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The Wheel of Time TV Show 3: Fan expectations are heavier than a mountain, success is lighter than a feather [BOOK SPOILERS]

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36 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

Isn't Ingtar much older too?

I don't think his age is ever given, so he could just as easily be in his early 30s, as the actor is, as older, I think. Assuming I'm right that an age is not given.

36 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

This far future world isn't likely to maintain "races" that look consistent with how they are seen today. 

While technically true, Jordan seemed to have no problem matching characters, and doing so that fit modern ethnic lines.

Jordan generally imagined very distinctive cultural attire and norms, and distinct ethnic appearances, between different places. I think trying to get that is more important than trying to stick to the letter of just how he describes people. Consistency is more important than precision. (I also have no idea what ethnic group would provide copper-skinned willowy women for Domani, for example)

Edited by Ran

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

While technically true, Jordan seemed to have no problem matching characters, and doing so that fit modern ethnic lines.

Wholly because all he knows is Hollywood actors, and it is very hard to imagine outside that framework.   Sadly, there is a dearth of Malkieri and Andorian actors around.

Seriously Ran, that's circular reasoning.

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37 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

Wholly because all he knows is Hollywood actors, and it is very hard to imagine outside that framework.   Sadly, there is a dearth of Malkieri and Andorian actors around.

Seriously Ran, that's circular reasoning.

There's also the fact that many of the official artworks created while he lived and with his approval, and even the descriptions of many of the characters within the text, don't really convey this notion of "ethnotypes that don't exist" for most of the main characters. Yes, Cairhienian are short, Aiel are tall and fair, etc., but for the most part every culture has a fairly distinctive type and I think there's little evidence that, say, many of the central Westlands characters aren't simply, both in text and in Jordan's intention, basically "Caucasian". since the Westlands are basically his Middle-earth or Europe.

A product of Jordan's limited imagination, perhaps (...), but that's the situation. Jordan played more with the idea of mixing and matching our ethnic groups with wildly different cultural traits (for example, the Seanchan who range through quite a lot of different ethnicity because their continent is very diverse mostly sound like Texans(!) while having cultural trappings of Imperial China, the Persian Empire, the Ottomans, etc.) 

(Also, sounds like he imagined Domani as Indian, which I guess fits; at least, he gave them that accent, just as he gave Andorans and the Two Rivers Irish/English accents, the Saldaeans Egyptian/North African, etc.)

 

Edited by Ran

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42 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

Wholly because all he knows is Hollywood actors, and it is very hard to imagine outside that framework.   Sadly, there is a dearth of Malkieri and Andorian actors around.

Seriously Ran, that's circular reasoning.

Yeah. I'm not sure how RJ saying "x country's folk in Randland are derived from Y country's folk in the real world" implies that the same ethnicities exist in WoT as do today. Or even that he's only referring to looks as opposed to culture. Tear has Spanish influence, and the mixed ethnicities could even be matched to post-Moorish Spain, but then the names of the peasants have a more Asian influence, and so do some of their attire and culture. Siuan is fair skinned and blue eyed, but nothing in her description prevents her from being a blue eyed Asian woman, honestly, for instance. 

Certainly, no one in the books thinks that the Tairens who are dark skinned are of the same ethnicity as the Sea Folk. Nowhere is that connection made. Nor are the fairer skinned Tairens ever connected with Andorans or Cairheinin who are fair.

Similarly, the tall, blond/ginger Andoran Noble families are not implied to be of Aiel ancestry. For all the heterogeneity among the Westland nations, they all view the Aiel as barbarian savages. This despite the fact that some nation's certainly have people who look Aiel, minus the tan. And there's even some cultural similarities between the Eastern Borderlands and the Aiel.

As a concept, ethnicity/race is never mentioned in WoT, except perhaps for the Aiel, and maybe the Sea Folk, but that seems very strongly cultural, since no one connects them to the Tinkers who actually do have the same ethnic origin, but blended in with whatever nations they wander through. 

And while unrealistic, there doesn't seem to have been much skin color acclamatization to latitude and climate. The more northerly Domani are darker than the southern Taraboners. The Aiel have deep tans but their base skin color hasn't changed.

We know from the books that peaches, for instance, are poisonous in WoT. No reason other physiology, like skin color, or facial features, have a different evolutionary history than in our world. 

 

ETA: I really think the book covers argument is shitty. We know DKS never read the book, and RJ had no say in them, as was common. Lan had a beard. Perrin and Rand look different in different covers. Egwene is shown to have curly hair, which is absolutely not supported by the text. All you can say is DKS assumed the main characters were Caucasian. And I think that, correctly, has zero impact on how the books are translated to screen.

Edited by fionwe1987

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42 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

 

ETA: I really think the book covers argument is shitty.

I'm not referring to the book covers as such, but to say Jordan had "no say" is not quite right. It's interesting to consider the details about characters that stayed the same over multiple covers, and draw some conclusions about whether those details were things Jordan had no objection for... 

