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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Review of "Leavetakings"


Werthead
  • Wheel of Time has been part of my literary background for a quarter of a century. Can the adaptation - any adaptation - survive the weight of expectation that is thrust upon it, especially the very first episode?


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, and was a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2020. 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.

 

I started reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novels in 1996. A quarter of a century later, I sat down at the IMAX in Waterloo, London to watch the first episode of Amazon’s lavish TV adaptation of the series.

 

The weight of expectation is strong here. I saw The Fellowship of the Ring only five years after reading the book, and the first episode of Game of Thrones just over a decade after reading the first book in that series. But Wheel of Time has been part of my literary background for a lot longer. Can the adaptation - any adaptation - survive the weight of expectation that is thrust upon it?

 

The answer is “maybe,” and Rafe Judkins and his team have not aimed at a close or literal adaptation of the source material which attempts to replicate the novels line-by-line. Fortunately, it’s not an ultra-loose “inspired by the source material but also not really” kind of adaptation as we’ve seen recently with BBC America’s The Watch (where any similarities with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels are more by coincidence than design) or Apple TV+’s speculative take on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels.

 

The Wheel of Time instead charts an interesting middle ground, with some scenes directly lifted from the books - and certainly each major plot beat is lifted from the source material - and others invented to flesh out character background and motivation. In many cases these changes are improvements for the visual medium: rather than hear about the enigmatic matriarchal rituals of the Women’s Circle, we see one firsthand. Instead of hearing about Mat being a chancer and gambler, we see him playing dice. And instead of Rand and Egwene agonising over whether they want to be in a relationship or not, we see them debating about whether to continue a pre-existing relationship, which raises the stakes. The most controversial change is with Perrin: a young bachelor in the books, the show opens with him as a married man, albeit one whose relationship seems to be having its own issues. These changes help make the characters distinct rather than being similar young, single men, with their differences in character and temperament only emerging over time.

 

The most surprising thing about the first episode is how Judkins (who wrote this instalment) allows the episode to breathe. Over the course of an hour, he sets up the Aes Sedai, the curse of men who find they can channel the One Power, and the power dynamics and relationships within the village of Emond’s Field (which goes curiously unnamed, with all references being to the wider region of the Two Rivers). We explore Rand’s relationship with his father Tam, see Nynaeve’s sense of conflict at being both part of the community and, as Wisdom, outside of it, and that Mat has a problem with gambling. Another controversial choice is to make Mat’s parents troubled wastrels, with Mat showing signs of being a better man (doting on his sisters and ensuring their wellbeing) but also falling into the same temptations (as he likes a drink and a wager, but is not very good at mixing the two). I can see why these changes were made, to deepen and complicate the characters, but also the argument that these changes may veer on the cliche (and, in Perrin's case, indulging the tiresome fridging trope). Still, the measured introduction and dedication to the show’s worldbuilding and character relationships is a relief given fears that the show would have to blast through the major plot elements to get the story told in just eight short seasons. Whilst the slower start may compromise how much story can be told later on, it works very much in giving a good first impression of a show that cares about its characters, their relationships and making sure the audience can follow what’s going on. The show even strengthens book relationships, by giving Nynaeve much more of a reason to be angry at Moiraine, when the latter plays Columbo and manipulates Nynaeve into giving away invasive personal information just so she can work out her age.

 

The show’s visual design is sumptuous, with excellent set design and some breathtaking location shooting in the Czech Republic and Slovenia. Shots of Rand and Tam descending a mountain pass with their horse and cart, or Moiraine and Lan riding across the landscape, recall the epic vistas of The Fellowship of the Ring. The show replicates the book’s evocation of Tolkien without copying him outright, though a few moments come close: Padan Fain riding into town with a gaggle of children chasing his cart will have you waiting for the fireworks to fly out.

 

The Wheel of Time is a large and complicated story set in a large and complicated world, but the first novel, The Eye of the World, does a good job of easing readers into the setting. Judkins’ first episode does the same thing, with some elegant ways of getting worldbuilding info to the audience: rather than bald exposition about the dangers of men who can channel, the episode opens with a coterie of Red Sisters led by Liandrin hunting down two men who can channel...but in reality, it’s only one, the other a figment of his increasingly deranged imagination. A quiet Bel Tine scene has the villagers honouring the spirits of the departed, but knowing they will one day be reborn through the weavings of the Wheel, telling us this world is more a place of spiritual ideology and philosophy than religion as we know it.

