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By Dragonmount.com, in Community & Events,

We're proud to announce the first in our series of exclusive Patreon guest chats, featuring Maria Simons on Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 1 PM U.S. Eastern Time. This event is available to our Patreon supporters. Learn more and sign up here.   About Maria Maria is a member of Team Jordan as well as the long-time research assistant to Robert Jordan and Harriet McDougal. She's perhaps the world's foremost expert on Wheel of Time lore, as well as the co-author of The Wheel of Time Companion. You will not find a more enjoyable, humorous, and knowledgable person related to this franchise.  About the Event This will be a LIVE virtual event, held over Zoom. All Patreon supporters at the Heron-Marked ($10) level and higher are invited.  If you are a not yet a Patreon supporter, or if you are a supporter at a lower tier, you are welcome to "upgrade" to the Heron-Marked level for a single month to gain access to this event.  More information about signing up is available on our Patreon page.    The event will begin with a moderated discussion with our guest, followed by an open Q&A where you can freely ask questions and chat. This is expected to be a somewhat smaller event, but if the number of attendees grows, we will moderate it but give everyone a chance to ask questions and be involved. The Zoom link will be emailed to all eligible patrons 24 hours before the event.     I hope you'll join us for this exciting event!  If you can't make it this time, that's OK, we'll record it and also host future chats with other special guests tied to The Wheel of Time franchise.

By Mashiara Sedai, in TV Show,

Amazon Prime's Wheel of Time television show had some major announcements for #WoTWednesday today!   Kae Alexander as Min Farshaw Sophie Okonedo as Siuan Sanche     Kae Alexander is a BAFTA elevate actress. Kae recently filmed action feature INFINITE for Paramount Pictures and the MALEFICENT sequel for Walt Disney Pictures. Other recent credits include Fox thriller DEEP STATE, THE GREAT WAVE directed by Indhu Rubasingham for the National Theatre, ITV/Amazon thriller STRANGERS for Two Brothers Pictures, 4 part series COLLATERAL written by David Hare and directed by SJ Clarkson for BBC / Netflix, BBC crime thriller HARD SUN, Reb in Steven Spielberg's READY PLAYER ONE and Elaine in Phoebe Waller-Bridge's comedy FLEABAG.   Sophie Okonedo's credentials are too long to list here, so we'll name a few.  Sophie began her film career in 1991 in the British coming-of-age drama YOUNG SOUL REBEL before appearing as Wachati Princess in ACE VENTURA: WHEN NATURE CALLS (1995) and Stephen Frears' DIRTY PRETTY THINGS (2002). She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Tatiana Rusesabagina in the 2004 film HOTEL RWANDA. Sophie also received a Golden Globe nomination for the miniseries TSUNAMI: THE AFTERMATH (2006) and BAFTA TV Award nominations for the drama series CRIMINAL JUSTICE (2009).   We are so excited to have these actresses join the Wheel of Time family!     Today, three other cast members were officially announced.  We already knew they were involved, but it's nice to have it official.   Kate Fleetwood as Liandrin Guirale Peter Franzen as Stepin Clare Perkins as Kerene Nagashi   Kate Fleetwood is a Tony and Olivier nominated actress with a storied career on stage. Her extensive screen credits include leading roles in Harlots (Hulu/ BBC), Brave New World (Peacock), Fate: The Winx Saga (Netflix), Victoria (ITV / PBC Masterpiece) and Macbeth (PBS). Kate’s film work includes Les Miserables, Beiruit, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.   Peter Franzén is one of Finland’s most accomplished actors and has enjoyed a successful career both nationally and internationally. Franzén’s career has spanned 20 years and includes over 90 movies and series in several countries- in English, Finnish, Swedish, Russian, Estonian speaking productions. He has been awarded three Jussi Awards (Finland’s  Academy awards) and a total of seven nominations.  He has also received awards from international film festivals.   London born and raised and graduate of Rose Bruford College, CLARE PERKINS' is a British actress with almost 30 years in the business. Having performed at some of the most prestigious London theatres such as the Almeida Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Hampstead Theatre, Royal Court  Theatre and the Gielgud Theatre, Clare has more recently been making a name for herself on screen, soon to be seen in Netflix crime drama, YOUNG WALLANDER. She will also star in series 4 of popular Netflix series, THE CROWN and the second series of comedy drama FLACK with Anna Paquin.   Things are starting to come together.  Perhaps a ta'veren is involved.   We don't see Siuan in the series until the start of The Great Hunt.  Is the fact Sophie Okonedo's been cast now a sign Siuan will pop up earlier than expected?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.   And be sure to check out our team's reaction The Wheel of Time Community Show:      

