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 filming on hold due to the global coronavirus pandemic, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’d be no news to share. Fortunately, the cast and crew of the show have put their time in quarantine to good use. A couple of weeks back, Rafe Judkins dropped in on a virtual JordanCon panel (with Matt Hatch, Shannan Lieb, Daniel Greene, Jennifer Liang and myself) to drop some nuggets of new information about the show. He confirmed that six episodes of the first season – rather than the previously reported four – had completed filming before the lockdown, leaving only two incomplete. Editing and post-production of those six episodes are in progress even during the lockdown. Rafe also confirmed that the show’s first two seasons will consist of eight episodes apiece. Encouraging news has also come out of the Czech Republic, where The Wheel of Time has been shooting. The Czech Republic enacted a severe lockdown very early in their outbreak of the virus, sealing borders with more adversely-affected countries and reinforcing their health service. As a result, the Republic has seen cases and fatalities both plummet. The country began easing restrictions two weeks ago and there has been no sign of a surge in new cases. As a result, the country’s government has given permission for shooting on various productions to resume, as long as cast and crew subject themselves to several days of isolation and testing after entering the country. The second season of Carnival Row is expected to resume shooting in the next few weeks, and discussions are underway with Marvel and Disney to remount the aborted Prague leg of shooting for The Falcon and Winter Soldier. In the latter case there was only a few days of shooting booked for Prague with most of the remaining shooting to be undertaken on the main sound stages back in Atlanta, Georgia, which so far remains shut down for filming (but likely not for much longer). Interestingly, The Wheel of Time is apparently not rushing back to filming. About six weeks of shooting were left on the clock for the first season, so more work definitely needed to be done but the current reports suggest that a resumption of filming is further out. This may be a nod to the show’s more international crew, with actors and crew having to return from other countries where pandemic restrictions and lockdowns are still in place. Interestingly, Rosamund Pike (Moiraine) chose to remain in Prague during lockdown and seems raring to get back to work. Still, the situation is better there than it is for countries still at the peak of their respective outbreaks; the UK, where filming of the second season of The Witcher and the first season of Joss Whedon’s new show, The Nevers, were in full swing, is unlikely to allow production to resume for many more weeks. In additional news, actor Daniel Henney has hosted one of his online Q&As. He confirmed that he is in the process of reading the books and notes that Lan in the show will retain his commitment to loyalty and duty, elements he finds inspiring. He also noted that he found the sets built for the show to be overwhelming, and the most impressive he’s ever worked with. Back to Rafe, he recently asked a question on Twitter about how fans think the prologue should be handled. He’s previously confirmed that the first episode will open with Rand and Tam on the Quarry Road, so the prologue is not opening the series, and there have been no signs that it’s been filmed in the first season (no possible casting, so far, for Lews Therin or Ishamael, for example). It’s likely that the scene will appear eventually as a flashback. My feeling is that the producers want to avoid the problem of other productions where they’ve hired actors for the first season, had a long break before getting back to them and then finding them unavailable, so have had to recast (a repeated bane of casting on Game of Thrones, for example). It may make more sense to hold back until the studio can do a better deal with the actors to lock them in place for a longer stint. That may also feed into how they want to handle Lews Therin’s “voice” in the film, whether it’ll just be a voiceover or maybe a more physical presence, and also whether they want the same actor to play Ishamael/Ba’alazamon and Moridin. As usual, please follow the Dragonmount TV page for the last developments and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Hello, all! Welcome back to another Community Round-Up! Let’s dive right in. Some major news on the Amazon Prime Wheel of Time show, Daniel Henney—who plays Lan Mandragoran—did a Q&A on Instagram this week. It was amazing to listen to the obvious reverence Daniel has for Lan. As someone who has loved Lan dearly since I first read the series (my Dragonmount name is Mashiara, so my love for this character should be pretty obvious), I am beyond excited to see Daniel in this role. The happiness of JordanCONline last month can’t be put into words. I am so thankful for Jenn and Jimmy