A new announcement from Amazon Studios list The Wheel of Time as one of the shows they’ve ordered for Amazon Prime. An interesting spin on the story, which does feature strong, female characters. You can read the whole article from Variety.
Dragonmount's co-leader, and JordanCon founder, Jenn Liang, and her husband Jimmy Liang, will be next year's Fan Guests of Honor at Kansas City's ConQuesT. From the ConQuesT site: ConQuesT takes place every Memorial Day weekend, at the end of May (May 24-26, 2019). The year's theme is "mad science and experimental wizardry." Tickets are on sale now for the early bird price of $30. On November 1, that price will increase.
That’s right, twenty years ago, today, Jason Denzel started up the website Dragonmount. For those unfamiliar with its humble beginnings, Jason wanted a place to converse with other Wheel of Time fans, as well as have a hosting site for his "Dragonmount" animated fan-film he was working on. It’s evolved greatly from its origins, and here are screen shots of Dragonmount’s main page for the past twenty years! 1998: 1999: 2000: 2001: 2002: 2003: 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: 2014: 2015: 2016: 2017: And 2018: Happy birthday, Dragonmount! And congratulations, Jason, for making this a site we all love and enjoy. We've all been through a lot together, and you've lead us to a great milestone. There’s only more to come!
Rafe Judkins, the showrunner for the potential Wheel of Time TV show, answered an assortment of fan questions on Twitter this morning. You can find the entire thread here. Overall Show Status "In development." Amazon Studios is the network currently developing the show. The production studio is Sony Pictures Television, working with Radar Pictures. There has been no official announcement about the show being green-lit yet. This means that while a lot of people are working on developing ideas and screenplays, until a public announcement happens, we do not know if a pilot or full season have been ordered. During the twitter Q&A, Rafe was unable to answer any questions related to the project's overall status, or potential timeframe. Highlights from the Q&A The plan is to adapt the entire Wheel of Time TV series. Each episode is designed to be an hour long. Rafe Judkins: "I want [the tone of the show] to feel adult but accessible." The first season will largely focus on events from The Eye of the World. But do not expect a straight-forward and literal adaptation that strictly conforms to the way the books tell the story. Rafe Judkins: "... malleable by season and book." Rafe has a special place in his heart for Bela. Casting has not begun, but is expected to happen worldwide, under the supervision of a yet-to-be-hired casting director. Efforts will be made to ensure a diverse cast is selected. Gender representation is important to the series, and to the producers. Rafe Judkins: "I think that gender is such a key theme of the books, and discussing gender without a full representation of LGBTQ+ people would be a disservice to that discussion. Rest assured, their will be pillow friends out the wazoo." Rafe and his team are passionate fans, utilizing as much information about the series as possible fro every source, including all published books, the WoT Companion, fan sites, and Team Jordan directly. Rafe Judkins: "We have freedom to do what we want, but what I want is to stay true to the books" Rafe Judkins: "I really want to stay true to the books in creating a world that feels way more diverse than what we're used to seeing in our fantasy tv shows" Interestingly, the "Rand and his 3 women plot" might change. Logain may have an expanded, larger role in the TV show. So far, Nynaeve has been the most challenging character to write. Rafe and his team are generally trying to avoid merging characters. Rafe is especially excited about the opening chapters in the Weswood, the Aiel Waste plot line, and Dumai's Wells. We will keep you updated as progress on the show evolves. Be sure to follow Rafe's Twitter and Instagram accounts, and while you're at it, check out our twitter feed and Facebook page.