 

The quiet worldbuilding of the early going is soon offset by an impending sense of dread. Moiraine and Lan’s arrival lets us and the villagers know that Trouble is Afoot, and even an unexpected bath scene which out-Witchers the infamous tub scene from The Witcher (featuring an, I’m assured, charismatic performance by Daniel Henney as Lan) cannot lessen the feeling of doom which builds excellently in the latter third of the episode. This culminates in the infamous Trolloc attack on the village on Winternight, with a dozen of the huge beasts (realised through a near-flawless mixture of prosthetics and CGI) running amok. In a nod to the varied origins of the creatures, we see wolf-headed Trollocs attacking upright but also dropping to all fours for greater speed or mobility (though that's where the CG can occasionally creak). At first the attack is a massacre, but the Two Rivers folk soon show their steel, with the Coplins and Congars putting their differences aside to bring down one of the creatures with pikes and staffs, whilst Perrin and his wife Laila fight off an interloping band into their forge with a mixture of hammers and axes. The best bit of fight choreography comes when Tam al’Thor shows his blademaster prowess by fighting off the presumed Narg in his farm.  Book purists will weep to learn that Narg’s dialogue has been removed from the show, but this is probably for the best given how incongruous it is with later Trolloc behaviour.

 

The show finally lets loose by showing what it is capable of when Moiraine unleashes the One Power in the defence of the village. She uses Air to hurl Trollocs through the air with bone-snapping force, Fire to blast the enemy into ash and Earth to rip the ground apart around them. When the Trollocs are finally ready to overwhelm her, she uses a tornado to tear half the village apart and blast the Trollocs with a storm of masonry. It’s as impressive an action sequence as ever put on TV cameras, helped by most of the fighting and a lot of the reaction shots being done in-camera, with CGI being resolved only for specific moments that would be impossible to realise otherwise. Watching this scene in IMAX with a powerful sound system realising every explosion and scream was absurdly overwhelming. I have to confess to mixed feelings on the collateral damage: Moiraine literally tears the Winespring Inn apart to destroy the attacking Trolloc horde, and it’s unclear if she knew there was anyone inside. A scene from the second episode hints at a possible change to the Three Oaths: Moiraine indicates she can kill people inadvertently if she does not 100% know they are there or that will happen, as opposed to the books where it feels like Aes Sedai can’t channel destructive weaves indiscriminately if there’s even a chance an innocent might die in the crossfire. Whether this is a deliberate change or Moiraine was able to ascertain via some application of the Power that no innocents were in the firing line remains to be seen.

 

After that storm of battle, the episode ends with a coda: Moiraine telling Egwene, Rand, Mat and Perrin that the Dragon has been Reborn, and it’s one of the four of them. She has to take them out of the Two Rivers quickly to draw off the Shadowspawn pursuers before they return. This is an awkward scene because it conveniently gives the youngsters and Moiraine no time to check with their parents about the circumstances of their birth or arrival, otherwise the mystery of whom the Dragon Reborn is would die a quick death. However, it does give us that iconic final shot of the team leaving the Two Rivers with the Trolloc army on their heels, as Moiraine gives us the classic catechism and Lorne Balfe’s music stirs.

 

The first episode is a lot to take in, and purists will likely decry everything from Rand and Tam’s farm being moved (from the Westwood to a mountainous perch not far from town) to Two Rivers not being quite as cut off as in the books (there’s now an open road leading south to Ghealdan) and the insinuation that Egwene is both a ta’veren and a candidate to be the Dragon Reborn. Those more willing to accept changes for the visual medium will find much that is rewarding. The most surprising and welcome thing is that the episode doesn’t cut to the chase of explosions and battles ASAP, but spends a leisurely 40+ minutes building up characters, relationships and the world before bringing on the Shadowspawn. The vfx scenes have been hogging the attention in trailers, but it’s the quieter moments where the show sings: Tam and Rand grieving the loss of Kari, Egwene being accepted among the women of the town, Mat scrambling to afford a Bel Tine present for his sisters, and the villagers coming together to pay respects to the souls of the dead in a ceremony that seems to move even the stoic Moiraine. Lorne Balfe’s score particularly plays well in these quieter scenes and moments, though the music mix is perhaps a little too low in the released version (it was more noticeable in the IMAX).

