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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Thrasymachus

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  1. Thank you very much for that elaborate straw man. Let's break it down exactly where and how far you're wrong. Millions of people, perhaps tens of millions, have read through the entire epic 14 book series, from beginning to end. They recognize the Wheel of Time. But not in this. This looks generic because the only thing it has in common with the actual Wheel of Time, which many of them would already be at least somewhat familiar with, are the most generic features of that story. That's blatantly and historically false. No one was familiar with it before 1977. And it was aesthetically and iconically distinct from the moment it first hit the theaters. It certainly didn't look like Star Trek from a decade before, nor did Star Trek look like Battlestar Galactica from that era. You're looney toons if you think familiarity breeds the recognition of uniqueness. In fact it's the other way around, familiarity breeds the recognition of what is generic. What is generic is familiar. It's what is novel that is always unique. You seem to be under the impression that the Wheel of Time is this completely unknown little thing, that nobody has any expectations for it that could color their reactions, but that's very far from true. There's not a major con anywhere that doesn't have Wheel of Time representation in the cosplayers. It is consistently on lists of the top ten American fantasy series, up there with Steven King's Dark Tower series and Ann Rice's Vampire Chronicles, and it's also pretty consistently the highest rated series that has yet to have a TV or movie adaptation. There's not a person in any English speaking market who saw that trailer that's more than two or three degrees of separation from someone who is familiar with the Wheel of Time, and that person will only be able to recognize the Wheel of Time in this because they're told to. Hence, generic. Nor is my assessment merely based on the fact that almost nothing looks like it should. It's also based on the things they've said to justify some of these changes, and others. Like not having color-changing cloaks for the Warders because it would cost too much, for a show already spending this much money, as if they don't have access to tech available to any twitch streamer or filter user. Not being able to visit as many places, as if sets and redressing them weren't a thing. Like telling book fans to "gird their loins," at the changes they're making. And for other, more plot relevant changes we know about, and others that are reasonably speculated and entertained. Like expanding Logain's story to include the fact that he's already going insane. Like cutting out Caemlyn and the Trakands, and including Tar Valon instead. Like Rand and Egwene's relationship clearly being more intimate, and less of a social and childhood expectation. Like fades that look like walking worms with arms and legs instead of near throwbacks to the human stock that made the Trollocs. For costumes that look ripped out of A Wrinkle in Time. For a showrunner with no clear successes under his belt who thinks that somehow diversity and tolerance are core features of the Wheel of Time literary exploration, who has a special, personal relationship with his experience of this series that's not shared by most fellow readers. For a writer's room of no-name mercenaries who have limited, if any, prior knowledge of the series. I have a diversity of reasons, that they've given me, to withhold any further benefit of the doubt. It's up to them to show us how this is the Wheel of Time, and they are failing on every available front. Indeed, they've already failed so hard there's almost no path for this series' success, in my view The only path there is through the utter decimation of the prior art and culture of the fandom and a genuine transcendence of the story they're going to tell us over the story RJ told us. They're already making a good go of the former, but there's not a chance of the latter.
  2. At no point in this screed did you make anything like a coherent or sound point. That you can't tell the difference between a character from Star Trek versus a character Star Wars based on merely a few seconds of visual aesthetic alone means you're either completely unfamiliar with either of them, you have a cognitive disorder that prevents you from recognizing familiar features like those poor souls who can't recognize faces, or you're a liar. You're also completely missing the point. The complaint is not that the trailer or anything else looks like "generic fantasy." It's that it doesn't look like the Wheel of Time. Robert Jordan carefully, deliberately and with vivid descriptiveness, mashed up a variety of specific prior elements of story, history and legend from a variety of cultures to create a distinct, unique and clearly recognizable aesthetic. That aesthetic has been more than completely abandoned here, it has been supplanted by somebody else's "unique and distinct" aesthetic. I don't care that it looks bad, or that it looks like a mashup of a kung fu movie with Bollywood fantasy. I care that it's not the Wheel of Time. Nor is my take on this show limited to what was shown in the trailer. This show's production team has been teasing fans, and journalists and fan-followers have been leaking and speculating (with varying levels of reliability) for years now. And I've been here for all of it. I've defended casting, I've talked about changes to the plot, which characters could be cut, how to handle the World of Dreams, etc., etc. My genuine "disillusionment" with this attempt at an adaptation is new enough to not yet have a birthday. And it's about how very far they are from anything any of us prior fans would recognize as the Wheel of Time without being told it was, based on what we know that has been shown to us by the show runners and reliable sources thus far.
