Welcome back to another Community Round-Up! There’s been a lot happening online within the Wheel of Time fandom since we’re all locked up with nothing to do. First off, Rafe Judkins—the showrunner for Amazon’s Wheel of Time television show—is also bored! He answered fan questions on Instagram! You can see a full analysis from Adam Whitehead here, including the complete transcript of the questions and answers. Speaking of bored, there are plenty of WoT themed online activities. One JordanCon’s Facebook page, Rick Martin posted an acrostic puzzle for people to try! Some crafty people are also using this time to craft WoT inspired items. This cross-stitch pattern made by Caz Willows caught my eye! It’s an amazing design and I love the mix of Aes Sedai colors and scary Trolloc skulls. If you’re interested in trying this—and cross-stitch is pretty easy for beginners!—you can purchase the pattern from Caz’s Etsy shop! And Dee Tee has a Discord channel with WoT Spoilers dedicated to testing your Wheel of Time knowledge. Stop by for a visit and play a game, or just mingle with the amazing people! And as tradition dictates, we’ll end with some memes. Okay, not really Wheel of Time related, but I thought this was fantastic! This raises an interesting question. If Mat's wily ways had continued in the Two Rivers, would any of his pranks gone far enough to land him in jail? Does Emond's Field even have a jail? The Pattern's face says it all. I don't think the Black Ajah is as cute as this, honestly. That concludes this Community Round-Up. Let's try to keep our spirits up as much as possible during these trying times! Besides re-reading Wheel of Time, what other actives are keeping you from going stir crazy?
Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's TV blogger. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for over fifteen years. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon. With Wheel of Time production suspended – along with almost every other TV show and film on the planet – I was thinking it might be some time before we got more solid news on the series. However, showrunner Rafe Judkins surprised everyone by hosting a Q&A yesterday on his Instagram feed. There was a lot of exciting information to learn here, so let’s get to the salient points. There is no connection at all between the current series and the 2015 Winter Dragon pilot from Red Eagle. Confirming what we’ve previously reported, Season 1 will consist of eight episodes. At the time of the shutdown, production was completed on episodes 1-4, they were still shooting episodes 5-6 and prepping episodes 7-8, whilst writing Season 2. Post-production is continuing remotely, with Rafe currently approving vfx shots and editing from home. One of the first challenges they found was that Mat and Rand visit 20 villages and cities in The Eye of the World including Emond’s Field, Taren Ferry, Baerlon, Shadar Logoth, Whitebridge, Arien, Four Kings, Market Sheran, Carysford, Breen’s Spring, Caemlyn and Fal Dara, plus lots of unnamed ones. Doing this on the show would be impossible, so they have condensed the trip along the Caemlyn Road in particular. “Honey in the Tea” (Chapter 24 of Knife of Dreams, about Egwene in the White Tower) is one of Rafe’s favourite chapters of the entire saga. Elayne, Aviendha and Min are three of Rafe’s favourite characters. They will not be combined. Min will appear in Season 1, but Rafe did not comment on Elayne. Sometimes very minor characters will be folded into a more major one to make better use of the cast, but there will be no “nutso” combinations for the sake of it. “New” characters will be few and far between, and will be inspired by characters in the books or a number of characters combined. The production cannot cast every named or appearing character from the books because then they’d only be able to afford “a radio play.” As well as main composer David Buckley, there will be “musical guests” on the show. Actors are speaking the Old Tongue where required. Lord Captain Geofram Bornhald is in Season 1 but his actor has not yet been confirmed. He has what Rafe describes as his “favourite costume” on the show. Rafe has been spending “more time” with Ishamael in the writing process. His favourite Forsaken are Graendal, Lanfear and Moghedien. Rafe has had to make some “painful” cuts. The visual effects (vfx) team has spent a lot of time on channelling and how it looks. The early work looks “awesome” so far and Rafe screamed when seeing Moiraine channel on screen for the first time. The show will have a fair bit of CGI but they are trying to do as much as possible in-camera. An Aiel will appear in Season 1, and the one in question will “shock” audiences. Rafe wants tall actors for Aiel but has noted that acting ability will always be the first priority. The show has a real sword master who handles the weapons and training. There are actually two horses playing Bela, one trained to pull a cart and one for riding by herself. Mandarb and Aldieb also have their own horse actors. When asked if we will “see the prologue from The Eye of the World on screen in Season 1,” Rafe replied that we “will hear that phrase.” Fal Dara is Rafe’s favourite set in Season 1 and the Great Serpent Rings are his favourite props. Narg has not been cut. Harriet McDougal (Robert Jordan’s widow and literary executor) has visited the set in Prague, read all the scripts and provided notes when she felt the script was moving too far away from the books. Rafe is a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s work, including both the Mistborn and Stormlight Archive series. Brandon has read all the scripts, provided notes and consulted on the project. Rafe would have him do more, but Brandon is busy with his own projects. Loial will be presented properly as an Ogier, and will be not made more human looking for practical reasons. The show is making some adjustments so it will be understandable for those who haven’t read the books, but “Google exists” for other queries. Alanna, Verin and Siuan are Rafe’s three favourite Aes Sedai. He also loves Sheriam and Pevara. Galina is his least-favourite. My main takeaway is that, as previously speculated, it should be possible for Amazon to complete the first four episodes even with the shutdown. Whether that means they will transmit them or wait until production can resume and finish the whole season is not known. If the shutdown is likely to persist into 2021, they may decide to air the completed episodes as new content, but if it looks like the pandemic has eased and production can be remounted later this year they may choose to wait until the last four episodes are completed as well. Obviously, the health and wellbeing of the Wheel of Time cast and crew, and of the residents of the city of Prague and the Czech Republic, is the primary concern at the moment. As usual, please follow the Dragonmount TV page for the last developments and let us know your thoughts in the comments. A full transcript of the Q&A follows Which character has your favorite costume so far? Rafe: Ooo this is tough. Probably Geofram Bornhald. Can we expect a trailer for the show anytime soon? Rafe: Probably not for a long while sadly. When will we get more casting announcements to hold us over? Rafe: I’ll try to get them to put out something soon. A lot of folks in all departments are affected by the state of the world right now though, so I can’t promise a timeline. Are you using taller actors to portray the Aiel, or camera trickery? Rafe: Trying to get tall folks. But I’m less concerned with height and more concerned with acting ability. Will [Min], [Elayne], and [Aviendha] have to be combined into a single character? Rafe: Girl you crazy, I’m not going to combing huge characters like that. Maybe sometimes a minor character folded into a more major one to make better use of our cast but nothing nutso Do you have a favourite chapter from the whole saga? Mine is Veins of Gold. Rafe: So many. But Honey in the Tea is one off the top of my head. How many trollocs do I have to take out to become a writing assistant? Rafe: Violence is never the answer RJ writes a lot of internal headspace stuff. What’s 1 hint on how the show will handle that? Rafe: That’s the biggest difficulty of any novel adaptation. Figuring out how to make the internal monologue come out clearly to the audience. A lot of the changes we make and stories we tell differently are designed to serves exactly that purpose—showing you what those characters internal monologues from the book are without them just saying it out loud in exposition What are you finding most challenging about going from book to screen? Rafe: The hardest thing is the physicality of production. In the first book alone they go to more than 20 villages and cities. To try to do that is physically impossible for the show, so most of the work we [do] in the room is geographical, figuring out how to condense the story and move it through places we can physically create. Yes or no. Have you had to make any cuts be it a scene or chapter, that has been painful for you? Rafe: Yes. How are you handling sword forms and their names? Rafe: We have a for real sword master on the show who walks into every room and tests out everything as a weapon. He could most definitely kill me with any item in my office. What’s been your favorite shooting location so far? Rafe: Slovenia! Spectacular stuff there What words of hope would you offer a fan afraid that the show will cut out a lot of content? Rafe: I genuinely think we are cutting less than most people think. When I see people ask questions like “are you cutting Min?” it blows my mind. I don’t know how you do an adaptation without some of these characters. I think it’ll be more of the smaller stories you’ll miss. We can’t have Rand and [Mat] travel to many many inns on their travels across the countryside for instance. It’s just not producible. So that will be more of what you miss, I think, and the books always exist to read for that 🙂 Any funny behind the scenes stories? Rafe: I once walked up to Rosamund’s dummy to say hello and then pretended to check its makeup and told everyone they were doing great work What would you say the CGI to practical ratio is going to be? Rafe: Trying to do as much in camera as we possibly can! Will we have to wait till season 2 to see any Aiel? (Other than Rand) Rafe: Nope. And the one you see will shock you. Haha. Amazon shouldn’t let me be on here when I’ve been cooped up for a week. How are the horses on set? Is Mandarb spectacular? Rafe: They are so great. Honestly I love our horses. Mandarb and Aldieb are downright sexy Is [Mat] fluent in the old tongue yet? Rafe: We’ve had a couple cast members speak in it already and they NAILED IT Will the show be understandable for those who didn’t read the books? Rafe: That’s the idea. If there are little things they don’t get though, luckily google exists Similar to Thom performing in an old Inn, what other iconic moments filmed stands out to [you]? Rafe: Rand and Tam walking through the Westwood Who is your favorite Aes Sedai in the books? And you can’t say Moiraine/Siuan or the Wonder Girls Rafe: So many rules. I honestly love all of them though (except Galina that bitch) Alanna, Liandrin and Verin are probably my Top 3. And Siuan! There’s too many I love. Sheriam! Pevara! Since JordanCon was cancelled, can we maybe get an extra treat next month? Rafe: Sure! What do you want? I think [Bela] is such an important character, will the same horse play [Bela] through the series Rafe: We’ve already had to have two Belas. It turns out a horse for riding on film is not the same as a horse for pulling a cart and SHE MUST DO BOTH If you were an Aes Sedai, what Ajah would you choose? Rafe: Such a good question. They all have merits but GREEN for the win. If only to hang with @priyankabose20 Has any post-production work begun or does that not start until filming is completed? Rafe: Nope! We do