloc attack is later in the WoT ep 1 rather than the beginning.  The original book open with Lews Therrin & Isshy would have suited better in my opinion

2. A scene finding direwolves matched to the Stark children - obvious foreshadowing and engages us with the Stark children - who doesn't love wolf puppies? - Nothing like this in WoT ep 1

3. Momentous occurrence with the king & family visiting -Trolloc attack in Wot ep 1 somewhat fits this bill

4.  Likeable characters introduced and made likable immediately.  The tone in GoT got dark a bit later....  WoT characters were whiney & troubled from the get go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, Raal Gurniss said:

I think it’s more that WoT showrunners deliberately went out of their way to insult parts of the fanbase, GoT didn’t deliberately do so.

Case in point: Perrin accidentally kills his wife in episode one.  That’s not in the book, he’s not even married. Amazon made up a character for the show just to kill her off.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Deviations said:

GoT started the first episode with a fairly clean story line.

1.  A scene with something obviously scary - The trolloc attack is later in the WoT ep 1 rather than the beginning.  The original book open with Lews Therrin & Isshy would have suited better in my opinion

2. A scene finding direwolves matched to the Stark children - obvious foreshadowing and engages us with the Stark children - who doesn't love wolf puppies? - Nothing like this in WoT ep 1

3. Momentous occurrence with the king & family visiting -Trolloc attack in Wot ep 1 somewhat fits this bill

4.  Likeable characters introduced and made likable immediately.  The tone in GoT got dark a bit later....  WoT characters were whiney & troubled from the get go.

4. should have been Bran being tossed out a window in the first episode. That makes everyone want to see vengeance enacted... instead we get one of the main characters killing his own wife.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/25/2022 at 8:37 AM, William Seahill said:

Case in point: Perrin accidentally kills his wife in episode one.  That’s not in the book, he’s not even married. Amazon made up a character for the show just to kill her off.  


Just want to point out.  Perrin being a berserker if not careful Is in the books.  Him killing someone early on that he did NOT want to kill is a stronger motivator for the Axe Hammer debate than him killing two white cloaks he didn't care about.  

And lastly, they didn't make up a character, Laila is in the series.  Perrin thinks that he would have married her if he had stayed in the Two Rivers.

As for what WoT has that GoT doesn't.  Less bleakness.

GoT shows a realistic medieval world.  Women are treated like commodities and property, people with power and no restraint or morality win and even an apocalypse isn't enough for the scummy people to stop being scummy.

WoT for all the flaws in people shows a world that is hopeful.  That no matter how much things beat us down, no matter how vast and terrifying the darkness is, we can keep pushing forward and come out the other end.

Edited by KakitaOCU
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, William Seahill said:

Thank you.  And thank goodness Randland isn’t at all like the Seven Kingdoms. 


I think there's a valuable place for both types of story.

Sometimes I want to understand how bleak things were and see that people struggle against overwhelming odds and can't find a way out the other side.  Not to mention there's some level of satisfaction in watching the deck be stacked against Sansa or Arya and see them win.

BUT, most of the times I want to believe that no matter what, the good guys will win, the bad guys will lose and even if some of the heroes fall, the world is going to be better.

It's the difference between watching, say, the Last Samurai KNOWING every one of our heroes will die, vs watching, say, Rise of the Guardians and hearing that epicly triumphant music as the Sand Man returns and the good guys win with no casualties or regrets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, KakitaOCU said:


Just want to point out.  Perrin being a berserker if not careful Is in the books.  Him killing someone early on that he did NOT want to kill is a stronger motivator for the Axe Hammer debate than him killing two white cloaks he didn't care about.  

And lastly, they didn't make up a character, Laila is in the series.  Perrin thinks that he would have married her if he had stayed in the Two Rivers.

As for what WoT has that GoT doesn't.  Less bleakness.

GoT shows a realistic medieval world.  Women are treated like commodities and property, people with power and no restraint or morality win and even an apocalypse isn't enough for the scummy people to stop being scummy.

WoT for all the flaws in people shows a world that is hopeful.  That no matter how much things beat us down, no matter how vast and terrifying the darkness is, we can keep pushing forward and come out the other end.

…..He seemed more simpering than berserker! His wife was practically a valkyrie though.

 

In fact I’m starting to think that the Perrin character was being mulled over as being a different gender originally for the show.

 

 

Edited by Raal Gurniss
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I said it in a different strand on here at some point, but I don't reckon WOT can ever match GOT in terms of twists, turns, unexpected main character deaths, moral shades of gray, good people doing dumb things, terrible people occasionally doing noble things etc that was really what made GOT so much more than just a niche fantasy and elevated it into must see viewing enjoyed by the wider public as a whole.

