Jump to content

Wheel of Time TV Show 7: And There Shall Be Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth


IFR
 Share

Recommended Posts

Blood and bloody ashes.

Had to be said at least once. Burn me, but it does.

I've watched the first two episodes. I was in parts disappointed and excited, and not sure how I feel about it overall. I need to stop comparing it to the books as I watch and just watch. 

I do think they've structured the beginning wrong. The viewers should've started with the Two Rivers' perspective and learn about the greater world with them. Instead, we start with mad man being run down and gentled without much information. We have an apparent division within the Aes Seadai organization (Red vs Blue) before even knowing who they are. There are rumors of "four Ta'veren" somehow, but no sign of it or explanation. It would've been better just saying, "We've reached the end of my list of places. If the Dragon isn't here, I don't know where to look next" or something better written. 

My teenage son and wife followed it all pretty well, so that's something. My son was really shocked when Perrin hit his wife by mistake. TBH, that played out better than I thought it would. No one knows but Perrin, and the guilt and grief are tearing him up inside. 

If I have to call out one book moment I missed seeing, it's Rand's glimpsing the "black rider" on the road and the dread it created. That and similar rumors from Matt and Perrin would've justified Nyneave's reaction to strangers in the inn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Ran said:

On the plus side, the Czech Republic has some really gorgeous vistas -- I didn't realize it had such neat mountain ranges

While the Czech Republic does have some very nice mountains, I think the really impressive vistas were filmed in Slovenia.

 

Also you mentioned the heron sword - and yeah, that slipped my mind, but I can't believe no one has brought it up yet at all! And I've seen some people upset that Tam couldn't even take out one trolloc, but I think for an older guy who hasn't touched a sword in decades he did pretty good. Just because Jordan said things are one way doesn't mean it always makes a lot of sense, this is one of them I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After one episode I'm definitely feeling lukewarm. I don't think I feel quite so negatively as some here but do agree with most of the points raised and am concerned for the show; I feel like there are a lot of missed opportunities, questionable decisions, and clunky scenes.
 

Spoiler

The battle scene was, as others have mentioned a really long CGI-fest and I'm not really too enamoured of they way they depict the power with Moiraine taking forever to "charge up" her spells and all her slow very exaggerated choreography. While I will say the CGI quality was on par with the kinda thing you might see in a marvel movie or whatever I think they could have gotten away with a much shorter scene that still demonstrates Moiraine's power and destructive capabilities (also what's up with that by the way, it seems like all the destruction in the village is caused by her, not the Trollocs who mostly just mill around waiting their turn to die, meanwhile she sets half the place on fire and tears the Inn apart).

Anyway I think if they'd saved a little money by shortening the sequence by a spell or two they could've found time to I dunno give Perrin a few lines about how he just fridged the wife they wrote in for him for no reason? Speaking of Perrin's wife it seemed like she had some beef with either Egwene, the Women's Circle, or maybe their stupidly dangerous practice of tossing women in to rivers (we see wounds on both her and Egwene) with her refusing to take part in it or the celebration after except if they were planning on killing her a few minutes later why even bother writing the beginning of that subplot? And other than a cute visual metaphor about how to channel Saidar what's the point of that whole series of scenes (and those wounds I mentioned) which given how fast the show is moving are unlikely to be referenced again. It's so weird, the episode dwells at length on several scenes that feel either unnecessary or over long and yet seems very rushed in many other areas with a lot of things I consider important ignored, cut, or brushed past - even from a non-book perspective, like how the end of the episode just cuts off after Moiraine loudly announces that one of them is the Dragon Reborn and they've gotta flee town at once (again Perrin has just put his newly dead wife's body down, he doesn't even get a line in, and a second later they're all being hurried out of the episode), or how Rand gets basically no character development beyond being bummed that his girlfriend just dumped him for her career and the least screen time out of the EF5 (from a book reader perspective this is even more egregious because it's not that he didn't have character development scenes it's that they've deliberately excluded them in service of this ridiculous one season "who is the dragon reborn?" mystery plot). Also we get a passing mention of the war in Ghealdan which was a prime opportunity to mention false dragons but nope we got more important things to get in like having Lan find a creepy Dragon's Fang made out of animal bodies which could have served a purpose but they never explain or mention again and which feels a bit like a rip off of that one scene in Game of Thrones with the mysterious symbol made of bodies.