it simultaneously. Before the corona hit, I was prepping 2 episodes, shooting 2 episodes, in post on 4 episodes and writing Season 2 simultaneously 😮 Can you guys do a big WoT Wed announcement during the hiatus to keep all us fans hyped instead of al [sic] Rafe: Yeah! It would cheer us all up and we have some fun news How involved, if involved at all, is [Brandon] Sanderson in the writers room? Rafe: Brandon is hugely helpful. I talked to him before we started Season Two while he was in Prague to get advice and he reads all the scripts and gives notes. He’s incredibly thoughtful and understands the process of adaptation and what’s required from it. I feel so lucky to have him involved. I would have him do more if I could make him! Will there be a soundtrack? Who’s the composer? Rafe: Of course! David Buckley. Plus a few incredible musical guests we’ve already had. To what extent has Harriet McDougal been involved with the project? Rafe: She’s a consulting producer so she’s been out to Prague to the sets and reads all the scripts and sends me her notes on them. She and Maria [Simons] are hugely helpful for maintaining the truth of the series and always keep me honest when it comes to things that change too much Do you read [The Way of Kings] or Mistborn? Please make a tv adaptation for them too Rafe: Read both. Love both. Will the show have any connection to that abomination of a pilot that [Red Eagle] put out Rafe: nope! 🙂 Are you going to merge Min and Elayne? Rafe: Hell no Are Min/Elayne in season 1? Rafe: TWWaTWW [The Weave Weaves as The Weave Wills] Will we see the prologue from the Eye of the World on screen in season 1 Rafe: You will hear that phrase Is Lan going to be as much or an absolute stud in the show as he is in the books? Rafe: You’ve seen @danielhenney right? Which WOT book title best describes your self isolation experience? Rafe: A Memory of Light… What has been your favorite set so far? Rafe: Fal Dara! RJ created 1000’s of [characters]. Given that did you feel the need to create new characters? Rafe: Anyone “new” is inspired by characters in the books or a number of characters combined. If we paid to cast all speaking roles in the book we could only afford to have a radio play Please tell me you’ve cut Narg!! Rafe: Never!! First moment you were speechless on set? Rafe: First time walking into Emond’s Field with my mom How is the cast and crew weather the pandemic? Rafe: Our team in Prague did an amazing job of getting everyone out and keeping them safe. And now everyone’s home and we all live on Instagram. Should Amazon do a better job of engaging fans love of theory & speculation. [Please] embrace us!! Rafe: I love theory and speculation! What can they do to better engage you? Send suggestions and I’ll forward them along 🙂 Blink twice if Min is in season 1. Rafe: 😉 😉 Do you have a favorite Wise One? Rafe: [Aviendha] Now you’ve met them settle the score: who’s better with women? Rand, Mat or Perrin? Rafe: I think they’d all say it’s the other Will Loial portray the Ogier species, or will he be humanized for screen? Rafe: He’s an Ogier! How are you planning to handle the visualization of the weaves? Any little tidbits? Rafe: We are trying to stay as true to the books as possible. I’ve been giving a bunch of VFX folks long diatribes about channeling, weaves, threads, earth vs. air, etc and [the] early stuff has started coming in. It looks FUCKING AWESOME. I screamed when Rosamund started channeling Will Jeff Probst be one of the Aiel? Can you make some calls? Rafe: If he dies his hair red 😉 Can you please make sure you do a great job? Books are so great Rafe: This is a really good idea Is any aspect of the show still in development, or has it all stalled because of the virus? Rafe: A lot can be done virtually! I’m still doing VFX, editing and the Season Two Virtual Writers Room! And I can do it all in pajamas Who is your favorite Forsaken?? Rafe: Ahhh. I love the ladies. Greandal, Lanfear, Modhedien. And Ishamael holds a special place in my heart the more time I spend with him So far, what is your favorite prop in the show? Rafe: Great Serpent Ring. We all want one. How has it been to work with your incredibly talented cast? Also… dinner’s ready Rafe: Okay I have to go eat now. I think I did this right. Next time I’ll use different colors. I don’t know why it was pink and orange the whole time.
It’s with great sadness our friends at JordanCon announced they will have to cancel the convention for 2020. In a statement released earlier today, Jennifer Liang, the convention chair of JordanCon said: It may take some time to work out all the details, including prepaid merchandise, members's tickets, and the hotel room blocks. Showing patience and understanding during this hectic time can go a long way for the JordanCon staff and board of directors. Many of these smaller conventions are taking massive hits from the Covid-19 pandemic. As a non-profit, JordanCon functions year to year, and this hiccup could cause lasting damage. I’ve seen many people on social media call for those who are fortunate enough to donate their ticket fees to the convention. This could help recoup some of the losses on the horizon. I am more than happy to support JordanCon and all it stands for. I purchased two tickets--one for me and one for my husband--and I will donate that to the convention instead of asking for a refund or having the paid price apply to next year. There will be other ways we can support JordanCon authors and artists. Many of them are also struggling with so many conventions being canceled. For those who earn their livelihood on the con tracks, now is a scary time. You can find the full list of JordanCon guests. If you’re able, buy a new book to read during quarantine! Support an artist and buy a new print to brighten up your living room! JordanCon is a family, and we want to show our family we are here for them. Keep up with the latest from JordanCon on Facebook, Twitter, their website, and the FAQ.
