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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?

By Mashiara Sedai, in JordanCon,

It's two months and two days till JordanCon (but who's counting?) so I'm here to feature another author in this years anthology, Become Legend: Rosemary Williams with her submission "Urban Planning."   First, can you tell us about your writing?  Is this your first published work? It is!   Unlike a lot of writers, I had no idea I was going to be one when I was young. The closest I came was online roleplaying when MUSHes were still a big thing. (Though as it turns out, it’s a really good way to get a solid percentage of your Million Words of Crap out of your system.) Then there I was, in my late 30s and minding my own voracious reader business, when I had just finished a particular book by my current favorite author and then there was an audible *pop!* and a new gear abruptly engaged in my brain. Suddenly I wanted to put new characters in and play around in the sandbox with new plots and characters and what was happening to me?   I’ve been toying around with fan fiction for a few years to try to shake out some of my rookie writer mistakes, and I’m now to the point where I feel competent enough to write my own original work. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, which is thanks in very large part to my editor, Debra Dixon. She was amazingly helpful and kind to my poor newbie writer's soul.   Where does your story fall on the speculative fiction scale? It’s comic horror with enough connection to urban fantasy that I could take future stories with these characters in that direction pretty seamlessly.   What excited you the most with writing this story? It was just gloriously weird and fun to write, and it gave me a chance to showcase some of my hometown of Kansas City. If you find yourself reading and going, “Wait, is that a real thing she’s referencing?” the answer is probably yes.   Are there any themes you want readers to get a sense of? I wouldn’t really call this an attempt at highbrow literature - it’s a fun romp, and I hope people enjoy reading it. Writing a decent story that clocked in under 7,500 words was quite enough of a challenge for me. But as I mentioned earlier, I have ideas for writing future stories with these characters, and have planted a few seeds of greater depth that will have time to germinate and grow as I improve my skills.   Is there a specific inspirational source you used for this story? So, as you probably know, the anthology theme this involves legends. This story is based on an urban legend - albeit one I made up and have fun with joking about with my friends - that the all of the weird-shaped intersections in Kansas City are designed that way to hide mysterious eldritch glyphs that are keeping a giant monster asleep beneath the city.   If you like the story, you should find a moment to thank your fellow JordanConner Mark Lindberg for his part in inspiring me to write it. I had shared a picture on Facebook that supported my silly theory and blathered away about it, when he replied with, “So when do I get to read this story?” This was about two weeks from the anthology deadline. If he hadn’t made that little push, I might not have gathered my wits quickly enough to get it written in time.   What else would you like to say to your readers? Thank you! Please be kind to my massive case of imposter syndrome; I’m still half-convinced I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. Don’t be afraid to say hi to me at the con!   And remember: the Mistcorn loves you. The Mistcorn loves all.     Thank you, Rosemary, for talking with me today.  The JordanCon 2020 anthology Become Legend is available for pre-order until March 25th.  You can purchase it on JordanCon’s website.

By Mashiara Sedai, in Rotating Features,

Welcome back to another edition of Community Round-Up where I’ll be sharing interesting things that have happened this week in the Wheel of Time fandom and the larger sci-fi/fantasy community.   First off, Madeleine Madden—who plays Egwene—updated her Instagram page with various photos of her and other cast members.  Josha Stardowski—Rand—took center stage with images of him increasingly more tipsy.  They made their rounds through the community and have already begun to generate memes. Why isn't the wisdom stopping this woolheaded behavior?       Speaking of memes, I’d like to highlight one of the many Wheel of Time related subreddit forums: Wetlander Humor.  I’m a huge fan of memes and this forum did not disappoint.  Here are a few of the better ones I saw this week.         It’s been five years since the Wheel of Time television pilot “Winter Dragon” appeared randomly at 3am on FX.  For those who don’t recall this little piece of fandom lore, you can read the details here.       Many people in the Screw You All, I Love Wheel of Time Facebook group were reminiscing about this strange event and discussing if it was the will of the Light or the Dark One.   Daniel Greene—a major news staple in the WoT fandom and the fantasy genre in general—released a hilarious look at Wheel of Time through vines.     Which picture of Josha was your favorite?  Be sure to let us know in the comments.

