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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

By Mashiara Sedai, in Rotating Features,

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.

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’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!

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.   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.

By Mashiara Sedai, in Rotating Features,

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!

By Mashiara Sedai, in JordanCon,

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.

By Mashiara Sedai, in JordanCon,

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.

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.   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.   See more about what our team thinks of the Season 1 directors on The Wheel of Time Community Show on YouTube.    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.  

By Mashiara Sedai, in Merchandise,

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!

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. 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.

By Mashiara Sedai, in JordanCon,

Today's featured author of the JordanCon Anthology Become Legend is Vincent E.M. Thorn, with his submission entitled "The Witch Hunter."   First, can you tell us about your writing?  Is this your first published work? I decided I wanted to be an author at a pretty young age, so I’m pretty excited to finally be in a position to share the fruits of that dream. My contribution to the anthology, “The Witch Hunter,” is my second published work, the first being my debut novel titled Skies of the Empire, which launched last year.   Set in a land much like the wild west, “The Witch Hunter” is a coming of age story following a young girl named Harper, whose life is changed when the titular Witch Hunter rides into town. It was a fun challenge to write this one, which went through a couple iterations before it really came together.   Where does your story fall on the speculative fiction scale? “The Witch Hunter” is pretty firmly in the Fantasy side of things, leaning hard towards High Fantasy. The titular character is going after a legitimate, magic using witch, and there’s no room ambiguity on that front. Multiple mythical creatures are treated as par-the-course, as well.   What excited you the most with writing this story? There were a couple things that had me excited for this.   From the actual writing side of it, it was the challenge. Short stories don’t come naturally to me, as I have something of a complexity addiction. I suppose that comes from the fact almost everything I read falls into the ‘epic’ category. In my original attempt to tackle this story, the scope was too large and the point of view was wrong for a short story, so retooling that was an interesting task.   Outside the work, I was thrilled by the prospect of sharing page space with other writers I’ve met and gotten to know over the years. That’s just awesome.   Are there any themes you want readers to get a sense of? There are a few themes in “The Witch Hunter,” some deliberate, some I probably wove in subconsciously. On the intentional side, two I’m particularly fond of are taking charge of your own fate, and the end of one era is the beginning of another.   Is there a specific inspirational source you used for this story? There were a couple direct and indirect inspirations behind the scenes. Most prominently, I was inspired by the Witcher Saga by Andrzej Sapkowski, which also centers around a roving mercenary who fights evil through meticulous preparation and forethought. There is also a similar theme regarding the end of an era. The similar names, however, is entirely coincidental; Witchers don’t even hunt witches.   More for setting itself, I like Weird West stories, and I’m particularly fond of R.S Belcher’s Golgotha series, and think that more fantasy needs to take advantage of just the rich potential of the old west. I mean, come on, the gunslingers and sharpshooters are the American equivalent of knights and samurai.   Also, while I was writing, I made a historical discovery that I felt I absolutely needed to incorporate into the story: a weapon developed in 1856 called the LeMat Revolver, which was both a revolver and a shotgun. As soon as I learned that was real, there was no way I was leaving it out.   What else would you like to say to your readers? I hope you all enjoy “The Witch Hunter” and the other stories in the Become Legend anthology. This has already been such a fun experience, and I’m stoked to see this book in your hands.   Thank you, Vincent, for talking with me today.  You can find out more about Vincent's other works at his website, or follow him on Facebook.  The JordanCon 2020 anthology Become Legend is available for pre-order until March 25th.  You can purchase it on JordanCon’s website.

By Eqwina, in Fantasy Reviews,

The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song #1) By Brian D. Anderson   Crystal Fritz is Dragonmount's book reviewer. Read more reviews here.   My favorite aspect of the fantasy genre is that it transports us from our fast-paced and hectic world, and into realms of nostalgic and fantastic beauty. I hesitate to call these worlds simpler times, but nonetheless there is a fascinating quaintness to lives that are lived before the advent of modern technologies. In The Sorcerer's Song #1 The Bard’s Blade a new trilogy by author Brian D. Anderson, we are thrust in the midst of an epic love between two young people living in the picturesque and quaint Vylari.   Our heroin Mariyah is a strong-willed and obviously intelligent young woman with her heart set on marrying her oddball, but immensely talented musician beau named Lem. Their homeland of Vylari is a place of peace. Friendly neighbors, warm summer nights, enchanting music and good wine are prevalent, and as long as the barrier that hides their land from the evils of Lamoria remains intact it seems as if nothing can shatter the never-ending calm. As often happens, a stranger brings ill tidings of impending disaster that set Lem and Mariyah down very different paths. They are thrust into a world similar, and yet far harsher than any they are used to. Fanatical “god” worship, magic, and murder are all common place in Lamoria. Our heroes have to quickly learn how to adapt and survive in their startling new reality.   This novel is very much a story about love, but more than that the lengths that we will go to save what is precious to us. Decisions that we make can take us places we never thought to go, and that happens repeatedly to Lem and Mariyah. To avid readers of The Wheel of Time, there are many familiar situations and themes that give this novel a comforting feeling; almost like a favorite meal or a close friend. There are no epic battles and yet just enough intrigue to keep the pages turning. I believe this novel is highly accessible and would be a great introduction to the fantasy genre for someone looking to expand their horizons. For those of us who devour everything the genre has to offer The Bard’s Blade is an effortless read that reminded me how beautiful a simple story can be. This novel felt very much like coming home. Have you ever picked up a book and instantly felt like you had found a long-lost friend?   The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson 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 Mashiara Sedai, in Rotating Features,

Welcome back to another edition of Community Round-Up, where I show you some of the Wheel of Time or SF/F related things that have happened this past week.   First off, a video made by Titos_Firedancer appealed to our Wheel of Time community.  I saw it posted in most of the WoT places I follow.  This video showed the user Titos_Firedancer using a weighted sword in a beautiful (and potentially deadly) dance.     Naturally, the elegance displayed here made me search for similar fetes.  I found another “flow dancer,” Grace Good, who dances with a dragon staff!       While the first reminds me very much of how a Warder might fight, the second reminds me of the acts seen in Valan Luca's Grand Traveling Show and Magnificent Display of Marvelous Wonders.     Tor.com’s Dahlia Adler shared a fantastic article about the rise of queer characters in YA science-fiction and fantasy.  Gender identities and sexual orientations are gaining a wider audience in adult fiction, but representation for a younger audience is equally important.  Adler says, “In fact, I dare say that queer YA is finally big enough to have its own trends, and this past couple of years, there’s nothing we’ve seen rise further and faster than teenage witches in a whole rainbow of orientations and genders.”   You can read the whole article, as well as all the book recommendations, here!     For fan art, I saw an amazing representation of Juilun Sandar posted in the Facebook group Screw You All, I Love Wheel of Time.    Poor Juilun does get overshadowed—when traveling with Nynaeve, Elayne, and Thom, Juilun has to be the least dramatic of the bunch.  But his “figs and mice” speech is one of the best of his on-page episodes.   Also, Ariel Burgess shared some of her past Wheel of Time Valentine’s Day cards.       Memes are the gift that just keeps giving.  I found several from the man WoT Facebook groups.         That concludes this edition.  Which WoT character would you want to spend Valentine’s Day with?

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