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The Wheel of Time TV Show 6: A Few Turns to A Beginning


fionwe1987
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Continuing from the previous thread...

@Ran

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@fionwe1987

I think you are mistaking the issue with the homogenity of the Two Rivers. Having the Two Rivers be ethnically homogenous -- of whatever race the showrunner wanted -- was an easy thing to do to convey the idea of a place largely isolated for centuries from the rest of the world. But if the idea is that the Two Rivers is just as isolated but somehow heterogenous as well, then that's kind of just a thing you have to hand-wave away -- it's nonsensical, but it's minor, right?

And that's an easy thing to achieve -- they can pick what actors they want. I guess having an all-black or all-Asian Two Rivers would have been hard to do in the Czech Republic, but no doubt they could have swung it, especially as it's mostly just for the one episode.

But what about things that are more plot-central that they find, for whatever reason, inconvenient? You don't know these people, you have no idea if their tastes run like yours, if their views on aspects of the series you love match yours, and you may find that your willingness to embrace what you consider unimportant changes now is just a gateway to much more substantial, perhaps onerous changes later, that they don't think are a big deal but that you will.

It has happened before, to put it lightly. 

None of us here knows how the show will turn out. It'll have two seasons to find its footing, something few shows get a guarantee for, but who knows where it leads.

Let's say they got the Two Rivers to be a homogenous place, racially. Would that guarantee that they won't change something later that I find objectionable? 

I don't think so. This is a huge production, but there's no way massive changes from the 14 books aren't coming to make them into maybe 8 seasons of 8 episodes each. And when they make a change I dislike, I'll call it out.

The Two Rivers not being homogenous is no more proof that they'll make a change that I don't like than Rand not being very tall, or Moiraine not being very short, or Perrin already having a beard. 

It's a change. One that changes the guts of the story not at all. And it doesn't really predict further changes that will be bad. So I'm not particularly bothered by it. And I'm definitely pleased that they didn't go with an all white Two Rivers to avoid this problem, which would have been the easy way out. In the balance, having a couple of blonde extras in the background does way less harm to my enjoyment to the show than having Lan, Nynaeve, Egwene, Perrin and Siuan not all being white helps.

As someone who loves WoT at least in part for the fact that it was the first fantasy series I read where I didn't have to imagine all the lead characters as white, because the author left enough wiggle room, I'm actively excited that the lead cast isn't all white. It helps the world feel more immersive that I don't have to buy that once again, the entire world is in danger, but only white heroes are critical to saving it. And I think the global audience Amazon is trying to pitch this show to will appreciate that, too.

Edited by fionwe1987
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You cannot call it a plot point when it very clearly impacted no plot line at all.  RJ might have intended to do something with that, like make it easy early on for darkfriends to find Tam and take him to be tortured etc in order to break Rand.  An echo of what happened with the vision of his mom at the Eye of the World.  But that didn't happen.  RJ either abandoned that, never intended it, or the story got away from him.  He left no such notes on it for Sanderson.  So it did not matter AT ALL.  Stop trying to make it a thing.  It does not matter to the PLOT, and never will.

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Well today I learned that reddit has it's own WoT hate/skeptics sub. Whitecloaks for any that are interested. Several posts from people who were banned from the WoT and WoTshow subs, so I'm not really sure what the overall tenor of that sub is. I didn't dip my toe in too deeply.

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Since I'm listening to the audiobooks right now it seems kind of obvious to me that Jordan definitely intended for Rand to look distinctly different from the other Two Rivers people. It isn't a major plot point but I think Rand looking different (i.e. like an Aiel man) is significant.

And that certainly means that smart casting would have reflected that fact, i.e. that they would have cast folks from a distinct ethnic group to play the Two Rivers folk (Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve, and their respective family/relations). But I think that's actually the case, no? Rand is a white-looking guy while the Two Rivers people all seem to be somewhat mixed PoC folks.

The whole genetic memory nonsense with Mat talking nonsense in a long dead language was always cringeworthy, so hopefully they are going to completely drop that thing.

The whole scene in the inn seems to imply that Emond's Field isn't as backwater as in the books - but it seems the locals are all those darker folks with outsiders being the people who look different. This clearly isn't the inn from the books, nor is Padan Fain the only outsider who ever shows up there.

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27 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

That bit about the rights vesting in perpetuity (I presume to Red Eagle) is infuriating.  That can't be intended by the Rigney estate, and ought to be winnable in court, right?

They probably settled in a way that either removes that, or compensated Harriet enough that she is alright to let it stand, I'd imagine?

