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By Jason Denzel, in TV Show,

Amazon Prime announced today, via social media, the casting of six actors for The Wheel of Time TV show.    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.    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.   Several of these actors have been rumored for a while, but we've only now reported on them because of Amazon's confirmation. These specific roles are likely limited in their scope, with the actors appearing only or primarily in the first couple of episodes of the season.    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 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.   Money may not always make the world go around but it is certainly important when you want to make an expensive fantasy TV show featuring nonhuman creatures, sorcery and vast ruined cities.   It’s been known for a while that Amazon have dramatically increased the money they are spending on their shows. A few years ago, Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon and Richest Man on Earth™, told his TV division to start spending big and look for the “next Game of Thrones” to help popularise Amazon’s streaming division. They took that to heart, snapping up not just The Wheel of Time, but also J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth for a new prequel TV show set in the Second Age, telling the story of the forging of the Rings of Power and the original rise of the Dark Lord Sauron.   The budget for the Middle-earth show is widely-known, having been discussed in the trade magazines at the time. The Tolkien Estate sold additional rights to the Middle-earth books to Amazon for an unprecedented sum of $250 million. They also included a stipulation that each of the show’s seasons was to have a budget of between $100 million and $150 million. With apparently ten episodes per season, that gives the show a budget of $10-15 million per episode. For comparison’s sake, HBO’s Game of Thrones was given a budget of $100 million for each of its final three seasons, which, due to a declining episode order per season, gave them a per-episode budget of approximately $10 million (for Season 6), $14 million (for Season 7) and $16.7 million (Season 8), so the Tolkien series will be in the same ballpark.   The budget for the Wheel of Time TV show has been much more of a secret, at least up until recently. WoTSeries.com did some digging and found publicly-disclosed funding which seems to indicate how much money is being spent on the project.   The Wheel of Time TV show is being shot in the Czech Republic, in studios in the capital city of Prague with location filming in surrounding areas and across the border in Slovenia. As is common, the Czech government has tax rebates and incentive funding available for shows that film in the country, the idea that by spending a certain amount of money to encourage the production to remain in the country, the production will spend more money and the local economy will benefit, encouraging more shows to shoot there. This has been successful in recent years, with the Czech Republic becoming a hub of filming with numerous projects setting up shop there (Carnival Row is shooting in studios near the Wheel of Time production base, for example).   The rebate is based on the idea of “Czech spending,” how much of the budget is being spent in the country itself, with the production able to expect 20% of the budget refunded by the government. In the case of The Wheel of Time, we now know that $14.9 million was refunded by the government to Amazon for Season 1 of the show.   Some rather simple back-of-the-napkin maths shows that Amazon must have spent $74 million in the Czech Republic to qualify for a $14.9 million rebate. Of course, that’s not the total budget for the show. Casting was carried out in the United Kingdom and a large chunk of post-production is likewise being handled in the UK, by Cinesite Studios and several other CGI companies. There is also editing, mixing, musical composition and other post requirements taking place in the United States.   All of that comfortably lifts the total budget to well over $80 million and likely significantly more (the CG effects requirements for the show will be enormous). With showrunner Rafe Judkins recently confirming eight episodes for each of the first two seasons, that puts the per-episode budget of The Wheel of Time at well over $10 million per episode, comparable to Game of Thrones circa Season 6 and not far off the budget of the new Lord of the Rings project.   It’s worth noting that Game of Thrones’ budget only started at $6 million per episode when filming started in 2009 (about $7.2 million in today’s money, thanks to inflation). The Witcher’s first season had a budget of around $70 million in total (about $7.7 million per episode), although some figures place it at closer to $80 million (around $8.8 million per episode), so Wheel of Time will certainly outrange its Netflix competition.   The show will live or die on its writing, direction and performances, but it’s good to see that Amazon is providing enough financial resources to bring Robert Jordan’s grand vision to life.   In other news, WoTSeries has an interesting feature on the set of Emond’s Field being removed and on the logistics of location shooting, as well as finding confirmation that the Emmy Award-winning Ondřej Nekvasil is the main production designer on the show.   Daniel Henney (Lan) has posted the second part of his recent online Q&A, confirming that he sees himself working on The Wheel of Time for many years to come. Zoe Robins (Nynaeve) has also been interviewed in her native New Zealand, in which she discusses the show and seems to confirm the previously-mooted 2021 release date (although how the pandemic impacts on that remains to be see).   As usual, we will bring you all the latest news here on Dragonmount’s TV page.   Also, sure to watch our latest video on The Wheel of Time Community Show on YouTube where host Thom talks about this budget topic.   