OTOH, Jordan and then later Team Jordan signed off on other art works, such as Charles Keegan's art for the reissues, the e-book reissues, etc., and again, for the most part, the central characters featured are all... well, white folk. Because that was how Jordan imagined them. I'm not sure why this is controversial.

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We know DKS never read the book, and RJ had no say in them, as was common. Lan had a beard. Perrin and Rand look different in different covers. Egwene is shown to have curly hair, which is absolutely not supported by the text. All you can say is DKS assumed the main characters were Caucasian. And I think that, correctly, has zero impact on how the books are translated to screen.

I think I already said that, for example, Malkieri as Asian doesn't strike me as a problem no more than my suggestion of making the Caemlyners black strikes me as a problem even though I don't think that was necessarily Jordan's intent for either group. Again, it's consistency of appearance which I think is more important. We do not have "non-modern Earth ethnotypes", so regardless of how you cast, a group of Domani would ideally appear distinct from a group of Tairens, a group of Saldeans distinct from a group of Cairhienin, etc. As far as that is practicable, in any case.

The fact that they're filming mostly in Eastern Europe suggests that they're going to get a lot of white people in the background regardless of where in Randland the action is set... but who knows, maybe they'll expand the shooting scope for the 2nd season when we hit Illian and Tear.

Edited by Ran

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1 minute ago, The Anti-Targ said:

That's quite an acting resume (imagine the end e has an accent on it).

I checked Youtube for some clips. Best I can say is that he seems capable of saying his lines and hitting his marks, but the quality of the productions he's been involved in leave a lot to be desired and so it's hard to judge. If he is cast in a role, presumably his audition was good. 

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

I checked Youtube for some clips. Best I can say is that he seems capable of saying his lines and hitting his marks, but the quality of the productions he's been involved in leave a lot to be desired and so it's hard to judge. If he is cast in a role, presumably his audition was good. 

Speaking of the quality of productions.. Do we know what the budget is for this series btw? 

I have had a really bad feeling about this show ever since the first announcements (that it might be a Hercules/Xena/Sinbad quality show). I would really like to up my expectations a bit.. can I? :D

Edited by akh

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I'm not referring to the book covers as such, but to say Jordan had "no say" is not quite right. It's interesting to consider the details about characters that stayed the same over multiple covers, and draw some conclusions about whether those details were things Jordan had no objection for... 
OTOH, Jordan and then later Team Jordan signed off on other art works, such as Charles Keegan's art for the reissues, the e-book reissues, etc., and again, for the most part, the central characters featured are all... well, white folk. Because that was how Jordan imagined them. I'm not sure why this is controversial.

Well, it seems that even IF RJ had objections to some details, they weren't taken into account. So what conclusion can you draw about the features that were constant, given that we don't know everything he objected to?
As for Charles Keegan's covers, look at the cover for New Threads in the Pattern. That's presumably Egwene with the a'dam. She looks darker skinned than her sul'dam and Suroth, in the background; and has incredibly curly hair, which at least is absolutely not true to the books:
https://wot.fandom.com/wiki/File:New_Threads.jpg
Nothing about her looks here say a Madeline Madden cannot play her. If you see her as exclusively Caucasian looking there, I don't know what to say.
As for the Ebook covers, here are the words from one of the people from Team Jordan who actually approved those covers:

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Okay, I was just pointed at a certain article saying that everyone in The Wheel of Time comics was white, so that must be what Robert Jordan meant for Emond’s Fielders to look like. The article says that the comics were released in 2005, two years before RJ’s death. That’s NOT the case. Some of the comics of New Spring did come out before his death, and he did work on those – some of his emails about them are included in New Spring: The Graphic Novel. However, in New Spring no one goes anywhere close to the Two Rivers.
There was a dry period for the comics – New Spring was not finished, but no new issues were produced – and in that period RJ died. It was not until 2008 that Bandersnatch resumed work with the Dabel brothers to finish them. RJ was dead, so I - who had worked with RJ and the Dabels on the earlier issues - worked with the Dabels, approving or asking for any changes desired.
Shortly after that, we embarked on the comic version of “The Eye of the World.” RJ was still dead, so again oversight of production was given to me. Issue 00 of the comic has a cover date of April 09.So it is totally unfair, specious, and wrong to say that the comics prove that all Emond’s Fielders were white. In MY mind’s eye, at that time they were, which is totally MY failing, and not Robert Jordan’s. Careful reading of the books shows that they are not what my privilege led me to assume.
And yes, RJ did have a list of actors that he said the characters resembled, and those actors were largely white, but that list was made long before, and referred more to build and face structure, not necessarily eye color or skin tone. Val Kilmer has blue eyes, after all, and Perrin’s are canonically brown until certain events occur.
I think that the cast chosen for the TV series is absolutely wonderful, and every time I look at each of them, I’m a little more in love. Harriet thinks that they are grand as well and particularly likes Marcus’ eyebrows.
Really, people, I feel quite safe in saying that Robert Jordan would be freaking appalled at all this racism.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/5034437636/permalink/10156826384827637/
As far as I'm aware (and someone correct me if I'm wrong), the new Ebook covers started coming out after RJ died, to lead up to the release of The Gathering Storm. Maria was RJ's assistant, and whether she had a role in approving the ebook covers or not, her statement her certainly excludes the possibility that RJ ever said to her "I imagine the main 5 characters/the majority of Randland to be Caucasian". Certainly, nothing in the notes seem to say that, since several people who have gone through them, and Maria, whose job it was to maintain them, are either mysteriously ignoring this statement from the author, or, correctly, realize that RJ was pretty vague about race for most of the characters. 