Liang, as well as all the JordanCon staff and volunteers who helped put the event together. It was amazing to spend time with friends and listen to Wheel of Time related discussions. The highlight, of course, being when Rafe Judkins—the show runner for the Amazon Prime show—joined the WoT on Prime panel. Rafe, obviously under a non-disclosure agreement, was limited in what he could say. But he did share plenty of great information that already had the panelists, especially Matt Hatch of The Dusty Wheel, theorizing. You can read a quick synopsis of Rafe’s Q&A here, or check out all the JordanCONline recorded panels on their YouTube channel. Dragonmount’s The Wheel of Time Community Show recapped all that happened at JordanCONline! You can watch Ebony and Thom discuss here! Along those same lines, JordanCon’s March Madness Fantasy Artifacts brackets came to a close. The ultimate winner was: the Chodean Kal! Not really a surprise there, in my opinion. This event was a lot of fun and I’d love to see it happen again next year. Tor.com’s Sylas K Barrett—who is currently doing his first time read through of the series—highlighted the changes we see from Mat Cauthon as the series progresses. Sylas is currently on The Shadow Rising, which is where Mat visits Rhuidean and goes through the second doorframe Ter’angreal. That trip certainly does change him! But Sylas also points out how the other characters are unable, or unwilling, to see these changes. It’s a very interesting read! You can check out all of Sylas’s writings on The Wheel of Time here! Is anyone play Animal Crossing in their downtime? I know I am. And here’s great news, there’s a WoT Animal Crossing Group on Facebook! You can play with Wheel of Time friends—some of which even have WoT themed islands, clothes, and landscapes. (As mentioned above, I love Lan, so my island is named Malkier.) You can even find random Animal Crossing things in other WoT spaces. Christopher posted this in the JordanCon group: his creation of the Wheel and Serpent pattern you can use in the game! Now onto the memes! This one I really like because I think Galad will help the Children of the Light become less evil. And of course everyone is so happy for the new reaction of Facebook! That's all of this edition. Don't you think Daniel Henney is going to be amazing as Lan? Please leave your comments below!
A Memory Called Empire By Arkady Martine Some of my first and fondest memories as a child are of hiding in my closet with a camp light so that I could read, undisturbed, for the entire day. I devoured all forms of fiction, with the exception of one.... Science Fiction. Over the years I have given several Sci-Fi novels a chance, but none managed to hold my interest till the end. When I was presented with A Memory Called Empire to review, I knew that for the first time that streak was going to come to an end. What surprised me was how thoroughly I enjoyed this science fiction novel. We are launched into a world where small, planet-less stations do what they can to remain just outside of the control of the Empire, Teixcalaan. A young Ambassador, Mahit Dzmare, is being sent from Lsel Station to Teixcalaan to replace her recently deceased predecessor. She is equal parts trepidation and excitement; with all the vigor of someone young and eager to prove themselves. Mahit very quickly finds herself utterly alone and unsure who she can trust among the stoic and expressionless Teixcalaanlitzlim. The entire novel takes place in the span of days, not months or years, which means that it moves along at a lightning pace. Many of the choices Mahit is forced to make are born out of urgent necessity. She is forced to think on her feet and move with profound purpose. Arkady Martines’ debut novel is a fantastic blend of political intrigue and personal ambition. I found myself repeatedly impressed with the depth of detail she created surrounding both culture and political conspiracy. At times the poetic nature of the language takes a second reading, and the intense vocabulary requires careful concentration. I am happily shocked to report that I am anxiously awaiting the next novel in this series. The story is beautifully designed to pull you into the Lsel Ambassador’s psyche and leave you aching to know of her future. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