There are some highlights too though - the character work on Pedan Fain is excellent with Myers and writers doing a hell of a lot with very little screen time, just that little knowing smirk as the attack begins and he sidles out of sight is fantastic, but I liked his interactions with Mat too. Of the main five I was most impressed with Barney Harris, who weaves together a lot of complex emotions in Mat's scenes with his family, which makes it all the more yikes for the show that he's been replaced. As a book reader I'm not a huge fan of what they did to his parents but it's whatever and I really liked all the character establishing scenes that change created, especially the where he runs back in to danger to save his sisters, but also the little reveal that his thieving was so they could take part in the festival, and how he takes care of his mum as best he can but is clearly struggling with the responsibility of it all that's been thrust upon him. Aside from some clunky dialogue I also really liked the opening scene with Liandrin and co hunting down a fleeing male channeller and his imaginary friend, though I'm a little confused by the idea that Moiraine was just hanging out on a cliff nearby watching the whole ordeal which seems to create more questions and potential plot holes than anything since it seems like Liandrin (illegally) gentled the guy on the spot and Moiraine was just chilling. I also liked the quiet scenes between Tam and Rand but thought they were too short to give the actors time to really sell that relationship, though McElhatton did a good job with what he had. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There were two moments I really liked.

Moiraine's recitation of the "There are neither beginnings nor endings..." lines. Great way to close out the first episode. Loved that. 

Her telling the story of Manatheran worked surprisingly well, given it was a monologue and essentially an info dump. Both my non-reader family members really liked it too. My wife asked if Manatheran was a warped version of Manhattan. I'm sure someone here or elsewhere on the web has already made that connection, but I never even though to make it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, Myrddin said:

There are rumors of "four Ta'veren" somehow, but no sign of it or explanation

:lol: It's true. The writers have declared that they have thought long and hard about the consequences of their changes, but that's not readily apparent on from what we've seen.

Spoiler

How could this have possibly come up? Were villagers randomly chatting about this?

"So that al'Thor- I think he may be ta'veren."

"What under the Light is a ta'veren?"

"Everyone knows what a ta'veren is...apparently. Influences the weavings of the Wheel. Anyway, I have a gut feeling al'Thor is one of them."

"What makes you say that?"

"Good crop yields, I guess. I just feel it."

"Uh, I guess that makes sense."

"Egwene, too."

"What, she's a ta'veren? Are ta'veren very common?"

"Incredibly rare. You hardly see one in several life times. But think about it. Egwene is a survivor of that ridiculous coming of age ceremony we have. You know the one that is so dangerous almost everyone dies, as you would expect. It's why we depend on immigration, because we keep killing the young women here. But she  survived. I keep saying, she's always been lucky."

"True enough."

"Also Perrin and Mat."

"Mat? Are you crazy?! How does the Pattern bend to him? His family is poor and a complete wreck, and he's a pathological gambling addict who is always losing. What possibly makes you think he's ta'veren?"

"Look, just take my word for it. Maybe the rumor will grow, to such a point that even people outside this small village will be talking about it. Word might even travel as far as Tar Valen."

"Yes, that makes perfect sense."

 

Edited by IFR
Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, Gertrude said:

While the Czech Republic does have some very nice mountains, I think the really impressive vistas were filmed in Slovenia.

 

Also you mentioned the heron sword

Which reminds me they made a whole point of zeroing in on the heron symbol, too... and it's never been mentioned or brought up again. At best it's a future plot point, at worst it's literally just the worst kind of fan service, inserting a shot into the scene just to give fans a wink.

41 minutes ago, Gertrude said:

Tam couldn't even take out one trolloc, but I think for an older guy who hasn't touched a sword in decades he did pretty good.

I mean, the problem is that we see Lan killing bunches of them with a single stroke of his sword, whereas for some reason Tam just keeps giving it a few light cuts that could easily have been much more damaging except they chose not to have him do it.

They even filmed it in such a way that you were supposed to get the sense that this was super impressive... until you see Lan and realize, eh, not amazing. Perrin and Layla do more, and neither are blademasters armed with a power-forged sword.

This is all part of the structural issue. They really should have stuck closer to the novel: have several trollocs attack the house, have Tam kill several but be injured, have Rand carry him to the village as he mumbles... and then show the Winespring Inn collapsed, bodies all scattered, Perrin looking shell-shocked. Boom, close episode one.

Episode two, flash back to showing what happened at Winternight in the village, get your big action scene with Moiraine and Lan, show what happened to Perrin, Nyn, etc. Carry on from there.

It's a great way to do a cliffhanger of sorts, you can still show the fight afterward to kick off with high-adrenaline. 

(Obviously, as I say it, I see why they toned down Tam a bunch, and why no one is wondering about the sword: it would raise too many questions for the audience and they would quickly realize Rand must be the Dragon Reborn because, like, why else is his father such a badass? But it's cheap, particularly the sword going unquestioned bit.)