 

Performances are uniformly excellent, with Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney providing real gravitas and skill as Moiraine and Lan, and Michael McElhatton convincingly going from Worst Dad Ever in Game of Thrones to Best Dad Ever here. But the youngsters also prove their mettle: Barney Harris simply walks Mat out from the page and onto the screen, Madeleine Madden has impressive screen presence and Zoë Robins excels at portraying Nynaeve's sense of responsibility and care for the rest of the community, but also her loneliness. Marcus Rutherford and Josha Stradowski are lower-key presences at this point, but so are Perrin and Rand at this point in the novel (Mat somehow manages to steal scenes when he's not even the POV character), and what we see here is promising.

 

There are problems, and some of them feel a bit of a non sequitur at this point: the changes to Perrin don’t seem to add much to his character (especially given his limited ability to react to them in the two succeeding episodes); Padan Fain feels like a random addition to the series at this point; and the final scene where everyone has to leave abruptly without any time for exchanging seemingly vital plot and character information is somewhat contrived. The first preview scene from the episode, where Lan and Moiraine arrive in the village at night, is also awkwardly shot and paced. But beyond those scenes, Leavetakings does what it needs to do: it sets up the story in an interesting manner and leaves the viewer wanting to see more.

 

 

 As usual, follow our casting and news pages, and let us know what you think of the latest developments.

 




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Thank you very much for an excellent review. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this episode almost as I enjoyed watching this very good episode. 

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I have to disagree with the statement that things are allowed to breathe. Watching it there is nothing of the sort, the episode jumps from

character to character giving you flashes of information but nothing to get invested in or think about. By the end when Nym is taken by Trollocs the viewer doesn’t care even if they know they should because a main character is upset by it, because we don't know who Nym or anyone else really is, what she stands for or why she matters.
 

You can only really get a view of this if you get the reaction of someone who has not read the books and in the words of many friends of mine who meet that criteria by the end of episode 1 the general consensus was, they could all die tomorrow and I wouldn’t really be bothered. 
 

If you compare it to the opening episode of Game of Thrones at the end of that episode you care deeply about bran even though you have only met him over the past 45 mins. 

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My personal tanke on the show is that is it one of the "if worlds" and me starting the app is equal to taking a portal stone.

It is the same, but with some changes to the world and characters.

Edited by OxFEA4

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I agree with the comments in this case and not the reviewer. I have so far not seen any reason to have Perrin not only BE married but accidentally kill his wife. That does nothing for his character but to saddle him with unnecessary guilt. His stoicism and apprehension over the dangers of his bulk could have been (and was) aptly displayed in the scene from the book where he struggled to make way through the crowd at paean gains cart despite his much greater height and strength. As for the changes to Matt’s parents, again unnecessary. Matt was special because he was DIFFERENT. His parents were upstanding, honest citizens. And his mischief was uniquely his own. Mat was my absolute favorite character through the series. So much so that during the third read through (and most of the ones after) I would skip through the books to his scenes and then go back and read the rest so I could go urge myself in his story with out interruptions. But this Matt does not seem anywhere near the lovable rogue who ineffectually tried to hide his honor and heroism. This Matt seems like someone Rand and Perrin would never be friends with. He seems more like a Coplin or Congar than a Cauthon. They seemed to have mad little changes that add up to a huge change in the story. Another instance is Moiraine announcing to the foursome that one of them might be the dragon and they simply went right along with her. Seriously?! The mystery of WHY the Dark One was interested in the boys and Moiraine’s secrecy was the whole reason Rand was so defiant and what later developed into his appreciation and love and understanding for  Moiraine. I don’t think the people who made the show had actually read the books before making it and that breaks my heart. 

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This adaptation will alienate the purists and gain an audience of very few. Destined for failure. And i am truly sorry to see something i was so looking forward to destroyed by one persons vision of how things should be, and not how they were intended from the authors point of view. No interest from this viewers standpoint and thank you so much for selling out. Hope the financial gain was worth it. 