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 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…well, let’s see what dirty deeds comprise a Black Ajah Badass.   ANOTHER WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS   Black The Black Ajah. Oh, these nasty, nasty ladies.   After lauding the bravery and accomplishments of the Badasses in Parts 1 and 2, it was tough to give these minions of the Dark One the same kind of distinction. But someone had to do it. And thanks to Robert Jordan, I was given some complex, startlingly well-written, and deliciously evil characters through which to sort.   At first, I tried to think of characteristics that distinguished the Black sisters from the non-Dark sisters, like sneaking, conniving, word-twisting…then I saw Blight in my head yelling at Batman, “DO YOU HAVE THE SLIGHTEST IDEA HOW LITTLE THAT NARROWS IT DOWN?” But for real, we can add murdering—LOTS of murdering—to the Black Ajah resume, along with actual lying. We can also add aligning events to the desires of the Forsa—I mean, Chosen and the Dark O—dang it, Great LORD.   A Few Contenders The obvious literal choice for Most Badass Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah is Verin Mathwin. But as she sacrificed her very life to thwart the Dark and reveal herself as a double agent for the Light, we simply cannot, in good conscience, brand her as Black. Besides, as we saw in Part Two, she wholly and unequivocally already owns the title of the Badass of the Brown.   Liandrin was our first real introduction to a sister of the Black Ajah, as she and her pretty face and hostile personality led our young heroines straight into Seanchan hands. (And I am stoked to see Kate Fleetwood play Liandrin in the upcoming TV show. STOKED, I say!)   Liandrin was mean and nasty and just what we as readers hoped to get from our first real glimpse at a member of the nervously-whispered-about Black Ajah. Sadly, she was but reduced to a sniveling mess by her mistress Moghedien before the end of Book 5 (The Fires of Heaven).   A multitude of other Black sisters did their jobs well (and were fun to read while they did them):   Elza Penfell was compelling as she served Rand in hopes of delivering him to the Dark in the Last Battle. Katerine Alruddin’s ambition and sheer viciousness made her one to watch. Sheriam Bayanar’s revelation as a Black sister was fairly shocking, since she felt like our Mistress of Novices, too. Her impact was huge as she had the trust of the heroines (and of US, dammit) early on, and later kept things lively and discombobulated at the Rebel camp. But she was also a scaredy-cat and her reasons for going Dark (other people are better at stuff than me!) were quite lame.   We also got to know very well the unpleasant ladies who fled the Tower with Liandrin. They each had Dark shiny moments in their own right, with lots of torture, murdering, cat adopting, and bawdy song-singing with ousted monarchs.   But two Black sisters stood out from the pack in terms of nastiness, their impact throughout the series, and their fascinating endings. And both were so obnoxiously exceptional that I flip-flopped between Winner and Runner-Up right up until press time. Alviarin Friedhen (Black/White) This woman was a straight-up sociopath. The Black Ajah normally recruits from among novices and Accepted, but this nut job had committed her first murder long before coming to the Tower; hell, it was before she even knew she could channel.   In terms of impact, Alviarin ended up with two of the most powerful titles a woman in the series could have: head of the Black Ajah (a title bestowed by Ishamael himself) and, after helping Elaida depose Siuan, Keeper of the Chronicles in the White Tower. As Keeper, she at first manipulates Elaida, then outright controls her. Later, Alviarin does fall from her Keeper power, but shows back up at the Last Battle as a new Dreadlord.   Alviarin’s character receives an unexpected (and, oh, I’ll just say it: fun!) ending during the Last Battle as she is tricked into entering an Ogier stedding (Androl, holla!). She and the Dark channelers with her are greeted by the stedding’s Eldest, who will accommodate them for as many years as they need to “reconsider their path.”   Runner-Up Galina Casban (Black/Red) The wicked ways of Galina gave us some huge story arcs: she got to kill sisters gathered by Tamra Ospenya to hunt for the Dragon Reborn; 20 years later she got to capture the Dragon Reborn in a box and beat him daily, thus beginning the downward spiral of Rand into his counterproductive harder-than-steel persona (Dumai’s Wells, anyone? Yep, we can thank Galina for that). Additionally, her character gave us eyes on the Shaido and their leadership.   After she was captured by the Shaido and severely, relentlessly abused by the Wise One Therava, Galina’s grit and perseverance saw her through multiple escape attempts. Each time the attempts failed, and each time she was harshly punished. That didn’t stop her from taking one last shot at flight by blackmailing fellow Shaido captive Faile into helping her. Faile complied and Galina was so tantalizingly close to freedom. But she was caught for the final time, right before Therava announced the Shaido were done in the wetlands and would return to the Waste.   “Something had broken in her. She was Galina Casban, Highest of the Red Ajah, who sat on the Supreme Council of the Black Ajah, and she was going to be Therava’s plaything for the rest of her life. She was Therava’s little Lina. For the rest of her life. She knew that to her bones. Tears rolled silently down her face.” (Knife of Dreams, Ch. 30, Outside the Gates)   Wow. What an ending.   What do you think? Who did I miss? Do you agree or is someone else a bigger badass of the Black Ajah?  