At the beginning of the month, Rafe Judkins—showrunner for The Wheel of Time television series—began to give us hints on Twitter about his involvement and progress with script writing and other behind-the-scenes details. This quickly morphed into #WoTWednesday (it had started out in July as #WoTMonday). Each Wednesday, Judkins has been posting small snippets for us to drool over. Here’s a quick recap of August’s posts: August 8th: “So I thought for #WoTWednesday this week I’d post something that gives you a little insight into how I broke down the books (without giving away too much), so I decided to open to a random page in the EoTW (Brit edition! My original was too beat up) and take a picture.” The page opened to was 19 (of the British, Orbit edition) where Rand and Tam arrive in Emond’s Field and Rand dwells on the meaning of Bel Tine and the coming of spring. Judkin’s inscriptions—as far as I can tell—read “Fun description” when Rand talks about the first lambs of spring, the festivities that will be held, the arrival of the first peddlers, and the possibility of fireworks. Also, Judkins scrawled the words “Tale of Manetheran” when Rand details the history of Bran al’Vere’s inn—and the fact some of the walls are older than the whole village. August 15th: For this post, Judkins switched to Instagram since he shared a more personal (and longer than Twitter allows) story about his connection to Wheel of Time and being exposed to other cultures. “For #WoTWednesday this week, since I’m in Fiji where 30% of the population is Hindu (and the 10 dollar coin is actually a mandala of the Kalachakra or “Wheel of Time”) I thought I’d talk a little about the philosophy of the books and what I want to bring out in the series. One of my favorite things about the books is how they embrace eastern religions and philosophies and put them into an epic fantasy context in a way we haven’t yet seen in tv or film. I plan to lean heavily into the concept of reincarnation in the books and have spent a lot of time talking to people who believe in reincarnation to get a feel for how that affects not only your philosophy of the world, but also the every day way you live your life. I’d love to hear, too, about some of your favorite moments from the books that deal with reincarnation or being spun out again by the wheel of time (mine is Birgitte Silverbow’s return?). Obviously, yin and yang and balance and duality are important eastern philosophical concepts from the books that I want to bring out in series, but we will save discussions on that for a future trip to China ;)” August 22nd: “For #wotwednesday this week, I’ll do something scandalous and give you an actual snippet from the first script of one of those iconic scenes that simply must exist. Introducing THREE key characters ;)” Judkins then attached an image of the script with some details before the character’s dialogue. “EXT. THE WESTWOOD – DAY We’re higher in the mountains, spring’s touch hasn’t reached here yet. Trees are bare, patches of snow dot the ground. An OLD CART filled with SMALL WOOD BARRELS and BALES OF WOOL makes its way through the wood, pulled by a shaggy BROWN MARE. TWO MEN walk on either side of her, father and son. This is TAM AL’THOR, 50’s, an aging shepherd with the watchful eye of a warrior. Thick chest and broad face, there’s a masculine solidness to him, as though a flood could wash around him without uprooting his feet.” And finally, from today, August 29th: “Hey! Sorry (especially to non-US folks) for the lateness on this. But this #WoTWednesday I thought I’d give another script grab — this time about casting. Actual casting is a long way off, but this at least gives you an idea of how we are thinking about it in a general sense.” Along with this text, Judkins attached a part of the script detailing the direction of some characteristics of the Randland residents, stating: “[A QUICK NOTE: race in the world of Wheel of Time is much less defined than in our world. As much as possible, our cast should look like America will in a few hundred years – a beautiful mix of white, brown, black and everything in between]” There’s little we can glean off of these, other than a steadfast knowledge that our beloved series is in good hands. To have a fan at the reigns relieves many of my anxieties about an on-screen adaptation. And even though these are small morsels, it’s consistent and done so lovingly, that it rids me of all the other anxieties. Yes, it will be a while before we have a tangible product. But we know it’s in the works, and it’s getting there. As Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Judkins is taking those first few steps and we will arrive home eventually.
Our friends at Grim Oak Press announced today that their upcoming short story anthology, Unfettered III, will contain an unreleased deleted chapter from A Memory of Light, the final book in The Wheel of Time series. The chapter will follow Perrin as he makes his way through the Ways. There's about 20,000 words of content, which is about the length of two or three hefty WoT-sized chapters. The content was written by Brandon Sanderson during his process of creating AMOL. It was deleted by Harriet as part of the editorial process, but will now be released with everyone's blessing. Although fun to read, Brandon informs us that these scenes are not considered canon. The original Unfettered anthology, released in 2013, contained "River of Souls", a series of short scenes featuring Bao the Wyld as he attempted to discover the location of a legendary sa'angreal. In addition to featuring a Wheel of Time story, Unfettered III will also feature an original short story from Dragonmount founder Jason Denzel. Here's how Jason described the story: "The Stone Golem of Qual’Jom” is about a lonely, blind creature made entirely of stone who was brought to life by a sorcerer in order to be his assistant. When the master leaves his cavernous lair to go on a long journey, the golem is charged with defending the dwelling from invaders. But during his master’s extended absence, the golem begins to question his nature, and the nature of the world around him. Touching on themes of loneliness and non-duality, and filled with action, “Stone Golem” is my earliest, and one of my most beloved, written stories." Unfettered III will be released in hardcover and ebook formats on March 19, 2019. It will feature stories from 27 fantasy authors taking place in an abundance of beloved fantasy worlds including the Dune universe. There are 250 early Advance copies available, as well as signed copies, which will contain signatures from all contributing authors, including Brandon Sanderson and Jason Denzel. Finally, proceeds from sales of this anthology will go to a good cause. They will be used to help provide health insurance for science fiction and fantasy writers who need such assistance. We hope you'll join us in checking out these amazing stories. For more information, including links to pre-order the book, visit the Grim Oak Press website. Read Brandon Sanderson's announcement on his website.