By Jaymie Greenway, in Rotating Features,

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 took 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 selected the most badass sister from each Ajah, as well as a runner-up for the title.   In Part One, we chose out the most badass Aes Sedai of the Green, Red, and Gray Ajahs. The Blue, Yellow, White, and Brown Ajahs saw their badass representatives hailed in Part Two. Part Three examined the dark side of badassery as the Black Ajah had their day.     In Part Four, it’s time to revere the ULTIMATE Badass Aes Sedai in all of Randland.   Of All Ajahs and Of None Egwene al’Vere Part One in our series took a look at the Badasses of three Ajahs, Green included. I received a LOT of feedback in the “BUT WHAT ABOUT EGWENE?!” category. I heard you. I did! But I had to save her for Part Four.   She may have identified as Green, holding her would-be Ajah in her heart, but her extraordinary circumstances created an Amyrlin like no other: they may all claim it, but only Egwene was truly and literally of all Ajahs and of none.   And she became  the absolute embodiment of Aes Sedai as she served, protected, battled, guided, maneuvered, and sacrificed her way to legend status.   So, let’s talk about Egwene – most of the good, some of the bad, and all of the awesome.   Maybe she’s born with it… Canonically, none of the major female characters are ta’veren. However, we must allow that the Pattern provided Egwene a lot with which to work:   She’s one of the strongest channelers in a thousand years. She picks up channeling remarkably quickly and astounds other Aes Sedai by being able to split her flow of the One Power in 14 ways.   She’s a Dreamer. Obviously, this comes in super handy throughout the series. (And as often as she’s mentioned, who else thought we might somehow get to meet Corianin Nedeal? Perhaps weirdly trapped in T’A’R? Maybe just me?)   Genetics and family history also come through for the assist – mayor dad, Women’s Circle member mom (in a small village, true, but she’ll still pick up on politics and group dynamics), Wisdom’s apprentice (again, yes, for a small village, but the Wisdom is Nynaeve, yo), and she carries the blood of Manetheren in her veins (*acknowledges the ongoing Egwene/Queen Eldrene reincarnation discussion/debate*). Like her ancestors, she’s hard-working, resourceful, and tenacious. At its worst, that tenacity manifests as stubbornness (muley stubborn, the girl Amyrlin is!). But far more often, it shines as perseverance, dedication, and resolve.  Oh, and she happens to have grown up with the Dragon Reborn. That might help down the road.   Additionally, she’s wicked smart.   Boldly going where no Randlander had gone before Along with her inherent traits and early-life experience, Egwene brings incredibly unique adventures to her interactions.   She’s traveled the Ways. She's sat at the fires of the Traveling People. She witnessed the “exorcism” of Shadar Logoth evil from Mat.   She’s been a Seanchan damane, where she learned their culture in the context of their greatest weapon, channeling; and was forced to rapidly develop her strength and dexterity in the Power (also coming in quite handily).   And, of course, she lived among the Aiel as an apprentice to Wise Ones. She went to learn Dreamwalking, but she also, thankfully and serendipitously, learns and eventually lives the Aiel code of honor and obligation, ji’e’toh, taking it back with her to the wetlands. Egwene’s training from, edification through, and intimacy with the Aiel is a turning point in her fascinating trajectory.   People…people who need people... Like all of our badasses, Egwene is not perfect.   So much stuff has been crammed into this girl for the purpose of prophecy-fulfillment that her youth seeps out every now and then, usually in the form of immature self-preservation, and usually directed toward the people she grew up with. Examples: her early-series bratty treatment of Nynaeve (to which Elayne, of all people, puts a stop); her bullying of Nynaeve and Elayne so she wouldn’t be discovered sneaking around T’A’R; and her behavior toward Mat after he rescues the girls from the Stone of Tear.   Rand remains a blind spot for her through nearly the entire series, as she often regresses back to a village-Wisdom’s-apprentice-type role when dealing with him. Even as the Last Battle begins, while they stand on the Field of Merrilor and Zen Rand reveals his plan to destroy the seals of the Dark One’s prison, Egwene hears only Stubborn Woolhead Rand, and treats her childhood sweetheart—and his plan—as such.   