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Corvinus

THE WHEEL OF TIME TV Show: The braid tugs, as the writing wills [BOOK SPOILERS]

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For the sake of discussion and being argumentative surely WOT is the equivalent of GOT in terms of how "well known" they were before GOT was adapted to TV? It has the benefit of being completed too.

 

No, Wheel of Time was considerably better-known than ASoIaF pre-TV show. The level of sales, profile and success for WoT was massively higher for WoT than ASoIaF, probably right up to GoT hitting the screens. That changed within a couple of years.

In profile terms, Robert Jordan was pretty much matching Terry Pratchett sale-for-sale worldwide, despite Pratchett producing a much larger number of books, so Jordan's sales-per-book were significantly higher. Pratchett was a genuine household name in the UK and Australia, where he very comfortably outsold Jordan, but was far behind him in most of the rest of the world (particularly in the USA). Both were massively far ahead of Martin, who went from roughly 1/8th of their sales to overhauling both in the span of eight years or so.

Edited by Werthead

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28 minutes ago, Corvinus said:

In that case, once the show gets going, maybe just reading this companion will be sufficient for you, if you want to learn more about the world without plodding through Jordan's prose. And luckily, all that about smoothing skirts, sniffing, shrugging and so on will likely be absent and very subtle; except for braid tugging, that's a must, no way around it; no braid tugging, might as well call the show something else. 

That's a great suggestion, thanks!

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On 8/27/2019 at 9:14 AM, red snow said:

For the sake of discussion and being argumentative surely WOT is the equivalent of GOT in terms of how "well known" they were before GOT was adapted to TV? It has the benefit of being completed too.

WoT is about as complete as ASOIAF is. James Rigney died with the series half finished. Brandon Sanderson was then hired to finish the series, and he did, sort of. Problem is that his WoT ending is about as convincing as the last four seasons of GoT. 

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18 hours ago, Werthead said:

No, Wheel of Time was considerably better-known than ASoIaF pre-TV show. The level of sales, profile and success for WoT was massively higher for WoT than ASoIaF, probably right up to GoT hitting the screens. That changed within a couple of years.

In profile terms, Robert Jordan was pretty much matching Terry Pratchett sale-for-sale worldwide, despite Pratchett producing a much larger number of books, so Jordan's sales-per-book were significantly higher. Pratchett was a genuine household name in the UK and Australia, where he very comfortably outsold Jordan, but was far behind him in most of the rest of the world (particularly in the USA). Both were massively far ahead of Martin, who went from roughly 1/8th of their sales to overhauling both in the span of eight years or so.

The facts above really put into perspective just how big a financial risk taking on GoT was for HBO back in 2009. 

A series that had only 1/8th of the sales of WoT and was unfinished. Wow, its insane to think about that now in light of GoT's totemic success. 

And HBO did not have the almost limitless coffers that Amazon can boast either, being a limited prestige television channel. 

I do think its interesting, though, that Amazon have decided to take on two huge fantasy IPs at the same time (I know they have the money, but still....) 

Netflix has The Witcher and the Dark Crystal prequel but they are about as distinct from one another as two series' within the same broad genre could be (the latter involving puppetry/animatronics) whereas WoT/LotR would actually have the exact same kind of fanbase at the heart for both offerings. They are quite similar products (high epic fantasy worlds with vast legendariums and a huge cast of characters spanning a great territorial expanse). 

I can't help but think that the early part of season 1 of WoT (Eye of the World) may well remind LotR fans more of the opening of the original trilogy in the Shire/Emond's Field with Gandalf/Moiraine and the Ring-wraith/Myrddraal chase on the road towards Rivendell/Caemlyn where they stop off before at the long-abandoned Amon Sul/Shadar Logoth, than the Second Age LotR show will (if they adhere to the lore, its quite different to the original trilogy both tonally and in terms of narrative structure, lacking the typical 'quest' fantasy set-up. Indeed, there isn't any 'questing' in it at all, really (until the Last Alliance at the very, very end) in either Eregion with Annatar and the ring-forging/rise of Sauron and war or in Númenor (which is all about politics of empire versus isolationism, intervening in Middle-earth affairs or not, civil war between the Faithful and the King's Men, and corruption as its civilisation revolts against the Ban of the Valar ending with Ar-Pharazon's usurping of the throne from the rightful heir and the Downfall), whereas WoT like the original LotR trilogy is very much a quest fantasy epic for adults at least at the beginning). 

That might be good for WoT and more of a risk for the LotR show (i.e. film-only fans of Jackson's trilogy will see the name LotR and go in expecting one thing while discovering something a bit different with no hobbits, Gandalf etc.).

Or, it might please genre-fans but not appeal to casual viewers as much. I'm interested to see how it pans out for both shows.

Edited by Krishtotter

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18 minutes ago, Loge said:

WoT is about as complete as ASOIAF is. James Rigney died with the series half finished. Brandon Sanderson was then hired to finish the series, and he did, sort of. Problem is that his WoT ending is about as convincing as the last four seasons of GoT. 