By Jaymie Greenway, in JordanCon,

Be you newbie or a veteran attendee; a Wheel of Time fan since the first release of The Eye of the World or someone who only discovered the series recently; a staunch and steadfast devotee of science fiction/fantasy or someone merely taking your first foray into the genre—JordanCon 2020 is here for YOU.   What is JordanCon? Officially, JordanCon is a Science Fiction/Fantasy literature convention. Founded in 2009 by Jennifer Liang, the convention exists in honor of The Wheel of Time series creator and author, Robert Jordan.   JordanCon is most certainly a Wheel of Time fan’s paradise; finally, a place where nearly everyone you meet will get your WoT references (“Tai'shar Manetheren!”) and will actually care that you started another re-read over Christmas break (and will ask, without judgment, “how many is this for you?”). You will have the opportunity to discuss the upcoming television series, the politics of Tear and Andor, and view some of Robert Jordan’s handwritten notes, drafted as he built the world in which we immerse ourselves again and again.   But JordanCon attendees, initially brought together by their love of a fantasy book series, represent so much more, including diverse fandoms across the board. Attendees become friends, and these friends become family at this warm, inclusive, and genuinely unique convention full of merriment.    (Note, the above is not a stock description pulled from a website; this is the impact of the con made on yours truly. I showed up to JordanCon 2018 armed with one buddy, information from JordanCon.org, and the WoT knowledge accrued from being a fan of the series since 1996. I left that Sunday with new friends, new memories, and an actual slew of new book, movie, and TV show recommendations.)   Programming Held in Atlanta, GA, JordanCon includes programming geared toward all aspects of the genre, in addition to Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time.   A few examples of last year’s program tracks:  Art & Artists Track Fantasy Track Gaming Science Fiction Track Workshops World of the Wheel Worlds of Brandon Sanderson Writers Track    Within each track, attendees will discover panels, discussions, presentations, and activities tailored to that year’s carefully procured list of eclectic and distinct topics. As track directors finalize details, the list of JordanCon 2020 programming will be available soon.   Art Show, Dealers Hall, Guests of Honor, Gaming Hall As if the tracks and panels and workshops and meet-ups weren’t enough, attendees are treated to art (at the Art Show) and books (at the Dealers Hall) from established and up-and-coming artists and authors. Art and books (and a veritable plethora of other items like chain mail, leather-bound journals, jewelry, and elf ears - that’s right, ELF EARS) are available for both perusal and purchase. In the “established” category, JordanCon 2020’s Artist Guests of Honor are Annie Stegg Gerard and Justin Gerard; this year’s Author Guest of Honor is Faith Hunter, bestselling (New York Times and USA Today) author of the Jane Yellowrock series and the Soulwood series.   The Gaming Hall provides an all-day venue for open gaming. Whether you drop in for a break from panels and activities, or are in it for the long campaign, attendees will find tabletop games, a Magic: The Gathering draft, and the now-famous Seanchan Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament, a JordanCon charity event.   Charity Auction Speaking of now-famous, the JordanCon Charity Auction has grown year after year, raising thousands of dollars for the Mayo Clinic’s amyloidosis (the blood disorder to which Robert Jordan ultimately succumbed) research and patient care center. Items up for bid at past auctions have included signed books and cover art, handmade crafts (Wheel of Time-themed or otherwise), even memorabilia from the personal collection of Robert Jordan himself. Items are donated from fans all over the world, as well as from our talented attendees, panelists, guests of honor, and staff members.   Get Your Membership Badge (and your t-shirt! And your Anthology!)  Go to JordanCon.org to purchase your attendee membership, granting you access to a full weekend of JordanCon.    This is also where you can purchase your official JordanCon 2020 t-shirt.  T-shirt pre-sales are the only way to be certain you'll score this year's shirt. A limited number of shirts will be for sale at the convention, but they do sell out quickly. Remember, shirts can only be picked up at the JordanCon store during the convention.   The same goes for the JordanCon Anthology. Available through pre-sale (with a limited number available for sale on premise) and only picked up at the con, “Become Legend: The JordanCon 2020 Anthology” houses 20 short stories written by JordanCon guests and attendees. Each story incorporates this year’s theme, “Con of Legends.” All anthology proceeds go to charity.   You can read all about these talented contributors as Dragonmount’s own Mashiara Sedai features anthology authors in the weeks leading up to JordanCon with this interview series.   More Info The website offers all the information you need to prepare for JordanCon 2020. You’ll find links to New Member Info (lookin’ at you, newbies); a blog filled with such nuggets of knowledge as themed drinks, breaking Con news, and a first-timers’ survival guide; and The Source, the official JordanCon newsletter (to which you can subscribe).   JordanCon’s social media community will connect you even more closely to this vibrant and inviting gathering. Follow JordanCon on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and find out why one of the most-used hashtags among the JordanCon family is #welcomehome.   #JordanCon #JCon2020 #isitAprilyet #welcomehome