And her relationship with Gawyn is, for some readers, nothing short of infuriating. That analysis would likely fill an essay of its own.   However. I’m gonna give our young Amyrlin a few passes in light of endorsements from some tried and true badasses.   Egwene has earned the respect of the Wise Ones, namely Sorilea, Bair, Melaine, and the incomparable Amys. When she announces she must leave, they are more than disappointed and want her to stay with them. Stay! In the Waste! A wetlander!   Blue Ajah Badass and Amyrlin-turned-advisor Siuan Sanche also believes in Egwene, recognizing that she will “be an Amyrlin to make thrones tremble,” especially after Egwene reveals her plans for the Tower. (Lord Of Chaos, Ch. 37, When Battle Begins)   When Egwene meets our beloved Gareth One-Of-The-Five-Great-Generals Bryne, he gives her his trust and his army. Do we, as readers, believe we can peg Eggy better than one Master Gareth Bryne?   Do we?!   And while she gains the respect of novices, Accepted, and finally Aes Sedai after her captivity in the Tower, her championing by Red Badass Silviana Brehon really seals the deal, for us readers and for the Tower.   She did it all for the Tower (c’mon!) the Tower… Ironically, Egwene’s youth—or, lack of years—ultimately allowed for her greater vision, her grasp of the big picture.   She seemed to have unbelievable political savvy for her age, but Egwene was so focused on the right things that she could see through the wrong. Lelaine and Romanda? She’ll use their faults to her advantage, playing them against each other to achieve her larger goal of uniting the Tower. Siuan makes lots of sense and respects her? She’ll soak up the former Amyrlin’s tutelage like sponge, for it will do nothing but help her unite the Tower. You rebels raised me Amyrlin and remained loyal to me? Awesome, but I don’t actually owe you anything. In fact, YOU owe the TOWER an apology, for your part in the break. Hop to, so we can get back to work uniting the Tower.   Essentially, Egwene wasn’t bogged down by years and years of scheming and favors and grudges and personal goals. Her mind isn’t clouded with individual alliances, or “well, that’s not possible,” or “um, we don’t do that here.” When the Tower broke themselves, Egwene was able to respond with, “All bets are off. You ruined this. Now I’m going to fix it and you DO NOT get to tell me how.”   Homegirl’s a badass, pure and simple.   I’ll wrap this fourth Most Badass Aes Sedai installment with Egwene’s (arguably) Top Three Most Badass Moments:   Honorable Mention (because, so many moments) Her overall maneuvering, first within the rebel camp, and then gloriously and so victoriously within the Tower. She shines when she gets the rebels off of their collective arse and cleverly declares war on Elaida in a beautifully written scene. Then she absolutely radiates as a prisoner in the Tower, as the culmination of every single positive trait Egwene possesses convinces the Tower Aes Sedai of their true goal.   3. The Seanchan attack on the Tower. “The woman stood like vengeance itself, the power of saidar like a storm around her. The very air seemed alight, and her brown hair blew from the wind of the open gap in the wall beside them. Egwene al’Vere.” - POV of Adelorna Bastine (The Gathering Storm, Ch. 40, The Tower Shakes)   2. The dinner that changes everything. When Egwene names Elaida coward and Elaida loses her actual damn mind, I’m ready to stand up and cheer. And then… “They could all see the weaves, and they could all see that Egwene did not scream, although her mouth was not gagged by Air. Her arms dripped blood, her body was beaten before them, and yet she found no reason to scream. Instead, she quietly blessed the Aiel Wise Ones for their wisdom” … “‘By the Light,’ Rubinde whispered.” (The Gathering Storm, Ch. 16, In the White Tower)   Yes, girl. By the Light, INDEED.   1. The Flame of Tar Valon. Egwene discovers and channels the counter-weave to balefire, then wields it during the Last Battle to defeat the Sharans, knowingly sacrificing herself to make the stand. We all have a picture in our heads of Egwene’s blaze of glory, and no summary provided here will do that image justice.       Do you agree with this Part Four assessment? Is Egwene al’Vere the ultimate Badass Aes Sedai? What other moments are her most badass?  

