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did they actually create the old tongue?


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robert jordan didn't have tolkien's hobby of inventing new languages, so he never actually created the old tongue. though by the end of the story there was quite an extensive vocabulary, and it has some derivation from real languages, it wasn't a language.

but in the last episode cold open, we have two characters speaking fluently in the old tongue. some of the soundtrack is in the old tongue as well.

does it mean that somebody actually went and turned all that vocabulary into an actual language with full grammatical rules?

or it's all just gibberish using the same sounds of the established old language?

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They probably invented at least a somewhat fleshed out real language. It's arguably easier for television shows with a decent budget to do this because they can outsource the task to a real linguist. As an author, unless you're Tolkein and already a linguist, constructing a usable language is a lot of extra learning and work. This seems common in adaptations. I believe The Expanse and Game of Thrones had much more complete versions of Belter creole and Dothraki than the books did, for instance.

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It is a cool add for sure.  But I could do without a fleshed-out Old Tongue.  Don't know how much of the budget it sucked up on a per episode basis, but I could see the money being better spent  - more extras for battles, more money for better writers - Amazon is squeezing the show to get by on the least number of episodes possible.  Writers are needed that can handle the pressure.  Those for S1 couldn't.  Of course S2 is all but complete also.  So never mind.

 

Spending time developing and teaching a new language would add richness to the show, but I think there are other areas to improve first.  A unique language is frosting, but some cake would be lovely as well.

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Posted (edited)

There are websites that have done the same things with the Old Tongue that were done with Tolkien's laguages or with Klingon, and tried to build complete vocabularies and rules of grammar.  Rafe would certainly have had access to this material, and could have used it to create what we see.

Or rather, to have an actual linguist create what we see.

 

For example, the WOT fan Wiki has a page that does quite a bit of this:

Old Tongue | A Wheel of Time Wiki | Fandom

And both the Tar Valon Library wiki and Tor Books actually have English-to-Old Tongue dictionaries:

Old Tongue Dictionary - English - Tar Valon Library

The Wheel of Time: English to Old Tongue Dictionary | Tor.com

 

Hell, there's even an online Old Tongue translator available:

Wheel of Time Old Tongue translator (funtranslations.com)

 

If the show made use of these resources, rather than reinventing the wheel, it wouldn't have eaten up anywhere near as much of their budget.  All they would have really needed their linguist to do was decide on pronunciation, since those pages only deal with the written language.

Edited by Andra
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Posted (edited)

I believe they said that Naomi Todd, the dialect coach, worked on fleshing out the Old Tongue. She also recently talked about working with a Deaf creator to build a sign language for Maiden handtalk.

 

They're definitely putting at lot of care into the details. The behind the scenes clips about costume and sound design also show a lot of intricate work. 

 

I can see how that would be frustrating if you feel like the final product was lacking though.

Edited by Nik
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12 hours ago, Nik said:

I believe they said that Naomi Todd, the dialect coach, worked on fleshing out the Old Tongue. She also recently talked about working with a Deaf creator to build a sign language for Maiden handtalk.

 

They're definitely putting at lot of care into the details. The behind the scenes clips about costume and sound design also show a lot of intricate work. 

 

I can see how that would be frustrating if you feel like the final product was lacking though.

Different stuff important to everyone.  The Old Tongue will be huge for some people.  I still think it will be a great add, just not a top priority for me - not in the books either, it was often 'neat' when the Old Tongue broke through but didn't go beyond that for me.

 

Maiden handtalk was more integral to the story though IMO.

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Yes it feels like they're playing the long game. Building things that will be foundational and save money and time in the future. I mean they built an entire studio from scratch! Now the studio is there. They don't need to pay for it anymore.

 

But I also suspect if they'd known that COVID was going to absolutely decimate their budget at the end, they might have made different choices and left some things for later seasons.

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2 hours ago, Nik said:

Yes it feels like they're playing the long game. Building things that will be foundational and save money and time in the future. I mean they built an entire studio from scratch! Now the studio is there. They don't need to pay for it anymore.