By Mashiara Sedai, in JordanCon,

Last year, JordanCon started what I hope will be a timeless tradition: it asked members, past and present, to submit short stories for an anthology, with all proceeds going to the JordanCon charity of choice.  This year, the tradition did continue with Become Legend: The JordanCon 2020 Anthology.  This is a great way for writers to reach an audience of typically like-minded individuals.   Leading up to JordanCon (which is April 17th through the 19th), I want to highlight some of the amazing authors who have contributed to this year’s anthology.   First up is a returning author, P Andrew Floyd with his story entitled “Hipshot.”   Can you start by telling us a little about your story for this year’s anthology? “Hipshot” takes place in an alternate America where just after the Civil War a giant meteorite struck the Dakota Territories, leaving pieces of itself all over the world. Old west metal smiths turned the pieces of that meteorite into weapons that can be used for various magical purposes. Though, mostly folk just use them to shoot each other. Hipshot is a “hexslinger” who just wants to get her cargo cross country to San Francisco. Unfortunately, the magic space rock had another side effect – it woke up long forgotten magical creatures from hibernation and she may just have to fight her way through a horde of orcs to finish her job.   Since this is your second year being featured in the anthology, can you tell us any helpful hints you learned last year that you applied to your story this year? I got lucky. I had written this story before the anthology theme was announced and it ended up being a perfect fit. I actually tried to write another short to fit the theme and make it more personal to JordanCon, but I ended up shelving it about halfway through because it wasn’t working. It felt way too forced. So, I guess for me what I learned was I need to write to write and if I have something that fits a theme, great! If not, there’s always next time. But that’s just how I work personally.   You survived last year’s JordanCon Anthology signing sessions.  And, you came back for a second helping.  How was your experience attending JordanCon as an author? It was definitely a roller coaster! (I love roller coasters, btw!) I had a lot of fun while at the same time being really nervous. There was a lot of me thinking, “No one’s gonna want my signature or talk about my story. Why would they?” And then being ecstatic when I was proven wrong, and then feeling nervous again when I worried they’d regret their decision, then realizing that’s silly because no one’s going to think that over an autograph. But I met a lot of cool people both in and out of the book and I got to do one of my favorite things: talk about my writing!   Last year, your story “Doorbuster” was jokingly called “suburban fantasy.”  Is your addition this year similar, like within the same world or series?  Or did you go a completely different route? I went a totally different route, actually. I was inspired by a character from a Magimart Universe (Doorbuster) story, though. There was a woman who struck me as a modern day gunslinger. I had envisioned this spell casting maneuver for her that was basically like quick drawing guns, but instead of pulling out weapons, she would swipe her fingers across a foci hanging at her hips then fire off blasts of energy from “finger guns.” I thought it would look both awesome and hilarious. But I ended up deciding it didn’t fully fit the magic system I had created. So… I did what any sane writer would do and built up an entire new world around that concept. The world that was born from it ended up being very outside my wheelhouse, but I ran with it after deciding a challenge would be a good thing. With a few exceptions, I’ve never been a huge fan of Westerns. Also, I typically like writing light, humorous stories that focus on character over action. “Hipshot” is an alternate history Weird West with a serious tone and a decent amount of complex action sequences that were super frustrating to write and edit (I’ll have to raise a glass at Con to my editor, Venesa Giunta for dealing with me to get those perfected!). But despite all that, I’m extremely happy with the results.   When I was lucky enough to talk to you about the anthology last year you said, “…keep an eye out for me. I’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like to see my words in a printed book, and I’m not going to stop until it happens again and again.”  It seems it became a prophecy!  What other works have you been dabbling in this year? Now, prophecy is totally in my wheelhouse! I’m so happy to be in the second anthology and that my words came true because of that. Though, the original meaning behind that statement was born from a bit of naïveté. I was always planning on submitting to anthology two, but my goal was to have something else in the works in between. I had been querying for maybe two months at that point and I was under the impression that if I were to get an agent I would know for sure yes or no by the end of the year. Like, I think I actually thought six months would be enough time to know if that was going to happen. Ha! Little did I know that publishing is THE slowest industry in existence. I am *still* querying over a year later and I am also waiting on multiple full and partial requests from agents. Since then, I did write “Hipshot,” but a lot of my 2019 revolved around my novel. Querying, but also editing. Early last year I won a contest called RevPit and got the chance to work with professional editor Jeni Chappelle to do several passes of my novel to help strengthen it for querying. I took the advice from that and made the best draft I could. Currently I’m working on a new Sci-Fi novel I’m excited about and brainstorming a few short stories that have been tickling the back of my head. And, hey, maybe one of those will be in Anthology 3!   Is there anything else you’d like to say to your readers? If you missed last year’s anthology, you can read “Doorbuster” at my website here. I also have the first chapter from the novel I’ve been querying up. Also, also, still keep an eye out for me. Publishing may be slow, but I’m still doing the thing and I’ll at least be trying out for the anthology again next year!     Thanks P. Andrew Floyd for talking with me today!  The JordanCon anthology can be pre-ordered from now until March 25th.  After that, only a few copies will be available for purchase at the convention.  Make sure to get yours ordered now!  Find out more details at JordanCon’s website!