This weekend, JordanCon hosted an online version of the beloved convention dedicated to Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time series, and all things fantasy. The Wot on Prime panel had some amazing panelist: Jennifer Liang, Shannan Lieb, Matt Hatch, Adam Whitehead, and Daniel Green. But the surprise guest blew us all away: Rafe Judkins, the show runner for the Amazon Prime Wheel of Time show. Rafe’s presence was a complete shock to watchers on YouTube. Once everyone calmed down, the group talked about casting choices (discussing the amazing acting by Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones and how it won over the fans), the progress of the series (Rafe did nod when Matt said the series will not premier in 2020, and nodded again when Jenn said there won’t be 14 seasons), and how new fans who haven’t read the series might react to the show (Daniel promotes peace between book fans and show fans). Rafe spoke about how fans will react to his adaptation. A lot of factors play into it—alluding to what they could get a dog to do on a Saturday—but Rafe insists he’s keeping the heart and spine of the series whole. He’s casting actors on the ability to portray the soul of the character, or keeping the heart of the scene, even if it’s different from the actual scene from the books. Rafe went into detail about how hiatus has affected the show, including having all eight scripts for season two finished before they start filming it and how that will positively impact editing and the flow of shooting. He shared a story of Josha Stradowski (Rand), Marcus Rutherford (Perrin), and Barney Harris (Mat) sneaking out together in a very similar way the three ta’veren heroes are often out finding trouble. Jenn asked why Rafe wanted to be involved in The Wheel of Time show and Rafe’s answer was perfect—and reminiscent of Brandon Sanderson’s answer for finishing the series—he doesn’t want anyone else to do it because they might mess it up. Rafe continued on this topic and praised Brandon for his support on the project. Adam asked about how gender will play into the show and Rafe answered that the Wheel of Time series addressed many gender issues when it was first released and wants to focus on making sure those points are made in a modern way (my interpretation is the show will not be focusing on feminism from the 1990s, but address it from a 2020-ish perspective). He also talked about major themes of fate, hope and destiny will be prominent within the show. Matt asked how the show will honor Robert Jordan, and Rafe answered there’ll be more of a feel of Harriet McDougal (Robert Jordan’s widow), Maria Simons (Robert Jordan’s assistant and member of Team Jordan), and Brandon Sanderson. He also uses audio clips of Jordan’s book signings for help with pronunciations. Rafe feels behind the scenes footage is better left until after the actual footage has been seen. He says pictures will be released before any behind the scenes footage. Before leaving, Rafe did praise Wheel of Time fans for our kindness. Jenn had to reiterate how we try to have a “No Jerks” policy in all our spaces. After Rafe left, panelists speculated about tidbits Rafe said. The first being the reference to a dog not doing what it was supposed to on a Saturday—Jenn suggests it might be the scene where Mat flours Haral and Alsbet Luhhan’s dogs? There was also heavy emphasis on how Rafe is a huge fan of the series and how similar his answer was to Brandon Sanderson on why he got involved with the show. You can watch the recorded video on JordanCon’s YouTube page, including real-time fan chat! You can check out other JordanCONline videos here! So what do you think? Will Rafe’s fan status ease your worries? Let us know in the comments below!
Though the annual JordanCon was canceled in the physical realm, they’re taking the party to a mystical place similar to tel’aran’rhiod… the internet. More specifically, JordanCon’s website, their Discord server, and other meeting apps like Zoom. Today, JordanCon released this weekend’s schedule: Thursday night will have a JordanCon countdown. Join the Discord server and party till the party starts! Friday’s events start with the “Kilts and Crowns Kickoff on our Social Media.” This event can be accessed several places, including JordanCon’s website, their Facebook group, Twitter, and Instagram. Don’t say they’re not giving you options. There will also be a “Dragonsteel Kickstarter” where Brandon Sanderson and Dragonsteel will reveal their latest project. There will also be livestreams with artists Ariel Burgess and Paul Bielaczyc—Ariel’s will be demonstrating digital painting techniques, while Paul’s will host other artists for a game of Drawful. As usual, Saturday is the day for cosplay! Follow or post your own pictures on all of JordanCon’s social media accounts. Jennifer Liang and Adam Whitehead, along with other panelists, will discuss “WoT on Prime,” delving into all we know about the show and other things we can guess. No Texas Hold-em Tournament this year, but JordanCon is still raising money of the Mayo Clinic—this year’s game of choice will be “Celebrity DnD.” And no JordanCon is complete without the Saturday dance party! You’ll need to head to Zoom to see the dancing and Discord to hear the music. Sunday concludes the convention with “Fantasy Debate,” where the panelists will discuss Wheel of Time versus fantasy elements. And finally, Jenn and Jimmy Liang will end the event with the JordanCon Awards. Though we can’t be together all in one place, at least we’ll be able to spend digital time with people we love and discuss the series that brought us all together. Keep up-to-date with the details by following JordanCon on social media, or check out their website!