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

while the Two Rivers people all seem to be somewhat mixed PoC folks.

Egwene (in Robert Jordan's notes: Audrey Hepburn)

(and there are many more famous quotes about her):

"She broke off, her cheeks turning pink, and the look she gave Thom Merrilin was not as friendly as it had been. “It is not right to make . . . It isn’t . . . ” Her face went redder, and she fell silent. Mat blinked, as if he was just getting a suspicion of what had been going on."

"She held her cloak close, dark blue and embroidered along the edge with a thin line of white flowers in the Shienaran fashion, and the blossoms made a line straight up to her face. They were no paler than her cheeks; her eyes seemed so large and dark."

And we can go all the way up to KOD (while skipping dozens and dozens and dozens quotes):

"Two of the fellows could have been from Andor or Murandy or even the Two Rivers"

Andor is white (99.999), Murandy is white, Two Rivers is white  

/A Lugard girl, she came to town, to see what she could see.
 With a wink of her eye, and a smile on her lip,
 she snagged a boy or three, or three.
 With an ankle slim, and skin so pale,/

"The only sound was the scritching of pen on paper and a man’s dry persistent cough.

The clerk who was coughing, a smooth-faced fellow younger than Perrin who, by his face, might have come from the Two Rivers, began hacking more roughly, and covered his mouth with a hand. He cleared his throat loudly, but the harsh cough returned.

What remained of the fellow was a pale flat thing inside his clothes, like a wineskin that had been emptied."

A pale thing. Not a coppery thing, a charcoal thing, or the color of honey etc.

Or this: "Not all Tairens were dark by any means" Even Rand is racist! 

 

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6 hours ago, Gertrude said:

Well today I learned that reddit has it's own WoT hate/skeptics sub. Whitecloaks for any that are interested. Several posts from people who were banned from the WoT and WoTshow subs, so I'm not really sure what the overall tenor of that sub is. I didn't dip my toe in too deeply.

They want a faithful adaptation: from skin colours to storylines without injecting political beliefs etc.

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8 minutes ago, szilard said:

With an ankle slim, and skin so pale,

To be fair, there are very pale Asians. One can pale skin and not be what people would consider "white". 

All that said, yes, I think people who are convinced that the Two Rivers look in the books is any darker than, say, the sort of dark looks you can get along the Mediterranean European coast are wrong. Too much evidence to the contrary, including, yes, quotes like the above. Maybe they should have looked like something else, maybe Jordan was too inconsistent in trying to present "mixed-up ethnicities", but it is what it is.

For me it's just a matter of consistency. Give me an isolated, homogenous place, give me homogenous people of whatever hue the producers prefer. The Westlands is pretty diverse, but individual pockets may not be, i.e. Arad Doman with the willowy, copper-skinned folks, Cairhien with its very pale citizens, and so on.

 

Edited by Ran
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From my perspective, this is an established fantasy work that really has the framework to showcase a lot of diversity and I am glad they are leaning into it. As a child, I remember reading comic books and looking for women superheroes. I had Wonder Woman and Storm. I devoured Black Canary when I could find her. That was about it. My point is, I can empathize in some small way with people wanting to see faces that reflect theirs in their favorite media.

Like Ran, I'd like to see the diversity balance adjust as we move through different areas of the world. Not all Tairens are dark, but you're gonna see a lot more dark skin than in Cairhienen streets - that kind of thing.

I also think that using Jordan's dream cast as a basis for anything is not a good argument. Even his own casting didn't match his descriptions so it seems like he was going for the feel and screen presence of a character rather than specifically how they look. And of course, there is a tremendous white bias when thinking of actors to fit the bill, especially at that time and especially from his generation - naming Audrey Hepburn and James Garner kind of shows that IMO.

Edited by Gertrude
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IMO the whole "Two Rivers people are special due to their old blood" stuff in the books is really silly and doesn't fit the setting, so if it's not in the show, that's a major plus. Also, the extreme isolation of Two Rivers never made much sense either. Especially since it's pretty inconsistently applied. In the first books there is talk how the geographical boundaries (mountains, etc) are virtually impassable yet in the latter books tens of thousands of refugees come to Two Rivers through them.

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2 hours ago, David Selig said:

IMO the whole "Two Rivers people are special due to their old blood" stuff in the books is really silly and doesn't fit the setting

Huh? You mean the setting where souls get spun out again and again, living multiple lives? It seems odd to quibble about genetic memory, as it later plays a pretty cool role in events in Rhuidean.

 

2 hours ago, David Selig said:

in the latter books tens of thousands of refugees come to Two Rivers through them.