Welcome back to another Community Round-Up. There’s been a lot happening online as the world around us crumbles. First up, JordanCon is holding a “Fantastic Artifacts Through the Ages March Madness.” It’s a 16-bracket game with artifacts from all over the sci-fi/fantasy realm (many are Wheel of Time related, of course). Voting on the first bracket has begun: Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer, from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and also Norse mythology) vs the One Ring (from Lord of the Rings). Go cast your vote! Earlier this week, Jaymie Greenway highlighted the most badass Aes Sedai in the Green, Red, and Gray Ajahs. Jaymie’s reasoning is spot on! And I’m so happy to talk about Red sisters we know and love. They had a rocky ending, with Elaida going so crazy, but the core of what makes Reds Red is still there and they are badasses! I can’t wait to see the other Ajahs covered—especially the White, since that is my Ajah! In gaming news, Animal Crossing New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch is set to release this Friday (March 20th). This series belongs in the fantasy genre as well since all you do it interact with talking animals. I’m a huge fan of the Animal Crossing franchise since they released the original for the Nintendo GameCube in 2001. Also, who in this community doesn’t love building maps? The fan-made Happy Island Designer online app allows you to pre-plan your New Horizons island getaway. And that’s how I’ll be spending my time this week off work! And let’s leave on a high note! I’ve got lots of great memes from around the WoT social media communities. First, KatySedai on Instagram helped us all remember to wash our hands for 20 seconds. And now the memes! There's been a lot of discussion going around on "well-turned calves." I know that's what I was looking for when I met my spouse. And on that note, you can see some of the best memes from Shai'tan Posting on their new page Valan Luca's Well-Turned Meme Menagerie. As a huge fan of Nynaeve, I loved it when Sharina made an appearance in the actual timeline. I'd love some more information on how the raising ter'angreal interacts with the main world and all the parallel/mirror worlds. That's all for now. Remember to be safe out there! If you get bored in quarantine, share your favorite WoT memes with us. Post in the comments below.
Jaymie here! I’ll be discussing a wide variety of topics related to The Wheel of Time. Like many of you, I’ve been reading WoT since the Age of Legends, so we’ll have lots to cover together…WoTever comes to mind. WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS Affecting change out in Randland or as Sitters in the Hall, who’s the biggest badass of them all? In this series, I’ll take a look at our own G.L.O.W. – the Glorious Ladies of WoT. Specifically, the smooth-cheeked, serenity-filled, skirt-smoothing, shawl-adjusting, butt-kicking Aes Sedai. I’ll select the most badass sister from each Ajah, as well as a runner-up for the title. In Part One, we’re choosing out the most badass Aes Sedai of the Green, Red, and Gray Ajahs. Green The Green Ajah stands ready for the Last Battle. Green sisters are known for their ferocity, with fiery temperaments and readier displays of emotion than their more serene sisters. They are also known for their love of men, often bonding multiple Warders, or even (gasp!) marrying them. Maybe after 3000 years and no Last Battle, they let their guards down a bit. While they put on genuinely brave faces, these ladies seemed all about the boys at times. We learned a lot about Warder relationships (granted, it was sometimes through other Ajahs’ snarky comments about Greens and their dudes), but not a lot about their battle cred. And when push came to shove during the Seanchan raid, even their own Captain-General, Adelorna Bastine, lamented in her POV, “Battle Ajah indeed! The Greens with her had stood only minutes before being defeated.” (TGS, Ch. 40 The Tower Shakes) Make no mistake, I’m a fan of the Green Ajah. They’re kind of the Cool Girl Ajah. We just didn’t get to see much of the badassery in which they prided themselves. Therefore… Elayne Trakand Elayne, who, despite her idiocy in later books regarding Min’s viewing about the babies, had “a lion’s courage…” according to Siuan, who realized Elayne knew the only way to save the Aes Sedai who had dreamed themselves into a nightmare was to dive into the nightmare right along with them. (LOC, Ch. 7 A Matter of Thought) True, Siuan finished that judgment with “…and maybe a fisherbird’s sense.” But Aviendha, a Badass if there ever was one, also lauds Elayne’s bravery: “Even when Elayne is so afraid her mouth dries, her spirit does not bend,” says Aviendha during their sister ceremony. “She is braver than anyone I have ever known.” (WH, Prologue: Snow) Runner-Up Alanna had the makings of a badass; fiery and funny, a willingness to put herself in the mix of goings-on. But she knocked herself out of the running when she bonded Rand without his consent. Not only was her act atrocious (considered by Aes Sedai to be on par with rape), but it put her in vulnerable position after vulnerable position. And she sure spent a lot of screen time weeping. Therefore… Cadsuane Melaidhrin Love her or hate her, she is a force. Her “legendary” status (most of the stories about her were indeed true) and sheer strength of will going for her, Cadsuane’s mere presence stopped folks in their tracks – just long enough for her to assume the advantage in nearly any situation and never look back. Her intentions for Rand had merit and her collaboration with Sorilea (Mizz Strength of Will herself) was on point, even if her methods tanked. And, unlike many Aes Sedai, Cadsuane could (finally) admit her mistakes - and learn from them. Stubborn, to be sure, but she ultimately used her centuries of perspective to work for solutions. And…she’ll be the next Amyrlin Seat, but not because she wants to. She’ll do it, not for herself, but for the good of the Tower and for the post-Last Battle world. Red Pevara Tazanovni It’s Pevara. That is all. Runner-Up Silviana Brehon Mistress of Novices under Elaida; Keeper of the Chronicles under Egwene. Silviana was firm, fair, and did it all for the Tower. We learn to appreciate her through Egwene’s POV, as Silviana administers beatings and punishments matter-of-factly to a novice claiming to be Amyrlin. When she believes Elaida’s treatment of Egwene grows too harsh (and begins to realize exactly who is breaking the Tower, and…ahem…it ain’t Egwene), she stands up to the tyrannical Red. Says Saerin to Egwene, “She denounced Elaida, calling for her to be removed as Amyrlin. It was…quite extraordinary.” (TGS, Ch. 38 News in Tel’aran’rhiod) Then, Silviana valiantly serves the woman she could not break. Gray Yukiri Harana Yes, she played a part in deposing our girl Siuan, but Yukiri did everything for the good of the Tower. One of the tiniest Aes Sedai, she acted like a queen, spoke like a farm girl, and worked tirelessly for every single ounce she achieved. Some Yukiri highlights: she worked to ferret out Black sisters in the Tower, she pledged to Egwene after the Seanchan attack, and she invented the horizontal gateway weave