Since the news of a potential Wheel of Time television series was released in April of 2016, right after JordonCon 8, we’ve all been waiting for news of the show’s progress. Last year, again, around JordanCon 9, we learned the rights had landed with Sony Pictures, and that Rafe Judkins was the lead writer and executive producer of the project. And earlier this year, in January, we had the first tweet from Judkins in relation to a possible Wheel of Time script. Considering we’ve waited two years just for those snippets, it seems almost like overload when we’ve seen several tweets from Jadkins over the past two months teasing Wheel of Time fans with pictures of assumedly-complete scripts for the first two episodes. At first, Jadkins began his tweets with #WheelofTimeMonday and shared a bit of his process that way. However, this quickly morphed to #WoTWednesday (which does have a better ring to it). In his latest tweet, sent out only a few days ago, Jadkins gave Mat fans something to look forward to: “And I give you — the second and last #WheelofTimeMonday. Because as everyone has so obviously pointed out — #WoTWednesday is 1000x better. I warned you I’m bad at social media. Also, Wheel of Time fans should rejoice because AK Shuman writes Mat like she was born to it.” Though “bad at social media” we hope Jadkins will give us regular updates. After so long with only tidbits to tide us over, I know the Wheel of Time community will love more news. You can see Jadkin’s other tweets and commentary at Bleeding Cool, the Wertzone, the Daily Trolloc, and IGN.
Earlier this week, Jason Denzel, Dragonmount’s found and webmaster, hosted an Ask Me Anything panel on Reddit.com . The questions ranged all over the board, but there were a few about The Wheel of Time. And, of course, everyone offered congratulations and praise for Mystic Dragon, released July 17, 2018 from Tor. Naturally, people had questions about where the inspiration for the Mystic series came from. You can read the questions and answers in their entirety, here.
Today is the release day for Mystic Dragon, the second novel in Jason Denzel’s Mystic series. This captivating story is a great addition to the series, expanding the scope of the plotlines, the characters, and the world. Though I work with Jason as a part of Dragonmount, it's also amazing to see the author side of him. It can be difficult to judge a friend's work of art, but I strive to point out the positives and the negatives as they appeal to me. These are my honest thoughts on a well-constructed novel, one I enjoyed immensely! Slight spoilers will follow. Synopsis: The first book, Mystic, showed Pomella AnDone, a commoner, summoned by the High Mystic of Moth to trial for an apprenticeship. Though Pomella shows strength and courage and cunning, she’s not selected to be the High Mystic’s apprentice. Instead, she is chosen by Grandmaster Faywong, a man retired from the position of High Mystic of Moth, and becomes his apprentice. Mystic Dragon picks up the story seven years after the events of Mystic. Now, Pomella is a full Mystic, using her training, and her reputation as a commoner, to stop a slaver named Shadefox. Shadefox has been taking the Unclaimed people of Moth and selling them on the Continent. Her mission is cut short, however, by the celestial event known as Crow Tallin--which takes place once every sixty years. Pomella is needed on Moth to help control the fay as Treorel, the Mystic Star, momentarily links the human world and Fayun. However, Shevia, another Mystic, shows signs of going against the traditions of Crow Tallin. Shevia has been given visions of the future and her intentions for the event counter greatly to what Pomella is instructed to do. The two women must make some sort of agreement, or it will be a full-out war between them. And Shevia’s powers are much greater than anything Pomella has ever seen. Pros: From start to finish, this story was enthralling. While the first novel focused on Moth culture, the world is expanded greatly in Mystic Dragon. We see many of the other cultures of the world which solidifies it in the reader’s mind. The countries on the Continent are very different from Moth, and they offer a contrast to Pomella’s upbringing. Though the story takes place seven years later, those years aren’t lost. Through flashback scenes, we get to see exactly what happened to Sim and Shevia during that time. These scenes were among my favorite in the book because of how poignant the emotional reactions were. Much darker than Mystic, this novel dwells on loss and pain, sadness and suffering, loneliness and abuse. These times where the characters are at their lowest makes them shine so much brighter when we see them try their hardest to overcome what’s kept them suppressed. As the time of Crow Tallin approached, I was constantly guessing the direction the book would take. It was completely unpredictable. There were so many ways the events could have played out, so many choices the characters could have made. One surprise after another kept me in suspense until the very last page. And Pomella. I love her as a character. Though she’s been a Mystic for nearly seven years, she’s never forgotten her commoner heritage. Though powerful, she never lets that get in the way of her helping people. She could live a life of luxury, but she insists on being among the commoners. Her character has stayed true despite being so highly elevated. She struggles through this book, she grows, and her future is still uncertain. Cons: The deaths. I won’t give away who (or how many) die, but some of them devastated me. Not to say these deaths were for shock value. They had a purpose. I hope the third novel will ease the pain at these losses, though. Conclusion: This story was engrossing. It was difficult to put down because I wanted to see how the events unfolded. The pace kept the actions going, pulling me along with it, even late into the night. The themes of loss and survival resonated strongly with me. I am eagerly awaiting the conclusion to the series, as so many questions were left unanswered at the end of Mystic Dragon. Rating: 5 out of 5 You can purchase Mystic Dragon from Dragonmount’s DRM-free eBook store. To find out more about Jason Denzel and the series you can visit his website, or follow him on Facebook or Twitter. (Though Jason Denzel is the webmaster and founder of Dragonmount, my review is unbiased and honest.