That doesn't mean it can't still improve to be top level TV - if the writers actually manage to give us characters well written enough to care about and form some kind of emotional attachment to - just that even best possible WOT will still be quite a different 'flavour' to best Possible GOT. That is of course not necessarily a bad thing. I'm loving everyone above pointing out that GOT was pretty bleak/pessimistic on the whole whereas WOT ultimately isn't (or won't be if they remain true to the complete series...)

What I hope it will do though is to develop the depth of characters, places, cultures and features unique to the world, but do it in a way well/detailed enough to be mysterious rather than confusing and genuinely thoughtful rather than dumbed down.

In terms of the non-exploitative sex going down, Martin in my opinion definitely wrote it better than Jordan when it happened, but also put heaps more emphasis on it. Jordan either chose not to or didn't need to to tell his story (or maybe he tried and just couldn't write shagging very well so gave up???). If and when we get it in WOT, I hope it is believable for the audience, in character for the characters and drives the story. Hopefully the show writers resist the urge to just throw it in for the sake of it (note that even though I was like "WTF???" when Moiraine & Siuan had their Tel'eran'riod hook up, the more I considered the backstory of "Pillow Friends", the more it made sense as a change).

The exploitative sex & straight up rape GOT contained, while in some respects may have been being true to the world, always seemed like the show runners enjoyed it just a little too much, especially when they added it into places that wasn't needed or showed it when in the novels it had just been alluded to. I'll be stoked if WOT doesn't ever try to do that.

What will be interesting is whether the show chooses to portray or ignore Jordan's high level of non-sexual nudity - sea folk, Aiel sweat tents, Seanchan & Sharran dress sense etc. From my point of view, matter-of-fact tits, arse, wangs etc on screen regularly would definitely get people talking about the show, but I'm interested in whether others think/know if American sensibilities and/or the actor's guild etc in the #MeToo age will have a strong say on this? Or if the vibe amongst this particular creative team is simply that audiences have now mostly moved on from being fascinated by this?

Last thing I wonder is how into the violence/gore/horror elements WOT will get. For me, even though I'd already read the GOT novels, on-screen Ned's execution, the Red Wedding, Oberyn's death & one or two other events were actually visually shocking. Maybe I'm just a wuss, but I generally dislike over the top gore/full blown battle scenes etc. However that said, GOT did it well most of the time, and a heap of people with stronger sensibilities than me definitely talked positively about it extensively for years afterward. No WOT bloodletting in S1 at least reached those levels by any stretch, which, while I personally don't mind, I'm sure a lot of people do.

Long story short, the visual spectacle that comes with sex and death is something GOT had that WOT may/will deal with differently, may/will either do well or poorly, and may/will not please everyone regardless of what their decisions are.

But writing of a calibre that makes us care about the characters we are watching (and is hopefully still strongly connected to the best bits of the characters as they existed in the novels, not changed to be unrecognisable) is ultimately what GOT seemed to have had for the first 3/4 of it's existence, while WOT hasn't yet consistently shown.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, wastingtime said:

But writing of a calibre that makes us care about the characters we are watching (and is hopefully still strongly connected to the best bits of the characters as they existed in the novels, not changed to be unrecognisable) is ultimately what GOT seemed to have had for the first 3/4 of it's existence, while WOT hasn't yet consistently shown

Short of firing the entire writing team I dont think wheel of time will ever give us this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Cauthonfan4 said:

Short of firing the entire writing team I dont think wheel of time will ever give us this.

Yeah I'm not holding my breath. I do think S1 - where you have to essentially introduce a world, set up the key threads in place for a planned 8 seasons and still produce what is essentially a stand alone story arc just to reach and end of season climax - was always going to be the hardest for the team. Plus it's well known the suits from above had expectations, instructions and requirements based more around number crunching than niche fan passion. Not to mention the pandemic.

I'm an optimist, and I could find glints of goodness amidst the forehead slaps & creased eyebrows, but the team they have would definitely wanna improve in a few respects.

No one will ever please everyone of course. 

Out of interest, have you rewatched it? I personally enjoyed it more once I already knew what I WASN'T gunna get from the books.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, KakitaOCU said:

Just want to point out.  Perrin being a berserker if not careful Is in the books.  Him killing someone early on that he did NOT want to kill is a stronger motivator for the Axe Hammer debate than him killing two white cloaks he didn't care about.  

And lastly, they didn't make up a character, Laila is in the series.  Perrin thinks that he would have married her if he had stayed in the Two Rivers.

1.   Perrin wasn't a berserker in ep 1.  He swung his axe and accidently hit his wife with it.

2.  Laila is MENTIONED in the books as someone he may have married if things turned out differently.  She wasn't a developed character.  She was mentioned in passing.