Incorrect. Jordan died whilst working on the final book (which he admitted was never going to be published in one volume), not halfway through the series, and the ending, certainly as regards to all of the major story and character arcs, was executed as Jordan intended. The fate of secondary and tertiary characters and subplots was left to Sanderson and Jordan's editorial team in lieu of any information.

The ending of Wheel of Time was also pretty damn good, and has in the main been well-received aside from a small but vocal minority.

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Also worth keeping in mind the budget for season one of GOT vs 5, 6, 7. The show was a lot cheaper and therefore less risk for the first 1-2 seasons and they were only more extravagant once the show was taking off. Think of season one having a dozen dothraki vs thousands of them at the end.

The story in book 1 of GOT lends itself well to minimising cost. Is book one of WOT the same?

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1 hour ago, Loge said:

Brandon Sanderson was then hired to finish the series, and he did, sort of. Problem is that his WoT ending is about as convincing as the last four seasons of GoT. 

I'm as critical of Sanderson's ending as the next guy, but that's hardly a reasonable comparison. The way Sanderson writes, in the end, wasn't a tonal fit for WoT, but the main plot beats aren't his. Do they suffer from his take, sometimes? Sure. But we still got the epic ending we'd been waiting for, and there were some truly sublime moments in there, whether they come from RJs original writing, or Brandon expanding on the notes is immaterial.

A lot of it will certainly make for some amazing TV, if the show gets there. More and more, though, I'm hopeful they will. 

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3 minutes ago, red snow said:

Also worth keeping in mind the budget for season one of GOT vs 5, 6, 7. The show was a lot cheaper and therefore less risk for the first 1-2 seasons and they were only more extravagant once the show was taking off. Think of season one having a dozen dothraki vs thousands of them at the end.

The story in book 1 of GOT lends itself well to minimising cost. Is book one of WOT the same?

Much moreso. There is one big battle with thousands of troops, but it's happening way off in the distance. Otherwise it's mostly a small bunch of characters travelling the countryside, with a few small skirmishes and a light dash of political intrigue on top.

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1 minute ago, red snow said:

The story in book 1 of GOT lends itself well to minimising cost. Is book one of WOT the same?

Nope. Certainly, there's somewhat less to do, budget wise, in book 1. But only somewhat. It'll certainly outstrip the demands GoT made, based on it's plot.

WoTs biggest demand is going to be the cities, I think. They're not the lone castles with a few huts around that aSoIaF has. Pretty much any of them will put King's Landing to shame, and they're pretty well described and have some fairly iconic buildings in them the readers of the books are going to expect.

Book 1 needs a convincing Paraan Disen (though only for a few shots), Caemlyn, Shadar Logoth and Fal Dara, at the very least. Then you're going to need hundreds of Trollocs, quite a bit of One Power special effects, the battle at Tarwin's Gap, the Blight, the Eye of the World itself (though this should be relatively easy)...

I wouldn't say cheap, no.

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You don't need Paaran Disen, as I believe they've said that the opening prologue will not be in the series at all until much later as a flashback. The others can be done by tight shots of medieval streets in Prague, like GoT did in Season 1. The long establishing shots of huge cities didn't come until much, much later.

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10 minutes ago, Werthead said:

You don't need Paaran Disen, as I believe they've said that the opening prologue will not be in the series at all until much later as a flashback. The others can be done by tight shots of medieval streets in Prague, like GoT did in Season 1. The long establishing shots of huge cities didn't come until much, much later.

Where did they say they're not doing the prologue? If so, they're doing themselves a severe disservice. That's probably one of the best openers in epic fantasy, and would certainly make for an audience-grabbing scene to start the show with.

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17 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

Where did they say they're not doing the prologue? If so, they're doing themselves a severe disservice. That's probably one of the best openers in epic fantasy, and would certainly make for an audience-grabbing scene to start the show with.

I agree. 

The prologue as a cold open was actually very good, as we see the last Dragon Reborn, Lews Therin, having gone insane and searching frantically around a large renaissance-style palace for his wife and children, only to discover that he had in fact killed them because his magic had gotten out of control. 

I think it was pretty hard-hitting and effective, probably the part I liked most when reading Eye of the World. Also sets up the arc of looking for the next Dragon that is Moraine's quest, the existential tension over whether this prophesised figure will save or destroy the world, the fact that only women wield the One Power safely and the Dark One (i.e. who offered to bring Ilyena back).

I wasn't aware they were going to start straight in Emond's Field.

Since the in-world mythology is cyclical rather than linear, with the "wheel" coming and going with the ages, I think it makes narrative sense to begin with the Last Dragon and end the series with the Dragon Reborn.

Edited by Krishtotter

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22 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

Where did they say they're not doing the prologue? If so, they're doing themselves a severe disservice. That's probably one of the best openers in epic fantasy, and would certainly make for an audience-grabbing scene to start the show with.