By Eqwina, in Fantasy Reviews,

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi   I have reached an important conclusion concerning my identity as a reader. I am officially a science fiction fan. I can go on to add a willing and excited reader of science fiction. I am new enough to the genre to know I still have a lot to explore, but my first few forays in the world of science fiction have been a triumph. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is no exception. In fact, since finishing this book I have already gone on to begin book two. In my mind that is the highest compliment I can give to an author; to immediately read more of their works.    I learned that for me to truly invest myself into the world a fantasy or science fiction author creates, there has to be a certain level of familiarity. A blend of what truly exists in our world and the unique features of the universe that they have created. It is a delicate balance to borrow and adapt without seeming to “steal” too much of our reality. It is a dance I face daily in my own writing, and one that I think Scalzi executes masterfully.    Being a relative newb to this genre, I often find myself rereading passages to make sure I understand what is being conveyed. When reading The Collapsing Empire, the rules of the world were presented in such a fashion it was almost as if I had always known of their existence. I hesitate to give away too much of this gem, but the book is set up as the possible future of the human race after Earth has been lost, or at least deemed uninhabitable. The majority of the population is spread throughout the universe and living on planets that are not truly inhabitable. The only civilization that lives on a planet’s surface, is the End.  In order to survive they make use of The Flow, to sustain trade and keep each planet supplied with that they need to survive. The Flow, which is essentially a one-directional worm hole between planets is essential to the survival of the entire Interdependency. The question becomes, what happens when this pivotal network no longer functions as it should?    Since its founding, the Interdependency has been led by the Emperox from the Wu family, and as the story begins the leader of the Universe is dying and his unwilling daughter is preparing to assume the weight of the entire system on her shoulders. As is true of any ruler, there are those who wish to control, or even replace her right from the first moments of her rule. While most of the story is told from only three characters' point of view, we are shown the deep impact of their decisions on the fate of the human race.    This succinct and captivating novel can easily be finished in one midafternoon reading marathon, and Scalzi’s characters are so engaging that you truly won’t want to put it down. As I read the last sentence, I found myself feeling very grateful that I was able to immediately begin the next book in the series. I think having to wait for the next book would have been a reader’s torture. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book to have on hand for when you have a few hours to yourself. I can confidently say that you will enjoy this highly accessible Space-opera.    The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.   