 

41 minutes ago, Gertrude said:

Just because Jordan said things are one way doesn't mean it always makes a lot of sense, this is one of them I think.

Though Tam is not practicing the sword any more, we know he's one of the best quarter-staff fighters in the Two Rivers, having bested Abell Cauthon on occasion, so I'd guess he remains pretty fit and capable. 

And blademasters in WoT are... well, they are something else.

Edited by Ran
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, IFR said:

:lol: It's true. The writers have declared that they have thought long and hard about the consequences of their changes, but that's not readily apparent on from what we've seen.

If Mat had better luck at gambling, then he'd have a claim... 

Lan: Why are we going to the Two Rivers?

Moiraine: I have reports of a Taveren who never loses at dice. 

Wait. That's a line from the season 3 script.

Edited by Myrddin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Durckad said:

Well, at least someone thinks that this series was faithfully adapted.

I kid, I kid...

I haven't read the books since I was in high school, but as I watched, I definitely remembered why I stopped and never went back and finished them.

1 hour ago, Arataniello said:

So far (halfway through episode one) and I am underwhelmed.  This is Wheel of Time given the Shannara treatment. 

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's the Shannara treatment...Shannara had a special kind of shit mixture. The production values and actors reminiscent of Legend of Seeker, but the blandness of the Witcher adaptation that makes you wish you'd done something else with your night.

Just thinking of Legend of the Seeker for the first time since it aired, and thinking of the Shannara show...I'm kind of interested in going back and watching Seeker in all its terribleness while I would rather forget Shannara existed. (And Terry Brooks' angry, angry reaction when he heard fans hated it, well, that's a story for another day)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of ta'veren...

The whole thing with Nynaeve as well ... she seems to know exactly who the "four  ta'veren" are, so why is she questioning Nynaeve? I'm starting to think that originally Nyn was supposed to be a ta'veren as well, but someone at Amazon convinced Judkins to cut it down.

For that matter, her managing to track them could well be a residual ta'veren thing -- if it it never gets explained, I'll wager that they cut a scene where she tells Lan she's always been lucky and just picked a direction at random, trusting to chance.

Also, again hiding their hand, no sign of Moiraine asking questions of anyone else about the other "ta'veren" -- she would have quickly ruled out Mat, Perrin, and Egwene, and having cut Nynaeve from her list knew it could only be Rand. As it stands, I'm not confident that she actually knows which of them it is and genuinely thinks it could be any four of them.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, the line "rumors of four ta'veren" seemed clunky and nonsensical. Even a simple change like "I've heard rumors that indicate there may be a ta'veren there." seems more reasonable, then when Lan asks if she knows who it is right before the attack, she can say "no, but I've narrowed it down."

There are some clunky bits that seem a product of pacing, some of them are a product of poor dialogue. The one I really didn't like was Egwene in ep. 3 saying "It's like the wolves led us here" (after finding the tracks). Again, a simple change to "at least the wolves chased us in the right direction" would make it less clunky IMO (granted, I am not a professional, but I think you get what I mean.

I also have seen some people theorizing that Layla was a darkfriend based on 1.) her sulkiness and 2.) Right before Perrin kills her she is raising her hammer like she is going to attack ... what? The trolloc is out for the count so Perrin is the only plausible target, unless the blocking was that sloppy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Ran said:

Judkins

OK random tangent. Rafe was on Survivor for those who don't know.  On that season, there was also a player named Judd, who was kind of an asshole. Somehow my brain has transplanted their names and reflexively when I see "judkins" I think it's a dig at Rafe, because my brain is hearing Judkins as a cutesy and derogatory nickname for Judd. I still can't break that association even though I know better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

Yeah. There was a scene which was ripe for Egwene to call Rand a woolhead, and instead she goes with 'bastard'. Throwing in some of the actual book jargon would have helped with the atmosphere.

Yeah I really felt thrown by the use of prick and bastard. It felt very clunky, as did the other curses.

Also, while I think having Mat struggle with his family was fine, but having his mom trapped in a bad marriage and drinking to deal with it makes no sense in the context of this world. 

5 hours ago, Ran said:

I'm not going to say that I don't see where the $10 million per episode went, but I don't know that it was all well-used. There seems to be some low-effort aspects of the series -- Rand's freshly-shaved look staying pristine across a handful of nights, everyone's clothing looking like it's been pressed each morning (seriously, does Rand's shirt even reveal he broke a sweat when chopping all that wood?) -- that contributes to a vague sense that this could have been the CW's take on a fantasy show. I'm not saying everyone needs to look like they sleep in manure, but when you're on the road for awhile things get rough. Even Aragorn had to sew up tears in his clothes, right?