By Mashiara Sedai, in Rotating Features,

Happy Groundhog Day to those who celebrate!  This will be a place to see some of the top news items pertaining to The Wheel of Time, as well as memes, fan art, idle speculation about the show and casting, and anything else within our sci-fi/fantasy community.     February is Black History Month in the United States.  To kick it off, our friend and JordanCon guest, Gerald Coleman had a fantastic summary of speculative fiction by black authors.  Rather than list the well known within the genre, Gerald dives deep and gives a thoughtful list of lesser known writers.   Gerald writes:       You can read Gerald’s summary of each book on his website.     On the fanart side of the community, I stumbled up several amazing works by Gal Or.  The representation of Shaidar Logoth is incredible, and as the show draws ever closer, the cursed city is going to be an interesting place to visit.  This event is so important to the character development of Mat, I hope we get a satisfying rendition of its creepy eyes and dark shadows.         You can see more of Gal Or’s artwork here.     For news with the show, we had a large batch of casting announcements over the past few weeks.  Many of them came about with the actors holding scripts.  (You can check out Dragonmount’s coverage of these announcements here and here.)  One I saw of Josha Stardowski (who is playing Rand) and Marcus Rutherford (who is playing Perrin) really pulled at my heartstrings!    (Photo from Wheel of Time News on Twitter)   It’s easy to get caught up in the adventure the three ta’veren get pulled into.  But at the start of the story, our heroes are best friends!  They have twenty years of history between them before Moiraine comes and collects them.  The two of them together in this picture captures the feeling of best friends to me.  I can see how amazing their on-screen chemistry will be.     For anyone in need of a humor fix, there’s a fantastic Facebook group called The Wheel of Time Shai’tan Posting, a private group, but one you can join.  As you can tell from the name, this group has the worst (and best) meme in existence.  This definitely isn’t a group for everyone.  But if you like your humor a bit dark or sometimes borderline inappropriate, this group is for you!  Here’s a few of the milder memes.           There’s plenty of Wheel of Time content going around!  This is a great time to be a fan!   That concludes this Community Round-Up.  Have you read any of the books on Gerald’s list?  Are you sensing the good vibes between Rand and Perrin?  Don't you agree "DangerGingers" is the perfect name for the Aiel?  Let us know in the comments.