  3. "A different turning" is, and has always been, a cop-out. Just like "keeping to the core" or the "spirit" or "main thrust," are vague and ultimately meaningless phrases. Marketing typically abounds with such, but its deployment here is egregious, an attempt to mollify some of us by using a throwaway world-building device from the books, in order to justify the series' complete abandonment of anything distinctly Wheel of Time. Strip out the voice-over and the identifying logos, and there's nothing that would identify anything that's been shown as a Wheel of Time adapation to even the most knowledgeable and discerning fan of the prior art. Prior art, and the culture of fandom that's grown up around that prior art, matters. Particularly of art that's already so broadly popular that it almost counts as mainstream all on its own, prior to any successful adaptation into TV or movies or a successful game. It doesn't even matter if the writing and acting are Academy-award worthy, and I can guarantee they won't be with the writing team they have. This blatant a deviation from the prior art (of a series that is so popular that if they even captured half the book readers it would rank among the most popular small-screen shows since the era of Cheers and MASH) can only possibly be met with anger, division and backlash, and deservedly so. And what is often as galling as it is frequently amusing is that so many of us have forgotten that we don't owe Rafe Judkins or Amazon Studios anything. Not even a "chance," or a "benefit of the doubt." He, and they, owe us and the IP they are adapting the proof that they are really "keeping to the core" of the story, that they understand its "heart and spine," and the explanations and justifications for their changes that respect the story, the prior art, and the prior fans, before they should expect the kind of support that so many here are willing to not just give away to them, but will contort themselves and their hopes and expectations into pretzels to provide. They say those words, but words are cheap and often false, and should never be trusted without the actions and receipts to back them up. They don't have any of that here. There is nothing of the Wheel of Time in what's been shown thus far, except for some names. And quite a bit that's distinctly not the Wheel of Time.
  4. Nope, you're not the only one. I fully expect this show to be a dumpster fire. For the "creative" choices they've made alone, let alone the ways they treated the existing fan base and established prior art, since the main cast release at least, they deserve worse than to join the ranks of adaptations that fans nearly universally agree to pretend don't exist. It's rather a shame, too, because this cast, the main cast at least, could have been good in these roles. But there's no reason to believe the writing will be good enough to overcome the massive changes to the plot and Jordan's iconic aesthetic. And substantial reason to believe it won't.
  5. The thing is that there are relatively few main or secondary characters that were born in any of the Great Cities. Which makes sense. Even being hugely populous, the vast majority of the population would still have been in the countryside, due to the lack of industrial farming. And I don't really buy the premise that people native to Tar Valon would generally not want to make that heritage known. Particularly in Tar Valon and those nations most closely allied with them, the Borderlands nations, Andor and Cairhein. Perhaps in Tear or Amadicia there would be such reluctance, but likely only to avoid the inconvenience of having to put off Whitecloaks or Defenders who may be overzealous. And in particular, a man from Tar Valon who's older than about 25 ought to be considered safe as houses.
  6. The difference is that Republic City is less than a few decades old, founded specifically to be a haven for all those displaced by the Hundred Year War. Very new and intentionally cosmopolitan. There would be nobody native to Republic City who was more than a few years older than Korra. Tenzin's age at best. Tar Valon is 3000 years old, and founded specifically to be a haven for Aes Sedai and their trainees. The city grew up around the Aes Sedai's needs, to feed them, clothe them, and so forth. I doubt that Tar Valon is the most populous city, though. It's pretty geographically constrained, for one. I would say that Tear, Illian, Caemlyn and Cairhein are all likely more populous, word of god not withstanding. And in the three thousand years that the Tower has existed, there have been at least three successive generations of nations. There's no natural distinction between people like with Avatar, where there's Fire Nation and Water Tribe and so forth. I very much doubt a family that moved to Tar Valon from Manetheren just after the Trolloc Wars would, in the days of the Dragon Reborn, still consider themselves Manetheren, or more absurdly, Two Rivers folk.
  7. She had just found out about Aviendha and Rand, and got a bit jealous. Lanfear "loved" Lews Therin from the Age of Legends. Avi, Elayne and Min are fated to love him. I don't think anybody else really does.
