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Abridging the Wheel of Time

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Wheel of Time has long been on of my favorite series, but even with that I have always felt like it could be better if it could be edited down to a more focused story line. I am wondering what others would think about taking the series and re-editing it down to 6-7 books instead of the 14. In my opinion it would open the series up to a new group of fans who have been reluctant to dive into the series because of all the negative chatter about the slow middle books. New fans could breeze through the abridged books and then if they are interested in diving deeper into the world they could reread the unabridged books. 

 

What do many of you think? I realize many traditionalist's will not like it, but try to be more specific than just answering "no" or "that sucks".

 

I like the idea, and even though Team Jordan probably will never release an abridgment to the series it is something that I would love to read.

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some past thread speculated whether the series could be reduced to 6 books.

One of my posts in that thread went something like this::

"All the events in the series could probably be summarized in one book, possibly less.  With the proper amount of detail, that summary could be expanded to 6 books."

 

Best chance for a shorter version of this series might be if it was fan-made.

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I don't see the point. "More focused story line" is subjective. Who gets to decide what the "focus" of the story is? What if I disagree with you or the next person about where the "focus" should be? This sounds like a "Phantom Edit" to me.

 

And how can the work ever be fairly judged if 50% of it is missing? It's like trying to understand what Tolstoy was trying to say by reading an abridged War & Peace. "But people who would never read it otherwise will read it now!" They haven't read it, though, they've read a "good parts" version. Not the same. 

 

I'd much prefer an Annotated WOT. At least your getting some new content for your money. Cutting it down doesn't make any sense to me. Leave it the way RJ wrote it. 

Edited by DarkMultiverse

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I assume the only reason to do this would be to make the series more accessible to a broad audience.

 

I think my knee-jerk reaction is that even if you trimmed four books down to 1, you're still talking about a massive, massive series. I'm not sure it would be any less intimidating. 

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I think it's a good idea in theory, but that it wouldn't work well in practice.  No matter who does the abridgement, people will think that parts were taken out that should have been left in (and probably vice versa).  Also, there are two approaches that could be taken:  (1) Select some entire scenes to remove, but leave the remaining scenes intact, or (2) modify the existing text in some scenes to make the scene shorter (e.g., cut down on descriptions).  I would not be happy if anyone tried the second approach, unless perhaps it was Harriet.

 

Maybe a better idea is for someone to create a fan abridgement -- not a new edition of the books, but just a reading guide.  Each chapter of each book (or even each scene within a chapter) could be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is "must read" and 1 is "recommend skipping."  For the parts that are skipped, the reader could read a chapter summary (such as on www.encyclopaedia-wot.org).

 

If I ever re-read the series again, I plan to follow my own abridged version, skipping certain parts that I found boring and slow on my last re-read (especially Elayne's political maneuvering to regain the throne of Andor).

Edited by Paul H

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In fact, it would actually be pretty cool if someone could set up a voting mechanism, where people could vote chapter by chapter on the 1 to 5 scale that I mentioned (or some similar scale).  Then a potential reader (or re-reader) could get crowd-sourced guidance on which chapters to read, and which chapters could be skipped.  (Though of course, I assume that most readers would still choose to read the entire series.  This would be only for those readers who want a shorter version.)

 

If anyone wants to take this idea and run with it, here is my suggested scale:

 

5 - Must read

4 - Highly recommend reading

3 - Recommend reading

2 - Read if you have time, but could be skipped

1 - Recommend skipping

 

(For what it's worth, I probably wouldn't have very many "1" votes on this scale, but I would have a few.  I am pretty sure that most of my votes would fall in the 3 to 5 range.)

Edited by Paul H

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I would love an update to the series to make it better. It always seemed silly to me that there are pracitcally never big changes made to a fantasy book after it is published.

 

There are a few flaws in WoT that almost everybody can agree on. For example Mat's humour inconsistencies. Why would anyone not want to fix that? It could be done quite easily.

Edited by Thorgan

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You wouldn't be abridging the series for people who are already fans of the series. After all they would still have the unabridged series. You would be doing it for people who view it to be too long to even start especially since it was finished by another author. You'd also be abridging it for people who would love to reread the series, but don't want to go through the entire 14 books. 

 

I an abridgment ever were to happen it would certainly be led by Harriet. In other words it isn't likely to happen, but I do believe that it would be awesome if they did. 

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The LoR movies cut out some "boring" parts (i.e., Tom Bombadil parts early on) and I thought it made the story better :shrug:  

 

WoT is my all time fav series, but I would pay a LOT to see it made into a movie or tv series.  To do that, it would need to be abridged.  There were definitely some slower parts that could be looked at.  I've read the series a bunch and am still a bit "huh?" on the whole Bowl of the Winds arc.  I get that it was important-ish, but I dunno.  In general, I think it could be leaned down to something that could be presented in a 6-8 season tv show, which would be absolutely amazing.  I think that would do it better justice than 6 very long movies (6 movies is prob the max one could ever hope for imo and likely wouldn't have enough mass appeal to ever happen, unlike LoR).

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I´m not agree for a shorter series, but there is some parts that maybe could be a little diferent, like the Elayne/Nynaeve´s travel across Ghealdam (there are many readers that complains for that part, not only in this forum). For example, maybe they two could be the ones who fight against masema or the whitecloaks instead Perrin (he was enought with Shaido´s army, i think)

Other change could be do not kill to Asmodean so soon. I really liked that forced alliance between he and Rand, or also confront Mat with one of the forsaken in a more directly way (Mat never fight against none of them!  is there any other main character that never fight whit at least one? Even Min almost killed Moghedien in AMoL)

I know that this is a little out of the topic, but i wanted to share my opinion.

Edited by Lothlan

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I´m not agree for a shorter series, but there is some parts that maybe could be a little diferent, like the Elayne/Nynaeve´s travel across Ghealdam (there are many readers that complains for that part, not only in this forum). For example, maybe they two could be the ones who fight against masema or the whitecloaks instead Perrin (he was enought with Shaido´s army, i think)
Other change could be do not kill to Asmodean so soon. I really liked that forced alliance between he and Rand, or also confront Mat with one of the forsaken in a more directly way (Mat never fight against none of them!  is there any other main character that never fight whit at least one? Even Min almost killed Moghedien in AMoL)
I know that this is a little out of the topic, but i wanted to share my opinion.

 

 

I'd be down with all of that, but short of an adaption or some kind of fan rewrite, I don't see most of it happening.

 

As for just cutting unneeded content, I could definitely get behind that too, but the problem is that while almost everyone agrees that the series is bloated, nobody can agree on which subplots and side characters should and shouldn't be cut. You'd need a customizable version where you can tick off different subplots to be minimized depending on your preference.

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WoT is my all time fav series, but I would pay a LOT to see it made into a movie or tv series.  To do that, it would need to be abridged.

That seems somewhat different than what this thread seems to be talking about; shortening the books.

Any book-based movie/show would be shorter than the book/books, yet only the script would be changed; the original book/books would be unchanged.  Also, the film/show makers would have final say on which book scenes are included or not included.

 

A summary of all scenes in order of their time settings would to me be the best version of shortened books.  That way, each reader could read the scenes they want to read.

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