Quote

I think I already said that, for example, Malkieri as Asian doesn't strike me as a problem no more than my suggestion of making the Caemlyners black strikes me as a problem even though I don't think that was necessarily Jordan's intent for either group. Again, it's consistency of appearance which I think is more important. We do not have "non-modern Earth ethnotypes", so regardless of how you cast, a group of Domani would ideally appear distinct from a group of Tairens, a group of Saldeans distinct from a group of Cairhienin, etc. As far as that is practicable, in any case.

There are some dominant looks that seem to belong to some of the nations, yes. But several do not have a homogeneous population. Tear certainly doesn't. We have characters going from as dark as the Sea Folk to much fairer and light eyed, and quite a few skin tones in between. Altara also has different looks in the north or the south. Andor, definitely, and Saldea as well. 
Certainly, if you were to ask someone "how do you identify an Andoran", looks would play less of a role than culture. Arad Doman, maybe the looks are more homogeneous. 
Whether they can afford to keep that in the books? I don't know. It certainly isn't in any way core to the story.

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The fact that they're filming mostly in Eastern Europe suggests that they're going to get a lot of white people in the background regardless of where in Randland the action is set... but who knows, maybe they'll expand the shooting scope for the 2nd season when we hit Illian and Tear.

I believe I saw the translation from Czech of a stand-in and extras call that said they were looking for "ethnic" looks, for what that's worth. I'll try post a link here if I find it again.
 
 

Edited by fionwe1987

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This started with the best possible news - Rosamund Pike as Moiraine and we are now talking about K-Pop stars (not to offend K-pop stars, but seriously!!!)

I expected them to cast an Asian actor for Lan, but I thought we would talk about someone like Rick Yune (look at him in Marco Polo) or even Win Lun Yee ( "Altered Carbon")

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Kpop tends to require excellent condition and coordination for the necessary dancing, not to mention charisma and the ability to handle a potentially rabid fan base, along with a minimum level of actor necessary to play your role in the band. If someone then jumps across to acting and has a decent amount of experience then there's no reason to think this background should be a problem unless you are familiar with specifically his work and find it lacking.

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7 hours ago, akh said:

Speaking of the quality of productions.. Do we know what the budget is for this series btw? 

I think that's something that has not been revealed. I'd guess a minimum of $6 million an episode, but it could be higher. We don't really know. I'm not sure we even know how many total episodes were ordered for its first season, which (if true) is kind of weird!

Amazon has been really good about keeping its show budgets under wraps -- Googled around and can't find any solid references to the budgets of The Boys or Carnival Row.

 

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Speaking of the quality of productions.. Do we know what the budget is for this series btw? 

 

I'd be surprised if it was much under $7 million an episode or so (LotR: The Second Age appears to be around $10 million per episode), so slightly more than GoT Season 1 (unadjusted for inflation) but much less than later seasons.

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4 hours ago, Werthead said:

I'd be surprised if it was much under $7 million an episode or so (LotR: The Second Age appears to be around $10 million per episode), so slightly more than GoT Season 1 (unadjusted for inflation) but much less than later seasons.

If I may ask, are there are any sources I could look at for your guesstimate of circa $10 million dollars per ep. for the LotR show? 

Edited by Krishtotter

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Having just finished Carnival Row, I'm confident Amazon will do right by WoT. I was pretty impressed with the "PucK" (faun) prosthetics, both horns (which varied person to person) and feet. Very trolloc like, if trollocs were civilized. The way each puck and pix (pixie) were individualized reminded me how LotR treated orcs. Not a blanket mask/look, but a variety showing individual personality.

Granted Carnival Row is more limited in locations than the Eye of the World travelogue, but the overall production quality looked good.

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That's more in line with what I expected in terms of acting resume. Not sure if he has any martial arts background. Still a trifle young. Whoever remarked on half-Asian/half-Caucasian nailed it, though I'm not sure they intended it.

 

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1 hour ago, Krishtotter said:

If I may ask, are there are any sources I could look at for your guesstimate of circa $10 million dollars per ep. for the LotR show? 

The original deal included a guaranteed per-season budget of between $100 and $150 million. As per Shippey's comments, it appears they will commission 20 episodes up front, so two seasons of 10 episodes (as producing 20 episodes per season at this level of budget and quality is massively impractical) for circa $10 million per episode. At the low end.

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Neat.  Give him blue contact lenses and grey his hair and beard a bit, and he is Lan.

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