By MahaRaj, in Books and eBooks,

Rajiv Moté is Dragonmount's book blogger with a lens on the craft of fiction writing. When he's not managing software engineers, he writes fiction of his own, which can be found cataloged at his website.   Spoilers below for The Wheel of Time books, and the prologues or epilogues of The Handmaid's Tale, A Game of Thrones, The Deathly Hallows, and The Return of the King.   The Eye of the World begins with one of the most memorable prologues in epic fantasy, a confrontation between a fallen hero-turned-madman and a villain who takes no joy in his apparent victory. It drops tantalizing hints of a world that is never fully explained, along with the idea that this battle has raged through an endless cycle of ages. And in Chapter One, on an empty road, thousands of years later, the actual story begins. I love prologues and epilogues. They let authors--and their readers--play at the edges of the story. They bridge the installments, expand the world, or just provide more emotional build-up and release. The early-release Wheel of Time prologues, beginning with “Snow” from Winter’s Heart, were like trailers for long-awaited movies. The epilogues of comic books--and the post-credits scenes of the movies comic books inspire--suggest possibilities sometimes more exciting than the stories themselves. “The Grey Havens” in The Lord of the Rings taught grade-school-age me the notion of beautiful melancholy. In The Wheel of Time, the only books without a prologue are New Spring and The Shadow Rising. In the former’s the first chapter, “The Hook,” Lan’s witnessing the end of the Aiel War feels isolated enough from the main story to feel like a prologue. In the latter book, parts of the first chapter were, in fact, a prologue in the advanced reading copy before being integrated. The Shadow Rising’s first chapter surveys a number of points-of-view, a technique both Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson used in subsequent prologues. “Snow” and the prologues that followed, seemed to be written specifically for advance release, checking in on several characters--major and minor--to tease the upcoming book. By contrast, Lord of Chaos is the first book where Robert Jordan used an epilogue, a practice he did not pick up again until 2003-2004, with Crossroads of Twilight and New Spring. But even as early as The Eye of the World, when Moiraine told Lord Agelmar what must be done with the Horn of Valere, and spied on Rand while declaring “the Dragon is Reborn,” Jordan used the final scenes less to conclude the arc of the current novel than to set up the next one. The final chapter, “After,” of The Great Hunt, was even more explicitly an epilogue, switching to an omniscient point-of-view to describe how the ending of the Hunt reverberated across the continent. Prologues and epilogues, whether labeled so or not, are consistent features of The Wheel of Time. They give readers a look at the story’s place in the larger world, either through new point-of-view characters (in a story with dozens already), or sweeping narration across ages and geography. Most Western notions of story demand that it begins when the protagonists face a threat to their status quo, and ends with a new status quo. In big, secondary world stories, prologues and epilogues allow readers to break outside the structure of Aristotle's unities (action, place, time) and Gustav Freytag’s dramatic acts (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement). We glimpse people and events that inform--but are not part of--the story to come, or linger in the denouement, seeing how the story ripples beyond its bounds. We get to enjoy further the world in which they are investing hours of imaginative immersion. The Eye of the World’s prologue puts Rand al’Thor’s story into the vaster context of an eternal battle between the Dragon and the Dark One, where Rand’s struggle becomes Lews Therin’s second chance. This widening scope shares similarities with the epilogue of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It occurs hundreds of years after the events of Offred’s story. An academic puts Offred’s harrowing and uncertain fate into the context of the rise and fall of the oppressive regime of Gilead. In both novels, these story fragments, separated in time, reframe the main tale. Both offer hope in the long arc of history. They imply other stories. The “Dragonmount” prologue introduces readers to the saga’s real stakes. On the way to Tarmon Gaidon, though, there are hundreds of pages focused on the Aiel, the return of Hawkwing’s armies, the Shaido, the Bowl of Winds, Andor’s royal succession, and the schism and healing of the White Tower. The prologue keeps readers’ eyes on the prize. The prologue in George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones does the same, letting the readers know that the Iron Throne is a distraction from the real threat: the Others are coming (someday?) with The Winds of Winter. The scope of epics means not every plot thread gets wrapped up when the core story ends. Falling action and denouement can be a narrow frame for the catharsis readers want. In “To See the Answer,” the epilogue to A Memory of Light, we know that the Light triumphed in Tarmon Gaidon, but we still want hints of what the future holds for our surviving heroes in the Fourth Age. The answers give us just enough to imagine the future. And like Sister Night stepping out onto a swimming pool at the end of HBO’s Watchmen, a mysteriously lit pipe suggests an entirely new set of possibilities that will only live in our imaginations. The Wheel turns. Sometimes we want more than just assurances that the story goes on. It’s not essential to know that, at the end of The Lord of the Rings, the mallorn tree that Samwise Gamgee planted became famous, and the beer of 1420 was remembered for generations. But it feels good. And fans young and old were glad to know that after Voldemort’s destruction, Harry married Ginny, Hermione married Ron, they all remained friends, and their children attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, surely to have adventures of their own. After spending years invested in a story world, readers take comfort not only that the world continues, but that it’s a better place for the struggles of its heroes. Readers need structure to navigate a sprawling epic. But they want emotional payoffs too, and everyone has a secondary plot line, character, or detail they hold especially dear. Prologues and epilogues, the stories around the stories, give the reader this richer satisfaction. When I return to these worlds, they’re the first parts I revisit. What’s your favorite prologue or epilogue?