Edited by Dave Dad
Typo

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I wasn’t a fan of the first episode. From the just telling the teens, one of you is the dragon reborn, the entire nonsense with Perrin killing a non existent wife, Mat’s parents, to the Cenn Buie be damned shake roofs. Don’t even get me started on the terrible Aes Sedai rings. I was super mad about the exclusive of the best character in the series, but luckily he shows up in later episodes. 

Edited by RaceBannon42
Mispelling

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I really wish they had not made the boys so much older. One of the best parts of the wheel of time is the boys growing into manhood as the dark one washes over the land.   I hope, but do not believe, that this series will last beyond the first episode. For that I believe Robert Jordan is rolling in his grave. RJ was a magnificent writer who I read extensively while on maneuvers in the Army from 96-2004.  I loved his prose and only wished he could see it to the end.

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16 hours ago, Dave Dad said:

This adaptation will alienate the purists and gain an audience of very few. Destined for failure. And i am truly sorry to see something i was so looking forward to destroyed by one persons vision of how things should be, and not how they were intended from the authors point of view. No interest from this viewers standpoint and thank you so much for selling out. Hope the financial gain was worth it. 

This seems unnecessarily harsh. Maybe put down the keyboard for a while and take a walk. Go find something happy in life. 

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I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that coming to a website dedicated to people who read and loved the books would reveal comments of hatred toward the show. I think these people are doing themselves a disservice and need to take a step back. You have the books. You have that story. If that's all you want, then re-read the books.  The TV series is, as they all are (and absolutely need to be), different from the books. We don't need, and can't have, a literal retelling of the books. There's far too much inner monologue, brooding, introspection, etc. That doesn't play well on the screen. And they also can't capture every single moment of an 11,000 page book series in the amount of seasons they have to work with. Actors rarely sign up for one line of work for a decade. Same with directors and producers. 

 

The TV show has so far been a credible representation of the books. I've enjoyed it and look forward to more. Did I love every decision? No. But I'm also willing to see it all play out to see where they go with it. 

 

Perrin being married? I kinda hated it. But I get it. Through those events at the beginning of this TV series we as an audience will now understand why Perrin will eventually have that disdain for the axe and prefer the hammer. We understand why he is brooding and introspective. He is different that Rand will turn out to be on that level as they both tend to spend a lot of time in their own heads. On the page, we understood their thoughts and loved that journey. On the screen that can't work and they each need visible rationale for some of events and characterizations that develop later and over the course of the show. 

 

Enjoy the series for what it is. Don't look for a literal translation of the book. And for the love of all that is good and holy, stop ever comparing it to Game of Thrones. 

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31 minutes ago, kedryn alan said:

This seems unnecessarily harsh. Maybe put down the keyboard for a while and take a walk. Go find something happy in life. 

No. It really, really does not go far enough. The series is terrible, and apart from using names, terminology, and bastardized lore, it isn't really the same story.

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23 minutes ago, kedryn alan said:

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that coming to a website dedicated to people who read and loved the books would reveal comments of hatred toward the show. I think these people are doing themselves a disservice and need to take a step back. You have the books. You have that story. If that's all you want, then re-read the books.  The TV series is, as they all are (and absolutely need to be), different from the books. We don't need, and can't have, a literal retelling of the books. There's far too much inner monologue, brooding, introspection, etc. That doesn't play well on the screen. And they also can't capture every single moment of an 11,000 page book series in the amount of seasons they have to work with. Actors rarely sign up for one line of work for a decade. Same with directors and producers. 

 

The TV show has so far been a credible representation of the books. I've enjoyed it and look forward to more. Did I love every decision? No. But I'm also willing to see it all play out to see where they go with it. 

 

Perrin being married? I kinda hated it. But I get it. Through those events at the beginning of this TV series we as an audience will now understand why Perrin will eventually have that disdain for the axe and prefer the hammer. We understand why he is brooding and introspective. He is different that Rand will turn out to be on that level as they both tend to spend a lot of time in their own heads. On the page, we understood their thoughts and loved that journey. On the screen that can't work and they each need visible rationale for some of events and characterizations that develop later and over the course of the show. 

 

Enjoy the series for what it is. Don't look for a literal translation of the book. And for the love of all that is good and holy, stop ever comparing it to Game of Thrones. 