By Mashiara Sedai, in Books and eBooks,

This year, The Eye of the World celebrated its 30th anniversary.  To commemorate this special occasion Tor Books is releasing a new hardcover and paperback versions of The Eye of the World as well as a new paperback cover for New Spring.     The 30th anniversary The Eye of the World hardcover will be published October 6th, 2020.  This amazing cover has a metallic jacket.  It will include a new introduction written by Brandon Sanderson.  The Eye of the World’s official birthday was January 15th, 1990, and the Wheel of Time Community Show celebrated this milestone earlier this year.     The artwork will feature the original image of Moiraine, Lan, and Rand drawn by Darrell K. Sweet, but in a format similar to the other trade paperbacks in the series. The publication date for this version will be August 4th, 2020.     The new paperback version is the first time New Spring will be released in the trade paperback size. The cover will feature artwork by Jason Chan, showing the moment Moiraine bonds Lan as her warder.  The publication date will be August 18th, 2020. Fans have wanted New Spring in trade paperback for some time.  With this addition, our trade paperback bookshelves will be complete!   You can watch Ebony go over the details in the latest episode of the Wheel of Time Community Show! And as always, check out our Books section for more info on each book.      So, are you as anxious as I am to get the metallic cover?  Let us know in the comments.  

By Mashiara Sedai, in Community & Events,

Welcome back to Community Round-Up, a look at all the happenings within the Wheel of Time fandom and the larger sci-fi/fantasy community.   First off TorCon is happening online this week!  Tor Books teamed up with Den of Geeks to bring a virtual convention with amazing panels.  TorCon kicks off Thursday June 11th with Brandon Sanderson talking about his latest projects!  This is a prerecorded event and only available this weekend.  You can register for this event here, or see what else TorCon has to offer!   Sticking with the Brandon Sanderson theme, you can now take an official quiz to find out which order of Knights Radiant you would be.  The Knights Radiant are a group of fighters in the Stormlight Archive series.  Each order focuses on different missions, skills and bindings, and they also bond different spren.  I tied for Truthwatcher and Windrunner, which sums up my personality perfectly.   The Dusty Wheel interviewed Joshua Stolarz, a cartographer, and Joshua shared an amazing drawing of the Two Rivers.  You can download Joshua’s map here.   I cannot get enough of these sword dances.  When thinking about the Amazon Prime show and how some of the sword forms will be shown, I imagine over-the-top stylized fights.  Here is a video posted by Stance on Facebook, from Taipei, Taiwan.     As always, let’s end with some of the best memes I can find on the internet.   While I love Nynaeve's character and her growth throughout the series (and getting over ingrained prejudices), I'm sure the draw One Power was also a factor in her change of view.   The evolution of the Aiel (as seen through the flashbacks from the ter'angreal in Rhuidean) is one of my favorite in the series.  It's amazing how just a small step each generation can change a whole belief system.   While this might seem true on the surface, the Two Rivers folk do have the necessary courage to fight for the Light when it matters!   That's all for this edition.  Which Order of the Knights Radiant were you?  Let us know in the comments!