that allowed spying from the sky on battles below. Badass. And after the Last Battle, believing it best for the Tower, Yukiri was one of four Sitters to approach Cadsuane about becoming the new Amyrlin Seat. Runner-Up All Rebel Grays Grays believe anything can be solved if talked through long enough. Their very nature is to stick around and work things out. But the Rebel Grays went against every instinct during the White Tower split and said (and I paraphrase), “Screw all of THIS, we need to get the hell out of Crazy Tower, regroup, and come up with a plan.” Merilille and Merana were among our best-known Rebel Grays, but ultimately fizzled out as they tried to negotiate things and kept getting usurped. And Tiana Noselle, the Rebel faction’s Mistress of Novices, was likely given the position because of her youth, and therefore easy to move aside once the Tower became whole again. Nonetheless, she was truly in for a penny, in for a pound with such a huge role in the Little Tower. Regardless of their fate, these sisters and the rest of the Rebel Grays were HERE FOR IT. And there you have it. Did I miss anybody? Who do you think are the most badass Aes Sedai of the Green, Red, and Gray Ajahs? Update: Part 2 is now available!
Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's TV blogger. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for over fifteen years. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon. The Wheel of Time appears to be the latest TV production to sadly be impacted by the spreading coronavirus pandemic. Sony TV have now confirmed that production of The Wheel of Time is indefinitely suspended. The Czech Republic, where production for the series is based, began clamping down on the outbreak earlier this week, closing schools and restricting large gatherings of people. This led to Disney cancelling a one-week filming stint for their Marvel show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which will instead film those scenes elsewhere. On Thursday this was followed by the news that Wheel of Time’s sister-show, Carnival Row (shooting at Barrandov Studios in Prague), would shut down roughly halfway through the shoot for its second season. This morning the Czech government announced draconian measures to control the outbreak. They have sealed their borders to travellers from other countries affected by the virus, including the UK where numerous Wheel of Time cast and crewmembers are based. The situation with citizens from those countries already in Prague and other Czech cities is unclear, but it appears that flights out of the country are not affected so far. Based on some crew posts on social media, The Wheel of Time is gearing up for the shutdown from the end of today. Given the status of other filming projects in Prague and the measures introduced by the Czech government, it was hard to see how it could continue. Filming on the first season began on 16 September and was due to run until at least early May, meaning the bulk of the filming for the season was complete. Looking at the turnaround of directors and when they were in Prague, it also looks like the season was shooting in approximate chronological order. This means that, even if the series cannot be remounted in the next few months to complete the final scenes, it should hopefully be possible to air a truncated, shorter season (assuming, of course, that the coronavirus outbreak does not impact on post-production facilities in the United States and elsewhere), with the remaining material held back for a second season. Of course, the situation remains very fluid and estimates for the time of the pandemic range from months to a couple of years, which would have a much bigger impact on the timescale for the series (and, of course, everything else). So, the news is unfortunate, but the team at Amazon Prime Video have amassed a huge amount of material over six months of filming (so far) and hopefully we will get to see that at some point. In other news (and there is some!), to celebrate International Women’s Day last week, The Wheel of Time TV show’s resident book advisor and expert Sarah Nakamura tweeted out thanks and respect to the cast and crew who are working on the show, including several actresses who’d previously been rumoured to be appearing but not confirmed. This message was widely retweeted and liked by others involved in the production, so we can take it as confirmation these actresses will indeed be appearing, although not in which roles. Helena Westerman’s involvement has been unofficially known for some time: she appeared in the table read video released a few months ago and her own account has been following and retweeting Wheel of Time news for a few months. Westerman is a young British actress who has been appearing on stage and in short films for a few years. She also has credits as a producer and writer of theatre material and short films, and is co-director of the Rascal Theatre. Juliet Howland is an actress and composer, best-known for roles in Colditz, Skins and Doctors. According to some rumours, she will be playing the relatively small role of Natti Cauthon, mother of Mat Cauthon, but this is not yet confirmed. Naana Agyei-Ampadu is an actress whose previous credits include the TV show GameFace and the film Ready Player One. Ampadu was also seen in the table read video. Lolita Chakrabarti is an English actress and writer. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), she has appeared in Criminal, Rviera, The Casual Vacancy, Intruders, Bodies, Hustle, Extras, Silent Witness and a regular character on The Bill. In additional news, Priyanka Bose, who is playing Alanna, confirmed that she wrapped filming and headed home for the season before the shutdown. The shutdown may also impact the show’s premiere date. Amazon has remained tight-lipped on when the show could air, with projections being divided between an optimistic view that the series could air at the tail end of 2020 and a possibly more realistic one that the show could air in the first few months of 2021. Netflix’s The Witcher wrapped shooting on 29 May 2019 and was on air in December 2019, but The Wheel of Time is being shot by a different company with likely different (and probably more elaborate) post-production requirements, so this is not a precedent. A recent interview with Rosamund Pike (who plays Moiraine and is an executive producer on the series) seemed to be leaning on the 2021 date as well, but this has not been confirmed by Amazon. Still, it may be wiser to temper expectations of a release any sooner, especially given the delay to filming. It may even be possible that the show will air sooner if the season is indeed not remounted and they go with the material that is already completed, but this is highly speculative. As always, Dragonmount will keep you informed about developments as they happen on our Dragonmount TV page. Please also let us know your thoughts. Whilst the news is disappointing, I’m sure everyone will join us in agreeing that the health and wellbeing of the cast and crew of the show, and of the residents of the country hosting filming, must be paramount. To stress, this is a developing story and we will continue to cover it as more news emerges.