I don’t know about tens of thousands, but in LoC Faile knows that the trickle of refugees are making it despite the lack of roads or even paths through the Mountains of Mist, showing their desperation... and who knows how many would have survived if it wasn’t for the search parties Perrin sent out. She doesn’t dare think of how many are dead.

In all likelihood the intention is that at least as many died as made it. Regardless of the total number who make it, clearly the level of desperation is so high that people are taking incredible risks in huge, population-level numbers.

 

 

Edited by Ran
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22 minutes ago, Ran said:

Huh? You mean the setting where souls get spun out again and again, living multiple lives?

Yeah... what's the connection? If souls are spun out repeatedly, and there's definitely no guarantee that your soul will be spun out in even the same continent, where channeling is tied to the soul as well as genetics, but definitely not something that has regional concentration, what does a concept like the Old Blood even mean?

Especially given the very interconnected world of the Age of Legends, why is descent from a particular kingdom in anyway cause for special abilities or powers?

RJ just couldn't square it, and the concept is increasingly dropped, later in the series. The last time it is mentioned is in Crown of Swords:

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He opened his mouth . . . and stopped, really hearing what she had just asked. Nosane iro gavane domorakoshi, Diynen’d’ma’purvene? Speak we what language, Sounder of the Horn? The hair on his neck tried to stand. “The old blood,” he said carefully. Not in the Old Tongue. “An Aes Sedai once told me the old blood runs strong in—What are you bloody well laughing at now?”

“You, Mat,” she managed while trying not to double over. At least she was not speaking the Old Tongue any more either. She knuckled a tear from the corner of her eye. “Some people speak a few words, a phrase or two, because of the old blood. Usually without understanding what they say, or not quite. But you. . . . One sentence you’re an Eharoni High Prince and the next a First Lord of Manetheren, accent and idiom perfect. No, don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me.” She hesitated. “Is mine with you?”

And even before that, there is one or two references per book, that's all.

It's a concept RJ barely developed, and if just doesn't sit well with the lest of the mythology of the series. By the end, it was reduced to meaning some natural half-baked ability with the Old Tongue, and that's it. 

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47 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

Yeah... what's the connection? If souls are spun out repeatedly, and there's definitely no guarantee

There you make a very wild assumption based on no evidence at all.

It may indeed be that people have lived multiple of their lives pulled back into the same broad genetic lineage for whatever reasons -- because the Pattern says so, I guess -- and that this is literally why the old blood "runs strong" in some places.

Genetic memory is literally what the Rhuidean ter'angreal is about, for that matter.

Finally, it's funny, but most of the memories that the Eelfinn gave Mat from the lives of past adventurers are explicitly from men who were from Manetheren, Farashelle, or the neighboring Coremanda. A couple that explicitly aren't... but for whatever reason the ones that come most to mind and get explicit connections are from approximately the region his genetic lineage comes from. Maybe coincidence, but maybe RJ's way of showing that the "old blood" most readily surfaces those memories that have some ancestral relation.

Edited by Ran
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11 minutes ago, Ran said:

There you make a very wild assumption based on no evidence at all.

It may indeed be that people have lived multiple of their lives pulled back into the same broad genetic lineage for whatever reasons -- because the Pattern says so, I guess -- and that this is literally why the old blood "runs strong" in some places.

This isn't true, though. We see that in Birgitte's lives, and the Forsaken remark upon the unique situation of Rand even knowing who his previous life was. That makes no sense if people are known to repeatedly be born in the same geography, does it? If they were, they'd be lot more likely to know of their ancestor who was them. 

11 minutes ago, Ran said:

Genetic memory is literally what the Rhuidean ter'angreal is about, for that matter.

Ancestral, not genetic. There's a difference. 

11 minutes ago, Ran said:

Finally, it's funny, but most of the memories that the Eelfinn gave Mat from the lives of past adventurers are explicitly from men who were from Manetheren,a Frashelle, or the neighboring Coremanda. A couple that explicitly aren't... but for whatever reason the ones that come most to mind and get explicit connections are from approximately the region his genetic lineage comes from. Maybe coincidence, but maybe RJ's way of showing that the "old blood" most readily surfaces those memories that have some ancestral relation.

Uhh... Source for this? Mat has plenty of memories from elsewhere, including several from Eharon, which is what Birgitte mentions. 

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I have no idea what Birgitte or Rand have to do with "old blood". Neither of them show it. Mat does (and Egwene, to a lesser degree).

