Very interesting subject matter you bring up, I have thought about this myself also since I have lived with the Wheel of Time for almost 30 years and wish the tv-adaptation to be done right. Being a fan of staying close to canon in the tv-series (but, like you say, understanding the need for some changes in a visual medium; I just hope the changes are necessary and minor on the whole personally) I too was somewhat concerned when I heard what you mention.
PS. I see another member writes that he believes Brandon was not 'as blunt' (at least not quoted that way) as you say about disliking one particular change, but my impression from what I have heard (having followed Wheel of Time podcasts and blogs for months on end) is as you say that there was one particular element which displeased him somewhat (he was not that happy about) and which could upset part of the fanbase (though he was very supportive of Rafe's vision overall).
And on this basis I will share my reflections on this matter.
I agree on this, I too think Brandon would not be too pleased (for the reasons you mention) with adding a bunch of modern-day swearing to the tv-series. However, I am somewhat doubtful that this is what Brandon had in mind with his comment, since I think doing this change would only irritate parts of the fan community (some of the purists) while others would not care (and newcomers to the tv-series would kinda expect some at least modern-day swearing in a tv-series like this I guess).
(personally this is a change that would not bother me that much unless it goes too far into vulgarism)
This is another possible change that Brandon could have been somewhat unhappy with as you mention. I too, however, wonder if he would have reacted strongly to a (possibly necessary) plot change. The fanbase would be split I think on issues like this (some wanting few changes, some being open to many changes) and most fans of the saga expect a number of changes. It does depend a bit on how the changes would play out though, how fan reaction would be. The greater the change, the greater the reason (hypothetically) for Brandon to react. It is one thing to change the order of things at the Eye of the World and Tarwin's Gap or make minor tweaks, quite another if say the two Forsaken at the Eye are dropped from the tv-adaptation and the whole Eye plot from the book is revised. All in all I am doubtful if this is what Brandon had in mind, but it does depend somewhat on how big a potential change we are talking about in this instance.
(personally I would be very displeased if a major change was done to the Eye plot and that at Tarwin's Gap, say removing the two Forsaken from the story + the Greenman, revising much)
This is another possible change as you mention. Purists might react at such a change (especially those who were not that keen on this romance to begin with, and/or hoped the whole romance might be skipped in the tv-adaptation) while pragmatist might not mind. I don't think it is such a big deal either way that Brandon would react strongly to it, so I don't think this is what he had in mind.
(personally such a change or addition would not bother me that much; I am one of those who thought it was nice/charming to see Moiraine find some happiness in her personal life after a lifetime of working for causes for the White Tower, it made her somewhat more 'human' in a way, but it would not have mattered that much to me if this romance had not happened in the books, and so I am relaxed as to how they depict this matter in the tv-series)
Another possible change as you mention. I have seen others mention this too. I don't know how big a deal such a potential change might be for Brandon. It also depends on what is the change. If Min becomes a transperson in the tv-series, that would be a major departure from canon and also influence how one views Rand (if the two are in love like in the books). If she is depicted as bisexual, that might be a slightly smaller departure but still far from canon. If she no longer is in love with Rand in the tv-series, that would be another big change. I think if there is a major change with Min, that could easily be the 'one big change' Brandon is talking about. As for the fanbase, again I think it would be split between those who would be very displeased by any major changes in Min's gender identity / relationship with Rand, and those who would not mind (i.e. who see the tv adaptation more as a separate telling of the story and so are fine with a huge departure from canon)
(personally I am in the first category here, and would be very displeased with any major changes to Min's character in the tv-series; this goes for all our heroes/heroines from EF as well as Elayne and Aviendha; I want to see the characters with their traits from the books on the tv-screen.. 'smile')
Another potential change as you mention. I agree with you, I too feel such a major change from the books might make Brandon very displeased, also seeing (as you say) that he himself got to write them both at the end of the story. This could be what he had in mind when he mentioned the 'one big change'. Here too I think the fanbase would be somewhat divided, some being fine with such a change, others thinking it's too drastic. Neither of these two characters seem to be overly loved by the fanbase in general is my impression, but I think also many of those who are not great fans of them would like to see them both in the tv-adaptation.
(personally I want, as mentioned, to stick as much to canon as possible when it comes to the main storyline, main characters and the main events in the books, and so I would be unhappy if they combined the two characters or dropped one or both from the story; they each serve a purpose in the story)
Interesting point. I would very much understand if Brandon would react strongly to a major change with Tel'aran'rhiod, say removing it altogether from the tv-series or changing it in a major way. I do, however, highly doubt Rafe would make such a drastic change since the World of Dreams is, as you mention, an integral part of the Wheel of Time going forwards. So I don't think this is what he has in mind.