Welcome back to another edition of Community Round-Up where we highlight all the latest happenings in The Wheel of Time fandom and the larger Sci-Fi/Fantasy community. This week there have been some major reports about the Amazon Prime show. Adam Whitehead went into detail about the four directors picked for Season 1. The four selected are being celebrated for their diversity. To see more of their resume and what to expect from them behind the camera, you can read Adam’s article here. Theoryland is still going strong with Matt Hatch’s The Dusty Wheel podcast and fans passionate to discover some of the left-over hidden truths of the series. Recently, The Dusty Wheel hosted a chat about one of the great mysteries: Nakomi. The fact that there is still so much left to speculate on The Wheel of Time shows how timeless the series is—and will continue to be. You can listen to the whole episode of The Dusty Wheel here, and be sure to check out all their Wheel of Time content! JordanCon released a statement that the convention is still on! They are continuing to keep up to date with the recommendations of the CDC and will let all members and fans know if the situation changes. Let’s hope we can all make it there for our traditional homecoming! You can read more from JordanCon here. And what’s a round-up without memes? The ones feature today come from the Facebook groups Screw You All, I Love Wheel of Time and, one of my favorites, Shai’tan Posting. (One of my favorite scenes in the series!) This meme from Shai'tan Posting even had hilarious comments, like: "Sorry, I didn't hear you over the sound of the dice in my head." "#powercouple" "Change of plans. This escape is now a kidnapping. ~Mat that's-not-your-empress-that's-my-wife Cauthon" "He's like, I wish I could get off with only death by slow torture." As a math teacher, I love the Venn diagram memes.... That's all for this edition of Community Round-Up. Which theory about Nakomi do you think is true? Let us know in the comments!
JordanCon is a little more than a month away, and while we’re all looking forward to seeing our Wheel of Time friends and family again, we need to take a moment and address the current state of the world. As the Covid 19 virus is becoming more widespread, JordanCon wants all members—past, present, and future—to know they are taking every necessary precaution. JordanCon stated on Facebook earlier this week: Obviously keeping everyone safe is the top priority. But as long as conditions remain stable, the show will go on! Purchasing refundable plane tickets might be something to consider if you haven’t invested in tickets yet. Also, follow the recommendations of the CDC while traveling. JordanCon will take place at the Crown Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta, Georgia, from April 17th through the 19th. You can still pre-order tickets to all three days on JordanCon’s website. The pre-order option is available until March 20th.
The deadline to purchase the JordanCon 2020 anthology Become Legend is fast approaching! Order by March 25th to ensure you get a copy. This week’s author interview is with Saki Marie Harp talking about her addition “The Storyteller.” First, can you tell us about your writing? Is this your first published work? I have been writing for fun since my teacher told me I had written a brilliant story in first grade. After a spinal injury, I began writing for sanity. I don’t have the stamina to write proper novels, so I tend toward short stories and poetry. Though recently I spend much of my time focused on writing and arting comic books. I also love to verb. While I have had some poetry published long ago, this will be my first published short story. Where does your story fall on the speculative fiction scale? It’s fantasy, but there’s not really a lot of magic or anything. Just a dash of demon-human interbreeding. What excited you the most with writing this story? The story I submitted was unfinished. It was a mishmash of ideas and feelings that began as an exercise in writing a scene for a signing audience. It’s been exciting to see it change into a cohesive story with a meaningful message that I’m rather proud of. Are there any themes you want readers to get a sense of? The fantasy genre is full of interesting cultures and manual languages, but somewhat devoid of deaf or mute characters and cultures. I’m just doing my part to represent diverse abilities in fantasy. Is there a specific inspirational source you used for this story? The theme of the anthology is legends. In my research, I looked for folk tales featuring deaf people and found only one obscure Japanese myth. I was also inspired by the legend that the Plantagenet family descended from demons. I combined the need for more deaf stories and demonic fun times to create a new legend and a meta-legend. One plus one is three, I guess. What else would you like to say to your readers? Thank you for reading. I hope you like it. I’m looking forward to writing some more stories and comics featuring dis/differently-abled characters. I may even revisit these characters at some point, because now I’m curious about what they get up to after the end of the story. Thanks for talking with me Saki! You can find out more about Saki and her writing by following her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or checking out her website. To pre-order your copy of the anthology, you can visit JordanCon’s website.
Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's TV blogger. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for over fifteen years. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon. It appears that we now have our full roster of Wheel of Time directors! Ciaran Donnelly recently confirmed that he’s working on the show and his agency updated his CV to show that he’s working on the Season 1 “finale,” although that may actually be the last two episodes (Amazon have declined to confirm so far, as with most things about the project). That would fill up the last gap on the schedule. All the evidence is pointing towards the first season of The Wheel of Time having eight episodes in total, with four directors tackling two episodes apiece. First up is Uta Briesewitz who is handling Leavetaking and Shadow’s Waiting, followed by Wayne Yip with A Place of Safety and The Dragon Reborn, then Salli Richardson Whitfield with Blood Calls Blood and The Flame of Tar Valon. Ciaran Donnelly will be helming the last two episodes whose titles have not yet been confirmed. Television directors are notable in that they have far less power than in film, where they are the primary creative force. In television, directors are needed more to film in accordance with the “house style” which will be laid down in the first episode by the writers, producers and the director of the first episode (in this case, Uta Briesewitz). The job of all the directors who come after is to fit into that style and into the challenging filming schedule. That’s not to say they can’t bring their own filming styles and ideas to the party, but they have less room to be improvisational. But the choice of directors is still an important one for a TV show, and almost every show has a cadre of preferred directors the producers want to use as much as possible because their vision for the show adheres closest to that of the showrunners: think of Miguel Sapochnik on Game of Thrones, Jack Bender on Lost, David Nutter on The X-Files or Michael Rymer on Battlestar Galactica. So, who are our directors? Uta Briesewitz is a German film-maker who started off as a cinematographer, planning the photography and lighting of each scene in conjunction with the director. After small-scale films and TV shows, she got her big break in 2002 when she was recruited by David Simon to work on his HBO masterpiece, The Wire. She established the photography aesthetic of the whole show, resulting in its mix of documentary-style film-making with more dynamic dramatic moments. She continued to work with HBO on shows including John from Cincinnati, Hung and True Blood. HBO also gave her a first break at directing, with an opportunity to direct episodes of Hung. She subsequently directed episodes of Weeds, Orange is the New Black, The 100, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, The Defenders, The Deuce, This is Us, Altered Carbon, Westworld and Stranger Things, building up a strong rep in the process. Her work on the Season 2 Westworld episode “Kiksuya” has been particularly praised. Briesewitz also has a producer’s credit on The Wheel of Time, which is standard practice for the director of the first episode since they are also intimately involved in casting the main actors and establishing the look and feel of the whole show which will be adhered to for years to come. Wayne Yip is a British director who started his career in music videos in the mid-2000s. He then worked on short films for several years, winning a BAFTA Award in 2007. He moved into television in 2010 with Coming Up, Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Utopia. He began branching into filming for both British and American productions, and in recent years has worked on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Preacher, Cloak & Dagger, Doctor Who, Into the Badlands, Doom Patrol and Hunters. Yip has gained a reputation for working fast and reliably at a high level. In 2019 alone he directed eleven episodes on seven different shows, including the very challenging Into the Badlands which has extensive visual effects, martial arts and sword-fighting set pieces in every single episode. Salli Richardson-Whitfield is best-known as an actress. She started her career in the early 1990s in TV shows such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Stargate SG-1, CSI: Miami and House. Her best-known role was as a series regular in Eureka (aka A Town Called Eureka outside the US) from 2006 to 2012. More recently she’s appeared in shows like Criminal Minds, NCIS, Castle and Black Lightning. She moved into directing in 2011 with the short film Grace. Since then she has directed episodes of Eureka, Scandal, Lethal Weapon, Agents of SHIELD, Luke Cage, Black Lightning, The Punisher, The Magicians, American Gods, Doom Patrol and Altered Carbon. Like Yip she’s gained a reputation for working fast and effectively, with more than a dozen episodes of television shot last year alone. Irishman Ciaran Donnelly is the most experienced of the four directors, beginning his career in the 1990s with short films before moving into TV movies at the end of the decade. His TV work includes Cold Feet, Spooks, Donovan, The Tudors (which he work on with Maria Doyle Kennedy), Camelot, Once Upon a Time, Vikings, Krypton and Altered Carbon. We also now have confirmation that the composer for the show will be David Buckley. Buckley is a British composer now based in the USA. He has worked as a composer on films including Jason Bourne and Angel Has Fallen; TV series including The Good Wife, The Good Fight, Killing Lincoln and The Gifted; and video games including Metal Gear Solid 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Batman: Arkham Knight. You can listen to a selection of Buckley’s work on Spotify. Please let us know what you think of the creatives discussed today. Have you seen or heard any of their work? Any suggestions for directors for Season 2? As usual and until next time, peace.