By Mashiara Sedai, in TV Show,

The latest casting announcement for the Amazon Prime Wheel of Time television show has been announced.   Darryl McCormack as Aram Maria Doyle Kennedy as Ila Narinder Samra as Raen         These new announcements shouldn't come as any real shocker.  Darryl McCormack and Maria Doyle Kennedy were introduced as characters ages ago.  Many speculated that Darryl McCormack could be Aram, but most thought Maria Doyle Kennedy was sure to play an Aes Sedai.  It's nice to finally have confirmation for these two characters, and the addition of Narinder Samra as Raen.     I personally love the idea of the Tuatha'an within the series.  Their way of life is simplistic and idealistic.  But like Perrin, I agree it's not really applicable in society.  Still, I cannot wait to see the Tinkers on the screen.  Perhaps the show will even give more closure for their society than what we received in the novels.  Maybe they'll find their song.   You can check out the latest edition of The Wheel of Time Community Show where Thom gives you all the details you'll need about our beloved Tinkers.     Did anyone anticipate Maria Doyle Kennedy as Ira?  Let us know in the comments!    

By Mashiara Sedai, in TV Show,

The latest casting announcement for the Amazon Prime Wheel of Time television show has been announced.   Darren Clarke as Basel Gill     Basel Gill plays an important role in reuniting our beloved Two Rivers characters, and this announcement could mean we're getting closer to the in-book scenes in Caemlyn.  Will Elyane be revealed next?  Or maybe Morgase?  Gareth Bryne?  Maybe Elaida?   Or is this an indication that Master Gill's character is changing or evolving from his role in the books?  The Twitter feed for @WOTonPrime seems to be aligning their announcements with what's happening in the books--based on the #TwitterofTime book club reading of The Eye of the World.  If we get this information when Basel isn't even mentioned (they read chapters 19-22 this week), it could be foreshadowing about changes to the storyline.   What do you think?  Is the Two Rivers group heading to Caemlyn?  Or will Basel Gill appear elsewhere?  Let us know what you think in the comments below!      