By Eqwina, in Fantasy Reviews,

Crystal Fritz is Dragonmount's book reviewer. Read more reviews here.   Intricate, complex, and engaging were the first words that came to mind as I dug into The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons. The author creates for us an extremely well thought-out, vivid, and mature world that leaves this reader wondering if anyone truly has control over their own fate; or are we all simply pawns in a much larger game?   Our journey begins with a letter from a seemingly educated man of unknown origin named Thurvishar D’Lorus. In his short message, he informs us that he is our true storyteller. He has reconstructed this story from transcripts and eyewitness accounts of events. Thurvishar foreshadows for us the fall of a capital. Who he is, and what capital city he is speaking of, is unknown to us for some time. Our second window into this rich world is through the eyes and conversation between a jailor and her. The jailor Talon is a fierce and terrifying creature, that brings to mind for me, a sadistic and charming succubus, although that is not who or what she truly is. Caught in her trap is a witty young man named Kihrin, who seems more or less resigned to his fate.    It is Kihrins’ life and his journey toward his current confinement that we are following. We ping-pong through, chapter by chapter and year by year learning about how his life was twisted and changed by outside forces of prophecy and fate. Talon’s recount focuses on an earlier point in time, and it takes most of the novel before she and Kihrin’s tale converge to its inevitable end.    As this story is being told from the outside, our tale’s author Thurvishar includes footnotes on many of the pages meant to expand our knowledge of the history of the world. As you learn the “language” and history of the universe Jenn Lyons created the more captivating the story becomes.    The detailed complexity of this novel lends itself well to a quiet room and a glass of wine (or any beverage of your choice). It is clear to me the depth of the work that went into creating the many pitfalls and triumphs that drive the story forward. Lyons created an epic and fast-paced world filled with magic, demons, dragons, and heroes that leaves you wanting to know what is next for its cast of characters. I have already added the second book in the series to my reading list and am looking forward to discovering what happens next and answering the question(s) spinning in my mind.    What other books have you read that make you question the effect fate has on your life?   Hypothetically speaking, as a captive or prisoner, what affect would the discovery of the manipulative outside forces in your life have on you? How accepting or understanding would you find yourself while facing the grim prospect of future imprisonment or even, worse?     The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons 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 Dragonmount.com, in Video News,

The latest episode of The WoT Community Show is now online.     Visit the YouTube channel     SHOW NOTES Episode published January 28, 2020.   In this week’s episode Kitty discusses the 30th Anniversary of The Eye of the World, which occurred on January 15th.   EotW info page: https://dragonmount.com/Books/Eye_of_the_World/ 30th Anniversary news: https://dragonmount.com/news/book-news/eotw30/    * She also read an exclusive memory that Harriet shared with the fans.    * Ebony discusses fan reactions to how they found the series.   * And Thom discussed the latest cast news from the WoT TV series.  Here’s a complete list of names of all confirmed actors on the show, and their roles.    Speculation on the unknwn roles: https://dragonmount.com/news/tv-show/adams-wheel-of-television-who-are-the-new-cast-members-playing-r1085/    More info and photos: https://dragonmount.com/tv/s1/cast/   ************** Love, Lanfear   Do you  want the Daughter of the Night to help solve your troublesome relationship issues? Email us: Show@dragonmount.com, or leave a comment in the comments or on our social media with #LoveLanfear   ************** The WoT Community show is released bi-weekly and covers the Wheel of Time franchise and fan community.  Since 1998, Dragonmount has been a top destination for anything related to Robert Jordan’s masterpiece. With Amazon Prime’s forthcoming adaptation, we’ll keep you up to date.   The WoT Community Show is sponsored by Tor Books and our generous Patreon Subscribers. For more info on becoming a Patron, visit: http://Patreon.com/dragonmount   Please leave comments and suggestions below. We love hearing from you!  