Welcome back to “Community Round-Up,” which highlights all the latest fun and news within the Wheel of Time and Sci-Fi/Fantasy community. First up, the Hugo Award has its list of Finalists! Our sponsor Tor, and its subsidiary Tor.com, have four novels up in the Best Novel category: The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan) Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing) A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine (Tor; Tor UK) Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing) The other two novels nominated are: The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK) The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK) The Wheel of Time series was not nominated, but Dragonmount contributor Adam Whitehead was nominated for Best Fan Writer! We wish him the best of luck as voting begins later in April. You can find more information on casting your ballot here. Most of you saw (and voted) in the March Madness Fandom Madness matchup hosted by the fansite Winter is Coming. Unsurprising, to us at least, Moiraine Damodred won the whole tournament! Here’s what the organizers have to say: You can read the details of the matchup here. Dragonmount’s Wheel of Time Community Show has two new episodes to keep you entertained while stuck at home. In one, Kitty Rallo dives into the directors of the Amazon Prime television show. She also speculates about the titles and the timing of the shows versus the books. And in the second Lanfear is back and giving advice on parenting (and flouting the quarantine rules). And let’s wrap up with some great memes! This is an oldie but a goodie from our friends at Ta’veren Tees. Something we're all excited to hear someone say in the Amazon Prime show: And since Lanfear is so hot right now.... This meme from the Facebook group Screw You All, I Love Wheel of Time, can stand on its own, but sometimes the comments can make it more meaningful. That's all I have for today. I'm super excited about the Hugo nominations. Which of the nominees for Best Novel have you read?
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 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 chose out the most badass Aes Sedai of the Green, Red, and Gray Ajahs. The Ajahs of Part Two can claim some no-brainers: is there really any question as to the most badass Aes Sedai of the Blue, Yellow, and Brown Ajahs? IS THERE? But we love talking about them anyway, and their runners-up are truly deserving of the Badass distinction. Here’s the rundown of the Most Badass Aes Sedai of the Blue, Yellow, White, and Brown Ajahs. Blue Moiraine Damodred Moiraine is calm serenity and intense drive. She shows us (and Randland) what it is to be Aes Sedai, and we measure all others against her. She’s our first. Our last. Our everything.* Runner-Up Siuan Sanche “There is a saying in Cairhien, though I have heard it as far away as Tarabon and Saldaea. ‘Take what you want, and pay for it.’ Siuan and I took the path we wanted, and we knew we would have to pay for it eventually.” – Moiraine (Fires of Heaven, Ch. 15, What Can Be Learned In Dreams) Siuan as the next-baddest Blue may need no explanation, but let’s do it anyway: As a young Accepted, she attained knowledge that could literally kill her. Instead of running from it, she takes up the cause, knowing the risk (death, or worse yet, stilling) from the start. She is skilled in solving puzzles, seeing patterns, and maneuvering others without their knowing. And let’s not forget the icy blue gaze at which even the most powerful monarchs flinch. After the unthinkable happens, she doesn’t lay down and die, as most stilled women are known to do. She fills with purpose the hole left by her inability to channel. And it’s a badass purpose: revenge on Elaida. Finally, she advises her extremely young and inexperienced successor, a role seen by others as a blow to her pride. But when Siuan realized that Egwene “would be an Amyrlin to make thrones tremble,” she freely threw in her lot and began helping Egwene accomplish her plans. (Lord of Chaos, Ch. 37, When Battle Begins) Yellow Nynaeve al’Meara A discussion of Nynaeve’s accomplishments, acts of bravery, and…ahem…distinctive worldview could fill up its own essay. Hmmm…maybe check back in a few weeks 😊 Runner-Up Romanda Cassin had the makings of a badass, but let her stubbornness over nemesis Lelaine dictate her actions. Doesine Alwain, a Black Ajah hunter in the Tower with a penchant for cursing, also deserves a look. And after being captured as a damane and escaping with Mat’s help, Edesina Azzedin tries to convince Tuon to form a truce with the White Tower, making her one of the few former damane that can approach a Seanchan without cowering in fear. But how about... Corele Hovian Corele’s fun personality and wild appearance make her interesting; her skill with Healing and her contribution to one of the major moments in the series make her a badass. After helping to Heal Rand’s