 

But I also suspect if they'd known that COVID was going to absolutely decimate their budget at the end, they might have made different choices and left some things for later seasons.

Unfortunately, I'm not terribly confident in those long game financial decisions.

After all, they built an entire village from scratch, just to burn it down.  A village that - in the books, at least - features prominently later in the series.

 

So either they have to pay to build it all over again (not really a time or money saver) or they cut that entire part of the story entirely.

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I would be surprised if we don't get the battle of Two Rivers. It's already been set up with the Manetheren story, with Valda having a grudge against Perrin and Egwene (it'll probably be him instead of Dain Bornhald), with little foreshadowing hints like Perrin being the one to ask if they'll ever go back etc. Plus the actress who plays Marin said she was told she'd be called back for season 3 which is where I'd expect it to happen.

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On 7/5/2022 at 9:00 PM, DojoToad said:

It is a cool add for sure.  But I could do without a fleshed-out Old Tongue.  Don't know how much of the budget it sucked up on a per episode basis, but I could see the money being better spent

 

I don't think it was expensive.

I am not an expert, but as far as I understand, inventing a language is not too much work for a linguist expert. especially if you already have a dictionary. you need only one person working for a few months.

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3 hours ago, Andra said:

Unfortunately, I'm not terribly confident in those long game financial decisions.

After all, they built an entire village from scratch, just to burn it down.  A village that - in the books, at least - features prominently later in the series.

 

So either they have to pay to build it all over again (not really a time or money saver) or they cut that entire part of the story entirely.

Again, I am not an expert, but as far as I understand it makes sense.

It will take years before they get to film that battle. in those years, they have to keep renting the land - or keep getting permission from the government to use it. Hard.

And they still need to burn down the village for the trolloc raid; so, by actually burning it down, they get to save a lot on special effects.

and the village was changed anyway by the refugees when perrin comes there, so they'd have to put in lots of work anyway. and they're not even sure they'll be greenlit to film that far ahead in the future.

 

all in all, tearing it down and then eventually rebuilding it several years into the future is the sensible decision.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, DojoToad said:

No battle of Two Rivers

That's what I'm afraid it means.

 

Not because they destroyed the set (which isn't that uncommon).  But because of what Rafe said to explain why he cut Caemlyn and all the characters introduced there from season 1.  Everything he said about it not being fair to people to put them in early, then not use them again for multiple seasons applies even more to the Two Rivers characters, since they would be an even longer gap between appearances.

Edited by Andra
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

Again, I am not an expert, but as far as I understand it makes sense.

It will take years before they get to film that battle. in those years, they have to keep renting the land - or keep getting permission from the government to use it. Hard.

And they still need to burn down the village for the trolloc raid; so, by actually burning it down, they get to save a lot on special effects.

and the village was changed anyway by the refugees when perrin comes there, so they'd have to put in lots of work anyway. and they're not even sure they'll be greenlit to film that far ahead in the future.

 

all in all, tearing it down and then eventually rebuilding it several years into the future is the sensible decision.

The problem is that we have some specific examples of sets like this being sustained for years.  Even being reused more than a decade later - and being turned into a tourist attraction in the meantime.  This is what Peter Jackson did with Hobbiton.

The Shire/Hobbiton set was built in 1999.  It was used in the LOTR trilogy, then reused in the Hobbit trilogy that started filming in 2011.

 

Paying a minimal fee to keep the property available for a few years would cost less than rebuilding the whole thing from scratch when you need it again.  Given what we've seen about how the seasons are going to combine books, the Two Rivers set would be reused only about two years later.

 

Also: They didn't actually need to burn down the village at all.  In the book, almost everything survived Winternight.  They burned it down because they decided to burn it down.  If you look back at the episode, not that much more was damaged.

Yet Rafe specifically talked about destroying it all.