1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

Uhh... Source for this? Mat has plenty of memories from elsewhere, including several from Eharon, which is what Birgitte mentions.

I went through the list of memories. But I see I did not need to. Mat, from The Firs of Heaven:

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"Something I heard once," he told her. "I liked the sound of it." Carai an Caldazar! For the honor of the Red Eagle. The battle cry of Manetheren. Most of his memories were from Manetheren. Some of those he had had before the twisted doorway. Moiraine said it was the Old Blood coming out. Just as long as it did not come out of his veins.

Between the explicit statements to that effect, and the fact that most of the 'finn memories that surface according to the text are from Manetheren, there's clearly a genetic memory thing going on regarding how readily he remembers things.

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4 minutes ago, Ran said:

I have no idea what Birgitte or Rand have to do with "old blood". Neither of them show it. Mat does (and Egwene, to a lesser degree).

They have to do with your claim that souls are reborn in the same geography or lineage. Which was a potential explanation for the Old Blood, according to you. 

4 minutes ago, Ran said:

I went through the list of memories. But I see I did not need to. Mat, from The Dragon Reborn:

I recognize the quote, but it can't be from the Dragon Reborn. He hadn't been through the doorway, at that point. 

4 minutes ago, Ran said:

Between the explicit statements to that effect, and the fact that most of the 'finn memories that surface according to the text are from Manetheren, there's clearly a genetic memory thing going on regarding how readily he remembers things.

Nope. Mat figured out what's going on, there, in Knife of Dreams:

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Light, I hate to remember dying , he thought, and the thought turned to a coal burning in his brain. A coal that burned hotter and hotter. He remembered those men’s deaths, not just one but dozens of them. He—remembered—dying.

“Toy, are you ill?” Tuon brought the mare close and peered up into his face. Concern filled her big eyes. “You’ve gone pale as the moon.”

“I’m right as spring water,” he muttered. She was close enough for him to kiss if he bent his head, but he did not move. He could not. He was thinking so furiously he had nothing left for motion.

Somehow only the Light knew, the Eelfinn had gathered the memories they had planted in his head, but how could they harvest memory from a corpse? A corpse in the world of men, at that. He was certain they never came to this side of that twisted doorframe ter’angreal for longer than minutes at a time.

A way occurred to him, one he did not like, not a scrap. Maybe they created some sort of link to any human who visited them, a link that allowed them to copy all of a man’s memories after that right up to the moment he died. In some of those memories from other men he was white-haired, in some only a few years older than he really was, and everything in between, but there were none of childhood or growing up. What were the odds of that, if they had just stuffed him with random bits and pieces, likely things they considered rubbish or had done with? What did they do with memories, anyway? They had to have some reason for gathering them beyond giving them away again. No, he was just trying to avoid where this led. Burn him, the bloody foxes were inside his head right then! They had to be. It was the only explanation that made sense.

If there's a generic link to the memories Mat got, then there would be memories of childhood. Instead, everything is from when the dudes in his memories went to the foxes. 

Given that the Tower of Ghenjei is close to Manetheren, it isn't so surprising many of Mat's memories are of men from there. 

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51 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

They have to do with your claim that souls are reborn in the same geography or lineage. Which was a potential explanation for the Old Blood, according to you. 

No, I meant that perhaps what is called "the old blood" is people who are reborn into the same lineage again and again. It reinforces their genetic memory and it comes to the fore. This doesn't mean everyone is born into the same lineage. Obviously, the old blood is a rare trait, which means most souls do not get repeatedly pulled back to the same lineage.

And mis-typed, that was a quote from TFH.

59 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

Given that the Tower of Ghenjei is close to Manetheren, it isn't so surprising many of Mat's memories are of men from there. 

I don't think that's right. Entering through the twisted red doors was the only way to have the protection of the treaty, which substantially improved the chance of surviving the visit. Without it, less than "one in a thousand" survives.

We have no idea where the doorways were prior to this age. No particular reason to think they were in Manetheren, though. I'm guessing they were elsewhere and then got moved in Hawkwing's era, perhaps.

So, back to my point, the reason most of the memories that surface are from Manetheren are because of his genetic connection makes them rise up more readily.

I also see ToM actually references the old blood of Manetheren, obliquely, when Faile suggests that the Pattern needed Manetheren to fall and the Two Rivers to rise to give Rand a place to grow up safely among people with the "blood" of kings. But that's Sanderson, I suppose, not Jordan.

Skimming a bit more, I'm reminded that both times Mat went through the doorway, he ended up communicating with the Finn in fluent Old Tongue without realizing it -- before they filled his head with memories.

 

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