The first episode of WoTchers—a Wheel of Time reading podcast—was released earlier this month. The podcast, hosted by three authors, Hank Garner, Josh Hayes, and Jaime Castle, starts on an epic quest to finish The Wheel of Time series. The podcasters come from different points in The Wheel of Time journey, Hank and Jamie read a few of the series, while Josh is completely new. This is bound to make for interesting dialogue as these men progress farther into the series. First off, the podcasters state right out that this is not a “fanboy love fest.” In fact, Jamie admits that he would not have finished the book if he hadn’t committed to doing this podcast. They have plenty of criticism to start. This first episode is sort of an introduction, a brief overview of the tropes expected, and the unavoidable “just a Lord of the Rings knockoff” banter. Even so, they have some good points. Reading the series fresh in the year 2018 is a lot different from reading it when it began in 1990. Times have changed. Readers have evolved. It’s difficult to keep the mindset of where the books originated. (This same argument can be used with many older books, and even films; it’s sometimes hard for modern audiences to grasp the culture of the past.) Jaime states that the podcast’s purpose is to look at The Wheel of Time as an example for them to examine their own craft. Viewing the series through this lens would definitely shift the focus. Reading for enjoyment and reading for learning are two separate things, in my opinion. All in all, this was an enjoyable first podcast and I’m curious how their opinions might change—or stay the same—as they progress farther into the series. You can learn more about WoTchers at their website.
Recently, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) compiled a detailed list of all The Wheel of Time related material it’s possible to own. The list contains many items most fans have heard of—the soundtrack, the comic books, the calendars—and plenty I own myself. However, it also highlights more obscure items, like a poster and program showing Robert Jordan’s permeant display at Daniel Library of The Citadel, or a custom embossed stamp used to denote Jordan’s own books within his library, or a copy of The Fires of Heaven where the dust jacket proclaims the Amyrlin is named “Flaida” instead of Elaida. Not to mention all the foreign-translated novels and the amazing covers they have. The article also speculates about re-releasing the novels with new cover art when the television series kicks off. For the avid fan, there’s plenty to collect. And hopefully, with a television series coming soon, there’ll be even more.
Our friends at the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast have a new project in the works: Mistborn Spoilers. Following the same format, Patrick and Seth scrutinize Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series—one chapter at a time—and discuss all the nitty-gritty details, backstories, foreshadowing, and wonders that make up this fantastic series. The first three episodes focused on the background information needed to comprehend the world, the Lord Ruler, and the current life of the people. After that, they delve right into the books. I was very pleased when Seth and Patrick allowed me to be a guest host for the Prologue and Chapter 1 episodes. I’m a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson, and the Mistborn series is at the top of my favorite works by him. That doesn’t mean the books are flawless. I’m very quick to point out the under presentation of women in this first novel, and the over-dependence on using rape as a plot device. That said, I do love this book, and I love these characters, and I was happy to be able to discuss them with others who are so knowledgeable. Patrick and Seth currently record Mistborn Spoilers on Monday, and for a $1 Patreon donation, you can listen live while they record! The back and forth dialogue with devoted fans adds a lot to the quality of the show, one of the reasons why both these podcasts are so popular! You can follow Wheel of Time Spoilers on Facebook or Twitter, and you can follow Mistborn Spoilers on Facebook.