Shadar-Logoth-dagger stab wound, she bonds Asha’man and super-talented Healer Damer Flinn, making them the Healing power couple. Corele Heals and assists all over the place, essentially following Rand where she’s needed. But her claim to runner-up fame is helping to protect Rand from the Forsaken Demandred’s attacks as Rand cleansed the taint on Saidin; linking with Damer and Sarene Nemdahl, the three of them driving Demandred away helped ensure Rand’s victory. Even after an encounter with Shaidar Haran, Corele recovers and keeps on going, lending her Healing all the way through the Last Battle. White Members of the White Ajah, devoted to questions of philosophy, logic, and truth, are generally seen by other Aes Sedai as cold and detached women who consider shows of emotion pointless, as they cloud logical judgement. For the most part, readers don’t see much to indicate otherwise. Alviarin Freidhen’s POV sheds a little light at times, but, as a member of the Black Ajah, she’s not a true White. Carlinya Sorevin, as one of the six sisters who “advised” Egwene upon her raising in Salidar, saw some screen time, but still not enough to determine her level of badass. However, two White sisters in particular stand out in the later books. Daigian Moseneillin Daigian spent 27 years as a novice and 21 years as Accepted. Read that again. Daigian is the absolute weakest in the Power of any woman currently wearing the shawl. Knowing full well how other sisters would perceive and treat her, and how she would rank in any size gathering of sisters, she still spent 48 YEARS training to be Aes Sedai. And she did this without knowing that, through her achievement, she would aid the world in its time of greatest need. What she lacked in Power, she made up for in immense intellect. She had the respect of fellow Badass Cadsuane Melaidhrin (see Part One), who knew Daigian was much more than a messenger or tea server for other Aes Sedai. Uncharacteristically for a White, Daigian bonded a Warder – young Asha’man Eben Hopwil. She was distraught when their heartwarming relationship ended in Eben’s death, but she refused Nynaeve’s offer to attempt to “heal” her grief. Daigian wanted Eben’s memory to remain alive through her pain. Daigian herself was taken out by one of the greatest villains of the Dark, Shaidar Haran, while she guarded one the most-feared Forsaken, Semirhage. This woman was a badass. Runner-Up Ferane Neheran, Sitter and First Reasoner, is a pretty cool White, known to actually show emotion here and there and possessing loads of intelligence. An exchange during one of Egwene’s private “lessons” in the Tower showed Ferane to be thoughtful and willing to listen while still maintaining her authority. She might have been in the running if we’d had just a little more screen time with her, but we didn’t, so… Seaine Herimon Seaine scores major points for being a Black Ajah hunter in the Tower, but also for being super tight with Red Ajah Badass Pevara Tazanovni. Better known to readers since we are more often treated to her POV, we know that Seaine (inaccurately) interprets an order from Elaida as a directive to search for Black sisters within the Tower. From there, she exhibits some badass traits: she recruits a smart, strong woman to help achieve a goal and she courageously continues even when she’s scared out of her mind (especially after her first Black sister discovery). Even though Seaine can get a little whiny, she trusts her logic to help her power through uncertainty and follows sense when she sees it. Brown Verin Mathwin “Please see that they know, although the word Black may brand my name forever, my soul is Brown. Tell them…” “I will, Verin,” Egwene promised. “But your soul is not Brown. I can see it.” Her eyes fluttered open, meeting Egwene’s, a frown creasing her forehead. “Your soul is of a pure white, Verin,” Egwene said softly. “Like the Light itself.” Verin smiled, and her eyes closed. (The Gathering Storm, Ch. 39, A Visit From Verin Sedai) Please. Take a moment for yourself. Just leave the crumpled tissue there next to you. Resume reading when ready. Runner-Up Adeleas Nemelle At age 264, this woman comes out of her peaceful retirement (along with her sister, Vandene) upon learning the Dragon is reborn. She joins up with Moiraine and Co. and ends up fighting Shadowspawn, traveling to Salidar to hang with the Rebels, and jetting off to Ebou Dar for business with the Bowl of the Winds…and maybe to check in on some Tower runaways. After 30 years of the quiet life, Adeleas comes out calmly swinging for the good guys. Though her jump back into the fray ultimately cost Adeleas her life at the hands of the Black Ajah, Vandene was able to avenge her sister just before her own death. The death of the Nemelle sisters was among the most heartbreaking in the series, but also among the most badass, as they fought evil until their final breaths. Part Two concludes! Did I miss anybody this time? Who do you think are the most badass Aes Sedai of the Blue, White, Yellow, and Brown Ajahs? And can you believe, there’s a Part Three still to come! *paraphrasing credit to the Walrus of Love himself, Mr. Barry White