(personally I would be very displeased indeed if they removed the World of Dreams from the tv-adaptation, neither would I be happy if they changed this concept too much; I am excited to see how it does play out on the tv-screen)
I agree that these points above are also potential but less likely changes that would elicit such a comment from Brandon. Cutting the Trakands would upset part of the fanbase I think (say removing Caemlyn) while the more 'pragmatic' fans might not care that much. Beefing up Logain's backstory etc seems to be something most fans believe will happen and I can't either see this would upset Brandon (quite the opposite I would imagine). Nudity on screen: this might be divise among fans, but I agree with you, don't think this would be a major thing for Brandon (it will be interesting to see how far they do go with nudity on screen though, since as we know there is much nudity in the books but much of a non-sexual nature). I don't either think cutting 2nd tier characters would upset Brandon much either, he understands that this is necessary with the huge amount of characters in the books. I don't think potentially cutting the Voice would upset him that much either (will be interesting to see if they do keep it in the tv-adaptation; is important in that case that it does not become cheesy I think most would agree).
(personally I hope they keep the Trakands and Caemlyn in season 1, I like the idea of having more of Logain's backstory even if we don't have much of it in the books; I have no strong opinion on nudity in the tv-series but I feel natural nudity (f.ex. with the Aiel sweat tents etc) was an element in the books that could be included in the tv-series without going the 'all-out sexual route' of Game of Thrones). Cutting 2nd tier characters is the kind of change I am fine with in the tv-series, it will be necessary in many cases. As for the Voice, if done right I would like to keep it but it's not a big deal for me if it's removed)
I agree with you, you are not alone in your musings. We all want the best tv-adaptation we can get. For most fans a major change in the tv-series will not be a dealbreaker, but it sometimes depends on the change and one's personal opinions. I used to be of the opinion that it is preferrable to have read the books first and then watch a tv-adaptation (you know the story and can enjoy the visual presentation), but I have gradually moved to the opposite view, that it actually is better not to have read the books which the tv-series is based on, that way you can enjoy the tv-adaptation for what it is without bias or preconceptions (or high demands and sky-high expectations). Others may disagree but that has become my opinion.
A couple theory-additions of my own:
- Reducing the number of Forsaken in the tv-adaptation
We touched upon the matter with the 2 Forsaken at the Eye, but say Rafe decided to opt for keeping just a few of the Forsaken in the tv-series (say 6 out of the 13), that I could easily see Brandon would react strongly to. As with the other matters discussed above, the fanbase would be split on this I think, some reacting strongly in major disappointment, others not caring that much since it is an adaptation. The number 13 does have a special meaning in the Wheel of Time though as we know, so cutting down on Forsaken, combining Forsaken characters or similar, would certainly be a major change. Will it happen? It might, for practical purposes (fewer actors needed, more focus on a smaller number of Forsaken) and storywise (some of the Forsaken are, as we know, less involved in the story/saga and, in some cases, get killed off quickly). It will be very interesting to see how this matter is handled in the tv-series.
(personally I very much hope they keep all 13 Forsaken in the tv-series, even should we not see them all acted out (but we are told they are there); 13 is as mentioned an important number in this universe and here I want the showrunners to stick to canon as to names, character traits etc)
- Not going for distinctive language traits for inhabitants from various parts of 'Randland'
Rafe might decide that it is too complicated and too much to expect from the actors that they all speak acccording to the region whence they come, and so lets them all (incl. f.ex. the Illianer characters) speak 'the New Tongue' generally. It would not surprise me if Brandon would react to this being an author himself and thereby very concious of language and nuance. At the same time he knows that with the multitude of nations, characters etc in 'Randland' this may be too great a challenge and might even perhaps confuse viewers (who become fastened on language/dialect more than the story). I don't therefore think this is likely to be the 'one big change' but I thought I would mention it. I think most of the fanbase would understand if all characters speak 'the New Tongue', without dialects etc though it might be fun to hear some 'Illianer-speak' and, of course, 'the Old Tongue' from some of the Forsaken, Mat etc.
(personally it does not bother me how they speak, but I want some 'OId Tongue' like in the books from Mat and some of the Forsaken, it kinda bridges the gap a little between the 2nd and 3rd Age as I see it)
That's all I can think of for now. Thanks for starting this interesting thread and subject matter. It is a 'clean' reflective discussion which should please everyone.