By Werthead, in TV Show,

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.   Things have been surprisingly busy since our last check-in, with Amazon revealing multiple new castmembers for the show.   To quickly get up to speed, the new characters announced are as follows:   Christopher Sciueref as Abell Cauthon. Juliet Howland as Natti Cauthon. Mandi Symonds as Daise Congar. Lolita Chakrabarti as Marin al’Vere. Michael Tuahine as Bran al’Vere. David Sterne as Cenn Buie. Abdul Salis as Eamon Valda Stuart Graham as Geofram Bornhald. Jennifer Preston as Mistress Grinwell. Pasha Bocarie as Master Grinwell. Izuka Hoyle as Dana.   With the exception of “Dana,” these are all characters well-established in the books, consisting of a sizeable chunk of the Emond’s Field supporting cast, two of the Whitecloaks and two farmers met by Rand and Mat on their journey. There are two questions that the latest casting announcements encourage: who is Dana and why haven’t we heard anything about Elayne or Min?   There is no Dana, there is Only…? In the Wheel of Time novels, the name Dana is notable by not actually existing. The closest approximation is “Dena,” the name of a young gleeman whom Thom takes on as a student (and lover) in The Great Hunt. Changing “Dena” to “Dana” seems fairly pointless, but it is possible that they will introduce Dena much earlier in the TV show and perhaps have Thom meet her after he parts ways with Rand and Mat. Keeping Thom’s story on screen saves it disappearing for a large stretch of time (probably well into the second season), which is useful for keeping the actor gainfully employed in the meantime.   It is also possible that the producers have already decided not to feature Dena (a very minor character in the books) and borrowed her name for Else Grinwell. With several “E” names already present in the first season (Egwene, Elayne, presumably Elyas), introducing some name variety is a good idea. It seems a bit silly, but other shows have also done this kind of name-changing on occasion (most famously, turning “Asha Greyjoy” in Game of Thrones into “Yara Greyjoy” because they deemed it too similar to the already-introduced wildling character of Osha). The fact that Dana was announced at the same time as the Grinwells adds credence to that theory, although you’d assume that they’d also have just announced her as “Dana Grinwell” in that case.   There is also the possibility that “Dana” is a codename for another role, ranging from Mili Skane (the last Darkfriend standing, first introduced in The Eye of the World) to the intriguing (if somewhat farfetched) possibility that she is actually “Dana Bornhald,” the genderflipped daughter of Geofram Bornhald. That seems unlikely, but remains a possibility, since Dana and Dain are closely related names.   Is Min MIA? Another discussion engendered by the announcements is the fate of Elmindreda Farshaw, or “Min,” a fan-favourite character who appears early on in The Eye of the World. Min only has a small role in that book but goes on to have a much bigger role in the rest of the series.   Min first appears in the town of Baerlon. Curiously, we have not heard any casting at all for notable characters in Baerlon (such as Dain Bornhald, despite his father being cast) and the episode titles suggest that if our heroes are stopping in Baerlon at all in the show, it’ll be for a very brief visit (the second episode is called Shadow’s Waiting, suggesting that most or all of the Shadar Logoth storyline will take place in that episode, which limits the time that can be spent in Baerlon). This has led to the speculation that Min has been cut from the first season and will appear in Tar Valon in Season 2, or, more intriguingly, will show up in the Queen’s Blessing Inn instead, working for Basel Gill. The rumour mill suggests that Gill has also been cast, but we have had no official confirmation from Amazon yet. This latter idea has a lot of promise, since it means that Min and Rand can meet up and spend several days together rather than the comparatively brief meeting in Baerlon.   My strong suspicion is that Min has been cast for Season 1 but not announced yet, and appearing later in the season would explain why the announcement has not yet been made. Of course, it could be that “Dana” is a code name for Min.   Trakands or Not Trakands? Another question is hovering over the fate of the entire family Trakand. The royal family of Andor has a small but key role in The Eye of the World, when Rand’s curiosity gets the better of him and he ends up in an ad hoc royal audience with Queen Morgase and her court. Particularly important in this sequence is that he meets Elayne Trakand, Daughter-Heir of Andor, but many characters critical to the later storylines show up at this point: Gawyn, Galad, Gareth Bryne, Elaida, Morgase, Lini and Martyn Tallanvor.   That’s seven characters with multi-season roles to introduce at once, which is why I’m increasingly sceptical that it will be adapted faithfully. It might make more sense, especially from a budgetary point of view, to skip this scene and introduce Elayne, Gawyn and Galad in Season 2 instead, and potentially Morgase and Gareth as well (Lini and Tallanvor are relatively minor characters who are ripe for the chopping, although I think fans would hate to see Lini and her endless quotes cut from the series). The only problem with this approach is that Elayne and Elaida are such major characters that introducing them as early as possible seems like a much better idea. They could also cut the difference: cut the court scene but introduce Elayne and Elaida via the expanded Logain storyline, as we know there will be new material for Logain relating to his capture in battle and subsequent journey to Caemlyn and Tar Valon (it’s also likely that this is where we will meet Alanna and Liandrin).   These are key questions that will, of course, keep fans guessing until Amazon confirm the full cast for the first season.   As usual, let us know your thoughts in the comments and keep checking in with the Dragonmount TV page for the latest developments.