The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood Leaping into the unknown with a debut fantasy novel is equal parts trepidation and excitement. Will familiar themes enchant or disappoint? Will the author live up to the promises made in the book's synopsis? Can the book hold your attention to the very end? Diving into The Unspoken Name, I was intent to answer these questions and more. From the first few pages, the novel struck me as something wholly unique and exciting. I was instantly enchanted by our humanoid protagonist Csorwe, and her willingness to walk headlong to her own demise. She was young and seemingly pious, and completely resigned to her fate. Csorwe was the Chosen Bride. While alive she prayed, gave blessings, dispensed prophecy, and walked ever closer to the day that she would walk into her god’s shrine and never be seen again. Call it fate or simply a choice, but when the sacrificial day came Csorwe chose to flee her faith and live, rather than die in the tomb of her cruel god. She did not come to the choice to leave on her own, but rather was prodded towards heresy by a wise old wizard. From that moment the wizard, Belthandros Sethennai, became the compass that directed her life. Sadly, Csorwe’s life had been promised to her god from a young age, and debts such as those always seem to find a way to be paid. Throughout the course of the novel Larkwood repeatedly puts her characters in situations where they are forced to make a choice between who they are and who they want to be. The gift of choice is presented time and time again, and yet fate always seems to intervene. At times it can become almost dizzying to keep up. There is often an abruptness to major changes in the novel that left me feeling a bit dissatisfied. What kept me turning the pages was the beauty and uniqueness of the world and its magic system. A.K. Larkwood created a vivid universe that is a seamless meld of traditional fantasy, and science fiction. The lives of the characters are steeped in medieval mundanity and yet they travel using flying ships and a complex lace of a Maze that transports them between worlds. These two different styles were expertly blended and completely captivating. I also couldn't help but cheer the normalcy created around queerness. The love and lust felt between characters was both beautiful and compelling. The magic system, one which is derived completely through god worship and extracts a toll on the body, is also a compelling subplot throughout the story. In whole, The Unspoken Name is an intriguing and promising debut novel. It is a modern take on the fantasy genre that has me curious about what the future holds. While the novel could certainly be a stand alone, I have a feeling it is not the last I will read about this world. The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood 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.
The Dusty Wheel YouTube channel hosted an interview with Brandon Sanderson tonight. They talked about the Wheel of Time books and the upcoming Amazon Prime TV show. Some WoT-related highlights of the program included: Brandon discussing his excitement (& hesitations) for the upcoming TV show. Brandon's on-set discussion with Barney Harris, the actor playing Mat Cauthon. Some behind-the-scenes discussion about writing the final 3 WoT novels. The full, 90+ minute interview can be found here: "Prank Scene" 10 years ago, Brandon asked a select group of fans to read early drafts of Towers of Midnight, the thirteenth and penultimate book in the series. Today, he revealed a special scene from that book that he wrote exclusively for one of those fans, Matt Hatch. Matt is the founder of Theoryland.com, a WoT website known for its obsessive passionate attention to details. If there's ever been a "looney" theory made about the books, chances are that it's been discussed in extreme details on that forum. Today, in addition to maintaining Theoryland, Matt is now the Innkeeper of the Dusty Wheel. Because today is April 1st (April Fool's Day), Brandon received permission from Harriet to share the scene he wrote for Matt. The scene is only ~250 words long, and takes place during Chapter 57: A Rabbit for Supper. Here's the scene, in its complete form. (The italicized text is from the actual book, and is included to provide context for the scene.) It's unlikely that any other fan had a scene written exclusively for them, even it was intended as a joke and obviously not included in the final book. Michael Kramer, one of the audiobook narrators for the series, made a recording of this scene that you can listen to here. Be sure to check out the video from The Dusty Wheel on YouTube, and subscribe to their channel.
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.