This is overly harsh towards the real fans. If you don't think the story from the books is what this series is about, then why did they use the series title, book names, character names, etc. ...if you and them wanted your own story why not go make one instead of plagiarizing Jordan?

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1 hour ago, AenAllAin said:

This is overly harsh towards the real fans. If you don't think the story from the books is what this series is about, then why did they use the series title, book names, character names, etc. ...if you and them wanted your own story why not go make one instead of plagiarizing Jordan?

Ah, "real fans." I guess I missed out on my "Real Fan" badge somewhere along my multiple readings of the books. I'll have to see if I can still get one. Is being angry and condescending required in order to be a real fan?  Do I have to prove some level of memory and recall in order to pass a test?

 

I read the books. Several times. They were a huge part of my youth and a huge connection with my brother. I like the show. If being a real fan means I have to shit on everything I disagree with in the show, I'll skip the test and go on my own way, enjoying the books and enjoying the show. 

 

I'll choose to find the good in things where I can. I hope you can do the same. Cheers. 

 

 

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I can appreciate this adaptation for exactly what it is. Consider the need to take so many threads and plotlines and condense them sufficiently enough that you can still tell the same main story. Consider that a large percentage of the story was told via internal monologue, and how difficult it is to translate into a visual medium. Consider that the target audience includes both those very and unfamiliar with the books. I appreciate than Harriet and Brandon are involved, if not always heeded.

 

Yes, I do disagree with some of the background changes made. Still, I can enjoy what was done, and none of the changes so far have left me so emotionally scarred as to flag this adaptation as an utter failure after just 3 episodes...

 

I do think everyone involved are trying to do right by RJ, and it saddens me to see so much of his fanbase being dismissive or outright hostile to this adaptation. I'm glad that the showrunner acknowledges that it will take at least 8 seasons. I still see enough of the original source to support letting it thrive until completion. Personally, I would LOVE it if the showrunner could address some of the plot threads left unfinished by the books. 

 

Edited by Gherrick

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I am a big fan of the books and do understand they have to make changes for a screen adaptation. For example they are combining events from the first three books in this first season.  Events and characters will need to be adjust as a result. These changes are to be expected. 

 

However, there are corner stones of the world and story that where changed to meet the sensibilities of the producers world view. These change the very core of the story and world. 

 

Example: During the war with the dark one, men closed the dark ones prison at the cost of the source of their magic becoming tainted. Tragic hero's who gave their sanity to save a world that they ended up destroying in the end. In the first 30 seconds of episode one,  this is changed to men being arrogant asses who just tried to banish all evil because they thought they could and broke the world. 

 

This changes the all the events and lore through out the whole story that are tied to this building block of the world.  It casts men who can channel in an entirely different light than in the books. It is these unnecessary changes that have fans most upset with the adaptation.

 

If you enjoy the adaptation, I hope you continue to do so. For me, this is too far off the mark on core story to be worth watching.  I just hope people start respecting differences of opinions without being derogatory towards the other side.  

 

 

 

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On 11/20/2021 at 7:43 PM, Sir_Charrid said:

I have to disagree with the statement that things are allowed to breathe.

I actually can't believe he said this. 

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11 hours ago, swollymammoth said:

I actually can't believe he said this. 

I mean unless you like your breathing to be a crazy intense mass of hyperventilation of course, in that case he is accurate 🙂 

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On 11/22/2021 at 9:37 PM, Gherrick said:

I can appreciate this adaptation for exactly what it is. Consider the need to take so many threads and plotlines and condense them sufficiently enough that you can still tell the same main story. Consider that a large percentage of the story was told via internal monologue, and how difficult it is to translate into a visual medium. Consider that the target audience includes both those very and unfamiliar with the books. I appreciate than Harriet and Brandon are involved, if not always heeded.

 

Yes, I do disagree with some of the background changes made. Still, I can enjoy what was done, and none of the changes so far have left me so emotionally scarred as to flag this adaptation as an utter failure after just 3 episodes...

 

I do think everyone involved are trying to do right by RJ, and it saddens me to see so much of his fanbase being dismissive or outright hostile to this adaptation. I'm glad that the showrunner acknowledges that it will take at least 8 seasons. I still see enough of the original source to support letting it thrive until completion. Personally, I would LOVE it if the showrunner could address some of the plot threads left unfinished by the books. 