Judkins said it in his Q&A on Twitter. They're starting with Tam and Rand on the road to Emond's Field.

The decision not to show the prologue I believe is down to cost and the fact they'd need to cast Lews Therin and Ishamael and then not use them again for several seasons, possibly requiring recasting later on if those actors were not available. This is something that kept happening on GoT.

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Or they could recast. No one is going to care very much several seasons down the line.

Seems like a bad decision, but then I think Faile's all right, so what do I know? :dunno:

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54 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Judkins said it in his Q&A on Twitter. They're starting with Tam and Rand on the road to Emond's Field.

The decision not to show the prologue I believe is down to cost and the fact they'd need to cast Lews Therin and Ishamael and then not use them again for several seasons, possibly requiring recasting later on if those actors were not available. This is something that kept happening on GoT.

I just checked that tweet. He doesn't say it's the first scene, just that it's from the first script, and an iconic scene that must exist. 

Unless you're referring to another tweet...

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On 8/27/2019 at 8:59 PM, fionwe1987 said:

his statement that the LGBTQ representation in the books will be modernized (and it desperately needs that), 

I'm trying to even remember who they are in the book, is it assumed the thief catcher that befriends Matt is? Or are we just talking the pillow sisters thing with the AS and maybe Forsaken?

I'm getting more and more hopeful for this, most of what comes out really gives me confidence they're going to address a lot of the things that need addressing and a lot of the others will naturally get fixed in the translation to visual medium. I don't know that I ever loved the books as much as you Fionwe, but they sure as hell meant a lot to me through my teen years and early adulthood and there are a lot of scenes that were indeed excellent. 

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46 minutes ago, karaddin said:

I'm trying to even remember who they are in the book, is it assumed the thief catcher that befriends Matt is? Or are we just talking the pillow sisters thing with the AS and maybe Forsaken?

I'm getting more and more hopeful for this, most of what comes out really gives me confidence they're going to address a lot of the things that need addressing and a lot of the others will naturally get fixed in the translation to visual medium. I don't know that I ever loved the books as much as you Fionwe, but they sure as hell meant a lot to me through my teen years and early adulthood and there are a lot of scenes that were indeed excellent. 

Juilin? He ends up with a woman, and I don't remember any hints he was bi. RJ notoriously never implied any male homoeroticism for any character. Barring single reference to men who don't like women, there's nothing about anyone being gay or bi who's male.

Plenty of Aes Sedai are clearly lesbian, and we have a Cairheinin noblewoman and a Sea Folk Windfinder who engage in an extramarital affair, and we have a Guardswoman of Elayne's, I think, who's implied to be bi. 

Then you have the nonsensical situational bi members of the Aes Sedai, which is hopefully scrubbed off completely.

Moiraine and Siuan and Elayne and Aviendha are obvious major characters who can be bi and be in a couple without the story changing too much. Not sure if they can do that for any of the men.

For me, WoT was a revelation just because of the number of women it put front and center. It made me realize how male dominated the fantasy I read was, and that led me to my feminism. While I'll agree WoT doesn't handle it's gender stuff perfectly, it'll always be special to me for opening my eyes to my own unconscious biases so effectively. 

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On 8/23/2019 at 3:16 PM, Astromech said:

I would still love to see some of Rand's weaves when he lays waste to the shadowspawn at Maradon. Hell, I'm excited to see Rodel Ituralde and the entire defense of Maradon.

I just read this section in my reread and I agree the whole sequence is great.  I love 'awakened' Rand.  I would wager there will be scenes similar at the very least, though maybe not in defense of Maradon.  

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4 hours ago, Inkdaub said:

I just read this section in my reread and I agree the whole sequence is great.  I love 'awakened' Rand.  I would wager there will be scenes similar at the very least, though maybe not in defense of Maradon.  

Rand at Maradon is one of those Sanderson things that just doesn't fit WoT. Not that such a thing is impossible, but it's just not internally consistent if Rand does it without a powerful sa'angreal boosting him. Having him do that, then in the next book, be unable to face a circle led by Taim... It doesn't make sense.

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I have to agree with @Werthead with regard to popularity of WoT. In Serbia, it is one of the best selling fantasy series and fandom is well-established. ASOIAF, before GoT, and other works such as Malazan, Sword of Truth or Sanderson's Cosmere can't compare to WoT's popularity.

I was thinking about some glorious moments down the line. And the one I am really looking forward is cleansing of saidin. That scene in the books is amazing. It's so rhythmical, so dynamic, with short POV moments. Truly amazing ending to what was a tiresome tome.

And of course, the great meeting at Fields of Merillor, was it? I am now imagining Rosamund Pike doing that speech about Rand... Epic!!!

Then Egwene v Elaida in White Tower... Jesus, one forgets how many great moments series of 14+ books has,

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