Do you want to breathe new life into your hardback set of The Wheel of Time novels? If so, Juniper Books has just released a set of dust jackets that encompass all fourteen books within the main series and includes New Spring, the prequel. Juniper Books specializes in creating dust jackets that have a visual aesthetic. The Wheel of Time set shows an image of a dragon with the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai in the background. The complete set together looks stunning and can be visually appealing on anyone’s bookshelf. If you already have all the books in the series, you can buy only the dust jackets. If you don’t have all the books and you want them, now’s a good time to buy the books and the dust jackets all at once! Though these are not officially released by Tor or by anyone on Team Jordan, they were made with their approval. Juniper Books said, “We are so thrilled that Robert Jordan's wife and editor Harriet McDougal and co-author Brandon Sanderson both love this design. Celebrating Robert Jordan's incredible story with this jacket design has been an honor for the Juniper Books team. The design pays homage to the Dragon Banner, set against a backdrop representing The Flame of Tar Valon and the Dragon's Fang - opposing elements that represent the themes of balance and the cyclical nature of time present in the series.” To learn more about the other book series Juniper Books wares, you can look at their catalog here. Would you like to have these covers on your shelf? Let us know in the comments!
Adam Whitehead is Dragonmount's TV blogger. Adam has been writing about film and television, The Wheel of Time, and other genre fiction for over fifteen years. Be sure to check out his websites, The Wertzone and Atlas of Ice and Fire (including The Wheel of Time Atlas!) as well as his Patreon. Please note this article contains very mild spoilers for The Wheel of Time novels. Official glimpses of filming on The Wheel of Time TV show have been few and far between so far. Amazon has surrounded filming with an aura of secrecy and the only shots have been leaked photos snapped by eager fans. We’ve so far not published these out of respect for the production team’s wishes. However, there have been signs of this being relaxed somewhat in recent weeks. This week, the production even released a behind-the-scenes shot of the first day of filming. This shot is impressive, showing a significant amount of work has been done on building a chunk of the village for real. At least five fairly big buildings have been constructed, one of them presumably standing in for the Winespring Inn. What appears to have been an artificial tree has also been added to the location. Curiously, the village’s infamous Green is not present and the tree is standing somewhat incongruously by itself, but perhaps more greenery will be added in post-production. The lack of thatched roofs suggests that Cenn Buie has a different profession, or perhaps there are buildings elsewhere with thatched roofs. We know that the first scene shot for the series was Padan Fain arriving in Emond’s Field, the largest town in the Two Rivers, so it’s a good bet that this show shows us what Emond’s Field will look like on the show. A covered wagon and horses can be seen behind the tree, which is likely Padan Fain’s wagon, with a group of actors visible in dressing gowns. Also visible are the dolly tracks which will be used by cameras to take sweeping shots of the location. A few weeks ago, they also released the first shot of filming, showing Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor against a dramatic mountain backdrop. It’s a fair bet this is from early in the story, when our initial band of heroes are fleeing the Two Rivers for their lives with the Mountains of Mist dramatically looming in the background. We’ve heard reports over the shooting period that the team has been filming in snowy locations. This of course contrasts with The Eye of the World, which mostly runs through spring and the snows have melted (apart from on the mountains in the background, of course). Avoiding snow during shooting has been impossible, since the filming period started in September and has run straight through the winter in Slovenia and the Czech Republic, where snow is a common occurrence in mountainous regions such as the Sudetes and the eastern Alps. My suspicion is that the show will eliminate some of the snowfall in post-production or, more likely, will explain that the snowfall has lingered longer than normal into the spring. With filming now more than half-complete and due to wrap in May, it’s interesting to speculate on castmembers who have not yet been confirmed on the series. As of today, we still haven’t had roles such as Elayne, Morgase, Galad, Gawyn, Elyas Machera, Agelmar, the Bornhalds or Min confirmed (among many others). This may indicate they will not appear until later in the season or they have been working but not been announced yet. In addition, we are still unaware of what role Maria Doyle Kennedy will be playing (although she did react coly to the question of if she will be playing Elaida, whilst ignoring all other suggestions; read into that what you will). On a related note, I’ve also seen some questions recently about why the production has not been casting more North American actors. As of today, the only American actors confirmed on the show are Daniel Henney as Lan and Taylor Napier as Maksim, whilst Jennifer Cheon Garcia is Canadian. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that this is an international production drawing on the broadest possible casting base. There are several actors from the UK and the Republic of Ireland, but there are also actors from Spain, India, Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands. As such, two actors from the USA is not a massive underrepresentation. There are also other factors involved. The production is based in Prague and for recurring castmembers (those not in every episode) with other jobs going on, having to travel back and forth from North America to the Czech Republic between filming blocks might be impractical. The studio may also have budgetary restrictions in place limiting how many flights they will pay for; at least one of the reasons why Conan Stevens did not return as Gregor Clegane after Season 1 of Game of Thrones is because the studio was unwilling to pay to fly him back and forth from Northern Ireland to New Zealand, where he was filming The Hobbit trilogy. For actors based in the UK and Ireland, where Prague is only a couple of hours flight away on cheap airlines, this is much less of an issue. It also depends on the profile of the actor involved. If a major American name expressed a desire to be on the show which would boost its profile, it’s likely that Amazon would pay for that to happen. The Wheel of Time is first and foremost an ensemble piece, less reliant on outright star power beyond the few well-known actors that have been cast already (Kennedy and of course Rosamund Pike as Moiraine). As always, more news as we get it.