  8. If it were my favorite fantasy series of all time, I might be excited too. But there's nothing of the Wheel of Time in this, or anything they've shown us almost since the cast reveal. I shouldn't be surprised, ElderHaman, that you forgot that I did support this show up through that point. Convenient memory is a symptom of irrational attachment. Indeed, I even liked the Winespring Inn reveal. But you're right, not since they've started showing us how unique and different their takes on things were going to be, when it became clear that we were getting Rafe Judkins' very expensive re-imagining of the Wheel of Time, rather than a faithful TV adaptation of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. And this division is not inevitable. Good, faithful adaptations largely unify their fans. LotR's did. It can even catapult that fandom, like Iron Man's did. I'm sorry we're not getting that. It seems the universal thread to successful, already semi-popular IP adaptations is to respect the already established fans, but that ship has long sailed. But travesties of an adaptation can unify fans of an original work too. And the value of the original work will survive, and can even thrive. Just ask Avatar: The Last Airbender. And I don't think any other major studio could look at the interest generated in this show and, should it fail due to being too different to excite the existing fans and too [insert flaw here] for everybody else, think that there's not enough interest in a Wheel of Time adaptation. And perhaps Amazon, still a young media producing company, may learn from these mistakes. And believe me, it's no fun to be on this end of it either. I would much rather be waiting with anticipation for an adaptation that was going to respect the story and the author of this story, including among his greatest traits as an author: his vivid and exacting descriptiveness and descriptions, enabling the reader to see his characters and settings as real people and real places. To the point where many consider it to be almost a flaw. And it doesn't really matter that that whole illusion of reality he painted crumbles beneath a few minutes of careful thought, requiring the bracing of speculation and head-canon to maintain itself, because that vividness, those descriptions, had already captured your imagination, making that speculation not just fun on it's own and necessary for the suspension of disbelief but more than worth it. But given what I know, and what's been reasonably and unreasonably speculated, and which of those speculations have born out and which have not, it's not enough to just expect that this show will fail.
  9. It's made them uncritical of the art, but ready to condemn any who is, or who simply doesn't care for it as a matter of taste. It makes them defensive and insulting over matters of taste, and demanding and dismissive of those who differ. It makes them take wild flights of speculative fancy to apologize for, excuse and even exalt blatant deviations and excisions and the excessive creative license this show has taken, that we know of, and be unable to see how patently absurd such speculation is, often especially if to turns out to be true. It has made them personally invested in the possibility of this show's success, and thus intolerant of anybody who could justly see this as an unwarranted hijacking of a story and characters and costumes and accessories they grew up with and invested in. And of course most humorously, it has made them hypocritically unaware of their own changing standards and hopes, as more and more has come out showing just how far different what they are going to be giving us really is from what those hopes and lines-in-the-sand were 5 years ago. I saw that trailer and I was left wondering just what it would take for some of you to say, "Enough is enough, this isn't the Wheel of Time." I'm convinced that for at least some of you, there's no articulable limit, and I have been convinced of that for some time. It's why, more than just thinking that this show will likely be an hilariously expensive failure, I actually hope it is. Because otherwise, the book fandom will be forever divided into those who liked the tv show, and those who hate it for changing as much as they could just to sell out, and they will be forever sniping at one another, just like is beginning to happen these past few months to now.
  10. I was rather looking forward to it, until I saw what they were doing with it. And what it was doing to fellow fans, or perhaps what it reveals about them.
  11. We have no evidence that he's 100% fluent in the Old Tongue prior to the Finns. He only pulls out a few phrases, now and then, and only in times of pretty extreme stress or its immediate aftermath. He shows no real proclivity to it prior to being Healed either, beyond what his friends had, and his dreams just after being Healed were full of as much prophetic/future stuff as anything from the deep past, so who knows what was going on in his head then? Speculation is fun, and the Wheel of Time is seemingly built to encourage it, but one must be careful not to mistake speculation for established fact. And it can be tough, because RJ fills his pages with unreliable, but confident and authoritative narrators.
  12. Could be. It could also be that the Old Blood runs strong in the Two Rivers, and Mat is a direct descendant from Aemon, and upon waking up of having been Healed from the dagger using a device from the Age of Legends, "remembers" leading the Heart Guard in what seems to be Manetheren's final battle in a similar way that Aiel clan chiefs remember their history of the Aiel through their anscestors' eyes upon going through the crystal columns ter'angreal. Mat's not the only one to break out into the Old Tongue, however. And it seems odd that a Warder and husband of one of, if not the most powerful Aes Sedai of that era, would be hurling invective at Aes Sedai trying to Heal him, or be proclaiming himself, "no Aes Sedai meat."
  13. Hasn't changed my views at all. Though I have gone from hoping it's such a flop we can throw it on the trash heap with the Last Airbender movie and all pretend it doesn't exist, to wishing it had never been made because apparently some people would be happy with absolutely anything no matter how bad it is, as long as it has the right names in roughly the right places.
  14. I kinda half expected them to start singing and dancing. Wheel of Time: Bollywood Edition.
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