By Jason Denzel, in People,

Harriet McDougal is best known for her illustrious career as a book editor, including for her work on the Wheel of Time. She's also been an acclaimed sponsor, donor, and all-around humanitarian, but now she can add one more thing to her list of accomplishments:  being featured on TV.   Recently, TV personality Monty Don featured her home on his program, Monty Don's American Gardens. In this particular episode he explores the gardens of the Southern United States, including Harriet's hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.    We coved this topic in our latest episode of The Wheel of Time Community Show on YouTube. Take a look:   Tell us what you think in the comments, and don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

By Mashiara Sedai, in TV Show,

Amazon Prime announced today, via social media, the casting of three actors for The Wheel of Time TV show.   Jennifer Preston as Mistress Grinwell Pasha Bocarie as Master Grinwell Izuka Hoyle as Dana         There’s already been some debate on who Dana might be.  Listed with Mistress and Master Grinwell, logic would say she’s Else Grinwell but with a different name (we already have two major characters with E names—Egwene and Elayne—so this change might be to cause less confusion for TV viewers).  There’s also Dena—Thom’s apprentice in The Great Hunt.  It seems too early to have her appearing, though.  But in the world of cinematic storytelling, who know!   Let us know who you think Dana might be in the comments below!  

By Jason Denzel, in TV Show,

Amazon Prime announced today, via social media, the casting of 2 actors for The Wheel of Time TV show.    Abdul Salis as Eamon Valda. Stuart Graham as Geofram Bornhald.     . These actors have been rumored for a while, but we've only now reported on them because of Amazon's confirmation.    Production on the TV show has been halted since March due to the global COVD-19 pandemic. It's believed that filming will resume this summer, perhaps as early as July, in Prague where most of the show has been filmed. So far 6 out of the first 8 episodes for Season 1 have been shot.    Casting for the TV show is primarily handled by the KVH Casting Agency in London. For more information on The Wheel of Time TV show and cast, visit our TV section.   Check out what we thought about this casting announcement on The Wheel of Time Community Show on YouTube.    Tell us what you think of these casting announcements in the comments!    

By Eqwina, in Fantasy Reviews,

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor   There is great beauty in a willingness to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I have come to find it even more important in our world’s changing and uncertain times to surround myself with media that helps to broaden my worldview. In my opinion it is truly one of the best things about literature, more so than any other medium. Reading requires you to use your imagination and visualize. A well written book can take you to another world and allow you to walk in someone else’s shoes.   Binti is a 2015 award-winning science fiction novella by Nnedi Okorafor. Our main character Binti is a sixteen-year-old minority prodigy.  She is offered a position at the prestigious Oomza University, something that no one else in her village would ever consider. Part of the Himba people, Binti was always destined to succeed her father in their business. The Himba people are deeply tied to their ancestral land, and they believe that if you move away you will begin to diminish. They even coat their bodies in a special material “Otjize” made from a red clay from the earth and the oil from local flowers. It is what makes Binti’s resolve to venture out into the universe even more inspiring.    Surrounded by people foreign to herself, Binti finds similarities in a love of learning. She quickly makes friends and becomes more comfortable with the idea of being so far from home. Much like in real life, Binti’s leap of faith is not met with an easy road. She is faced with challenges and strife and is forced to find her own inner strength. I would recommend this book to fantasy and sci-fi readers alike. It is a quick read and offers a story that is richly woven with ethnic issues. I am excited to read the next two novellas in the series.    Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller. 

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