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.   We have some new Wheel of Time cast members! And, as is becoming par for the course with this project, we don’t know who they’re playing!   Maria Doyle Kennedy, Katy Fleetwood, Jennifer Cheon Garcia, Daryl McCormack and Peter Franzén have all been announced as joining the cast through a social media blitz of them posing with pictures of their scripts for the Episode 5/6 table read. Of the group, only one confirmed her role: Katy Fleetwood will be playing Liandrin, an Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah who plays a major role in the second novel in the series, The Great Hunt. Jennifer Garcia also added the hashtag “#aessedai” and a blue square to her post, suggesting that she will be playing a member of the Blue Ajah.   The rest of the actors have not disclosed their roles, so it may be fun to speculate on whom they might be playing. The big coup of the announcements is Maria Doyle Kennedy. A veteran Irish singer and actress, Kennedy is probably best-known for playing Catherine of Aragon on Showtime’s The Tudors and Mrs. S. on Orphan Black. She’s also had recurring roles on Dexter and Outlander. As arguably the highest-profile casting since Rosamund Pike, she’ll presumably be playing a relatively major role. She’s actually been my personal favourite fancast for about a decade for the role of Elaida do Avriny a’Roihan, Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah and Court Advisor to Queen Morgase of Andor. Kennedy has mostly played positive characters, so seeing her as a villain would be an interesting change of pace.   An alternative is Siuan Sanche, the Amyrlin Seat, the leader of the Aes Sedai. Again, Kennedy would be excellent in this role but I think it would be a shame if they lost the idea of Siuan and Moiraine as contemporaries. Kennedy is fifteen years older than Rosamund Pike, but it’s possible they may be considering a change so it’s more of a mentor relationship, which could work.   The final possibility to my mind is Verin Mathwin, Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah and a font of information about the world. I think this is somewhat less likely due to the fact that Verin’s importance in the series tends to ebb and flow and she’d likely vanish for long periods of the story, which would risk losing Kennedy from the series in later seasons (although again this could be changed). Siuan and Elaida remain fairly important throughout the duration of the series and would be meatier roles for Kennedy, although there’s no arguing she’d play the hell of the culmination of Verin’s arc in The Gathering Storm.   Jennifer Garcia has done a lot of work in the Arrowverse for The CW and has also appeared in Fringe, Lucifer and The 100. Assuming she’s playing an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah, there are several strong possibilities. The most obvious is, if Maria Kennedy is not playing her, Siuan Sanche. Garcia is much closer to Rosamund Pike’s age which works for them being contemporaries. Other alternatives would be Leane Sharif, Siuan’s second-in-command as Keeper of the Chronicles; Anaiya Carel, a senior Blue Ajah sister (and the rumoured secret leader of the Blue Ajah); or Sheriam Bayanar, the Mistress of Novices.   Daryl McCormack is an up-and-coming Irish actor who recently starred in the fifth season of Peaky Blinders. His other credits include Vikings and Fair City. McCormack’s casting was actually leaked several months ago, suggesting that he may actually be appearing in the series before the fifth or sixth episode and they just chose to announce him at this point. His potential roles are fairly numerous but could include Galadedrid Damodred, the adopted eldest son of Queen Morgase of Andor; Aram of the Tinkers (given credence by reports that the Tinker wagon scenes have already been filmed); Dain Bornhald of the Children of the Light; or one of the Aes Sedai Warders for the previously announced actresses (Verin’s Tomas has the most story material, but Anaiya’s Setagana or Siuan’s Alric are other possibilities). Another possibility is that they’ve decided to cast unusually young for the roles of Elyas Machera (McCormack’s piercing eyes would be useful in this role), Lord Ingtar Shinowa of Shienar; or Captain Bayle Domon.   Peter Franzén is a Finnish actor best-known for his long-running role as King Harald Finehair on Vikings. There are quite a few possibilities for him, including the aforementioned Elyas Machera, Lord Ingtar Shinowa or Captain Bayle Domon. A fan-favourite suggestion seems to be Lord Gareth Bryne, the Captain-General of the armies of Andor. Lord Geofram Bornhald of the Children of the Light is another solid possibility. Raen of the Tinkers is another, although given that Franzén is much closer in age to McCormack (if he’s picked for Aram), they could change the relationship to father and son rather than grandfather. Mordeth could be another possibility, since we know the production is visiting Shadar Logoth. Lord Agelmar Jagad of Shienar is also a reasonable possibility.   For both McCormack and Franzén there is also the possibility of one of the Forsaken: Ba’alzamon, Aginor and Balthamel are all potential candidates.   Of course, guessing is difficult when we don’t know how many episodes there are in the first season (there are unconfirmed reports of eight, but Amazon have not yet confirmed) and how many books will be tackled per season, which is something we can speculate about another time.   As usual, we’ll bring you further news as it appears.