 

I have no issues with condensing or tweaking the story, I love what Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings and fully supported my fav scene (tom bombadil) being removed. 

 

But PJ stuck to the basic rules of Tolkiens world, and, in a far shorter running time he allowed the characters to breathe and develop. By the time the Hobbits where on their way even people who don't know the books cared about the hobbits and understood them enough to know the motivation. 

 

So far Rafe seems to be carrying out a whistle stop tour of the highlights of the books and isn't caring about things like character development, understanding drivers and motivations. He seems to be trying to out do GOT last season for trying to cram as much story as possible into as short a time as possible. Ignoring the wheel of time connection so far this is just a bad tv show which is ok, trashy fantasy has it's place on TV, but it isn't heralded as a big budget extravaganza that will be the jewel in a networks programming (unless that network is the horror channel or scifi channel). I can forgive alot of changes, but affecting the fundamental foundations for no clear reason I cant. 

 

I will say another thing, Brandon Sanderson is a producer, his name is in the credits, and he is being far more open and honest about mistakes that have been made then many fans are. Yes he isn't openly attacking the show, he wont, he is a producer, but he is being far far more upfront and honest then ANY producer I have ever seen on any show in history when it is being broadcast. That should raise alarm bells. 

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4 hours ago, Sir_Charrid said:

I will say another thing, Brandon Sanderson is a producer, his name is in the credits, and he is being far more open and honest about mistakes that have been made then many fans are. Yes he isn't openly attacking the show, he wont, he is a producer, but he is being far far more upfront and honest then ANY producer I have ever seen on any show in history when it is being broadcast. That should raise alarm bells. 

He shared a few things he didn’t like. There are always going to be things people liked about a book that get cut/changed/condensed in a show. But he also repeatedly praised the show and its creators. It’s unfair to leave that out and color his commentary as concerned or worthy of raising flags.

 

This team is excellent, I have to say. Episode six is the best--least, I think that's the number of the one I'm thinking about--so be on the lookout for it. But they have real respect for the story, and are good writers. This is an enormously difficult project to undertake, and I'm quite impressed by Rafe and everyone involved.” - Brandon Sanderson

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1 hour ago, kedryn alan said:

He shared a few things he didn’t like. There are always going to be things people liked about a book that get cut/changed/condensed in a show. But he also repeatedly praised the show and its creators. It’s unfair to leave that out and color his commentary as concerned or worthy of raising flags.

 

This team is excellent, I have to say. Episode six is the best--least, I think that's the number of the one I'm thinking about--so be on the lookout for it. But they have real respect for the story, and are good writers. This is an enormously difficult project to undertake, and I'm quite impressed by Rafe and everyone involved.” - Brandon Sanderson

Yes he gave praise, but I have seen other comments and criticisms by him on other areas of the internet, if he wasnt a producer attached to the project I would agree with you but please tell me anywhere in the past that someone connected to a project who was unhappy about it has come out in the moment and publicly complained, the only people I can think of are members of Game of Thrones who made very cryptic hints about disappointments in the lead into the final season red carpet, and then afterwards when it had all came out where more vocal about there issues once it was all over. Usually someone in Brandon Sandersons shoes would just keep quiet until it is all out and done. Full credit to him for his honesty but I do wonder how much is he also keep quiet about in fear of being asked to leave the project in the future? I may be wrong, I am open to seeing how this evolves but the fact is this is probably the worst opening 2 episodes to any TV series I have seen in a long time in terms of pacing, and scene setting and just getting us engaged with the characters. Lord of the rings doesn't labour over it, Peter Jackson gives you glimpses of merry and pippin (with the fireworks) to let you know what their characters are, he gives you a chance to get to know Samwise. He even gives you a good sense of the Tooks with just one passing camera pan. An introduction to Emonds Field should have felt like that opening to the Fellowship and could have done with the budget Amazon is throwing at this. Then you would have cared about people being killed by the trollocs. Then just a few mins on how the various families react to being told their children have to leave. I really fear that this whole series will be about set piece to set piece with the stuff in between being classed simply as filler I hope I am wrong but noting Rafe has been involved in until now convinces me otherwise. Agents of shield largely started out as Monster of the Week, and that had 22 episodes to get going properly. 

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