By Jason Denzel, in Community & Events,

In light of the currently ongoing protests that were sparked by the murder of George Floyd, one of many Black Americans whom has been unjustly killed, Dragonmount believes Black Lives Matter, and supports the movement. Here is our statement:   You can read more about our community forum Code of Conduct here.

By Mashiara Sedai, in Books and eBooks,

Les éditions Bragelonne, the publisher of the French versions of the Wheel of Time series, is re-releasing each of the novels with a new cover.  Even for those of us who aren’t able to read French, this publication still gives us something to gawk over.  These new covers are amazing! You can watch the latest episode of The Wheel of Time Community Show to hear more about these covers, and you can check out the images below!       Clearly an image of Tam’s heron marked sword. The detail on the hilts shows how Rand could be branded by it when Ba’alzamon heats it in the The Great Hunt.  Also, the Serpent spinning the Wheel seems a lot fiercer.   A seal to the Dark One’s prison, already broken.   Mat’s ruby dagger retrieved from Shadar Logoth.  I love the snakes on the hilt.   An interesting interpretation of the Horn of Valere, complete with Old Tongue script along the edge.   The Dragon Banner.   Callandor.  I really love how crystallized it is.  Most renditions of Callandor are smoother and not nearly as detailed.   An Aiel spear and buckler.  And maybe a shoufa wrapped around it.  But what is it balanced on?  The design at the top looks like a Seanchan helmet.   Perrin’s axe.   Mat’s ashandarei.  I love it!  The ravens are amazing.   A Cairhienin helmet.  Note the sunbursts, which could stand for the Rising Sun of Cairhien, also featured on their flag.    The flag for Tar Valon and the White Tower.   A trolloc helmet.  Quite horrifying.   A marriage knife worn by women in Ebou Dar.  The white stones indicate four female children, and the red stone in the center indicated one male child.  Possibly Tylin’s, since she does have one male son, and it doesn’t state how many others she had.   The Laurel Crown of Illian, also called the Crown of Swords.   These covers are amazing to look at.  It’s wonderful to get new perspective on anything within the series, especially when it’s official.  Each novel within the Wheel of Time will be split into two novels, making a total of 28 when completed.   Books one through ten are available now, with eleven and twelve available August 12th, and thirteen and fourteen available November 18th.

By Mashiara Sedai, in Community & Events,

TarValon.net’s annual Robert Jordan Memorial Scholarship is now accepting applications:     This year’s topic is: How do you plan to use your education in a way that exemplifies being a Servant of All?   If you're interested in combining your academic studies and your love of The Wheel of Time, make sure you submit your applications before June 5th!

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.   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.

By Mashiara Sedai, in Community & Events,

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!

By Eqwina, in Fantasy Reviews,

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.   

By Mashiara Sedai, in JordanCon,

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!

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