By Jason Denzel, in TV Show,

Four actors announced their involvement in the upcoming Wheel of Time TV show via social media today.    As of this time, Amazon hasn't officially confirmed their involvement, although Rafe Judkins, the showrunner, "liked" each of their social media posts. That, combined with the coordinated timing, and the obvious scripts visible in each of their hands, ensures that this is more than a rumor.   Kate Fleetwood will play Liandrin Guirale of the Red Ajah. Jennifer Cheon Garcia will play an unspecified Aes Sedai. Daryl McCormack has an unspecified role. Maria Doyle Kennedy will play an unspecified role (most likely an Aes Sedai).         These actors all posted photos of themselves holding copies of the scripts for episodes 105 and 106. The cast had gathered together for a table read.   In addition to those four actors, other previously-confirmed actors Madeleine Madden (Egwene), Hammed Animashaun (Lioal), and Priyanka Bose (Allana Sedai) also posted photos of themselves holding copies of the script for those episodes.      Tell us what you think of these casting announcements in the comments! Which characters do you think the 3 actors with unspecified roles will play?    

By Jason Denzel, in Books and eBooks,

January 15, 2020 marks the 30-year anniversary of the publication of The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan.  Although there are neither beginnings nor endings to the Wheel of Time, this date does mark the official beginning of the book franchise.    After leaving a career as a nuclear engineer, Robert Jordan (a pen name for James Rigney Jr, who went by "Jim" to his friends and family) began a prolific writing career. He wrote in a variety of genres, using a different pen name for each one, eventually making a name for himself in the fantasy publishing industry primarily on the strength of his Conan novels. (Robert Jordan did not create the Conan character or write the original novels. He wrote later ones in the series over 50 years after the original author, Robert E. Howard died).    Originally pitched to Tor Books as a 3-book series, Tor publisher Tom Doherty laughed at the sheer scope of The Wheel of Time and instead offered Jim a 6-book contract.  Tor believed in the first book so much that they did a heavy marketing push, going so far as to commission an alternative book cover and creating 5,000 advance reader copies, which was unheard of now, or then.    To celebrate this 30-year anniversary occasion, we asked Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan's wife and editor, what her memories were of that time in 1990.  Here's what she sent us:   We're also asking YOU to share your memories of how you found this special book. You can reply here to this article, or you can reply on our social media: Facebook Instagram Be sure to check out our Eye of the World info page, as well as our Book Summary and Chapter Recaps.    

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