 

Also, also: Few (if any) refugees had come to the village by the time the Whitecloaks and Trollocs arrived.  They all came afterward.  In part, because word spread that it was safe for them, now that Lord Perrin Glodeneyes was there.

Edited by Andra
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8 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

I don't think it was expensive.

I am not an expert, but as far as I understand, inventing a language is not too much work for a linguist expert. especially if you already have a dictionary. you need only one person working for a few months.

Granted.  Development might not have been expensive.  But then the linguist (or aids) needs to work with both the script writers and actors.  The writers probably need to know it even better than the actors so the script would be believable.  Like I said, it would be a cool add.

 

Wish they would have spent those resources teaching actors and extras how to handle weapons in S1.

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11 hours ago, Andra said:

The problem is that we have some specific examples of sets like this being sustained for years.  Even being reused more than a decade later - and being turned into a tourist attraction in the meantime.  This is what Peter Jackson did with Hobbiton.

The Shire/Hobbiton set was built in 1999.  It was used in the LOTR trilogy, then reused in the Hobbit trilogy that started filming in 2011.

 

We don't know if Rafe would have been able to maintain it over the period of time required. When they burned it, they didn't have any idea that S2 might be coming at all, let alone S3 which would be where they would return to Emond's Field.  After LOTR, the farmer himself who had the set fields chose to keep and maintain it as a tourist site...I don't think it was Jackson's choice.  Who know who owns the Two Rivers quarry or what they wanted to do with the site? <shrug> They can rebuild it if they want.  It doesn't save that much money compared to the cost of visual effects and stuff these days.

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12 hours ago, WhiteVeils said:

 

We don't know if Rafe would have been able to maintain it over the period of time required. When they burned it, they didn't have any idea that S2 might be coming at all, let alone S3 which would be where they would return to Emond's Field.  After LOTR, the farmer himself who had the set fields chose to keep and maintain it as a tourist site...I don't think it was Jackson's choice.  Who know who owns the Two Rivers quarry or what they wanted to do with the site? <shrug> They can rebuild it if they want.  It doesn't save that much money compared to the cost of visual effects and stuff these days.

Yes, the farmer that owned the fields agreed to keep the set on his property.  But remember, the land was actual working farmland.

The Two Rivers set was a quarry that was no longer in use.  It's why it was available for filming in the first place.  There isn't really any reason for anyone to need it for anything for 2-3 years between filming.

 

Not saying that whoever owns the property wasn't playing hardball, but it seems unreasonable that they would be, considering even the possibility they might want to come back to the site.

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11 hours ago, Andra said:

Not saying that whoever owns the property wasn't playing hardball, but it seems unreasonable that they would be, considering even the possibility they might want to come back to the site.

 

We can't know so we shouldn't presume.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, WhiteVeils said:

 

We can't know so we shouldn't presume.

Not presuming.  Just speculating about what seems reasonable.

And it seems unreasonable that a landowner who got paid for the use of idle property would want to jeapordize continuing to do so by being an ass about it.

Edited by Andra
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On 7/8/2022 at 8:00 PM, Andra said:

Not presuming.  Just speculating about what seems reasonable.

And it seems unreasonable that a landowner who got paid for the use of idle property would want to jeapordize continuing to do so by being an ass about it.

Again, the issue isn’t the property, the issue is that when they filmed season 1, they didn’t know if season 2 ( or for that matter 3) would be a go. And if season 2 isn’t at least a go, ain’t no one coming to visit that set. So not a good use of money. 

 

They filmed the two rivers stuff fall 2019, and it’s currently summer 2022 and they still haven’t filmed on that set again ( assuming they don’t return in season 2). I’m guessing they don’t  start filming season 3 until next year, so that would be at least 3.5 years of holding a set. And this is with knowing they would be going back there, which they didn’t.
 

And I guarantee the money to hold a quarry for 3+ years more than paid for someone to create a langauage. Probably a few of those extras. Most shows employ someone like Naomi for dialect and accent work anyway, so having her create a language was not a huge additional expsense if that’s what happened.

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