Yeah. Their journey from Shadar Logoth to Breen's Spring feels like a short hike, not a journey that lasted days.

5 hours ago, Ran said:

(Also, we repeatedly see scenes in trailers and teasers of there being a further ceremony in that pool, presumably after she gets out of the water, and yet no sign of it to be seen. Is it going to be a dream? A flashback? Or one of those things they cut when Amazon told Judkins that he was spending way too much time on made-up adulthood ceremonies?)

I do sense Amazon's hand in this, as well as none of the characters saying goodbye to their families, or the lack of a scene where Tam gives Rand the sword. The departure from Emond's Field was ridiculously abrupt. Many of these characters are never going to come back. Some sense of actual regret and pain, shown on screen, is more than warranted. I absolutely think Winternight could have been shorter, and both the money and time better spent, now that I've seen the episode.

5 hours ago, Ran said:

Like @fionwe1987, I think the decisions they made structurally -- particularly trying to make a big mystery of who the Dragon Reborn is -- is proving to be a real mistake, a one season mystery that causes all sorts of contortions. The sense that everything is feeling very rushed is true. Two more episodes... yeah, that would probably have been useful to actually give the characters more opportunities to breathe. 

They should have spent more time organically bringing up how everyone views the Dragon, the Aes Sedai, False Dragons...

That scene atop the cliff where Moiraine just says the guy being gentled below is not the one (why isn't he the one?), and then randomly just says there are four ta'veren was particularly bad and the top example of the narrative choppiness. How would she know, and what does she even know? As a book reader, this makes no sense to me at all. As a viewer of the show, if you haven't read the books, you almost certainly didn't catch that word and it's not mentioned for the next two episodes. Meaning that scene serves almost no purpose at all.

5 hours ago, Ran said:

One common thing I've seen on the Television subreddit is people feeling that of the young actors, Barney Harris as Mat has been the most compelling... which makes the fact that they've replaced him for season two seem like a very unfortunate thing. If he continues to impress and people get attached to him, only to see a new actor next year, that may strike a blow.

It's not that I think he's a particularly better actor. They just gave him more stakes and more to do, whereas Perrin and Rand both suffered from having almost nothing about them except their romantic/married life come up. 

I have a feeling that if they did something like an uncut/directors cut version of these episodes (not saying they will), the narrative will flow somewhat better. 

ETA: also, it was a bad bad move to have Moiraine comatose for an episode and a half. For one thing, having it be Lan's sole decision to take them to Shadar Logoth just does his character disservice. We also get a very bad explanation for the place that really doesn't so a good job of explaining that this was human evil, resting on suspicion and hatred. When we start seeing the effects of the dagger on Mat, if they keep it anything like the books, this would have been a good place to contemplate on ways to fight the Shadow.

5 hours ago, Ran said:

 

 

Edited by fionwe1987
Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, Ran said:

Though Tam is not practicing the sword any more, we know he's one of the best quarter-staff fighters in the Two Rivers, having bested Abell Cauthon on occasion, so I'd guess he remains pretty fit and capable. 

And blademasters in WoT are... well, they are something else.

I liked that the show remembered Tam also had a spear, which Jordan forgot about in the book. The spear is a good weapon to use against a Trolloc, and it allowed Rand to save the day in the scene.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

I have to wonder what kind of lazy, hand-wavy writing will allow the group to reunite. Moiraine distributed no coins, and if she gave them something else, I missed it. 

I’m guessing they simple reunite because they all are headed to the Tower, maybe? But the absence of the coins isn’t surprising. Since she visits openly as an Aes Sedai, there was no chance of anyone accepting a coin from her. Also, I doubt they’d have time for such things in the show anyway.

I suppose they can make it that she laid the weave on other bits of metal they all possess. We see Elayne do that later, so it didn’t have to be openly done on a coin that changed hands. But it would have been nice to set that up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay. I've only ever read the first two books many years ago...trying to reread book one now...but I'm giving this a go...

And after only one episode, I couldn't stop looking at the actor playing Rand and wondering why they cast Attack of the Clones Era Hayden Christiansen...and why they had the double crossing taxi driver from Mars and the 90s Total Recall playing the...was he the peddler or the gleeman, that wasn't totally clear...and a couple other minor things...

I'll keep going for now though...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

and why they had the double crossing taxi driver from Mars and the 90s Total Recall playing the...was he the peddler or the gleeman, that wasn't totally clear...and a couple other minor things...

That's not the taxi driver from Total Recall. He was the peddler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...