3.  They didn't need to give Perrin stronger motivation to mope around.  He didn't do anything in season one anyhow.  Oh wait, he needed to be so afraid to use his axe because of fridging his made up wife so that he wouldn't step in and defend Uno and Loial when they were being attacked by Fain while holding the Horn of Valere that should have been at the Eye of the World covered by a pool of Saidin that Rand would use to fight Isshy and turn the battle at Tarwins' gap but I guess none of that needed to happen because the untrained girls were going to kill all of the Trollocs by themselves anyhow.........

PUKE

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Deviations said:

1.   Perrin wasn't a berserker in ep 1.  He swung his axe and accidently hit his wife with it.


He was progressively getting more and more savage, impulsive, not checking his surroundings just going after the trollocs.  He swung his axe because he heard a sound and spun with a full force swing without looking.  Your opinion is fine on rather or not you took it as rage, I did, Sanderson clearly states he did since Sanderson is who fought for that scene in general.
 

2 hours ago, Deviations said:

2.  Laila is MENTIONED in the books as someone he may have married if things turned out differently.  She wasn't a developed character.  She was mentioned in passing.

 

Your point?  I didn't say she was super important, just that she's in the books and Perrin says he would have married her.  She's got about as much development in the series as the books (in a different direction obviously).
 

2 hours ago, Deviations said:

3.  They didn't need to give Perrin stronger motivation to mope around.  He didn't do anything in season one anyhow.... 


Yes, your opinion is that it was bad, we understand that.  There's a difference between a discussion of "This was the point the show was going for and these are the facts behind this decision" and rather or not you like something.

I don't particularly like the Laila angle, I approve of the scene in general but am with Sanderson on that we should have established Master Luhhan and had him kill or severely injure him.  It was not the best choice for that scene.  But that doesn't change that there is logic in what they were doing and reasons for it.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, KakitaOCU said:


I think there's a valuable place for both types of story.

Sometimes I want to understand how bleak things were and see that people struggle against overwhelming odds and can't find a way out the other side.  Not to mention there's some level of satisfaction in watching the deck be stacked against Sansa or Arya and see them win.

BUT, most of the times I want to believe that no matter what, the good guys will win, the bad guys will lose and even if some of the heroes fall, the world is going to be better.

It's the difference between watching, say, the Last Samurai KNOWING every one of our heroes will die, vs watching, say, Rise of the Guardians and hearing that epicly triumphant music as the Sand Man returns and the good guys win with no casualties or regrets.

I agree, and that’s why I’m glad Randland isn’t the Seven Kingdoms.  It’d be horrible if it was.  Trollocs and Fades are bad enough, I can’t imagine our heroes surviving any given situation from GOT. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, KakitaOCU said:

But that doesn't change that there is logic in what they were doing and reasons for it.

And that is my real point (sarcastically made).  They didn't need to advance his arc.  They didn't do anything with his story in season one anyhow.  Why advance his internal struggle?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Deviations said:

And that is my real point (sarcastically made).  They didn't need to advance his arc.  They didn't do anything with his story in season one anyhow.  Why advance his internal struggle?


They're writing the project as a complete work, not a season as a time.  Perrin stuff is likely to pay off in season 2.  Not to mention his stuff at the end of Season 1 was a reshuffle due to the Mat stuff.

To keep it on topic for comparison, the argument is like claiming that what's the point of focusing on Sansa?  She doesn't really do anything in season 1.

But your statement is incorrect anyway.  They did do things with his story in Season 1.  He has his violence is frightening moment, then his interaction and encounters with the tuatha where the leaf starts appealing, then the wolf in him awakening.   He has progression.

Edited by KakitaOCU
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, KakitaOCU said:


They're writing the project as a complete work, not a season as a time.  Perrin stuff is likely to pay off in season 2.  Not to mention his stuff at the end of Season 1 was a reshuffle due to the Mat stuff.

To keep it on topic for comparison, the argument is like claiming that what's the point of focusing on Sansa?  She doesn't really do anything in season 1.

But your statement is incorrect anyway.  They did do things with his story in Season 1.  He has his violence is frightening moment, then his interaction and encounters with the tuatha where the leaf starts appealing, then the wolf in him awakening.   He has progression.

Agreed. I expect there will be lots of delayed pay off from season to season and I don't think this is taken into account nearly enough when discussing season 1. Delayed pay off is a technique I really like. I think the MCU is a good example of how to do this (mostly) right. To try and build a fully isolated season of a multi-season series would be...odd. Like if each book in WOT was standalone and had no impact of the ones that came before or after it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...